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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
Creature — Zombie Wizard
When this enters the battlefield, amass 1. *(Put a +1/+1 counter 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 hexproof and menace.
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
Ayara, First of Locthwain - ETB payoff, sac outlet, card draw. Only drawback is that it's not a Zombie.
Blood Artist - Death trigger payoff. Borderline include for me in this build.
Cemetery Reaper - Zombie Lord, token creator, graveyard hate
Cryptbreaker - Discard outlet, token creator, draw engine
Death Baron - Zombie Lord, deathtouch to discourage attackers
Diregraf Captain - Zombie Lord, death trigger payoff
Diregraf Colossus - Token creator
Ghoulcaller Gisa - Token creator, sac outlet
Gisa and Geralf - Graveyard love, reanimation source. Borderline include here IMO due to TSG's ability
Gleaming Overseer - Token, hexproof and menace for tokens. Borderline include IMO
God-Eternal Bontu - sac outlet, card draw, big body
Grave Titan - token creator, star of many MTG Memes...yes, I like him
Graveborn Muse - card draw and life loss is NOT optional. Don't kill yourself!!
Gravecrawler - automatic include in any Zombie build. Begging to go infinite in a number of ways
1 year ago
Minotaur are a very tricky tribe to play with. They have a good amount of Lords. For just having merely 95 creatures to their tribe in total, they have six Lords. They are:
- Anaba Spirit Crafter
- Felhide Petrifier
- Kragma Warcaller
- Neheb, the Worthy
- Rageblood Shaman
- Sethron, Hurloon General
Now, while this may pale in comparison to the total number of Lords for, say, Vampires or Zombies, you need to consider the population density. Roughly 15.83% of the Minotaur base is tribal, which is quite powerful. Meanwhile, Zombies appear to have 16 true Lords, with 17 being if you include The Scarab God. Those being:
- Bladestitched Skaab
- Cemetery Reaper
- Death Baron
- Diregraf Captain
- Dreadhorde Twins
- Eternal Skylord
- Gleaming Overseer
- Hordewing Skaab
- Lord of the Accursed
- Lord of the Undead
- Narfi, Betrayer King
- Risen Executioner
- Tomb Tyrant
- Undead Warchief
- Vizier of the Scorpion
- Zombie Master
16 Zombies in total that act as true Lords (Being defined as a continual boon to all creatures of that type, not an activated ability for just one of them) out of 522 is only a population density of 0.03%.
So the question is, how do we maximize the potential for Minotaur, despite the lower physical number of Lords - even though they contain more percentage-wise?
Simple: We need to be able to create tokens, tutor or have graveyard effects. This makes Sethron, Hurloon General actually a very well-designed Commander, in terms of tribal support. He can be activated multiple times per turn, has a flexible activation cost, and gives you a token with each successful ETB. But the issue is that he doesn't get you the Lords in play, nor does he assist you once they are removed.
So, we need something that does that as well.
Mortha, Ancestral Shaman
Legendary Creature - Minotaur Shaman
Minotaur you control have haste.
You may cast Minotaur creature spells from your graveyard by paying life equal to their mana value in addition to paying their other costs.
, discard a card: Create a 2/3 red Minotaur Spirit creature token. If that card was a land, create two 2/3 red Minotaur Spirit creature tokens instead.
Exile four cards from your graveyard: Search your library for a Minotaur card and reveal it and put it into your hand. Shuffle your library.
Being a Haste Lord means your Minotaur are always ready to charge in for their attacks. Giving a means to cast from your graveyard is extremely important as you will want to ensure replayability. The token option means you will always have a base ready to fight with, and having the discard payment means you can pitch a Rageblood Shaman to make a 2/3, then pay + 3 life to get the Rageblood Shaman right back and swing with the 2/3, who is now a 3/4 with trample that very same turn. Alternatively, because Rakdos has limited ramp, you are rewarded with an extra 2/3 token if you pitch a land - which objectively sets you back in the game. Finally, you have a means to merely get the Minotaur you are looking for, by paying a very hefty price - exiling four cards from your library. However, her discard cost means you should always have the ability to do this. With instant / sorcery removal as well as combat trick spells, you should always have a full yard, ripe for exploitation.
When her engine is rolling and online, you can do the following:
- Exile 4 cards to tutor a Cow
- Pitch the Cow for to get a 2/3 token with Haste
- Cast the Cow for it's casting cost + life
Each ability feeds into the next ability, and they can be used multiple times per turn. You could actually exile 16 cards and tutor out 4 Lords if you really want to and have the ability to. Then on your end step dump your mana and discard since you're probably above 7. Now you have a bunch of 2/3 tokens. Next turn, bring the lords into play and swing.
