Anybody have a card that surprised them?

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Posted on Aug. 11, 2022, 3:28 a.m. by FartSeize

Have you ever been building a deck, making your cuts and you come across a card that sounds good on paper, but maybe you do some quick math in your head and think "Eh, the effect is good but the mana cost is too much" or "The synergy is interesting but the floor is so much lower then the staples" so you never bother trying it out. Until one day you do, and you really like it now? Let's talk about them! Mine is Sanguimancy. The five mana was always so daunting, but the ceiling proved to be reliable in mono black. To top it all off, the card is dirt cheap. So what about you? What are some underdogs you've learned to root for?

TypicalTimmy says... #2

I pulled a full art foil Mirror of Life Trapping and didn't really consider it for anything.

Was making swaps in my Miirym deck and decided to give it a whirl.

Lemme tell you whuat. That's something all kinds of nasty in there. Whew.

You cast the Dragon, it ETB and you got at least two triggers to resolve. Mirror and Miirym. Suppose the Dragon that ETB has a trigger as well, like Scourge of Valkas.

Stack em so Mirror is first, Scourge is second and Miirym is third.


Miirym copies Scourge.

New Scourge goes on the stack.

Token Scourge deals tons of damage.

OG scourge deals damage.

Mirror exiles OG.

You keep the token.

Then, when another creature spell is cast, OG re-enters and you get the token Scourge, OG Scourge, Miirym and the new-new token Scourge triggers all over again.

Like throwing a tanker truck of gasoline on an oil fire.

August 11, 2022 4:08 a.m. Edited.

FartSeize says... #3

That's a tasty sleeper, seems like an awesome card in blink and E.T.B. engines. I've been seeing alot of people playing Miirym, Sentinel Worm Lately. When Baldur's gate dropped not alot of people were excited for him, I'm glad to see people are coming around. Temur is such a fun chaotic shard, and we haven't seen the shards since Khans block, over 7 years ago.

August 11, 2022 5:08 a.m.

wallisface says... #4

From a competitive modern standpoint, all of the following cards have super-impressed me and felt a lot stronger than they first appear:

Of course, every card is bad in the wrong deck, and these are no exception. Most of these cards do feel like they require more support than the average competitively-played card, but i’ve certainly found them all to pull their weight above-and-beyond what i’d initially expected.

August 11, 2022 6:35 a.m.

My surprising cards were the Transmute cards from the old Ravnica sets (e.g. Dimir Infiltrator). In my Toluz deck they're obviously all-stars but as utility spells and budget tutors they really shine.

Dimir Infiltrator specifically worked incredibly well in my Chromium as it could fetch (or trigger) Tallowisp, Thassa's Oracle, or Phyresis, and more. It could also be an unblockable creature to Voltron in case of emergency.

August 11, 2022 7:55 a.m.

Niko9 says... #6

Awesome topic : )

I think that part of it is the deck that things go in and how they play out, but I've definitely had a few pleasant surprises.

Enter the Unknown in my dino creatures ramp deck is actually so good. It's extra lands that I feed into Lotus Vale and untappers synergy and it also can give card selection, pump creatures, or even dig for a land that you then play. I get the big downside of having ramp that's usually not turn 1, but one mana doing three things is exactly what I want sometimes : )

Half-Elf Monk is super deceptive. I just really liked the card, and thought it was no good, but then I put it in my neo-samurai deck to try it out, and it's always an amazing play. Vigilance with the tap ability is surprising. The monk can attack, block, and tap, and that's a lot for one turn cycle.

And in general, my Willbreaker and explore the dungeons deck turned out way, way stronger than I imagined. I thought to make a jank deck out of running through Dungeon of the Mad Mage or Lost Mine of Phandelver and using the dungeon's target abilities to steal creatures with Willbreaker and well, it's viscous in practice. It sounds so terrible, but it became by far my most evil deck. I have trouble playing it a lot of the time because it can just run over most creature decks. And that's a pretty good problem to have for what I built to be straight jank : )

August 11, 2022 8 a.m.

plakjekaas says... #7

Definitely Primal Order. People run so incredibly many nonbasics in their Commander decks these days. There's other nonbasic hate that might perform better (Blood Moon or Back to Basics) but this one doesn't prevent people from playing, they can still cast anything, they just have to hurry because death is looking over their shoulder, meaning less salt and more games each night ^^'

August 11, 2022 9:33 a.m.

Gleeock says... #8

Of the new stuff I have been having tons of luck with forced sac for nontokens or specific parameter forced sac. Chain Devil is kickass. Balor has nailed so many opponents with that odd little nontoken artifact sac.

