How is Alara Reborn Mythic Rare Lord of Extinction an Elemental and not a Lhurgoyf? Plus: The story of the amazing disappearing Mortivore.
I think you’re supposed to be reminded of a Lhurgoyf on this one. It’s one more mana than the classic Lhurgoyf but Pow! … How many times more powerful than the original Lhurgoyf (which back in the day I loved by the way) is Lord of Extinction?
The main deck I played Lhurgoyf in was one of the few that actually played Lhurgoyf in the main deck. I had rarely been so confident in a deck as this one, which I had used to win two tournaments immediately prior to Regionals 1998:
4 Giant Growth
4 Granger Guildmage
4 Jolrael’s Centaur
4 Llanowar Elves
4 Muscle Sliver
4 Quirion Ranger
4 River Boa
3 Uktabi Orangutan
2 Karplusan Forest
4 Mountain Valley
2 Undiscovered Paradise
4 Tranquil Domain
1 Uktabi Orangutan
3 Dwarven Miner
I don’t know if that was my Regionals list (I actually think I played four Uktabi Orangutans main and cut a Centaur), but it was the more recent of the two tournament report deck lists that I found. Yeah, now that I think of it I played Hall of Gemstones which was like a City of Solitude against Blue and also foiled the main combo deck of the day (Cadaverous Bloom).
This deck was exceptional against the Red Decks and the Blue Draw-Go / Rainbow / Big Blue decks of the era, plus it always seemed to pull it out against Tradewind decks; weaker against Living Death and combo. So of course at Regionals I lost in the first round to Sligh, drawing two lands in two games (though to be fair my opponent correctly just killed all my Elves). Speaking of Lhurgoyf, I just remember drawing that alleged monster against Tradewind and doing nothing as there were no creatures in the graveyard. Lhurgoyf just sat there against — if you can believe it — Trained Armodon as I was eliminated from Top 8 contention with a deck that I had tested more than probably anything else in my life at that point.
The Lhurgoyf strategy resurfaced about five years later for Regionals 2003. Our weapon of choice was Mono-Black Control. The main deck was superb, being the favorite against basically every deck in the metagame (we had not tested against Wake for Regionals); the issue was Compost in sideboarded games. Osyp suggested we side in Mortivore, which would be very big in attrition games (like Lhurgoyf was against the Sligh decks back in 1998), hoping to circumvent the Compost card advantage.
I ran with Osyp’s idea and ultimately produced I think the best sideboard strategy of my career.
1 Chainer’s Edict
4 Diabolic Tutor
1 Haunting Echoes
3 Innocent Blood
1 Mind Sludge
2 Skeletal Scrying
4 Undead Gladiator
2 Visara the Dreadful
2 Cabal Coffers
2 Cabal Therapy
2 Chainer’s Edict
1 Engineered Plague
1 Haunting Echoes
2 Laquatus’s Champion
1 Mind Sludge
4 Nantuko Shade
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Visara the Dreadful
Osyp figured that having a large regenerating monster like Mortivore could simultaneously hold down the fort and make up for Compost card advantage; I realized that we could upgrade our regenerating creature with a little more mana and actually change how the game was played.
By changing our mindset and looking at our Black one-for-one removal as “Blue” “removal” (basically Unsummon et al) once a Compost was in play, we just used our one-for-ones to buy time while we set up a Black burn plan. Laquatus’s Champion was not just a regenerating creature set to hold down the fort but an efficient Fireball. With his 187 effect and one swing, we could easily “two-card-combo” the opposing G/R deck out with just one Corrupt, Compost or no.
I ultimately lost to Astral Slide playing for Top 8 (a nearly un-losable matchup, sadly), but to this day am very proud of the sideboard plan (especially given the Tutor nature of the deck), and consider this build, which put Paul, Josh, and myself all in prize position, even if none of us qualified, a triumph of deck design and metagaming.
Oh, but this blog post was supposed to be about Lord of Extinction, or Lhurgoyf 2K9.
Lord of Extinction is just plain awesome I don’t know what else to say. Yes he is a little bit more expensive than Lhurgoyf, but the upgrade to all cards in all graveyards rather than just creatures is huge, especially in Black. For instance you just keep killing guys with one-for-ones, you get +2/+2 with every Terror effect.
All that said, “aesthetically” I don’t get not just the not-Lhurgoyf thing, but given the name and power level, a not-Lord (or even not-Legend) byline.
Where can I see this card fitting in?
While I find Lord of Extinction to be a stronger card than Lhurgoyf, I also feel like it might be a little less applicable. A four mana spell can fit into a twenty land deck as we saw with TDC Heat, when that deck is poised either to win attrition wars with Red Decks or to “recover” when an opposing U/W deck taps out for Wrath of God; in both cases the G/R deck is supposing it will draw into sufficient lands to play its powerful four drop. This doesn’t really work for Lord of Extinction; the kinds of decks that can play it don’t really want to play Lhurgoyf as it was played in TDC Heat.
Instead, the card is just simply good. It should easily be 5/5 or greater on turn five, just from everyday actions. Therefore in addition to being a cleanup card, a Wrath of God recovery card, or the nail in the coffin of an attrition fight, it can just be played, as in Reflecting Pool Control. Can you play Lord of Extinction? That is, can you produce one Black and one Green mana? If so, it is probably pretty good.
The only question is if it is good enough, that is, will it take the place of a Broodmate Dragon, Chameleon Colossus, or Nath of the Gilt-Leaf?
The answer is, Sometimes Lord of Extinction will be, but not always.
Snap Judgment Rating: Role Player (high)
P.S. Both of the TDC Heat tournament reports and my Mono-Black Regionals report which includes the arduous development of the Laquatus’s Champion sideboarding strategy are detailed in Deckade. These are tough reports to find (and in the Mono-Black report’s case, basically impossible unless you still have Brainburst Premium). But they and close to 700 more pages of great Magic strategy await you over at Top 8 Magic!