Ancient Excavation

Legality

Format Legality
Tiny Leaders Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Custom Legal
Leviathan Legal
Legacy Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Commander Anthology 2018 (CM2) Uncommon
Commander 2016 (C16) Uncommon

Combos Browse all

Ancient Excavation

Instant

Draw cards equal to the number of cards in your hand, then discard a card for each card drawn this way.

Basic landcycling (, Discard this card: Search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.)

Ancient Excavation Discussion

Hapix on The Scarab God's Arisen Horde

5 days ago

@multimedia, your comment is much appreciated! A lot of thought and play testing has gone into this deck (if I’m being honest though, this isn’t the first attempt as this is around the 8th iteration of scarab god due to play testing and not posting until now LOL).

I want to preface my response to your recommendations by saying that lowering the cmc of the deck is not really a priority as I usually have more than enough mana to do, but bringing down the amount of 5 drops and just generally increasing the tempo of this deck is on my radar. Furthermore, some inclusions (such as Consuming Aberration and Noosegraf Mob ) are in response to the meta of my table wherein they perform well (for example, one of my buddies plays an interesting Alesha, Who Smiles at Death homebrew that focuses on controlling the board state by altering base power/toughness of all creatures, Consuming Aberration on its own has saved my hide more times than one against Alesha lol).

Moving onto your recommendations:

Wonder > Grimoire of the Dead

Just the concept of Wonder alone is fantastic and it was even a part of the original iteration of this deck, but during playtesting (and this might just be me being unlucky) but it was often a mid-game dead draw and when I would have it in my graveyard, having a handful of flying zombies was nice, but not often game ending – hence non-inclusion. Grimoire of the Dead is slow AF and it the second eff is not easy to pull off, the only reason it is in the deck right now is I do not have a Rise of the Dark Realms , not sure what I will replace it with yet but I will take it out.

Windfall > Ancient Excavation

I like Windfall , it is a great wheel and I would like to include it. As it is right now Ancient Excavation is a card I keep in for the versatility of both self-mill and the basic landcycling, although I might swap it out for the Lim-Dul's Vault that you brought up later in your comment (I really like its’ effect tho).

Diabolic Intent > Exsanguinate

Diabolic Intent is a good card and that I plan to add in someday, but just to save $ I’m looking at Wishclaw Talisman as a budget alternative with some inbuilt politicking mechanisms. When it comes to Exsanguinate , it was a filler card I tossed in for play testing I’ll replace it with the aforementioned Wishclaw Talisman most likely

Relentless Dead > Noosegraf Mob

Relentless Dead is a card I used to have in here but I removed it since it felt slow and I just never really utilized the secondary eff I’m looking at getting a Gilded Drake in as a replacement. I agree though that Noosegraf Mob , as a six drop, is quite lackluster in comparison to the other high cmc cards. The potential value of 6 ETBs and/or death triggers is enough to keep him around for now, but if there is something I find I like more I’ll probably take mod out.

Graveborn Muse > Liliana's Reaver

Graveborn Muse I tested it out and saw myself dying to it more often than not, if I move further away from the zombie tribal aspect I might reconsider it. As for Liliana's Reaver , It isn’t to flashy but it works, no need to remove it rn but if anything better comes along I might.

“2 drop mana rocks > Commander's Sphere

Commander's Sphere is place holder card that I had socketed in while I was looking for some better mana rock options. Thanks for bring Arcane Signet to my attention, I’ll probably toss that or the signet in.

Arcane Denial > Countersquall

Arcane Denial isn’t a card I’d normally consider since the +2 for my opponent kind of hurts, but in a format like EDH with the 99 filling up a library, it seems pretty negligible so I’ll add it but won’t remover Countersquall since Its not that hard to get either {B} or {U} mana on demand. This though does touch on a different subject, I do want to add in some more counter magic, tutors, and removal (I’m looking at Arcane Denial , Swan Song , Pact of Negation , Mystical Tutor , Mastermind's Acquisition , Cunning Wish , Death Wish , Wishclaw Talisman , Victim of Night , Hero's Downfall , Murder , and Doom Blade but am stuck on evaluating which are the most beneficial inclusions).

