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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
|Pauper Duel Commander||Legal|
Creature — Zombie Minotaur Warrior
As long as it's your turn, Ahn-Crop Invader gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
, Sacrifice another creature: Ahn-Crop Invader gets +2/+0 until end of turn.
3 months ago
I thought I would try my hand at creating an article series centering around the beauty of different card designs, as each card truly is unique in its own way, and I wanted to make my appreciation of that into a tangible form so that everyone could experience it.
A general outline of how this article series will go is this: a basic introduction (similar to what you’re reading now), cost versus effect, the flavor of the card, how the card interacts with its limited environment, cards that are similar to it and a short little blurb on what makes them different, a custom card inspired by the analyzed card and a short explanation of the process used to create it, the legacy of the card, and finally, a conclusion to round it all out.
That being said, let’s begin!
The card of today’s analysis is Dreadhorde Invasion, a card I chose to kick off the series with not only because War of the Spark is my favorite set, but also because it will give us a good platform to walk through the steps of this article series.
Dreadhorde Invasion is an oft-overlooked card that provides its user with a Zombie Army (a mechanic introduced and incredibly localized to War of the Spark, excluding a few exceptions such as Lazotep Chancellor) at the cost of a single life each turn. Obviously this adds up quickly, and the Army that is produced is rather clunky, as it is easier to remove (a la Fading Hope), non-evasive, and rather small even in its beginning stages. For it gives you a 1/1 creature on turn 3. That’s not a great payoff, especially for more advanced formats.
This is where the second clause comes in. If your Army can make it to six power, then Dreadhorde Invasion rewards you handsomely with an added lifelink, allowing you to gain back all that lost life and quickly breaking symmetry with your life versus your opponents. It’s not incredibly cost-effective (heck, a Forced Adaptation is more cost-effective in general), but it’s very fun to play with and can provide a lot more when juxtaposed with the rest of the game. But we’ll get into that later.
The flavor of Dreadhorde Invasion is perhaps my favorite part of the card. The Eternals are probably one of the most unique MTG villains (I mean, come on, they’re blue metal zombies that can cross between worlds and steal planeswalker sparks), and definitely one of my personal favorites. The idea of Dreadhorde Invasion is that Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker is executing his plan to become Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God, invading the plane of Ravnica with his army of Eternals empowered by The Elderspell in order to steal the sparks of the planeswalkers, trapped there by The Immortal Sun and invited there by the Interplanar Beacon. The invasion is eventually quelled by a joint effort by Liliana, Dreadhorde General, Gideon Blackblade, Ugin, the Ineffable, God-Eternal Oketra, and God-Eternal Bontu, with the defeat of Bolas wrapped up in the brilliant card Despark. Dreadhorde Invasion more than anything flavor-wise represents the whole of War of the Spark, perhaps better than any other individual card in the set (except maybe Enter the God-Eternals). And that is why I love it so much; it is a testament to my favorite set of all time.
As far as Dreadhorde Invasion’s performance in Limited goes, I must say that it has quite an unitive feel to how it operates in multiple deck strategies, similar to how it unites the flavor of the set. It has the keyword amass on it, which is the new ability introduced in the set, and which synergizes well with proliferate. Zombie Armies themselves receive gracious tribal support in the form of Gleaming Overseer, Eternal Skylord, Widespread Brutality, and the like. Beyond this fairly obvious synergy, however, there are many more options for how Dreadhorde Invasion can function in this set. For example, the creation of a creature every turn lends itself very well to sacrifice strategies revolving around Spark Reaper, Ahn-Crop Invader, and Spark Harvest, or even Liliana, Dreadhorde General and God-Eternal Bontu. In addition, the lifelink that can be attained on later turns goes well with Ajani's Pridemate and fits into a subtheme of life gain that the set has.
Dreadhorde Invasion-style effects are somewhat rare, but there is precedence for their existence. The most obvious example is Bitterblossom, an enchantment well-known for its splashes in Modern and which creates small flying threats every turn at the cost of some life. However, there is also Ophiomancer and Endless Ranks of the Dead, or more recently Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia. The thing that sets Dreadhorde Invasion apart from these other cards is its unique combination of losing life and gaining life alongside its ability to make a token larger versus just creating a new token.
Here is a custom card that I made that was inspired by Dreadhorde Invasion.
The process I went through to design this card went something like this.
1) Look at Dreadhorde Invasion and think about what the card is wanting you to do. What's the general theme of the card?
2) Build a general shell around the idea of losing life to gain life, pulling in inspiration from cards like Bloodghast.
3) Adding a tribal element to make it feel like a Dreadhorde card.
4) Adding a fitting name. "Vowmage" gives a feel of some kind of sacrifice to fufill an obligation, especially to a being like Bolas.
5) Adding flavor text that is both quippy and fits the situation. In this case, I chose to show who the Vowmage's vow is to.
6) Finding some art from DeviantArt that fit the theme. This art is from user Ryushadow, and is the only Eternal art I could find.
