From Right Field: Every Time We Say Goodbye…

Whenever a block is about to rotate out of Standard, I like to look back at some of the cards that saw little or no play but, dadburnit, it seems like they should have. Since Champions of Oompa-Loompa will be released in just over a month and will be tourney-legal in less than two months, Onslaught, Legions, and Scourge will be going the way of the dodo, the carrier pigeon, and common sense, taking with it some sadly overlooked cards.

It’s that time of year again. I’m completely bored with Magic and writing about Magic. I’ve been struggling to be entertaining. To kick start the creative juices, I’ve tried new styles. Some have gone over well. Some haven’t. Over the past few months, I’ve been throwing stuff out there, but my heart hasn’t been in it. To be honest, other than the letters column and channeling Rizzo on April Fool’s Day, I’ve been burned out for a while. So, I’m taking some time off. How long, there’s no way to know. Maybe I’ll be inspired by Champions of Kamigawa. Maybe not.

I will be busy, though. It’s football season, and I’m commissioner of a fantasy football league. My wife has many projects planned for me around the house. (For some reason, even though I lived in an apartment for ten years before meeting her, she thinks I know how to fix things. I don’t.) I also have to wait for the annual ritual of The Red Sox breaking my heart. (Remember that I said they wouldn’t even make the play-offs this year.) And, of course, there’s my writing gig for the Roseanne show. Oh, sorry. Wrong Magic personality.

I won’t leave you empty-handed, though. This is a little thing I do each Fall.

What Was Wrong With That Card?

Whenever a block is about to rotate out of Standard, I like to look back at some of the cards that saw little or no play but, dadburnit, it seems like they should have. Since Champions of Oompa-Loompa will be released in just over a month and will be tourney-legal in less than two months, Onslaught, Legions, and Scourge will be going the way of the dodo, the carrier pigeon, and common sense, taking with it some sadly overlooked cards. I’m going to run through these in alphabetical order, which also serves a diabolical purpose for me. Bwah ha ha ha ha. Heh. **ahem** Anyway, I’m not including the card wording (i.e. rules text, power/toughness, type, etc.) because (a) Ted will provide a link to the card and (2) it would take up too much space. If I were paid by the word, it would be a different story.


Oh, how many times I wanted to turn an Exalted Angel back into a li’l ol’ 2/2 so that I could block and kill it with a couple of 1/1 Insect tokens. Why didn’t this card see play? Because Blue bit hamster tail in this block. So, what, we couldn’t even splash it?

Bane of the Living

Untargeted, mass removal for Black. Wow. It gets rid of White Knight and, with enough mana, Akroma. (Highly unlikely, I know. But it can happen.) It can also wipe out a slew of one- and two-toughness creatures without killing itself. I’ve been playing this card in casual, mono-Black decks for going on two years now, and he’s huge. I think we could have found a way to work him into something tournament worthy. (P.S. This guy wrecks March of the Machines.)

Bloodline Shaman

When Skullclamp was still legal, I found her to be just as helpful as the ‘Clamp (sometimes more so since Oxidize didn’t kill her) in getting me cards. Alas, people were more enamored of Goblins than Elves, so no one tried. Or at least no one tried hard enough. [No, we did try. Unfortunately Goblin Sharpshooter trumps the whole friggin’ deck and you hit splash damage with all the white decks. I really wanted Elves to work, but they take springs and summers off apparently. – Knut]

Branchsnap Lorian

Yet another in a long line of ridiculously cheap and efficient Green creatures. 4/1 for three mana? St00pid. Oh, and it has trample? Who was smoking banana peels when they came up with the stats on this thing? Yet, it never saw play. Part of it is probably that one on the back end. Yeah, too bad Green doesn’t have any way to pump creatures up.

Brood Sliver

Really this is for the whole Sliver tribe. I’ve had so much fun with two- and three-color Sliver decks that I’m like a Girl Scout whose dad is the president of the company. (“Want to keep your job, Balaban? Buy a case of Thin Mints.”) They had great abilities. They weren’t overcosted. What was the problem? (I think the answer to many of these questions and others that follow is”Goblin Sharpshooter,” but that’s too easy, especially when a deck can pack Ward Sliver.)