Demonstrate cards: Creative Technique & Incarnation Technique have a way of bringing me back in to games.

August 11, 2022 10:09 a.m.

Delphen7 says... #9

I've been surprised by Kaervek, the Spiteful lately in pioneer. There are enough X/1s that the card by itself is brutal, but the mono black devotion shell I've built around it takes it over the top.

August 11, 2022 12:49 p.m.

Gleeock says... #10

Wand of Wonder fits the bill of a card where you think of cutting it because of a seemingly inefficient activation cost or an unpredictable floor.... but then every time I activate it, it is basically a repeatable removal piece +

August 11, 2022 5:48 p.m.

SpammyV says... #11

For Commander, Volrath, the Shapestealer. The original idea was just silly. If I keep turning into a Putrid Leech I can keep pumping and get around the limitation. And then I started looking at more creatures and clone effects and realized Volrath can just be busted. Like turning into Nacatl War-Pride and then into an unblockable creature so your opponent has to block a swarm of 7/5s.

In Modern, honestly, Hard Evidence and Dwarven Mine. It turns out making a Ragavan-blocking body AND a piece of cardboard that gets targeted by Creativity or draws you a card is just... kinda good? And once you jump through the hoops of activating Mine, being able to fetch a 1/1 on demand is also just really good.

August 11, 2022 5:54 p.m.

Niko9 says... #12

SpammyV That Volrath deck sounds really fun. The creativity there is so good : )

And you know what, the best thing about this topic is seeing all these cards I've never heard of before. So many gems out there just waiting for the right time to do their thing.

August 11, 2022 7:59 p.m.

TypicalTimmy says... #13

I've said it a dozen times before and I'll say it a dozen times again.

Arterial Flow is one of my favorite spells in the game.

Three mana. THREE

And you get rid of SIX total cards??

And, if you have a Vampire, you do a 4 point spread on everybody??

Uh, yes please.

Yes, I am well aware some decks want their yard loaded. So the card can be quite tricky. But, if you find yourself in a game where graveyard synergy isn't on point or even being used, seriously go for it.

In a lot of cases, if a player can't interact with their graveyard, it's as good as exiled.

August 11, 2022 8:13 p.m. Edited.

Necrosis24 says... #14

SpammyV I'm curious with the Volrath copy of Nacatl War-Pride attack trigger on the stack you could you activate Volrath, the Shapestealer making it a copy of say Avenger of Zendikar so when the Nacatl War-Pride attack trigger resolves it will look at Volrath, the Shapestealer which is now an Avenger of Zendikar making the tokens enter as copies of Avenger of Zendikar?

August 13, 2022 12:36 a.m.

Niko9 says... #15

Arterial Flow in EDH! Oh my : ) That's really good and I'm definitely using it.

August 13, 2022 7:54 a.m.

Delphen7 says... #16

Necrosis24 I think it works that way, which is busted.

Any time a card references its own name, it usually means "this card" (Mostly for copy reasons; which is what's happening here). So Nacatl/Volrath will create a trigger that says "create X tokens of this card". Even if Volrath transforms again, the trigger still says "this card", and so you'll make tokens of whatever he becomes.

August 13, 2022 11:36 a.m.

DreadKhan says... #17

When I played Legacy Pox a lot, I always wanted a card that somehow was both an Edict that wasn't targeted, yet would get the creature I wanted instead of the stupid 1/1 token they actually lost. Yes, I wanted to both get to look at my yummy cake (and fantasize about eating it), and to actually eat said cake. The games I lost were usually games when my Edicts kept missing the key creature, my solution was to throw in more card draw to try to find more Edicts, which isn't a terrible solution. I'm not sure if I'm just bad at cards, but Make an Example seems to be 4 mana to forced sac each opponent's best creature (according to you), and if they disagree about which creature is 'the best', you'll get more, but no matter what it will always hit each opponent's best creature. I do not know what they were thinking, it's literally targeted removal that doesn't target, and it hits each opponent. This is Mono-Black's Grasp of Fate, a small card that just solves a ton of problems for you, it's not Innocent Blood. I think it's a stronger wording by far than the old (and very good) Do or Die, because the opponent has to guess what you're going for, and even if they guess right, it might be the right play to just kill the bigger pile because you've got an Innocent Blood.

August 14, 2022 8:59 a.m.

jethstriker says... #18

When Eidolon of the Great Revel was first released, I knew it has potential but was having doubts due to its symmetric effect. I'm glad I tried it and it proved me wrong. In fact in my opinion it is the card that elevated Burn from rouge-ish status to legitimate decks in Modern and Legacy.

August 15, 2022 7:31 a.m.

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