Dreadhorde Invasion, like most of its amass kin, is largely forgotten especially in competitive play where it is not a contending strategy. Zombie Armies are incredibly weak to removal and usually aren’t very cost-effective, so their weakness of being a single lone creature that just gets bigger and can be chump-blocked can’t really be ignored. War of the Spark as a whole is a largely forgotten story arc, and despite its misgivings it’s still a shame. Dreadhorde Invasion does not truly have a legacy, though it was reprinted in the Midnight Hunt commander set as a part of Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver’s commander deck. Hopefully, one day, we will see Amass return in a future set with greater support so that Dreadhorde Invasion may one day be viable.
Alright, everyone! That is the end of my article for today. Please let me know what worked for you and what didn’t so that I can sculpt this new article series to your feedback!
Speaking of user feedback, I would like to have every tenth card be voted upon by the community. If you want to submit an idea for what card we will go over, just let me know in your comment. The comment with the highest number of upvotes will have their card in the tenth article of the series.
Thank you all for the wonderful community we’ve made together! See you soon.
1 year ago
I like how the guy above this comment just casually strolls in and tells you to put in a bunch of moxen...
That said, warriors is one of my favorite tribes and I've made a ton of decks with them! Plus Najeela is such a badass commander! These are my suggestions that you haven't included and could serve as some better synergy with your deck than your non-warriors:
- Winota, Joiner of Forces for deck filtering, extra combat step power, and a tutor for your human warriors.
- Samut, Voice of Dissent to give all your creatures haste and she's incredibly powerful in and of herself, can give pseudo vigilance or enable tap/untap shenanigans with her second ability, and she has Flash.
- Garna, the Bloodflame gives your creatures haste and has Flash like Samut. She also helps you instantly recover from board wipes (in my meta boardwipes are so rampant my playgroup has started to implement restrictions on how many can be put into decks, yours may be different).
- Tahngarth, First Mate is a great way to engage politically with the board.
- Harald, King of Skemfar tutors the top 5 of your deck for warriors.
- Varolz, the Scar-Striped also helps you recover from wipes or having your big creatures removed with his scavenge ability.
- Maja, Bretagard Protector she can net you a lot of warrior tokens, especially if you have ways to bounce lands or play extra lands.
- Rhys the Redeemed gets you a lot of warrior elf tokens over the course of a game if you can get him out early.
- Kresh the Bloodbraided helps you recover from removal (but not wipes) in a better way than Varolz.
- Surrak Dragonclaw makes all your warriors uncounterable.
- Zurgo Helmsmasher one of the biggest warrior beat-sticks available to you, and he has haste. His cheap cmc also makes him a huge target while his indestructible clause lets you build other threats on your board while they figure out how to deal with him.
- Nadier, Agent of the Duskenel one of the most perfect ways to recover from a board wipe by putting a massive amount of tokens on the field once he dies (can also use blink or graveyard recursion on him to make more).
- Anthousa, Setessan Hero makes your lands warriors. Works really well with Maja.
- Jedit Ojanen of Efrava makes tons of cat warrior tokens.
- Sosuke, Son of Seshiro gives all your warriors pseudo-deathtouch.
- Yasova Dragonclaw steals their creatures.
- Alesha, Who Smiles at Death gives you graveyard recursion for your low CMC warriors and works really well with ones with ETB's.
- Chief of the Edge should be an auto-include. Chief of the Scale is ok if you are running toughness or need the toughness for certain spells or something, but yeah Chief of the Edge is absolutely where it's at.
- Honored Crop-Captain like Chief of the Edge but only works while attacking.
- Resolute Survivors keeps you in long games
- Brawl-Bash Ogre is a good sac outlet for tokens you aren't using/don't need.
- Proud Wildbonder works REALLY well with Bramblewood Paragon's effect. Also works with Khenra Charioteer
- Rubblebelt Raiders can get absolutely huge with tokens on the board.
- Scuzzback Marauders isn't just a good beatstick, with Persist it can combo off with any of your sac outlets and Bramblewood Paragon.
- Moriok Replica works really good with Alesha for continuous card draw.
- Avenging Huntbonder keeps dishing out the double strike onto your other creatures every turn.
- Blaring Recruiter make warrior tokens.
- Hidden Dragonslayer morph ability takes out your opponents biggest threats.
- Den Protector is great graveyard recursion.
- Nacatl Hunt-Pride lets you control the combat step to your liking.
- Paired Tactician just some nice synergy.
- Mardu Woe-Reaper graveyard removal with every warrior ETB. More important than you think!
- Seasoned Hallowblade just a really strong and low CMC card that will stay on the battlefield throughout an entire game more often than not.
- Steward of Solidarity free vigi warrior token generation every 2 turns or a lot every turn with untap shenanigans.
- Usher of the Fallen the cheapest warrior token creation you can find.
- Battle Brawler with just a single red or white permanent on the battlefield becomes super strong. With Chief of the Edge he becomes a 4 power first strike for 2 mana... not bad.