Chromeshell Crab

I enjoy having this conversation:”Here, have my 1/1 Wizard. I’ll take your Exalted Angel. Thanks.”

Consumptive Goo

Not nearly as elegant as Bane of the Living but tons more fun. It picks off weenies and gets bigger and bigger. It can also take down Exalted Angels given enough time. Sadly, no one could figure out how to get enough time against Exalted Angels.

Cruel Revival

There’s something very satisfying about Black spells that can bring down Black creatures, especially big, beefy creatures like Visara. The fact that it can bring back a creature card makes it that much better.

Custody Battle

Another fun one, especially early in the game. Almost no one ever gives up a land on their second or third turn. Now, if only I had a way to sacrifice creatures . . . .

Death’s-Head Buzzard

You know who hates seeing this guy? Only the most commonly seen tribe on the tournament scene. I can’t tell you how many times I dropped this guy and watched a Goblin player’s game come to a screeching halt while he searched for an answer. Okay, actually, I can. It was three.

Dragon Roost

You mean we can create 5/5 flying Dragons permanently? Of course, it takes a while to get going. Gosh, if only Red had a way to hold off an opponent’s creatures for a few turns so it could get this thing going. Gee, I wish there had been a Red mass removal spell in the same block . . . .

Drinker of Sorrow

A 5/3 for three mana with a drawback that, let’s be honest, is gravy to Black.”Oh, I guess you take five, and I’ll sac this Cleric which triggers my Rotlung which . . . hey, where ya goin’?” (I love that line”Drinker of Sorrow Can’t Block.” Yeah, he’s a 5/3 for 2B. Why would I want to block with him? If he’s the defense, I’ve probably already lost.)

Elvish Pioneer

This guy is better than Birds of Paradise. (Forum fodder!) Okay, not totally. The BoP can give you any color of mana while the Pioneer can only give you whatever color the basic land is that he drops into play. If you’re playing a two-color deck, this often doesn’t matter as long as you’ve built the mana base correctly. In addition, a dead Pioneer doesn’t stunt your mana. Once he’s in, you have two lands. If they kill him, oh well. If the BoP gets killed, you’ve lost some tempo. The biggest difference is that the BoP allows you to play fewer lands while the Pioneer rewards you for playing more. (If you start with a two-land hand and don’t get another on your first draw, the Pioneer hasn’t really accelerated anything.)

{Note: The Pioneer is in 8E. So, you can still use it in even after Onslaught block goes bye-bye.}

Enchantress’s Presence

It says”draw a card.” How could this not be good?


How many times would you be playing a Goblin deck and only be able to get one creature through if you swung with everyone yet still not have enough to put them away? Where was this when I needed it? Back at home in a box.

Exalted Angel

I’m thinking that Exalted Angel didn’t get played because she was so inefficient. Sure, you could morph her over on turn 4. But what if they had Shock or Smother while she was face down? If only it had been easier to get her into play and protect her, she might have made the tournament scene.

Frontline Strategist

Fog on a stick. Nice trick. You should try it sometime.

Gravespawn Sovereign

Maybe we just didn’t read this properly. It didn’t say that you put a creature from your graveyard into play. It says that you”[p]ut target creature card from a graveyard into play under your control.” That’s any graveyard. Like if you just killed an Exalted Angel, you could take that. On the other hand, maybe this just suffered from the”I’m Already Winning” Syndrome. It takes five untapped Zombies to do this. I guess if I had five untapped Zombies, I could just swing. Unless they were outclassed by 3/3 Elephant tokens or something. Who played with Elephant tokens, though?


Why didn’t anyone play this? How many times will you have a chance to scream at the top of your lungs”HUN-DROOOOOOOOG!”


Sure, a few Beast decks did use this guy, but he shouldn’t have been restricted to tribal silliness. This guy is a house. Unlike a lot of the Thieving Magpie wannabes, this guy has trample. No need to try to figure out how to get him through. He does it himself.


