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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
Creature — Zombie Wizard
When this enters the battlefield, amass 2. (Put two +1/+1 counters on an Army you control. If you don't control one, create a 0/0 black Zombie Army creature token first.)
Zombie tokens you control have flying.
2 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.
2 months ago
Need to get that overall CMC down and add more low-cost permanents. Gravecrawler, Relentless Dead, Cryptbreaker, Graveborn Muse, Headless Rider would be a few i'd recommend. I'd use Wonder instead of Eternal Skylord, as it will be easy to get Wonder to your graveyard. Ditch the high CMC Sorceries. If you're spending 5 or 6 mana on something, it needs to have the potential to significantly change the game. The only 2 cards you have at 5 CMC that I'd keep are Open the Graves and the Liliana walker. I'd try to get to 28 - 30 creatures. Consider Dimir Signet and Coldsteel Heart as additions for more ramp. Sorin doesn't fit the theme at all and he's high CMC.
3 months ago
Hey, well done so far upgrading the precon, nice Phyrexian Altar.
Some cards from the precon to consider adding:
- Talisman of Dominance --> Sky Diamond
- Dreadhorde Invasion --> Eternal Skylord
- Curse of the Restless Dead --> Undead Alchemist
- Pact of the Serpent --> Battle at the Bridge
- Zombie Apocalypse --> Dread Summons
- Gisa and Geralf --> Ebondeath, Dracolich
- Feed the Swarm --> Polymorphist's Jest
- Liliana, Death's Majesty --> Liliana's Mastery
- Tainted Isle --> 1x Island
- Choked Estuary --> 1x Island
Talisman of Dominance ETB untapped to make either color. Another mana rock upgrade is Dimir Signet replacing Charcoal Diamond. Dreadhorde Invasion is a repeatable source of Zombie and Eternal Skylord is a much worse Hordewing Skaab. Curse of the Restless Dead is a more reliable repeatable source of Zombies than Undead Alchemist.
Pact of the Serpent is powerful tribal card for Zombies. Battle at the Bridge needs lots more artifacts to be playable. Zombie Apocalypse is powerful tribal card for Zombies especially when your Commander sacs Zombies to draw. Patriarch's Bidding is another mass reanimation tribal Zombie card. Dread Summons needs a ton of mana paid into it to be decent since you have no control over milling your own or opponent creatures.
Gisa and Geralf can be repeatable cast of Zombies from your graveyard which can do more than Ebondeath, Dracolich. Feed the Swarm is helpful to have enchantment removal in Dimir. Liliana, Death's Majesty can be repeatable Zombies and her other abilities are good too. She does more than Liliana's Mastery, but honestly you don't need either one of these cards since there's better five drops here or could add.
The more basic Islands you can replace with Dimir dual lands the better the manabase will be because black mana is much important than blue. Lots of basic Islands makes it more difficult to cast heavy black spells. Tainted Isle and Choked Estuary are playable lands in the precon that care about Swamps and you have a lot of Swamps.
Good luck with your deck.
5 months ago
6 months ago
For cards I would consider removing, Eternal Skylord gives you a small token and flying, which is useful but not essential.
Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth isn't especially efficient in this deck. It's not a bad card, but this isn't quite the right home for it.
Gravespawn Sovereign is a 6-mana 3/3, which is a very poor deal, and the ability ties up your creatures. If this guy was closer to 6/6 or even 5/5 I'd be happier about it, but its stats are just too underwhelming.
Curse of Unbinding is a cool effect, but it's 7 mana and doesn't directly affect your Zombie goals.
As another card to consider adding, Lich Lord of Unx is another card that can capitalize on large numbers of zombies to fill graveyards and attack from a couple of different angles.
