The Daily Shot: Onslaught Set Review, A – False Cure

Geordie goes nuts and has to stop the article short at False Cure? Why is that, you might ask? Well, because he found a way to kill in Turn 3 with it in Extended. Interested?

Welcome back to the Daily Shot, where we always admit U.N. weapons inspectors.

Time to do Black. Am I in over my head? We’ll see. The goal is to fire off a full set review that you guys can actually read through without gagging or falling asleep, or some combination of the two. I’m not sure if I can do it, but at least I’ll give you something to read everyday while I give it the ol’ try.

Oh, and by the way, the four-five day lull in the Daily Shot last week? That was because of a change in the Ferrett’s email software. Don’t fret – I’ll stick with you if you stick with me.

Accursed Centaur

Wow, what a way to start things off. I feel like Geraldo when he opened Al Capone’s vault on live TV, only to find out that there was nothing in there. Someone in the MiseTings forums had the audacity to claim this card wasn’t bad, but you and I both know it’s awful. Kjeldoran Dead was way better, and it was awful.

I will never play Accursed Centaur in Constructed.

I will never play Accursed Centaur in Limited.

I will not play it with a Moat.

I will not play it on a boat.

This card is so bad, I wouldn’t touch it if Anna Kournikova and I were alone in an apartment and it was the only thing holding up her G-string.

Anurid Murkdiver

Wow, the excitement never stops with Onslaught black. Why not cost this at 3BB and give black a strong common, instead of plunking this sucker squarely on the borderline? I bet they did this just to give guys like me a headache when we crack our decks.

I miss Cateran Slaver.

Aphetto Dredging

It’s amazing the things you might find when you drain a mire. 10,000 golf balls…old toilet seats…three zombies… You know. The usual.

The Black Ancestral? In limited play, this will break a game wide open – and with the help of cards like Cabal Archon, Ravenous Baloth, Rotlung Reanimator, or the like, you can create some serious engine decks in a format where powerful interactions are few and far between.

Splashable, too. I used to run a couple of mountains if I could get a Magma Burst, just because it was so good. This card may be that good. Much slower than Magma Burst, though.

Aphetto Vulture

Like DCI judges (who seem, at least to me, so enjoy teasing the idea that you’re about to get DQ’d), vultures are known to thrive on human misery and suffering.

This one is sorta like Avenging Angel, but a little more versatile, and a little weaker, and more expensive. Most importantly, it’s an uncommon, which means you’re more likely to see it when you’re busting and passing. I’d run one of these guys at the top of my mana curve – he never dies and if the need arises, he can get back an even more powerful Zombie.

I just wish this card was costed at, say, 3BB. That would cement it as a real powerhouse.


You can’t use this card like Duress. Duress will always take out the most vital card, and Blackmail will never do that unless the opposing hand size is less than four.

Personally, I think Blackmail is inferior to both Duress and Addle – but with Addle rotating out of Standard, it might replace the slower but more reliable discard spell in decks that want to run a lot of redundant discard – i.e., eight pieces.

Blackmail costs B, but it’s most effective when a player only has three cards remaining… Meaning the effective casting cost is much higher. I’d wait until turn 3 or 4 to cast this spell, maybe even later…if I played it at all.

Every time you start to think that this spell is like Duress, remember that it’s closer to”Target player chooses and discards a card”… Like Skull Fracture without the flashback. That is just not a good effect.


A limited card in more ways that one, the Boneknitter has an unwieldy Morph cost for something as simple as an unexpected regeneration. Why not put the morph at B so you can use it on turn 4? Whatever the reason, the best case scenario is that you make someone waste some removal on a Zombie when your ‘Knitter pops up and regenerates it.

Wow, someone hand me a Kleenex. The excitement is killing me.

Cabal Archon

Great card, and a good example of a card that is good with Aphetto Dredging. Highway Robbers was always a pretty good card, possessed as it was of a twisted form of haste and Spirit Link, and this is just better.

I’ll be taking Cabal Archon pretty high. Is there any other card that can come into play in the late-game and end the whole thing with a ten-point Soul Feast? What a beating. Extremely good with Aphetto Dredging, Rotlung Reanimator, and any number of other cards.

Cabal Executioner

Give this guy flying or Fear (now a keyworded mechanic) and the game ends… Fast. Another great limited uncommon, though the Morph cost is one mana too expensive. You thought Sigil of Sleep was good? Check out this action. Plus he’s a Cleric to boot.

Why did they have to make Fear a keyworded mechanic? Now Alter Reality doesn’t work on it, as it did on Russell Taint’s Guiltfeeder in the infamous match where Sleight Knight 2002 had its ONLY VICTORY!

Cabal Slaver

Possible good times for the B/R drafter, though a 2/1 for 2B is never going to dominate the table under any circumstances. Now seems like a good time to use the word”marginal.” So I will.

This line? Oh, it’s called”padding.” See, I couldn’t think of anything to write here, so I’m just typing about whatever is on my mind, and including it to make this review longer. Unfortunately, stream-of-consciousness work can be dangerous if one is too honest, and if I were to think about, say, hot man-on-man action, it would probably have to go here.