- Blaring Captain partners with Blaring Recruiter and has Honored Crop-Captain's effect.
- Blood-Chin Fanatic a MUST in any warrior tribal that includes black and makes tokens or pumps a single warrior's power to an absurd level. This card can single handedly win you a game.
- Blood-Chin Rager gives all your warriors menace.
- Champion of Stray Souls expensive, but can recover your entire board very quickly.
- Exquisite Huntmaster an extremely underrated card that can net you a ton of elf warrior tokens in a multiplayer match while also being a beater.
- Mardu Strike Leader using its dash ability can keep it safe from removal. Also makes a 2/1 warrior token every turn.
- Mindblade Render keeps the card draw going off of warrior damage.
- Nadier's Nightblade combos EXTREMELY well with Blood-Chin Fanatic and also with any other sac outlet.
- Sickle Dancer a 4/3 flier when attacking isn't bad for cmc 3.
- Thrasher Brute forms a combo with Scuzzback Marauders and any of the sac outlet warriors.
- Titan Hunter gives combo and solitaire players a clock while also giving you a convenient sac outlet with lifegain.
- Vampire Warlord sac outlet with regenerate.
- Herald of Secret Streams combos really well with Bramblewood Paragon to give your warriors unblockable.
- Nimbus Champion can keep the board clear of annoying blockers.
- Whirlpool Warrior wheel effect on a stick.
- Ahn-Crop Invader another beater sac outlet.
- Archetype of Aggression combos with Proud Wildbonder and keeps your opponents from gaining trample.
- Ash Zealot punish those blue and black decks that like to keep casting their spells over and over from the graveyard!
- Boldwyr Heavyweights tutor for your game ending creature and put it into play for free. Sure your opponents get a tutor too... but it's your turn, and your combat, and you have Najeela...
- Boldwyr Intimidator COWARDS CAN'T BLOCK WARRIORS!
- Kargan Intimidator COWARDS CAN'T BLOCK WARRIORS! FOR CHEAPER!
- Combat Celebrant those additonal combat steps are... chef's kiss
- Frenzied Saddlebrute ridiculously fun political ability.
- Goblin Bushwhacker can end a game if you just laid out a bunch of tokens that turn.
- Goblin Cratermaker get rid of annoying artifacts or spot removal... likes to work with Alesha.
- Goma Fada Vanguard choose a creature to not block each turn based on warriors.
- Kruin Striker strong and cheap card that gets out of hand with sac combos or mass token generation.
- Shatterskull Charger pseudo dash effect with a bunch of other strong abilities.
- Rustrazor Butcher extremely underrated card. First strike and wither for 2 CMC! Can buff it a number of ways to surprise an enemy in combat too.
- Vengeful Firebrand basically a fireball on a stick as long as you have a warrior in the yard.
- Viashino Sandsprinter pseudo dash effect with trample. Has cycling if you need something else.
- Champion of Rhonas cheat whatever creature you want from hand onto the battlefield with no downside.
- Civic Wayfinder helps you get the right colors you need.
- Duskwatch Recruiter Flip dig through your library for more warriors.
- Golgari Raiders green haste that gets huge if you just suffered a boardwipe.
- Heir of the Wilds just a very strong presence for 2 CMC.
- Imperious Perfect elf warrior token generation.
- Horizon Seeker repeatable color fixing.
- Icehide Troll very, very strong and hard to remove creature. Needs snow lands though.
- Maulfist Revolutionary better version of proliferate.
- Matsu-Tribe Sniper keeps your enemies' dragons, demons, angels, and emrakuls from flying over your field.
- Petrified Wood-Kin expensive, but this guy can't be countered and is extremely difficult to remove and can ETB with insane P/T if you swung in hard on someone that turn.
- Stonehoof Chieftain a game ender if you've pumped your creatures at all.
- Thorn Lieutenant high value low CMC card with a mana dump if you need it (I like the combos for mana dumps better though).
- Unstoppable Ash come out of every combat pretty much unscathed. Only creature better for it is Stonehoof Chieftan.
Wolfir Avenger flash in for a block and a regenerate ability.
God-Eternal Oketra make huge 4/4 zombie warrior tokens on every warrior cast.
2 years ago
I'm noticing a lot of bad minotaurs.
You should take out Ahn-Crop Invader, Soulreaper of Mogis, Smelt-Ward Minotaur, Ondu Champion, Minotaur Sureshot, Kragma Butcher, Frontline Devastator, Felhide Minotaur, Felhide Brawler, Cursed Minotaur, and Burning-Fist Minotaur for Neheb, the Worthy, Molten Echoes, Deathbellow War Cry, Anaba Spirit Crafter, Didgeridoo, Tahngarth, Talruum Hero, Anaba Ancestor, Gnarled Scarhide, Slaughter-Priest of Mogis, Metallic Mimic, and Flurry of Horns.
All together, this is a nice deck!