You Lika The Juice? – The Casually Competitive Sides of Eventide, Part 2

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Wednesday, July 23rd – When last we left our hero, he’d dug into the White and Blue cards of interest in Eventide. Let’s move on and try to finish things up…

When last we left our hero, he’d dug into the White and Blue cards of interest in Eventide. Let’s move on and try to finish things up.

Ashling the Extinguisher – 2BB
Legendary Creature – Elemental Shaman (Rare)
Whenever Ashling the Extinguisher deals combat damage to a player, choose target creature that player controls. He or she sacrifices that creature.

My hunch is that this card won’t see the play it deserves, because it’s got a lot going for it; its power and toughness is very reasonable for the mana cost, it’s an elemental, it’s a shaman, and its special ability is downright scary. What’s particularly frightening is, how many creatures do you hold back to block or chump? Since you’re already playing Black, if you only leave back one creature (while, say, flying over with something else), a Terror or Shriekmaw could knock the blocker out of the way and let Ashling’s special ability come into effect.

Crumbling Ashes – 1B
Enchantment (Uncommon)
At the beginning of your upkeep, destroy target creature with a -1/-1 counter on it.

In my opinion there is at least one element of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block that has not been fully explored yet, and that’s the whole -1/-1 counter thing. I think most people have been looking at it as a Limited-only feature, but people initially thought the same thing about Dredge. I dig a deeper into that theme below when I get to Necroskitter, but I can see Crumbling Ashes perhaps playing a role too.

Merrow Bonegnawer – B
Creature – Merfolk Rogue (Common)
{T}: Target player removes a card in his or her graveyard from the game.
Whenever you play a black spell, you may untap Merrow Bonegnawer.

This seems like a perfectly acceptable Merfolk answer to opposing graveyard strategies given Merfolk’s ability to untap and such (as well as this one’s built-in ability). Obviously it’s pretty horrid late game when your opponent’s graveyard is fully stocked, but at least it could offer some tribal synergies.

Necroskitter – 1BB
Creature – Elemental (Rare)
Wither (This creature deals damage in the form of -1/-1 counters.)
Whenever a creature an opponent controls with a -1/-1 counter on it is put into a graveyard, you may return that card to play under your control.

Okay, here we go! When I first started drafting Shadowmoor, two of my decks revolved around a high-pick Blowfly Infestation, and I found the enchantment to be quite potent. Then I faced off against a deck that packed Flourishing Defenses, which seemed like a very effective countermeasure to my -1/-1 counter shenanigans. Afterwards, I started thinking about combining both enchantments into one deck and seeing how that works out. I’ve been kicking around the skeleton of this idea for a month or so, but Eventide’s Necroskitter really kicks it up a notch. Here’s the deck I’m going to test for the Richmond PTQ:

What’s interesting about this idea is that there are actually a lot more cards than available card slots. For instance, I’ve been trying to work Incremental Blight and Scarscale Ritual in here too. Also, Chameleon Colossus has been vying for the spot that Soul Snuffers has currently, since being immune to the -1/-1 counter ability of Blowfly Infestation (which is not a “may” ability) can come in handy being the last creature standing when there are multiple Blowfly Infestations in play and a lot of creatures start dying. Dusk Urchins can bleed off -1/-1 counters for fun and profit, as can Morselhoarder. Grim Poppet seems a necessary way of dealing with opposing Chameleon Colossus, though infinite chump blockers from Flourishing Defenses should be a big help too.

Needle Specter – 1BB
Creature – Specter (Rare)
Wither (This deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters)
Whenever Needle Specter deals combat damage to a player, that player discards that many cards.

I can’t help but wonder why they don’t go ahead and make a two-drop Specter? Shave off Wither and a B from the casting cost and I think you’ve got a very interesting card. Would that make it a broken, scary card? Possibly, but heck – Tarmogoyf is broken and scary and it isn’t exactly dominating Standard. As is, this card isn’t a complete waste of cardboard, what with Pendelhaven still around and various Giant Growth effects and “lords” running around that pump up Black creatures.

Nightmare Incursion – 5B
Sorcery (Rare)
Search target player’s library for up to X cards, where X is the number of Swamps you control, and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
You make the Lord very nervous.

Cranial Extraction was a royal pain in the ass. Not just for ripping away a card from your hand and every copy of the card in the library or graveyard, but also because it reduced the percentage of “action” cards in your deck. This wasn’t particularly noticeable the first time you got Extracted, but when you get hit the second time or more, that’s when it seemed like were drawing nothing but lands. Of course, Extraction ultimately didn’t prove particularly devastating, and Nightmare Incursion has even less impact on the current game state since it doesn’t peek at your opponent’s hand. However, I can think of some decks that would definitely not wish to have six or more particular cards stripped from their deck. I don’t see this making a big impact right away, but it could prove to be a role-player in a mono-Black deck for fighting very specific types of decks.