To wrap up, thank you very much for your input it has been really helpful in reevaluating this deck. I sure do have some tinkering to do, haha. The nature of deckbuilding in EDH to me is everlasting and I hope I can continue to improve and refine my decks with recommendations and insight from other kind folks, like you, on this site :D

One last question, a friend is considering selling their Mana Vault to me at a discount, is this a card that I should seriously consider including or not?

Cheers!

SideBae on Aminatou in Progress

1 month ago
  1. So Preordain is awesome for the same reasons your Brainstorm and Ponder are... I suggest running it.

  2. Narset, Parter of Veils is a great way to limit your competitive opponents. Especially if you pair her with a well-timed Windfall . Ashiok, Dream Render happens to be another way to punish people for playing tutor-tribal kinds of strategies.

  3. Another hallmark of competitive decks is their ramp, especially zero and two-mana. In your description, you say you want to stay budget -- unfortunately, that rules out about all of the good zero mana ramp. ( Mox Tantalite is bad, and Mox Amber is hardly better most of the time.) So I suggest increasing your two-mana ramp, and maybe including Ancient Tomb if at all possible to speed up their presence on the board. Some to consider: Talisman of Progress , Talisman of Hierarchy , Talisman of Dominance , Coldsteel Heart , Fellwar Stone , Mind Stone , Everflowing Chalice , Prismatic Lens , etc. None of these should be more than a few bucks.

  4. Concerning your lands: I think you're running too many, especially if you add some of the ramp mentioned in (3). I'd cut four-ish, maybe five. Generally, once you have a few (3 - 4) lands, you'd rather have a rock and a land in hand than just two lands, since you can cast the rock without using your land-drop. I'm not sure HOW budget you want to keep this deck, but Mana Confluence and City of Brass are each around $10, and they're great in any three or more color deck. Pain lands ( Caves of Koilos , Adarkar Wastes and Underground River ) are better than your tapped lands like Sejiri Refuge , as far as I can tell.

  5. I think a reanimation package is probably better than running Show and Tell . Show and Tell is symmetrical, and is often actively dangerous to resolve in EDH, when everyone is trying to do busted stuff. I'm much more a fan of Buried Alive and Entomb to get your fatties in the bin, and then using Animate Dead , Dance of the Dead , Reanimate and/or Necromancy (which is $$$ for some reason) to get them back.

  6. Tutors like your Demonic Tutor are good, but like zero mana rocks they tend to be pricy (see Vampiric Tutor and Enlightened Tutor ). One I do suggest is Lim-Dul's Vault , which is only a couple dollars these days. It also happens to be instant speed, which is kinda dumb-powerful, if you ask me.

  7. Cumulative upkeep was designed to make powerful effects transient; however, Aminatou, the Fateshifter sorta changes that equation with her -1. Consider cards like Mystic Remora , which you can blink to keep around relatively indefinitely. Similar cards to consider are: Musician , Phyrexian Etchings , Tidal Control and Infernal Darkness (if you're particularly mean).

  8. Divining Witch is interesting -- I'd actually never seen that card before. If you're trying to exile your deck and win with your Jace, Wielder of Mysteries , I think Demonic Consultation is probably a better way... though you might want to keep both. Another method (that I think is worse) is to use the card Doomsday , which is only a few dollars. The problem is that if you run Doomsday , you'd likely want to run a Doomsday -package, so you could win by just casting it and drawing into your top card... For that, I'd suggest talking to someone smarter than me, as I've never been able to get the hang of what the hell is going on with that strategy. All I know is that the package usually has something like Gitaxian Probe and Lotus Petal and ends with me being dead.

  9. You may have good luck with card draw spells. Repeatable effects, like Phyrexian Arena and/or Dark Confidant , tend to be expensive; luckily, the spell versions are often decidedly less so. I suggest running a few or more of the following: Painful Truths , Night's Whisper , Treasure Cruise or Dig Through Time (running both can be tough since delve can get in its own way), Fact or Fiction , Thirst for Knowledge , Concentrate , Chemister's Insight , Oona's Grace (questionable, due to the high mana requirement), Ancient Excavation (good with the reanimation mentioned in (5)), Archmage's Charm , Chart a Course , Syphon Mind , Deep Analysis and/or Words of Wisdom -- pay extra attention to the instants you can cast on an opponents end step. Another way to do this is simply to steal your opponents' card draw with Notion Thief or Plagiarize .

  10. Lastly, I know its around $11 these days, but I think Counterbalance would be dumb in this deck. Using your general's +1 will let you stack whatever you want on top, which can be especially devastating if you can keep an opponent's general off the board that way.