Okay, let’s just move on.

Chain of Smog

Some people have pointed out that this card might be good in a G/B madness/flashback build, making use of Basking Rootwallas, Roar of the Wurms, and other spells of that type. They might be on to something!

Start off with this:

4 Basking Rootwalla

4 Roar of the Wurm

4 Wild Mongrel

4 Chain of Smog

….And go from there. Maybe add Chainer’s Edict and Genesis.

If your deck has successfully accomplished the mission of scaring any opponent who dares duplicate a casting of Chain Of Smog, the question is… What have you really accomplished? You’ve taken the drawback off of a spell that really isn’t that good in the first place, especially with other people likely to be running Roar and friends.

Gerrard’s Verdict was better. Hymn was way better. Like a gallstone, it might be best to give Chain of Smog a pass.

Cover of Darkness

A one-sided Bedlam much of the time, this card is a much cheaper version of an extremely expensive Mercadian Masques enchantment that bestowed all your creatures with Fear. Obviously powerful in Limited against pretty much any deck, you’ll want to board it out against Black.

Well, duh. When it comes to stating the obvious, I’m a genius.

Splashable, too. I love the idea of unblockable Skirk Commandos, Cabal Executioners, and other triggered effect baddies. I’m not 100% sure about this, but it might even see Constructed play in Block or Standard depending on the environment – Cover of Darkness is cheaper than Bedlam was and works the same way much of the time.

Crown of Suspicion

This is quite a wrecking ball against one toughness creatures – and possibly a mini-Overrun if you have a lot of Bears with room to swing. This card has potential, especially with Mistform guys, with which you can bust out a Plague effect on any creature type you want.

Turn my Mistform guy into a Cleric, cast Crown Of Suspicion, attack for five, sac the enchantment, wipe out your two Battlefield Medics? Ouch.

Cruel Revival

I’m always going to call this card”Creedence Clearwater Revival” when I play it.

In Black, this is better than Second Thoughts. It’s like Annihilate in the common slot, and is splashable removal if you’re not playing Zombies, though you might not have a Zombie to return. Second Thoughts wasn’t a first pick (well, not really… Sometimes you’d be forced to take it first out of a fairly weak pack to force yonder White), but this probably will be. The reason for the difference is that the creature doesn’t have to be attacking. This wipes out all sorts of creatures that will never see the Red Zone – like Arcanis, for example.

Death Match

You know, creatures eat dust all day in hand and in the library. They’re crammed into subways, working for big companies – and then suddenly they hit the board and they’re rich and free… And they all want to be a 187.

This card is hard to use effectively, but not many cards in the set have more potential.

Here’s the trouble: Against a deck with few creatures, you won’t have many targets for it. Against a deck with many creatures, they will make great use of it as well. If you play few creatures in order to avoid the drawback, then you won’t get to use it to your advantage either.

Yes, quite a pickle. This could be crazy, though, with creature generators like Mobilization. Every Soldier token is creature kill. Squirrel Nest turns into Tap: Destroy target creature. Any card that powerful can’t be ignored. W/B control? G/B control? Who knows? All I know is that this card has serious potential for abuse as long as good creature generators exist. Hell, with Death Match on the table, you can topdeck a Chatter of the Squirrel and kill two Shadowmage Infiltrators! That is just crazy.

Grizzly Fate with threshold, kill all four of your guys?

You get the idea.

Death Pulse

Great removal and an uncounterable Afflict. A near-automatic first-pick in Limited. I have it on good authority that when you bust this out of a pack, a big fat Samurai jumps out of the art and yells”PICK ME OR DIE! CAN YOU DO ANY LESS?”

Dirge of Dread

Lets you serve for that final blow, or just sneak the Cabal Executioner through for a turn and draw a card. Probably the first card of this type to ever be playable – Shriek of Dread was the worst card in Planeshift – and it’s about time. They decided to really push the Fear effects with this set.

This would have been a better Invasion Block card, since it interacts with colors. Either that, or they could have given Morph creatures the ability to block creatures with Fear…namely, make them into artifacts – that would have put some more strategy into things. Why push Fear in the”creature type” set instead of the”color block”? Oh well.

Disciple of Malice

Read the flavor text:
They said the lantern had signaled his approach, but trust me – it was the smell.

At 1/2, he’s about as malicious as Barney, the big purple dinosaur. I like continuity as much as the next guy, but this clergyman won’t be doing any praying in my maindeck.

I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family. Just stay out of the cellar.

Doomed Necromancer

Another pretty good Grey Ogre. There are no Constructed applications for him because of the tapping requirement, but he can fetch a dead bomb in Limited, or even one that you manage to throw out in the early game.

Sigh. Why is he rare? Zombify and Life/Death can be uncommon, but this guy, along with crap like Apprentice Necromancer, has to be rare? Come on. The ability isn’t that hard to wrap your head around, and it isn’t that good, either. I’m sick of these lackluster rare cards that just suck. Seriously.

