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Thursday, July 27, 2017

One Card Too Many Part 2 – One Creature Many Uses

May 31, 2013 by  
Filed under Deck Ideas, FAQ, In-Depth FAQ, Strategy

Welcome back fellow EDH-ers. A slight recap, in part 1 of this article we talked about one card many spells. The importance of having them and the flexibility of these cards provide for your deck. Due to the multiple effects on them, these cards seldom end up as dead cards in your hand. Today we will look at the Creature counterpart of the spells. Today article we shall look at creature many uses.

 

One Creature Many Uses

Creatures with Enter the Battlefield effects made a wave when they debuted in Visions with Man-o’-War; Nekrataal; and Uktabi Orangutan. All of them provide the caster with a removal and a Creature in the same card. As they removed something as they enter battlefield, Creatures like them are nicknamed 187 Creatures thereafter; 187 being the code for homicide in US police department. Since Creatures are easily disposed off, the above mentioned Creatures had already served their purpose by the time they are gotten rid of. Take for example, the latest Snapcaster Mage. This Creature grants Flashback to an Instant or Sorcery as it enters the battlefield. That may sounds like nothing but consider it this way. The mage had already done its damage by allowing you to Flashback that crucial spell; killing it thereafter is not gonna hurt the controller since it had served its purpose. Another way to get more use from Creatures is by their activated abilities. This was explored in the early Mirage Guildmage cycle, which we will come to later in detail; with each coming with a set of abilities on them for your use. Like the spells, the Creatures we are about to talk about all have multiple abilities to choose from; allowing for a small amount of flexibility for various situations. There are also another group of Creatures which explores the 187 theme and added multiple Enter the Battlefield effects; again emphasizing the importance of having multiple effects to choose from a single card.

Snapcaster Mage

Purpose Served, Ready to Go

 

The Activators

Mirage Block: Where It All Begins Again

Mirage Guildmage

Like the charms, the Guildmage cycle also begin in Mirage. As they are the first of the batch; their design is very basic. Each is a common mono color Creature which has two activation requiring mana of its color allied colors. All the abilities are the same for each color too. So it’s basically just a mix and match among the guildmages. Due to their colored activated abilities, they are all considered three color identity even though they are mono color. The abilities are all pretty good for political tricks as you can use them to target your opponents’ Creatures. They are not necessary but are pretty good add if you need to fill a slot.

 

The Guildmages are as followed:

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Civic Guildmage

Shaper Guildmage

Shadow Guildmage

Armorer Guildmage

Granger Guildmage

 

Their abilities are as followed:

White

W, T: Target Creature gains First Strike till end of turn.

Blue

U, T: Put target Creature you control on top of its owner’s library.

Black

B, T: Target Creature gets +1/+0 till end of turn.

Red

R, T: Deals 1 damage to target Creature or Player and 1 damage to you.

Green

G, T: Target Creature gets +0/+1 till end of turn.

 

Invasion Block: Fighting Together for Tomorrow

Last Stand

United for Tomorrow

Since the whole block was about fighting and surviving the Phyrexian Invasion, it is not surprising that the colors came together again to fight a common enemy. There are quite a number of cycles in this block next to use the guildmages way of design. First we will look at the Apprentice cycle from Invasion Set. Each of them like the Mirage guildmages, is mono color with two activated abilities requiring its color allied colors. The abilities are quite similar to the Mirage guildmages ones but with a slight variant. They are also at the common slot and as with the Mirage guildmages are again not necessary but pretty good add if you need to fill a slot.

Sunscape Apprentice

Learning an Art to Survive for Tomorrow

 

The Apprentices are as followed:

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Sunscape Apprentice

Stormscape Apprentice

Nightscape Apprentice

Thunderscape Apprentice

Thornscape Apprentice

 

Their abilities are as followed:

White

W, T: Tap target Creature.

Blue

U, T: Put target Creature you control on top of its owner’s library.

Black

B, T: Target player loses 1 life.

Red

R, T: Target Creature gains First Strike till end of turn.

Green

G, T: Target Creature gets +1/+1 till end of turn.

 

 

Another set of Creatures, called the Masters cycles also from Invasion set, are like an upgrade to the Apprentices. They are Rare and feature more powerful abilities than the apprentices. As the abilities are either of bigger effects or have a wider range of targets, they are quite considerable options to decks which can play them.

Thornscape Master

Mastered the Art, Willing to Teach

 

The Masters are as followed:

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Sunscape Master

Stormscape Master

Nightscape Master

Thunderscape Master

Thornscape Master

 

Their abilities are as followed:

White

WW, T: Target Creature gains protection from the color of your choice till end of turn.

Blue

UU, T: Bounce target.

Black

BB, T: Target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.

Red

RR, T: Deals 2 damage to target Creature.

Green

GG, T: Creatures you control get +2/+2 till end of turn.

 

The last cycle in the block is the Disciple cycle from Apocalypse set. This group is a bit different in that their activation costs require enemy colors instead of allied colors. This is due to Apocalypse set being a set which promotes enemy color combination. They are also common and good deck slot fillers for decks which are Wedge (Decks using 1 color and its two enemy colors).