Good luck man! Love this deck.

gaarvaag on Scarab God EDH

4 months ago

Thanks for all the tips, already made a few changes to the deck now that I'm quite happy with. Still considering making more changes. I have now included Mind Stone and Basalt Monolith for more ramp. Also running Frantic Search , Careful Study and Ancient Excavation now.

I also added a few more lands that I can sack to get more value out of Crucible of Worlds , not looking to invest too much money in lands though because of the overall low impact of including those expensive lands ( Cabal Coffers being the only thing I might really want because of its high impact). Three sac lands was really not enough to justify Crucible of Worlds , honestly should've done something about that far sooner.

Going to consider putting Harvester of Souls in the deck, not going to invest in a Damnation however, a bit too expensive for what it does. More likely to run Life's Finale or Necromantic Selection instead if I feel like I need more boardwipes.

Wanted to mention why I run Unstable Obelisk . It's in the deck as a way for me to deal with non-creature permanents, it's more a removal spell that also acts as a mana-rock instead of the other way around. It's also a great bartering tool in my opinion (not to mention Ashes to Ashes is also kinda unattractive since I don't want to exile creatures, I'd rather have them die so I can Eternalize them with The Scarab God ).

I did end up cutting Soul Ransom , but the card was honestly used more to gain card advantage, I was totally fine with people discarding two and letting me draw two (basically Divination and Mind Rot for one card). You can even sack the creature in response to the discard, you still get the cards, but they don't get the creature back. Holding their commander hostage this way is in my opinion pretty good. If you don't draw cards off of it at least you get to have control of the creature, so win-win really (admittedly this card is way worse if they have cards they don't mind discarding in hand, but still, you at least draw two).

What I should've mentioned before is that I'm not too keen on running more tutors. Too many makes the deck too repetitive to play and more importantly, to play against. Friends have already complained about my life-drain combos being a bit much and happening too frequently.

Going infinite is not something I typically look to do either, which is why Gravecrawler is in the maybe section. I know he's incredible, but he kinda feels too easy to exploit, still on the fence about including him.

Overall thank you again for all your ideas, some of the changes you've suggested have helped already and I certainly have plenty of choices to consider now! Feeling a lot more con

SideBae on Scarab God EDH

4 months ago

I'm not sure Cryptbreaker or Skirk Ridge Exhumer are the right way to go; I think tutors tend to be significantly better. Final Parting is good for getting both the reanimation spell and the reanimation target. Ancient Excavation and Frantic Search are good cards I see in your maybeboard; they pitch drawn targets from your hand, while also replacing them with good cards. Mystical Tutor helps to find whatever spell you need to reanimate. Vampiric Tutor is the best, though that card is pushing $70-$80 now.

I feel like the cards you're trying to reanimate are not as powerful as they could be. Grave Titan is great, if only because it gets 10 power on the board immediately, but I don't see all too many other great reanimation targets. Massacre Wurm is a good card, though it can be expensive; Harvester of Souls is also a good target. If you want to reanimate cards like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre , Shallow Grave and Makeshift Mannequin could be useful.

If I may offer some non-reanimation advice:

Gravecrawler is a GREAT card in your maybeboard. It works well with Ashnod's Altar , adding for . If you run something like Skullclamp , it becomes a recurring : Draw two cards. It is worth noting, though, that this does not work if you have a lord on the table pumping your dudes. Furthermore, if you loop it with Phyrexian Altar and Altar of the Brood , you can mill everyone out. Pass the turn and you win.

Graveborn Muse is another good card-draw engine, as are Phyrexian Arena and Staff of Nin . I don't know exactly how wide your deck goes, but if it has a significant number of creatures on the board at any given time, Slate of Ancestry may merit an include.

I also suggest running a few more mana-rocks. Cards like Talisman of Dominance , Mind Stone , Thought Vessel and Coldsteel Heart are good two-mana rocks.

If you run Watery Grave , Sunken Hollow or Fetid Pools , you can fetch them with your Bad River . Running Rocky Tar Pit and Flood Plain can also fetch these duals, and make your mana more consistent. In conjunction with your Crucible of Worlds , these guarantee your land drops. Morphic Pool is an ETB (mostly) untapped land you may want to consider.