A friend of mine named Josh Sharp was ecstatic when he heard about this card. Apparently, he was an old Counter-Post kind of guy. Before the thing was ever released, he had proxied up a Blue/White Mobilization Control deck that was nasty. I promised him that I wouldn’t write about it until he had played it in a tourney. Then, his wife got pregnant, and I don’t think he ever played in a tourney again . . . until the day their daughter was born.”The contractions are how far apart? . . . Great, I have one more round. Call me when they’re three minutes apart. Gotta go. It’s game three. Love ya.” Okay, so it wasn’t actually like that, although Shannon (yes, Shannon Sharp) was close to having the baby. She was born a few days later. Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah, Mobilization Control. No. You still can’t have the decklist.

Pyrostatic Pillar

I don’t think Goblins like this card. Or Elves. Or Soldiers. Or Zombies. Or Clerics. If you think it’s good, you’ll like having two out even more.

Reaping the Graves

I have pimped this and pimped this, and still no one listens. Last night, I used this at the end of my opponent’s turn to bring back a Bane of the Living, a Nekrataal, and a Festering Goblin. It’s an instant, folks. An instant that brings creature cards back from the dead. Hello! McFly!

Sigil of the New Dawn

I just keep thinking that being able to bring cards back to your hand without investing another card is the essence of card advantage. So what if it costs 1W to do it? Couldn’t anyone find a way to make this work?

Slate of Ancestry

I once drew thirteen cards with this losing only a land from my hand. Is that good? Some smart aspirin is going to say”Thirteen creatures? You should have been winning.” True dat. Unless of course, my thirteen were all smaller than what my opponent had. If that was the case – and it was – swinging with everyone would have resulted in me getting through only six or seven damage while losing a horde of Elves and leaving myself wide open. Except that I had drawn thirteen cards. So, it was okay.

Soul Collector

I dream of Soul Collectors carrying Viridian Longbows.


I know that it seems silly to have this on the list since it was often used out of the sideboard. To me, though, this seems like main deck material. There’s just so much stuff to stop right now that it’s ridiculous, starting, of course, with the Onslaught fetch lands. With those, Stifle becomes a one-mana land destruction spell.

Supreme Inquisitor

I played online against a Millstone deck that ran this guy and some friends. Ugly, vile stuff. Between milling me and removing anything good that I had, I was emasculated.

Thoughtbound Primoc

A 2/3 Red flier for three mana. Even White and Blue don’t get stuff like this. The drawback? Puh-shaw.

Uncontrolled Infestation

I hear that second turn land destruction is good. Now, if only people were playing with nonbasic lands like Urza’ Power Plant, Urza’s Tower, Urza’s Mine, Tranquil Thicket, Secluded Steppe, Forgotten Cave, Cloudpost, Unholy Grotto, Seat of the Synod, Vault of Whispers, Great Furnace, Tree of Tales, Glimmervoid, Blinkmoth Nexus, Temple of the False God, City of Brass . . . .

Vengeful Dead

I’ve written about this guy before. I even did quite well with a deck that featured him. He causes life loss, not damage so Circle of Protection: Black doesn’t do diddly. It’s not even targeted like Disciple of the Vault, meaning that Ivory Mask is worthless, too. Too bad Zombies don’t like to die, huh?

Warbreak Trumpeter

I was just waiting and waiting and waiting for a story about some pro who broke this guy and went on a winning streak powered by hordes of 1/1 Goblin tokens. Alas, it was not to be.

Wave of Indifference

How do you make your Goblins and Beasts unblockable? Obviously, no one cared.


He stops Akroma. He stops Scion of Darkness. He stops Rorix, Kamahl, and Darksteel Colossus. . . . Why do I feel like I’m channeling Dr. Seuss here?

And, as luck would have it (There ya go. I said”luck.” Have a blast in the forums.), the best comes last.


This is still the only card in Standard that can change the target of any spell or ability with a single target. There are cards that can change the target of a spell. There are ones that can change the target of an ability. There are ones that can change a target but only if that target is a creature. This is the only one that can do it all. I once used it to point a huge Charbelcher back at its controller. She got so paranoid that the next time she had the chance to use it when I had a face-down creature out, she pointed the ‘Belcher at the creature. He took eighteen damage. I was at seven at the time. I like Willbender. You should, too.

As usual, you’ve been a great audience. I am outta here.

Chris Romeo