Shards of Alara – Five Corner Cases

It’s a bit late to do a Shards of Alara Constructed review, but it’s never too late to speculate about cards that, you know, might get played. This is just a short list of musings on some Shards of Alara cards that would probably rank as low Role Players. But hey… Not many would have thought that Gnarled Mass or Tallowisp would be key centerpieces to competitive decks 🙂

Deathgreeter is an interesting card that I have seen in some Constructed decks recently (usually tokens decks, next to Nantuko Husk, &c.). Yeah, Deathgreeter certainly raises an eyebrow, but… The text on this card is pretty similar to another 1/1 for B: Disciple of the Vault.

So why was Disciple of the Vault ban-able in multiple formats whereas Deathgreeter is a corner case? Well, Deathgreeter is probably just less powerful in general than a card on the order of Soul Warden or Essence Warden… It’s a sequence thing, but the Warden sisters probably have more singular upside.

Additionally, there is a clear terminus to what Disciple of the Vault ever has to do: 20. Deathgreeter can be “effective” and at the same time have no appreciable effect on the game.

Still… something worth thinking about, especially in this color, at this cost.

Call to Heel
Call to Heel is very versatile. It seems like a card that you generally want to play on your own Mulldrifter, but that you can live with playing against your opponent’s oncoming threat (hopefully not a Nucklavee).

There is a lot of upside to this card when you play it on your own creature… kind of like a Momentary Blink, but you need to pay mana to re-play your creatures, which may or may not be relevant as a specific game develops. The beauty of the card is that you can play it against anybody, unlike a Momentary Blink (even if that seems like an ugly option most of the time).

Compare with Turn to Mist, a card that was a decent two-of sideboard card in some decks but never a four-of main deck card. Like Turn to Mist, Call to Heel has a lot of play to it, a lot of “maybe this will go right” even if it does not go in everywhere.

Call to Heel seems like it would be more effective when you are playing a matchup where the opponent can’t really disrupt your ability to generate incremental advantages, especially when the opponent is likely to tap out on his own turn.

Paul Jordan tried to get me to play this right before States. It is actually pretty good. Necrogenesis is absolutely insane against Makeshift Mannequin (obviously). One of these can take at least a little starch out of a Cruel Ultimatum, and it is no fun for Unearth-based strategies or any kind of reanimation. Best yet, Necrogenesis is pretty cheap to get into play.

Definitely something worth trying in the sideboard, depending on the metagame.

Steward of Valeron
How awkward is this?

Turn three, attack with my Steward. Post combat, Wilt-Leaf Liege.

Awk, am I right?

I’d play it for sure.

Corpse Connoisseur
Here is another card that Paul Jordan suggested to me recently. I dismissed Corpse Connoisseur initially, but I think I was overly harsh. This card is kind of Entomb-ish.

Think about sending Squee, Goblin Nabob into the graveyard with Corpse Connoisseur… It’s like free card advantage, sort of. Or, you can keep getting more and more Corpse Connoisseurs and Unearth cards. A couple of Sedraxis Specters main might actually be a party!

Just some ideas.


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#1 kenseiden on 12.01.08 at 10:03 am

Corpse Coinosseur is expensive, Call to Hell is far worse than unsummon andthe rest are pretty bad. Thumbs down, sorry. There’s more good cards out there waiting for a home.

#2 KZipple on 12.01.08 at 2:19 pm

Not to sound like a total barn, but does it really cost you anything to consider uses for these cards? You can’t lose anything by it.

I think Connoisseur is potentially very exciting…bringing things back from the graveyard is not a fair thing to do, even if it only happens with certain cards. Playing it with Squee does sound like it might be fun. I’m not sure what to do with it, but still.
And Necrogenesis is hot. It might not be as bonkers as it is in Limited, but it’s probably pretty good in the right deck. Five Color probably has some issues with it going long even beyond randomly having elements of it hosed. Just a thought.
Mike, do you think Immortal Coil has potential? Not everywhere, but could it be good somewhere maybe?

#3 rawdon on 12.01.08 at 2:26 pm

I like Deathgreeter in the abstract, as the black Soul Warden. But I agree that it’s a lesser card. After all, a mass removal spell like Wrath will kill it too, so you don’t get its benefits.

Necrogenesis seems like an updated version of Night Soil. Arguably Necrogenesis is slightly better at generating Saprolings (since you’re more likely to be limited by the number of creature cards in graveyards than by available mana), while Night Soil is better at removing cards from graveyards. Overall I think it’s a fine card for a deck that wants to generate tokens.

It occurred to me last night that the deck to put Corpse Connoisseur into is my Cairn Wanderer deck, to fetch a Skyhunter Skirmisher or Mistmeadow Skulk to make my Wanderer(s) nastier. I agree that it’s expensive, though. I think being a 3/3 unearthable body helps make up for that, especially in slower metagames.

I like the notion of fetching Squee, too, especially in a deck with (for instance) Jaya Ballard.

#4 ElCoco on 12.02.08 at 7:03 am

Immortal Coil is one of my favorite cards from Shards of Alara. I got it at the prerelease and it was love at first sight.
Noel deCordova wrote about building around it>/a>. I don’t really like the “give it to opponent” aproach, but using it proactively, that would be cool… and risky… but we all like to live on the edge, don’t we?

What about using its drawing ability but not the second and third, Skill Borrower do it for us.
And a couple of dredge cards could help too.

when will there be some “graveyard veil”?

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