Balustrade Spy


Format Legality
Modern Legal
Legacy Legal
Vintage Legal
Commander / EDH Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Pauper Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Gatecrash Common

Combos Browse all

Balustrade Spy

Creature — Vampire Rogue

FlyingWhen Balustrade Spy enters the battlefield, target player reveals cards from the top of his or her library until he or she reveals a land card, then puts those cards into his or her graveyard.

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Balustrade Spy Discussion

Theone10 on Manaless Dredge

2 weeks ago

I have a few concerns, so I'll go through listing them.

Concern the first: decking yourself with Balustrade Spy doesn't give you the opportunity to sac Prized Amalgams. PA comes into play at the end of your turn, so you never get a chance to sac them to Dread Return. The rest of your description leads me to believe you think Dread Return is an instant. It is not. If you plan on winning with Balustrade Spy, you need to have a way to win that turn. This isn't hard to do after decking yourself, but I'm making sure you know this.

Concern 2: Laboratory Maniac. Going off the logic in the above concern, a few things have to happen for Laboratory Maniac to win you the game. First, you need to have one of eight cards in your starting hand (already a ~2/5 chance, assuming a starting hand of 8 cards). Second, you need to not use that card for the entire game (I dare you to find me a situation that will come up in a game of legacy where this isn't a bad play). Third, you need to be in a situation where reanimating the other two targets wont win you the game on the spot. You could argue that Laboratory Maniac lets you win next turn, but why take the risk of you opponent top-decking Abrupt Decay when you could just win now with Zealot or Flayer.

Concern C: Golgari Thug is, in every way this deck cares about, better than Shambling Shell. Why are you running a 3-3 split rather than 4-2. There shouldn't be any thought here, you want the largest dredge number. Both feed Ichorid, both are never going to hit the battlefield (in games that you have a reasonable chance of winning) and Thug has a higher dredge count. If we could run more Thugs instead of S. Shell, we would.

Concern no.IV: Less than 4 Cabal Therapies main is a mistake. Cabal Therapy is, if anything, the best card in this deck. You can fight grave-hate. You can deal with counter spells. You can discard dredgers. You can sac that last dude so you can have enough Zombies to cast Dread Return. After your opponent mulligans to 4 in game 2, looking for that one card that does anything to you, you can strip it from their hand, leaving them completely helpless. All because of Cabal Therapy. Run 4.

FIVE GOLDEN CONCERNS: This one ties quite nicely into the previous, you don't really need 4 copies of B. Spy. Most people run 3, I would go even lower. It only does anything as a re-animator target, and unless you're pushing for it, re-animating a game winning thing is plan B (plan A being Ichorid. The other guys too, but Ichorid with Bridge from Below is what pulls it all together). Going down to 3 seems to be the general consensus.

Final Concern: Chancellor of the Annex really needs to be a 4-off, and also would be very good in the main board. If you haven't played against it yet, Deathrite Shaman is a bitch. With it being in a third of all legacy decks at the moment, we really need to come prepared. While it is true that you have Phantasmagorian and Street Wraith, that is only 8 cards (~2/5). Chancellor also has a nice splash effect, helping us with decks that are faster than us (TES, RB Reanimator). Not to mention it's a great reanimation target if you're winning through attacking rather than the combo.

That's all I can really think of now. My own list is here. The description still needs work, as you can probably tell. If you haven't already, go check out the primer for the deck on The Source here. This here is the post that inspired me to get back into the deck, along with showing me a whole new world of only running 12 dredgers, that I had never considered before.

Cetriel on Demoralizer

1 month ago

I don't play commander/EDH but I had thought about it before. I would imagine that you would have to have a way of tutoring up what you need since there is a definite lack of variations of cards that are needed. For example, even with the lack non-land mana generators and using something like Mana Severance and lands you would still be stuck with only two cards to self mill fast enough Undercity Informer and Balustrade Spy. As I noted above it is best to have one of these in your opening hand. Instead of a 8/60 or 2/15 chance you are looking at a 2/100 or 1/50 chance of getting one. There are many cases like this. Also there are no sideboards in Commander/EDH so you would have to have the sideboard in your main deck leaving you with even more cards you likely wouldn't want on turn 1. I am not saying it is impossible to do but would be extremely difficult. You could likely take the sideboard (with a replacement for the 2nd Oblivion Ring I know there is something that would work I just can't think of the card off the top of my head) and build a deck around it. It would be quite different and though the end result may be the same it would work quite differently getting there. There is also the lack of good 5 color commanders for a deck like this. The commander would likely end up just being for show.

