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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Commander: Rule 0||Legal|
Amass 2, then the Army you amassed deals damage equal to it power to each non-Army creature. (To 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.)
TheOfficialCreator on Card Analysis #1 - Dreadhorde …
7 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.
zapyourtumor on Amass Effect (Grixis Amass)
1 year ago
I would run Fatal Push over Moment of Craving , plus 1-2 Dreadbore s (or Bedevil ) to get rid of bigger creatures or problematic walkers.
Angrath, Captain of Chaos and Jace, Cunning Castaway don't seem that great, and even if you decide to keep them I don't think three copies of each is justified. Liliana, the Last Hope is both recursion and removal, plus her ultimate also synergizes if you ever fire it off.
Have you considered a playset of Thoughtseize ? You don't have a single turn one play in the entire deck, and I think this card would be a great way to gain information and disrupt their gameplan.
Drana, Liberator of Malakir might be a nice card to try out for more +1/+1 counters.
Also, your mana costs are pretty demanding so you should definitely cut some basics and add in more Blood Crypt , along with some Drowned Catacomb , and Steam Vents . Fabled Passage could also be used to trigger revolt on Push.
All in all these are the changes I would make:
+4 Fatal Push
+1 Steam Vents
+1 Blood Crypt
gwmort72 on Everything Tribal
2 years ago
That Soulcatchers' Aerie looks very interesting, like a lower CMC door of destinies in this deck.
I've never looked at Nightstalkers before we need to check them out. I am very happy with my mana cost curve right now and am cautious about adding too many expensive cost cards.
Dragon Tempest does some of the same work as the Aether charge but also lets my dragons (and other fliers) get haste.
Whelming Wave I am afraid I would run into the problem I have now with Widespread Brutality , unless Maskwood Nexus or Arcane Adaptation are out I am too reticent to blow up my tribal lords (who can be expensive to get out)
Phostration on Zombie/Amass
2 years ago
Enter the God-Eternals is a great card! Amass 4, gain 4 life, deal 4 damage, and mill enemy for 4! Since you have a lot of other creatures besides amass Widespread Brutality Probably isn't as good. These are from my A Massive Army deck, which is a little more focused on Amassing, but probably a lot more janky than your deck haha.
AjMcGamer on Grixis Recycling Centre
2 years ago
@Chino90 Hi and tha is for checking out the deck. While I always appreciate feedback I do appreciate people reading through the description first to see why certain cards may or may not be in the deck.
Dreadhorde Invasion started in this deck as I thought it was a must at first too. I came to realize through testing though that with all the direct damage being sent to the face these days, what with all the cat-ovens running around these days, that the early game life loss was too much if you couldn't build a 6 power zombie.
This is where Shadowspear comes in, it is a cheap artifact to play, cheap to equip, provides lifelink and better yet trample. I had been looking for way to give the amassed army trample to avoid being chump blocked all day and the spear does both jobs without needing to worry about the 6 power restriction.
Enter the God-Eternals though I am going to add a couple and see how it works as I was already curious myself.
The land you suggested is ot standard legal. Please check the format of the deck :D
Thanks again for the feedback though.
Epicurus on Amass
3 years ago
You can look at my deck, Gleaming Arbiter, for inspiration if you'd like, but keep in mind that mine is Modern, not Pioneer. So there will be some differences.
For adding noncreature spells, Honor the God-Pharaoh is one of my favorite cards to cast in my deck. Two cards for one, and adds 1 to the army. Next, Toll of the Invasion might do better for you than me, since you already run some discard. Commence the Endgame is, I believe, the best amass spell, period. However, you really would only have to run a couple of them, because they're a late-game spell. Now, if you did flip the balance more toward noncreature spells, Invade the City becomes brutal, albeit conditional. Furthermore, if you went that route, then Widespread Brutality is an even better choice than Massacre Girl that I mentioned before. However, it will very likely wipe your creatures also, so only if you went that route.
For creatures, I'd remove Aven Eternal, Eternal Skylord and Lazotep Reaver. They all either cost too much or don't help much. The other creatures are not necessarily unhelpful, so you'll probably have to playtest to find a good balance between creatures and others. I do, however, question your idea of adding Liliana, Dreadhorde General. She's more suited for a traditional zombie token deck. Remember that amass doesn't create multiple tokens, just one potentially gigantic one. In a similar vein, I wouldn't say to remove Nicol Bolas, the Ravager Flip, but to seriously playtest and determine how much it aids the theme of the deck. It's never a bad draw in any situation, but if worrying about it takes away from building the army, then it diminishes the effectiveness of the rest of the deck. Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God can stay, though, because why wouldn't you use him. I'm going to consider adding him to my own deck.
Sorry, I'm long winded. Hope that all was helpful.
MrBoombastic on Sarkhan Flame Sweeps: Ikoria
3 years ago
Good to see/hear that you've been trying it out and making adjustments. It definitely looks better now.
Playing double red, double blue and even triple black cards really puts a strain on your manabase. I'd play more duals and less basics, even if some of those duals enter tapped. In a slow, grindy deck you can usually get away with a slower start.
Since you are pivoting more into black, you can swap out some of the Flame Sweeps for Ritual of Soot. It does strain the mana even further though, so only if you feel like Sweep isn't always good enough.
Ral, Storm Conduit still doesn't seem good, he's slow and low impact.
If this is a Bo3 deck, you should consider a redo of the sideboard. The following cards are ugradeable imo: Ionize, Invade the City (this card is very bad), Jaya, Venerated Firemage, Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor, Widespread Brutality.
Adding Fires of Invention really allows you to go off with PW's and Fae of Wishes + your sideboard options get a LOT better.
Sorin_Markov_1947 on Enter the Dreadhorde
3 years ago
Personally, I don't like amass decks, but I'll do my best to help you out.
You need more creatures. Specifically cheap ones to get you to the mid-late game. Lazotep Reaver and Gleaming Overseer both somewhat fit those criteria, and give you a bit of amass effect too. Lazotep Plating offers protection and an early amass. Eternal Skylord is increasing that mana curve again, but it offers you some reach and protection you sorely need. I'd advise doing some testing on Bleeding Edge , because it's a removal help and amasses, but it's a double-black cost at turn three and comes out at sorcery speed. There's just not a good replacement for Cast Down in these colors. Sorry.
You wouldn't think of putting The Royal Scions in this deck normally, but it's grixis colors, gives you card filtering, and can give trample to your massive army to finish out games, so it's worth considering at least. Barge In isn't bad for trample either.
Now, to make room for all these suggestions, we need to take out some cards too. Relentless Advance is narrow, and for only 3 power you're spending four mana. Ill-Gotten Inheritance is low-impact and expensive. Cast Down and Fountain of Renewal just rotated. Since we're adding more creatures, Invade the City isn't as good, but it's still worth putting in the deck so I'd recommend going down to two copies of it. Widespread Brutality also loses some of its value since it now eliminates your creatures too, so maybe 2-3 copies of it as well.
I think with Fountain of Renewal and Ill-Gotten Inheritance you were too focused on not losing so much life from Dreadhorde Invasion . In this meta, you need to be prepared to lose life from your own cards. That card will only get you in trouble if you go late-game and can't draw Enter the God-Eternals .
I think WOTC will expand on the army creature-type, and then amass will have more of a place. But possibly only after all the amass effects have rotated just for balancing.
|Have (2)||metalmagic , Rogue_Prince|