Your Fatestitcher would work well with Basalt Monolith or Mana Vault . Mana Vault can be hard to get ahold of, but Basalt Monolith shouldn't be too difficult.

Winds of Rebuke is a good spot-removal spell that also mills you. As a bonus, if you use it after an opponent resolves a Vampiric Tutor or Enlightened Tutor , you can mill their tutor-target. This feels slightly like sneezing slowly and simultaneously winning two discrete lotteries, while at the same time getting a date with your crush. I've done it a few times, and I suggest you try it.

Damnation is a slightly worse version of Toxic Deluge . You might want to consider running it if you need another boardwipe. Windfall works well after an overloaded Cyclonic Rift . Pairing Notion Thief with Windfall gets... interesting.

I suggest Control Magic over Soul Ransom . It doesn't have the drawback of having built-in removal.

Finally, I think you may find Unstable Obelisk somewhat lacking. I suggest replacing it with one of the aforementioned 2-mana rocks, as they are easier to cast. Ashes to Ashes and the like are good ways to remove creatures as two-for-ones.

Good luck with deck building!

JoosetheMuice on Niv-Mizzet Reborn

6 months ago

I would add more creatures, you don't have a ton of offense. Maybe Balefire Liege or Deathbringer Liege , they combo really well with Niv. I know you don't like it, but funnily enough Urban Evolution might fit. theres also the classic Countersquall if you decide you dont like Dimir Charm (which I don't). Deathsprout would also be a nice fit

I don't love Ethereal Absolution Ancient Excavation or Treacherous Terrain . I don't know how important the land cycling is in the cuts im recommending (I'm guessing very) but I like Torrent of Souls over Grave Upheaval and I don't think the cycling justifies these cards

Ziusdra on Storm Crow is a Win-Con - Lazav

6 months ago

I love this deck, but I don't think Vector Asp works the way you want it to. Since its name is in its infect ability, Lazav won't gain infect, if I am interpreting the cards correctly.

Also, at a glace, it doesn't seem like there is enough hand-cycling to get the creatures you want in your graveyard out of your hand, but I haven't played this deck so I can't be sure. How does it work out? I would think you'd need a couple more cards that allow you to rummage so that you can get the big boys out of your starting hand and into your graveyard. (I only see three cards that let you do this ( Merfolk Looter , Ancient Excavation , and Sift )... but maybe that is enough? I'm just gonna mention Jace's Archivist , Zephyr Scribe , and Dark Deal to help you do this--two of those cards also disrupt other players' hands, great to play/activate after a player has just tutored. Taigam's Scheming is also a mention, as it is effectively a Surveil 5 at sorcery speed without the keyword, but honestly I think the deck probably does this well enough. I wouldn't know without playing around it myself. But I love this deck, so I think I will :)

eliakimras on Vial Smasher & Thrasios

8 months ago

You might consider some cheap replacements: Vivid Creek , Vivid Marsh , Vivid Crag and Vivid Grove instead of Dismal Backwater , Jungle Hollow , Rugged Highlands and Swiftwater Cliffs for extra mana-fixing (which is needed in a 4-color deck). Also: Llanowar Wastes , Yavimaya Coast and Shivan Reef are cheap untapped lands. // You might consider Farseek , Sakura-Tribe Elder , Explosive Vegetation and Circuitous Route for further ramp. Farseek can grab Sunken Hollow , Smoldering Marsh or Cinder Glade , while Circuitous Route can search for Simic Guildgate , Izzet Guildgate and Golgari Guildgate . // You might run Fact or Fiction , Steam Augury and Ancient Excavation for early card draw and graveyard filler for delve cards, like Murderous Cut , Dig Through Time and Tasigur, the Golden Fang (they all got reprinted). Brainstorm and Painful Truths are also great draw spells. // Izzet Charm , Crosis's Charm and Sultai Charm are really versatile removing threats. They could replace Scour from Existence . // Zendikar Resurgent is a mana-doubler, which can fuel big Comet Storm , Blue Sun's Zenith , Pull from Tomorrow , Exsanguinate and Curse of the Swine . // Since you are playing expensive spells, Deep-Sea Kraken , Combustible Gearhulk , Avatar of Fury , Avatar of Woe , Primeval Protector , Sunbird's Invocation , Metallurgic Summonings are great ways to deal a lot of damage.

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Ancient Excavation occurrence in decks from the last year

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