It's not a very competitive deck, but Minotaur aren't a very competitive tribe. But what it does do is apply and maintain the pressure at all times, which is something that is important - especially in Rakdos.
1 year ago
Omniscience_is_life Long have I pined to have a Mindless Null as the commander. And yet, something always halts me, deep within my heart. I cannot confine such a great object to such a.. low position.
All jokes aside, glad it got added, and you might be seeing a Gleaming Overseer deck pop up at some point in the future.
1 year ago
Idk who this Willy is, but no you.
This deck is a really a mono black build that you happen to run blue for Diregraf Captain . The way I see it you can either keep with the build you're going for, which to me seems like mono black, or you can go a much different dimir amass path with cards like Vizier of the Scorpion , Gleaming Overseer , Lazotep Plating ,
Let's assume you do mono black, then let's start with creatures. Brain Gorgers and Stromgald Crusader are garbage, Tomebound Lich is mostly used in dedicated reanimator decks, and Extremely Slow Zombie is a card from a joke set, so take those all out, along with Diregraf Captain . That's 11 out. Add 2 Murderous Rider , 3 Liliana's Reaver , 2 Undead Augur , 3 Diregraf Ghoul .
For noncreature spells, take out Negate . The best mono black removal is probably Walk the Plank . So take out Go for the Throat and Ultimate Price for 3. Gravepurge and Return from Extinction can be replaced with 3 Call of the Death-Dweller . Take out Bontu's Monument for another copy of Liliana, Untouched By Death or vise-versa. Take out Necromancer's Stockpile , I just don't think it's that good. For a five drop $1-2 slot, Open the Graves is better than Call to the Grave .
multimedia on Varina
1 year ago
Hey, have more confidence in your deck building because this is a fine start on a low budget if it's your second deck.
You already have Wonder which is good since it's the card I suggest the most that players add with Varina. My advice is focus more on Zombies and cards that can support Zombie tribal. More Zombies, less nonZombie creatures.
Budget cards all less than $1 each to consider adding:
- Lord of the Accursed
- Wayward Servant
- Etchings of the Chosen
- Midnight Reaper
- Carrion Feeder
- Silversmote Ghoul
- Changeling Outcast: Changelings are Zombies.
- Nevinyrral, Urborg Tyrant
- Tormod, the Desecrator
- Eternal Taskmaster
- Tomebound Lich
- Binding Mummy
- Corpse Knight
Amass is an effect that creates a Zombie token.
Consider more cards that require you use life because Varina is a life gaining engine with Zombies.
- Caves of Koilos
- Talisman of Hierarchy
- Command the Dreadhorde
- Feed the Swarm
- Malakir Rebirth Flip
- Read the Bones
- Dire Tactics
Next step is to add 35 more lands to have a manabase to playtest. Get a temporary manabase in place with basic lands to see how many spots you have left to fill with nonland cards or how many nonland cards to cut. Make sure that basic Swamps are the most lands because you need black mana the most with Zombies.
Some budget lands $1-$2 or less each to consider adding:
- Command Tower
- Unclaimed Territory
- Path of Ancestry
- Exotic Orchard
- Arcane Sanctum
- Caves of Koilos
- Sunken Hollow: Island for Wonder.
- Prairie Stream: Island for Wonder.
- Ice Tunnel: Island for Wonder.
- Irrigated Farmland: Island for Wonder.
- Tainted Field
- Esper Panorama
- Ash Barrens
- Evolving Wilds
- Witch's Cottage
Good luck with your deck.
1 year ago
I've decided to make more than one list but each one should be helpful to you in the future. Also, you don't need to put in all these cards. There are too many here for you to fit in the deck.
Liliana, Death's Majesty (can be a board wipe but don't count on it), Liliana, Dreadhorde General (also doubles as amazing card draw), Liliana, Heretical Healer Flip, Liliana, the Last Hope, and Liliana, Untouched By Death (has a removal ability).
Zombie tribal cards:
Shepherd of Rot, Lord of the Accursed, Risen Executioner, Relentless Dead, Field of the Dead, Undead Augur (also card advantage), Havengul Runebinder, Stitcher Geralf, Gleaming Overseer, Call to the Grave (rude card), Endless Ranks of the Dead (my favorite zombie tribal card), Graf Harvest, Graveborn Muse (also card advantage), and Josu Vess, Lich Knight.
Never/Return is zombie themed removal.
Necromantic Selection is a zombie themed board wipe.
I hope this helps!
2 years ago