Raven’s Crime – B
Sorcery (Common)
Target player discards a card.
Retrace (You may play this card from your graveyard by discarding a land card in addition to paying its other costs.)

Ah, here we go – a very interesting card indeed! I’m looking forward to playing this card alongside Tarmogoyf in the waning days of Standard, and imagine it might have some role in Extended (though obviously it would be pretty awful against Life from the Loam strategies). Turn 1 Thoughtseize, turn 2 Tarmogoyf, turn 3 Raven’s Crime, and then pitch a land to play it again, swing with a (hopefully) enormous Tarmogoyf.

Of course, we won’t have Tarmogoyf around but for so long, so it occurred to me that Retrace is a nice complement to a card that I also feel has been overlooked in Block (and maybe Standard too), River Kelpie. Take a look at this:

With a good amount of Persist creatures and Retrace, River Kelpie should be a card-drawing machine! Heartmender and Ajani (dishing out +1/+1 counters to offset the -1/-1 counters) should keep your Persist gang – particularly River Kelpie – persistent. Aerie Ouphes — with a few more in the sideboard — seem like they’d be potent anti-faerie measures, especially with an Ajani on the board to let you dish out 3+3+2 points of damage in one round if necessary. I like the idea of using Spitting Image to get a couple River Kelpies in play… Bottom line, what is really appealing about River Kelpie with Retrace is the ability to draw more cards, which means more spare lands you can pitch.

Soul Snuffers – 2BB
Creature – Elemental Shaman (Uncommon)
When Soul Snuffers comes into play, put a -1/-1 counter on each creature.

I featured Soul Snuffers in my Shoo-fly deck, it seems like a fantastic card for dealing with a weenie menace. It’s obviously a pretty ridiculous combo with Necroskitter and a bunch of your opponent’s X/1 creatures, it puts the kibosh on Persisters, and it even makes Chameleon Colossus a bit less fearsome. A heckuva good deal for a four-mana creature.

Syphon Life – 1BB
Sorcery (Uncommon)
Target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
Retrace (If this card is in your graveyard, you may play it by discarding a land card in addition to paying its other costs.)

This is one of my sleeper picks, especially if a B/x aggro deck rears its head. For instance, G/B Elves can really lay the beats but sometimes comes up short in sealing the deal, and I could see a couple copies of this card alongside Profane Command extending the late game reach of Elves considerably.

Talara’s Bane – 1B
Sorcery (Common)
Target opponent reveals his or her hand. Choose a green or white creature card from it. You gain life equal to that creature card’s toughness, then that player discards that card.

If your deck is cold to Chameleon Colossus, this card might not be a bad call for your sideboard. Snagging a Colossus and gaining 4 life in the process can’t be a bad thing.

Umbra Stalker — 4BBB
Creature – Elemental (Rare)
Chroma – Umbra Stalker’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of black mana symbols in the mana costs of cards in your graveyard.

This is a big, dumb creature that I’ll never play with. I know some combo-minded people might be eying this as heir apparent to Sutured Ghoul-type shenanigans, but the lack of any sort of evasion has me deeply skeptical.

Duergar Cave-Guard – 3R
Creature – Dwarf Warrior (Uncommon)
{wr}: Duergar Cave-Guard gets +1/+0 until end of turn.

Okay, damn it, let me get up on my soap box regarding Dwarves. I have to admit to being a tad defensive about Dwarves, but I have good reason for it. Waaaaaay back in the day, my buddy Al had a D&D campaign, and in that campaign I played a Dwarf fighter named Falstaff Ironaxe. He was kickass, the stereotypical dwarf, and when I retired his character from active play, he walked off towards the mountains, with the Axe of the Dwarfish Lords over his shoulder, with the goal of uniting the scattered Dwarf clans under his kingship.

Fast-forward several years. Al had started a new campaign that I was unable to play in, based on the same world but quite some time in the future. I’d call Al and he kept me updated on the exploits of the new characters, and one day he mentioned that the party had run across Falstaff and ended up getting in a conflict with him and defeated him. When I talked about the incident to some of my friends who were playing in the campaign, one said “yeah, we ran across Falstaff and he was a real d*ck, so we kicked his ass and took the Axe of the Dwarfish Lords away from him.” I was appalled – this guy was supposed to have retired into myth and legend!

