Hello. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so stealing an idea entirely has got to be even more flattering. Now, I’m not exactly a great drafter, so I brought along my good friends Gary Wise, resident StarCityGames forum crank Will Brinkman, and Brainburst Premium writer Zvi Mowshowitz to help me out. Today we’ll be looking at some currently underrated cards in Scourge. Let’s get to it!
Scourge has exactly seven two-drops, and the only ones with two power are the Brigand and Silver Knight. G/R can actually be very strong in OLS, but the archetype loses a lot of early game power in Scourge. If you didn’t manage to get many of the excellent Green bears in Legions, all Scourge has to offer is the Brigand. This is a must-have for the tempo game, and the Brigand’s value is sure to escalate as we settle into the Scourge pick orders.
Wise: I have to disagree. In Scourge, you need to be drafting burn highly because it will evaporate after a few scant picks. After that, you should be grabbing Green’s fat. If you want bears in G/R, you should take them in Legions – and if you’re short on them, landcycling isn’t an awful second turn play. This is actually at its best in U/R because of its dearth of two-drops, but I’d probably want a couple of Sparksmiths to go along with them.
Brinkman: You have zero skills, Pugg. Please find a quiet place to die, and do it quickly. What are you waiting for? Go! Now!
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Temple of the False God
Another great card for G/R. Sure, you’ll want to play eighteen lands and a couple of landcyclers with this one, but getting a six-mana creature on turn 5 more than makes up for the risk. This is a relatively pain-free form of mana acceleration, and I think every Beast-oriented R/G or G/B deck can use one.
Wise: Elvish Pioneer is mana acceleration, and it doesn’t get played. Simply speeding you up a turn doesn’t automatically make something good. Besides, Green has the Krosan Drover in Scourge, and that’s common. You should also already have been able to nab at least one Wirewood Elf, Wirewood Channeler, Goblin Clearcutter or Explosive Vegetation in G/R anyway. I’d never take this high, and it’d be even rarer that I’d play it.
Brinkman: I’ve crapped out smarter things than you, and they were easier on the eyes. Not to mention the nose.
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This is rapidly becoming my pet favorite Scourge card. We all know it’s best at stopping a turn 3 morph and gaining tempo, but it’s also wonderful against combat tricks, removal, and hell, late-game morphs. Never a dead card, and this should start to move up the pick charts. Did I mention its best friend is Zombie Cutthroat?
Wise: If you can stop the third-turn morph going second with this card, then it’s done its job. But otherwise, it’s just going to sit in your hand for the next few turns while you’d rather have a decent threat. Mage’s Guile cycles for U and it already does half of what the Dispersal Shield is supposedly good for. There’s a good reason Complicate is not a very high pick.
Brinkman: Say, Pig, have I told you lately that I hate you? Oops, did I misspell your name? Must have been a mistake.
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Raven Guild Initiate
I don’t even see this as a Blue card. White’s Birds are better and more plentiful than Blue’s (certain Mistforms notwithstanding), and saving one from removal or combat while giving yourself a nice wall and a +1/+1 counter on your Aven Farseer – for free! – is good times. In W/R (which is actually my favorite archetype), you can even include it as a Lavamancer’s Skill target – though if you’re going that route you’re probably going to want to splash a little Blue in anyway. In any case, this is a very good defensive and tricky morph, and I’ve yet to regret drawing it.
Wise: I’ll give you that W/R/u or W/U/r is a perfectly viable archetype, but the ideal curve is actually first-turn Deftblade Elite, second-turn Cloudreach Cavalry, third-turn Bird, fourth turn Bird/Seaswift. The Initiate does not fit into this curve very well, and if you’re going to play a morph on turn 3, you want it to be Echo Tracer, not this guy. The Initiate is playable, but there are too many other cards I’d rather run. If I’m relying on him as a trick, I know something went wrong in the draft.
Brinkman: Let me tell you a little story about Pugg Fuggly. Once he went to this favorite hangout of his, and the men inside were having a contest to see whose”manhood” was the longest. So they laid them all out on top of the pool table in a line. Pugg walks in and says,”I was only going to buy a drink, but I think I’ll stay for the smorgasbord.”
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This card is often unfairly compared to Lavamancer’s Skill… But let’s see what it has going for it. Its ability can target players. It can be played on an opponent’s creature as a virtual but pricey Pacifism. It should rarely cause you card disadvantage, as you’ll likely be playing it when your opponent is tapped out and can’t respond to your attack. Finally, Skill is pretty hard to come by these days, and is really only effective in U/R. This is a great card, and I hesitate to call it underrated as I think plenty of people are starting to realize its power.
Wise: Yes, but Skill costs 1R. Skill doesn’t depend on your attacking every turn. Also, isn’t your 5cc removal slot already pretty clogged up by Torrent of Fire and Pinpoint Avalanche? This card is far too slow for my liking, and worse yet, you won’t always have a creature that’s free to attack in play.
Brinkman: News Flash! Pugg Fuggly likes to run around in his house naked except for a towel and pretend he’s Superman! How do I know this? Well, he left a drunken message on my answering machine once. You don’t even want to know what else he”revealed.”
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Simply put, in the right deck, this is a bomb. Funny thing is, this sometimes goes fifteen. I know people who swear by it, and I know people who won’t touch it. This card is probably best in W/B Clerics, where your goal is to stall the ground with Doubtless Ones, Whipgrass Entanglers, and Battlefield Medics while pecking away at your opponent with Zealous Inquisitor or a flier. The Symbol helps in either regard. Oh, and if you get this out with a Doubtless One in play, you just won.
Wise: For once I agree with you. This card does go fifteenth, and there are people who won’t touch it. This is a”win more” card, because if you have superior board position and this is out, you win. Of course, almost any other card would help the cause as well. Granted, the Doubtless One combo is pretty good, but it’s probably the only card out there that’d make me maindeck this.
Brinkman: My baloney has a first name. It’s P-U-G-G. My baloney has a second name. It’s F-U-G-G-L-Y. I like to slap my baloney around.
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Well, I had a great time! We managed to dissect some of those little cards that could, and we learned something in the process. Hopefully, my friends will join me in the continuation of this series. Right, guys?
Wise: I have too much to do. My editor’s only giving me another month to finish my Limited series. Two months, tops. I’d better get cracking.
Brinkman: I’d love to, Pugg, on one condition: Your eternal soul.
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Pugg Fuggly, home of the Whopper