Raka Disciple

Desperate Times, Desperate Measures

 

The Disciples are as followed:

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Dega Disciple

Ceta Disciple

Necra Disciple

Raka Disciple

Ana Disciple

 

Their abilities are as followed:

White

W, T: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be deal to target Creature or player this turn.

Blue

U, T: Target Creature gains Flying till end of turn.

Black

B, T: Target Creature gets -2/-0 till end of turn.

Red

R, T: Target Creature gets +2/+0 till end of turn.

Green

G, T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

 

Ravnica Block: Hybrid Guildmages

Ravnica Guildmages

The Guildmage cycle took a great turn when we enter Ravnica. Since Ravnica is all about the ten guilds which dominate the Plane, each guild came with their own guildmage. As an introduction to hybrid mana, the guildmages are introduced in the uncommon slot for each color combination. They all cost two hybrid mana of their guild to cast and have two activated abilities each which require one mana of each of the colors of their guild to use. The abilities vary among the guildmages and are in theme with their guilds. As the guilds are built to reflect the colors they are in, the guildmages often fit well into any decks which can play them.

Guildmages

Colors

Abilities

Azorius Guildmage

WU

2W: Tap target Creature.

2U: Counter target non-mana activated ability.

Dimir Guildmage

UB

3U: Target player draws a card. Activate this ability only any time you could cast Sorcery.

3B: Target player discards a card. Activate this ability only any time you could cast Sorcery.

Rakdos Guildmage

BR

3B, Discard a card: Target Creature gets -2/-2 till end of turn.

3R: Put a 2/1 Red Goblin token with Haste onto the battlefield. Exile it at end of turn.

Gruul Guildmage

RG

3R, Sacrifice a Land: Deals 2 damage to target player.

3G: Target Creature gets +2/+2 till end of turn.

Selesnya Guildmage

GW

3G: Put a 1/1 Green Saproling token onto the battlefield.

3W: Creatures you control get +1/+1 till end of turn.

Orzhov Guildmage

BW

2W: Target player gains 1 life.

2B: Each player loses 1 life.

Izzet Guildmage

UR

2U: Copy target Instant you control with converted mana cost 2 or less. You may choose new targets for the copy.

2R: Copy target Sorcery you control with converted mana cost 2 or less. You may choose new targets for the copy.

Golgari Guildmage

BG

4B, Sacrifice a Creature: Return a Creature card from your graveyard to your hand.

4G: Put a +1/+/1 counter on target Creature.

Boros Guildmage

RW

1R: Target Creature gains Haste till end of turn.

1W: Target Creature gains First Strike till end of turn.

Simic Guildmage

GU

1G: Move a +1/+1 counter from target Creature to another with the same controller.

1U: Attach target Aura enchanting a permanent to another with the same controller.

 

Shards of Alara Block: Shards Battlemages

Naya Battlemage

Giving an Identity to the Allied Colors

Much like the earlier guildmages, the battlemages of the shards of Alara are probably name so as they are linked to the shard they live in instead of a guild. They are quite similar to the guildmages in that both also have two activated abilities which require mana from its allied colors. The slight difference for these shards battlemages is that they each have their own set of abilities instead. As with the earlier guildmages, they fit the role of slot fillers as the abilities are all quite minor abilities. The shards battlemages are as follows.

Bant Battlemage

G, T: Target Creature gains Trample till end of turn.

U, T: Target Creature gains Flying till end of turn.

Esper Battlemage

W, T: Prevent the next 2 damage that would be dealt to you this turn.

B, T: Target Creature gets -1/-1 till end of turn.

Grixis Battlemage

U, T: Draw a card, then discard a card.

R, T: Target Creature can’t block this turn.

Jund Battlemage

B, T: Target player loses 1 life.

G, T: Put a 1/1 Green Saproling token onto the battlefield.

Naya Battlemage

R, T: Target Creature gets +2/+0 till end of turn.

W, T: Tap target Creature.

 

Return to Ravnica Block: Guildmages Updated

Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage

Colors Defined

The Guildmage cycle was revisited yet again when the setting was brought back to Ravnica recently. They are not Hybrid cards this time but rather multicolor of their respective guild’s colors. As stated by Wizards this was to make the guilds be more defined by their colors. Each guildmage still works the same way, but with the abilities now requiring both colors of its guild to activate. Like their predecessors, they are all pretty good adds to most decks which could use them since most of them are made to fit into the colors of their guilds. A fun fact, these guildmages are named in accordance with the various guilds related locations instead of the guild this time round.

Guildmages

Colors

Abilities

New Prahv Guildmage

WU

WU: Target Creature gains Flying till end of turn.

3WU: Detain target nonLand permanent an opponent controls.

Duskmantle Guildmage

UB

1UB: Opponents lose 1 life for each card put into their graveyards from anywhere this turn.

2UB: Mill target player for two cards.

Rix Maadi Guildmage

BR

BR: Target blocking Creature gets -1/-1 till end of turn.

BR: Target player who lost life this turn loses 1 life.