Fast-forward another year or two. These same characters are battling a race of time-traveling aliens, and they end up being flung into the prehistoric past. In the course of the adventure, the aliens end up eradicating a primordial race that turned out to be the progenitors of the Dwarven race. When the characters come back to the present, all Dwarves are gone, having never existed.

So, not only was my hero humiliated by a bunch of punk upstarts, he was eventually erased from existence.

And let’s not even get into the whole Gimli fiasco in the Lord of the Rings movies, where they took a rivalry among equal warriors from the books and turned Gimli into a bumbling buffoon and Legolas into a super hero. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the movies, but I think they really dissed the Dwarven race.

So then we come to Magic, where they also traditionally diss the Dwarven race. Now, this card isn’t horrible, but it certainly doesn’t rise to Constructed-worthy level. Tournament-caliber Dwarves are few and far between, and it really gets under my craw whenever we’re given yet another underpowered Dwarf. Someday I have hope that they’ll make a Magic world where Dwarves dominate like Faeries do in Lorwyn…


Hateflayer – 5RR
Creature – Elemental (Rare)
{2}{R}, {Q}: Hateflayer deals damage equal to its power to target creature or player.

This obvious Limited bomb might be an interesting one-of to add to an Elemental Soulstoke deck, don’t you think?

Outrage Shaman – 3RR
Creature – Goblin Shaman (Uncommon)
Chroma – When Outrage Shaman comes into play, it deals damage to target creature equal to the number of red mana symbols in the mana costs of permanents you control.

Plenty of people have already weighed in on this “fixed” Flametongue Kavu; I’m of the opinion that it’s high cost and low power (FTK used to regularly kill 2 creatures, one coming in, one going out) probably means this won’t see play much outside of Limited.

Puncture Blast – 2R
Instant (Common)
Puncture Blast deals 3 damage to target creature or player.

I don’t know if there’s a market for 3 damage for 3 mana in modern burn decks, but if there is this is certainly a contender. Instant speed, can go to the face, and if the fatty across the board is too big you can just shrink it. I see visions of many a 1/1 Chameleon Colossus on tables around the world…

Rekindled Flame – 2RR
Sorcery (Rare)
Rekindled Flame does 4 damage to target creature or player.
At the beginning of your upkeep, if an opponent has no cards in hand, you may return Rekindled Flame from your graveyard to your hand.

This card obviously gets much better the more opponents you have around. Just figure I’d point out the Squee factor here, if you happen to have effects you’d like to pitch cards in hand to and you can limit the cards your opponent keeps in hand.

Stigma Lasher – RR
Creature – Elemental Shaman (Rare)
Wither (This deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters.)
Whenever Stigma Lasher deals damage to a player, that player can’t gain life for the rest of the game.

I’ll jump on the bandwagon here, this is just a phenomenal package that is pretty much the answer to many a burn-player’s prayers. Cheap, comes down before the omnipresent Finks, and heck – it’s even a Shaman for Rage Forger shenanigans — the special ability doesn’t trigger off combat damage after all.

Thunderblust – 2RRR
Creature – Elemental (Rare)
Thunderblust has trample as long as it has a -1/-1 counter on it.
Persist (When this creature is put into a graveyard from play, if it had no -1/-1 counters on it, return it to play under its owner’s control with a -1/-1 counter on it.)

I have to admit this fellow gives me a Fires of Yavimaya warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s pretty much going to take out just about any blocker, and then trample in for big-time damage. As an elemental with Persist it works nicely along with Soulstoke.

Unwilling Recruit – XRRR
Sorcery (Uncommon)
Gain control of target creature until end of turn. Untap that creature. It gets +X/+0 and gains haste until end of turn.

Wow. I mean, Threaten is already a decent spell already, but now you’ve got a Threaten that you can sink any extra mana you may have lying around the nooks and crannies of your manabase and pump that fella up! Yeah, yeah, triple Red mana, but seriously – colored mana nowadays seems to go down as easy as ice cream on a hot summer day.

Aerie Ouphes – 4G
Creature – Ouphe (Common)
Sacrifice Aerie Ouphes: Aerie Ouphes deals damage equal to its power to target creature with flying.

Man, I wish they’d gone ahead and make this a rare and add Reach and Flash, don’t you? C’mon, give us a Super Ouphe! As it is, I still think it will see decent amount of play in the right metagame, i.e. metagames where there are a lot of fliers (*cough* faeries *cough*).

Bloom Tender – 1G
Creature – Elf Druid (Rare)
{T}: For each color among permanents you control, add one mana of that color to your mana pool.

I’m not convinced this will be a huge player, since it’s rare that two mana 1/1s stick around long if they threaten to go broken. It’ll still be rather decent in a deck sporting some number of hybrid cards, and you could really bend over backwards if you wanted to and have this produce 4 or 5 different colored mana.