Ebonblade Reaper

Another one of those black creatures that they put a ridiculous drawback on, probably out of morbid curiosity. First there was Lurking Evil – pretty good, but very risky. Then Phyrexian Negator – almost too good. Now we get Ebonblade Reaper and probably the most insane drawback to date.

Like Negator, Ebonblade Reaper kills in four hits. First he knocks you to nine, then to four, then to one, then you are dead.

Unlike Negator, the Reaper croaks if you sneeze on him, and gets pummeled by something as wimpy as Shadowmage Infiltrator. Would Phyrexian Negator be as good in T1 if it got smoked by every Ophidian that stood in the way? I think not. As a nice side bonus, the Ebonblade Reaper reduces your own health to almost nothing while he is on the offensive.

It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out. I didn’t think they could print a creature that was worse than Negator against burn, but they have gone above and beyond the call of duty with this guy.

Endemic Plague

A rare for Limited, amazing if you’re playing Blue with Mistform creatures. Other than that it’s spotty at best, and useless in Constructed. More rareslot garbage.

Entrails Feaster

Like Ichorid, an interesting card as long as stuff is dying. Comes out early, but he’s likely to stay tapped until something bites it. Might end up as a sideboard card of sorts against Incarnations and other graveyard shenanigans. If Oversold Cemetery turns out to be as strong as I expect, and Krosan Tusker starts showing up everywhere, this guy won’t be far behind.

Fade from Memory

When you are almost strictly worse than something like Cremate, you shouldn’t be prancing around in the new set, you should be sitting at home trying to figure out where the hell you went wrong, and keeping your mouth shut. Dr. Phil says that this card has got issues.

Fallen Cleric


A common with four power that fits into both the Cleric and the Zombie deck, this card has a lot going for it. Even when unmorphed, though, it trades with stuff that probably hit the board about two turns earlier. With four toughness, it would be an absolute monster.

False Cure

WATCH LIST. This card is insane. You see, a long time ago, the R & D guys started realizing that gaining life sucked ass and that dealing damage was good, so they started toning down Lightning Bolt and toning Healing Salve way the hell up. The result of this? There are cards for two mana that read”Target player gains seven life,” whereas Lightning Bolt is gone and Shock is as good as we’re ever going to get again.

This card turns all that around, and the results could be ugly. With lifegain cards being much more efficient than burn cards as far as the big numbers go, I’m sure this fits into a combo deck somewhere. Is there any way to give your opponent twenty life in one turn?

How about something fun like this in the new Extended?

First turn Forest, Skyshroud Ridgeback.

2nd turn Llanowar Wastes, Wild Mongrel, attack for two.

3rd turn Swamp, False Cure, attack, Invigorate (opponent loses 3 life, +4/+4 to Mongrel), pitch one card, leaving opponent at six. Reverent Silence using alternate casting cost of opponent gaining six life. Opponent loses six life.

That’s game. A fairly lucky draw, sure, but it is indeed game. Here are the important cards for Extended False Cure Stompy:

Invigorate (+4/+4, opponent gains 3, FREE)

Skyshroud Cutter (2/2 creature, opponent gains 5, FREE)

Reverent Silence (Destroy all enchantments, opponent gains 6, FREE)

The theory behind this deck is that False Cure turns many of the cards in your hand into a sort of undercosted Fireblast. You’d run four Vampiric Tutors and four copies of False Cure, plus four copies of all of the above, and some efficient beatdown creatures like Wild Mongrel and the like. Heck, you could even make it a black beatdown deck and just use Land Grant to get the forest.

Here’s another 3rd turn kill that I just got on Apprentice in Extended. My opening hand consisted of Vampiric Tutor, Skyshroud Cutter, False Cure, Wild Mongrel, Peat Bog, Forest, Reverent Silence.

1st turn: Peat Bog (comes into play tapped with two counters)

2nd turn: Draw: Rootwalla. Lay Forest. Use Peat Bog to Vampiric Tutor for Reverent Silence #2 and cast Wild Mongrel.

3rd turn: Draw Reverent Silence. Attack for 3, discarding Rootwalla. Opponent at 17. Cast False Cure. Cast Skyshroud Cutter, Reverent Silence x2. Opponent loses 5 life, then 6 life, then 6 life again. He’s dead.

That was just me tinkering. With more effort, the deck could be even better, I have no doubt….WHOA, wait a minute! I was goldfishing and I just second-turn killed.

1st turn: Peat Bog

2nd turn: Draw Reverent Silence x2 (this was really lucky), Land Grant for Forest, revealing Skyshroud Cutter, Basking Rootwalla, Reverent Silence x2, False Cure, Invigorate. Cast False Cure. Cast Skyshroud Cutter, Reverent Silence x2, Invigorate. That’s 20 damage.

This doesn’t happen every time, not even close, but beating down with Rancored River Boas and Wild Mongrels is fun, too. It’s like playing Stompy with about sixteen Fireblasts in the deck. The deck is pretty bad, though, when the False Cure gets countered.

In short, I think that of all cards in Onslaught, this is the most likely to require banning. I doubt it will require banning, but no card is more combo-ish than you might think.