8 months ago
Also, I highly recommend you add Distant Melody. Best draw card in my deck. Sometimes I draw 7+ cards with 4 mana. If you have the money for it Necroduality Is similar to Reflections of Littjara and if you have them both out you'll be cranking out zombies at an incredible rate. If one of those zombies happen to be Gray Merchant of Asphodel You will heal a lot and might just outright win on the spot. (copies of gray will also give 2 devotion I believe) If you need more flying Eternal Skylord has pulled me out of some binds. If you don't mind humans in your deck Archetype of Imagination will also fix any flying needs. At that point it just comes down to preference and what is in your playgroup. Most of the players I go up against have lots of fliers so it is always an issue. Sometimes I want more uses for those decayed zombies and Gravespawn Sovereign gives it to me. With him and four decayed zombies you can pull a creature from any graveyard onto your battlefield once every turn. If you just got board wiped and all you have left are decayed zombies from either Wilhelt or Crowded Crypt Gravespawn can help you bounce back. Just pointing out that these cards exist and what I use them for, but I would highly recommend Distant Melody and Necroduality for your deck. Hope you have fun playing and comment how you do with the deck as you gain experience with it. I play the same commander and would like to know if you find some cards work really well with your deck and if others don't. Good Luck!!
11 months ago
Hey, nice start on a budget with upgrading the Wilhelt precon. In the deck editor you can add CMDR tag to Wilhelt text making him the official Commander of your deck.
1x Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver *CMDR*
You currently have 2x Rooftop which can't have in Commander. Some cards here that are in my opinion not worth playing because there's better options on a budget.
- Curse of Unbinding
- Hour of Eternity
- Mind Rot
- Abattoir Ghoul
- Shadow Kin
- Butcher Ghoul
- Stitcher Geralf
- Eternal Skylord
- Havengul Runebinder
- Drown in Dreams
- Ultimate Price
Dreadhorde Invasion and Midnight Reaper are in the Wilhelt precon, consider adding them back in? They're some of the better cards in the precon because of they're repeatable effects especially Invasion with Wilhelt.
If interested I offer more advice. Good luck with your deck.
1 year ago
Hey, nice upgrades of Demonic, Acererak, Stitcher, Gravecrawler, Grim, Sidisi, Cryptbreaker, Master, Undead, Remembrance, Titan, Victimize, Misty, Drowned, Clearwater.
Interesting choices to cut the mana rock ramp other than Sol from the precon and reduced the lands from 40 to 31. Reducing the lands is fine because 40 lands in the precon is too much. Although, only 31 lands is pretty risky; I wouldn't play below 34 if I'm not playing green. The problem is you haven't compensated for the reduction of lands by adding more ramp to have enough mana or more low CMC draw to help to draw lands or some of both. It looks like you have cut lands to add more high CMC cards which is the wrong approach when upgrading a precon.
With a budget of $400+ consider adding the mana rocks? The precon has Arcane Signet, Talisman of Dominance and Crowded Crypt, all these are good. Add to these Dimir Signet and Thought Vessel; these two are upgrades for the Diamonds. More low CMC draw can also replace lands such as Brainstorm, Preordain, Deadly Dispute, Frantic Search, Village Rites.
Dreadhorde Invasion is a two drop in the precon and it's a good repeatable Zombie source for Wilhelt. Sac the Zombie Army token at your end step on each of your turns for a repeatable draw source that only costs you 1 life on your turn. Midnight Reaper is also in the precon and it's a Zombie who can be a repeatable source of draw especially with Gravecrawler.
Some cards to consider cutting because they're not as good as others here:
- Lord of the Forsaken
- Sludge Monster
- Eternal Skylord: don't need it because you have Hordewing Skaab.
- Dread Summons
- Ghoul's Night Out
- Oriq Loremage: don't need it because you have Vile Entomber.
- Syphon Flesh
- Whispersilk Cloak
- Empty the Laboratory
- Liliana's Mastery
- Open the Graves
- Risen Executioner
- Phyrexian Crusader
- Ebondeath, Dracolich
- Army of the Damned
I don't think you have the mana to support X spells such as Summons and Empty to get enough from them to be worth casting. Adding Cabal Coffers + Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth would help also with casting Army.
- Blasting Station: can be the win condition with either Gravecrawler or Factory combo.
- Carrion Feeder: one drop Zombie.
- Ashnod's Altar: combos with Havengul Lich + Rooftop to repeatedly reanimate/sac/reanimate all Zombies in all graveyards.
- Altar of Dementia: infinite mills all your opponents when you control Factory by repeatedly sacing just one Zombie. Can also be the win condition with Gravecrawler + Rooftop.
Good luck with your deck.