Firebones675 on Mono-Black Vampire Deck

2 months ago

Looks pretty good! A few cards i'd look into adding are Urge to Feed, Lord of Lineage  Flip and Captivating Vampire as they pump your team, and Blade of the Bloodchief. I would also consider cutting Balustrade Spy (If your goal is to win through damage this doesn't help much), Crypt Incursion, and Crippling Blight.

hardhitta71194 on The7thBobba

2 months ago

He would work well with Balustrade Spy, or Consuming Aberration, or Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker.

Glimpse the Unthinkable would be amazing if it was not so expensive.

Certainly not limited when it comes to Dimir Mill cards. Plenty of great options!

And almost any Dimir theme is certain to be wicked!

I'm excited to see what you come up with!

Boza on Manaless Dredge (Modern)

2 months ago

I think you lose more from being manaless than gain anything. You lose so much speed and tempo by playing this deck over regular dredge, it is insane. This deck gets little to no mileage out Bridge, has to have a great opening hand (Cantrips are necessary to go off, but you never draw for your turn with this deck, so you have to have them in the opener), does not actually have the quinteessentinal Balustrade Spy plan to mill your whole deck (aside from cost, the only reason to go manaless)...

The only reason to run this deck over anything else is to say "hey, I am not playing lands". Adding 12 lands, Greater Gargadon, Bloodghast, Prized Amalgam will give you a different take on current dredge lists that is just as powerful.

Simon_Williamson on Karador Reanimator

3 months ago

So you need to cut cards, let's see.

  1. You have 2 copies of Yosei, the Morning Star.

  2. Balustrade Spy won't necessarily fill your graveyard with creatures and is a small body.

  3. Beacon of Unrest costs a bit more than you want for this kind of reanimator deck (and this is a streamlined list).

Now we have 100 cards. Additional cuts

  1. Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts is one of my favourite cards, but she doesn't do much here other than put up defenses, which you should be able to do well without her.

  2. Lord of Extinction & Thunderfoot Baloth are big beaters, one of which has little to no evasion and another that doesn't help you close the game or if you're behind.

Living Death, Riftsweeper, and Pernicious Deed are what I'd add in. The rest of your maybeboard seems like you can live without, hope my opinion was helpful!

BattleDragon on

3 months ago

*combos! Epiphany at the Drownyard is simply a REALLY EASY way to start them (compared to other risky cards like Balustrade Spy as seen here:

foxboy93 on One Badass Trans Lady

4 months ago

Strionic Resonator Should be in here. Reason being is because you can copy ETB triggers, copy Alesha's trigger (pay 4 mana, reanimate two creatures).

Sac outlets are another way to get creatures to reanimate. Sac Master of Cruelties, reanimate it tapped and attacking. Same thing with Raving Dead.

I'm not sure what your meta is like, but having some sort of 'combo' is also a good way to close out the game. Reveillark and Karmic Guide with a sac outlet is a win. Hell, even just with Ashnod's Altar you have infinite colorless mana. Add in a card like Altar of Dementia and Mindcrank seems good.

If you go more so the reanimator style, you'll need ways to fill your graveyard and I feel the best way to do that is either tutor and put it in the grave ((Entomb, Buried Alive)), discard cards ((Olivia, Mobilized for War, Cathartic Reunion, Tormenting Voice, Nahiri, the Harbinger, Key to the City))or milling yourself ((Balustrade Spy, Mesmeric Orb, Undercity Informer, Altar of Dementia. Some cards let you filter things easier and discarding cards to draw cards seems like a good way. If you can do it every turn it just gets better.

Again, going with the reanimator strategy, you'll need alot more reanimation spells. Going the self mill, you'll want cards with flashback like Unburial Rites or Increasing Ambition

I also don't see alot of life gain. Might be meta dependent, but having some way to gain life is good. Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Disciple of Bolas, Whip of Erebos are all good ways. (even Sorin, Solemn Visitor)

Playing creatures for 0/0 power and toughness is a good way to get in too. Pentavus is a great example. Even if it dies you can remove counters and leave a small army behind!

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