The latest in a long line of great two drops — in a game largely defined by great two drops — is Alara Reborn COMMON Putrid Leech!
Just want to shout out to @burgessm on Twitter (Matt Burgess) for ye ole Tweet:
Without it I may have overlooked Putrid Leech for immediate examination. Sure. How? Okay. Probably not.
Putrid Leech is one of the best [offensive?] two drops we have seen in some time!
The baseline stats are what we would typically expect for any two drop: 2/2 for two mana. But it plays like a 4/4… if you want it to.
One of the things that might not be immediately obvious (I know I had to go back and read the card a couple of times) is that Putrid Leech is a functional (optional) 4/4 on both your turn and the opponent’s turn (if you so desire). That is, it isn’t a “disadvantage” that you can use the pumping ability only once per turn. Don’t think of it as Firebreathing so much as a swap upgrade from 2/2 to 4/4 with no mana cost.
So if you want to attack and the opponent wants to put a 2/2 in front of your Putrid Leech, you can pay two life for his card. Or if you want to attack and he doesn’t do anything you have the option of a 2-to-0 or 4-to-2 life point delta (a two point differential in either case). Subtly when you are on the draw in a matchup where both players are running two drops (or say the opponent is planning on two drop followed by Jund Hackblade), you can just tap out for Putrid Leech on turn two and turn off his third turn, theoretically even an “optimal” offensive one in the abstract.
One card you may want to compare this to is Flesh Reaver. Many of you probably know that I was lucky enough to win an Extended PTQ a few years back with a beatdown deck featuring Flesh Reaver (designed by all time great Brian Schneider)… Putrid Leech is practically quite similar, and excepting the second color functionally superior to Flesh Reaver (you only need to pay two life to deal four damage); the corner case being that Flesh Reaver can “kill both players” but you will win because the opponent dies before the collateral trigger occurs (like I said, a corner case).
How much does it matter that Putrid Leech is a Zombie?
At this stage I don’t see it mattering very much. Most of the Zombie decks we have seen in the past have been straight Black or Black/Red… But that doesn’t mean that — especially with the greater variety of playable B/G dual lands — that we couldn’t see Putrid Leech in a Zombie deck; remember that Shepherd of Rot has seen non-zero Constructed adoption; in my snap judgment opinion Putrid Leech seems like the stronger individual card.
Where can I see this fitting in?
Putrid Leech seems like an awesome offensive card in a deck that can manage the mana. Maybe the same deck as Jund Hackblade or one of its cycle?
Putrid Leech also seems like it can be a decent flex card on two in a progressive board advantage deck (like it can be an offensive two drop or hold off the attack while you get further along to your Lord of Extinction and such.
We both know I always make decks like this one so here is a sketch that crosses my first pass Lord of Extinction deck from Top 8 Magic with my Bloodbraid Elf ideas, crossed with my Jund Ramp deck from 2008 States, inspired by my Charleston Batman deck:
2 Makeshift Mannequin
4 Bituminous Blast
4 Bloodbraid Elf
4 Broodmate Dragon
4 Lord of Extinction
4 Putrid Leech
4 Civic Wayfinder
4 Rampant Growth
4 Lash Out
2 Reflecting Pool
4 Savage Lands
4 Treetop Village
4 Vivid Grove
3 Mind Shatter
4 Kitchen Finks
What I really want for this deck is a third Makeshift Mannequin and four currently non-existant copies of Gift of the Gargantuan… um and Volcanic Blowout as well. How greedy am I?
Bituminious Blast into Bloodbraid Elf into Gift of the Gargantuan? Ka-pow! I guess I’ll have to settle for Civic Wayfinder.
With all the stuff I want, it kind of marginalizes the topical Putrid Leech, huh?
The fact of the matter is that I got a lot of experience playing decks like Batman and This Girl, and with those decks, which are powerful creature decks that largely play their games on the board, you want to get something down as early as possible to start hassling control decks. On that note the eventual list may require a Banefire or four.
Let’s all get cracking!
Snap Judgment Rating: Role Player