Helix Pinnacle – G
Enchantment (Rare)
{X}: Put X tower counters on Helix Pinnacle.
At the beginning of your upkeep, if there are 100 or more tower counters on Helix Pinnacle, you win the game.

I suspect once this card starts cropping up in multiplayer decks we’ll see non-targeted enchantment removal (Tranquil Grove springs to mind) popping up. Multiplayer green has quite a few options for generating infinite mana.

Monstrify – 3G
Sorcery (Common)
Target creature gets +4/+4 until the end of turn.

See last week’s column where I b*tched about Wizards going “what the heck, Blue gets all the instant Retraces!” *facepalm*

Nettle Sentinel – G
Creature – Elf Warrior (Common)
Nettle Sentinel doesn’t untap during its controller’s untap step.
Whenever you play a green spell, you may untap Nettle Sentinel.

I have never liked Stompy strategies in all my Green-lovin’ years, but I have to say that turn 1 Sentinel, turn 2 Vanquisher, turn 3 Elvish Champion sounds like an absolute beating!

Primalcrux – GGGGGG
Creature – Elemental (Rare)
Chroma- Primalcrux’s power and toughness are each equal to the number of green mana symbols in the mana costs of permanents you control.

Man, Green has plenty of great creatures already in the 5-6 mana range, and I don’t see this shoving aside the awesomeness of Cloudthresher anytime… well, any time at all. Would it have been that nuts to make this a double-Chroma maybe (adjusting the casting cost for some generic mana)? It would still die to Terror and Shriekmaw… at least they gave it trample I suppose.

Regal Force — 4GGG
Creature – Elemental (Rare)
When Regal Force comes into play, draw a card for each green creature you control.

This automatically goes into any multiplayer, heavy-Green creature deck I build (which loosely translates into any multiplayer deck I build). Card drawing for Green, sign me up! For seven mana though, I don’t see this getting any traction in Constructed.

Savage Conception – 3GG
Sorcery (Uncommon)
Put a 3/3 green Beast creature token into play.

Man, now this would have been a red-hot instant!

Talara’s Battalion – 1G
Creature – Elf Warrior (Rare)
Play Talara’s only if you played another green spell this turn.

Maybe I’m missing the next Tarmogoyf (again), but I’m just not buying this. I compare it loosely to Serra’s Avenger, which I think is a mighty fine card that just doesn’t see a lot of tournament play. Sure, it’s a bargain for two mana, but its casting restriction is a royal pain in the ass that I see backfiring at any point other than the early game. It’s one of those cards that, for every glorious beating this card helps you apply, there are going to be at least one or two games where its awkward and clunky, and then a game you flat out lose because you kept drawing these and lands in the mid- to late-game.

Tilling Treefolk – 2G
Creature – Treefolk Druid (Common)
When Tilling Treefolk comes into play, you may return up to two target land cards from your graveyard to your hand.

An obvious Retrace enabler, but a real good one in my opinion, especially in formats where lands hit your graveyard early on. For Standard and Block, I find this an interesting card to pair up with Scapeshift too.

Twinblade Slasher – G
Creature – Elf Warrior (Uncommon)
{1}{G}: Twinblade Slasher gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Play this ability only once each turn.

Elf-walla? This actually strikes me as not a bad one-drop in an aggressive-minded elf deck; it plays nice with Pendelhaven and all the elf-boosters (and don’t forget Warrior-boosting!), and even if it gets chumped by something larger than a 3 toughness, it’ll leave behind its Withering mark. Another possible sleeper.

Wicker-bough Elder – 3G
Creature – Treefolk Shaman (Common)
Wicker-Bough Elder comes into play with a -1/-1 counter on it.
{G}, Remove a -1/-1 counter from Wicker-bough Elder : Destroy target artifact or enchantment.

I think people are spot-on about this being as good as Indrik Stomphowler, though in some ways it’s even better since you can play with your own artifacts or enchantments and not have to worry about nuking your own stuff. My Shoo-fly deck above? This card is definitely all over the sideboard!

Alright, crap – I hope Craig doesn’t kill me for spreading my Eventide review across three columns, but the word count here is getting rather high and deadline looms. Of course, somebody has got to carry water for Eventide, which seems to be getting dissed from a lot of people on the Constructed side, and I hear mutterings of “Prophecy” and “Scourge” from various corners of the intarweb. Them’s fightin’ words! So, if you’re kinda digging Eventide like me, or are somewhat skeptical yet open-minded, or just have 15 minutes to kill, join me next week when I really, actually wrap up my Eventide review and toss out a few more deck ideas!

Have a great week, y’all – stay cool.


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