Skarrg Guildmage

RG

RG: Creatures you control gain Trample till end of turn.

1RG: Target Land you control becomes a 4/4 Elemental till end of turn. It’s still a Land.

Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage

GW

4GW: Put a 3/3 Green Centaur token onto the battlefield.

2GW: Populate.

Vizkopa Guildmage

WB

1WB: Target Creature gains Lifelink till end of turn.

1WB: Whenever you gain life this turn, each opponent loses that much life.

Nivix Guildmage

UR

1UR: Draw a card, then discard a card.

2UR: Copy target Instant or Sorcery you control. You may choose new targets for the copy.

Korozda Guildmage

BG

1BG: Target Creature gets +1/+1 and gains Intimidate till end of turn.

2BG, Sacrifice a nontoken Creature: Put X 1/1 Green Saproling token onto the battlefield, where X is the sacrificed Creature’s toughness.

Sunhome Guildmage

RW

1RW: Creatures you control get +1/+0 till end of turn.

2RW: Put a 1/1 Red and White Soldier token with Haste onto the battlefield.

Zameck Guildmage

GU

GU: This turn, each Creature you control enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it.

GU, Remove a +1/+1 counter from a Creature you control: Draw a card.

 

The 187s

Nekrataal

The Beginning of a Brood

Kick Them up: Battlemages

This cycle of Battlemages is like the offensive counterparts of the apprentice and masters from the Invasion set. Coming from Planeshift, each comes with two Kicker costs which you could choose to pay either one or both depending on the situation, allowing you flexibility of either get a 2/2 Creature for 3cc or get the enter the battlefield effects by paying the Kicker costs. It is to be noted that because of the Kicker costs, the battlemages color identity is actually three colors instead of one even when they are all mono-color Creatures. The battlemages and their Kicker costs are as follow.

Sunscape Battlemage

Kicker 1U: Draw two cards.

Kicker 1G: Destroy target Creature with Flying.

Stormscape Battlemage

Kicker W: You gain 3 life.

Kicker 2B: Destroy target nonblack Creature. That Creature can’t be regenerated.

Nightscape Battlemage

Kicker 2U: Return up to two target nonblack Creatures to their owners’ hands.

Kicker 2R: Destroy target Land.

Thunderscape Battlemage

Kicker 1B: Target player discards two cards.

Kicker G: Destroy target Enchantment.

Thornscape Battlemage

Kicker W: Destroy target Artifact.

Kicker G: Thornscape Battlemage deals 2 damage to a target.

Thornscape Battlemage

One or Two, You Choose.

Another Battlemage in the same style was also printed with enemy colors Kickers in Planar Chaos of Time Spiral block. Although it is derive from the Disciple cycle, only one is printed till date.

Ana Battlemage Kicker 2U: Target player discards three cards.Kicker 1B: Tap target untapped Creature and that Creature deals damage equal to its power to its controller.

 

 

Kick Them up: Volvers

Apocalypse

Evolving For a Future

The Volvers are cycle of mutant abominations resulted from the Rathi Overlay during the final days of the Phyrexian Invasion. They are exclusive so far only in the Apocalypse set. Like the Battlemages, they also come with a set of Kickers which allow them to gain various abilities. Although the abilities are fixed among the colors, the Volvers’ Kicker costs also put varying numbers of +1/+1 counters on them along with the abilities. This varies from Volvers even when the Kicker costs are of the same colors. Going along with the initial theme of Kicker, this allows you to have a choice of custom making a Creature; whether to get the basic Creature for the low cost at an earlier stage of the game; or get the varied or max power Volver when you have the necessary mana. As they are quite mana intensive to get to their full power, they are not really that worth it for the three colors color identity they have though.

Degavolver Kicker 1B: Two +1/+1 counters and “Pay 3 life: Regenerate Degavolver.”Kicker R: One +1/+1 counter and First Strike.
Cetavolver Kicker 1R: Two +1/+1 counters and First Strike.Kicker G: One +1/+1 counter and Trample.
Necravolver Kicker 1G: Two +1/+1 counters and Trample.Kicker W: One +1/+1 counter and “Whenever Necravolver deals damage, you gain that much life.”
Rakavolver Kicker 1W: Two +1/+1 counters and “Whenever Rakavolver deals damage, you gain that much life.”Kicker U: One +1/+1 counter and Flying.
Anavolver Kicker 1U: Two +1/+1 and Flying.Kicker B: One +1/+1 counter and “Pay 3 life: Regenerate Anavolver.”

 

Lorwyn/Shadowmoor Block: Hedge-Mages

Gwyllion Hedge-Mage

Checking out the Lands

Part of the many cycles in the Shadowmoor-Eventide sets, the Hedge-Mages are very much like the Battlemages functionally. Wherein the Battlemages enter the battlefield effect is dependent on the Kicker cost you pay for it, the Hedge-mages save that mana by checking on the type of Lands you control instead for the effect they would have when they enter the battlefield. They are slightly better than Battlemages in that they do not need extra mana for the Kicker cost to have their enter the battlefield effects and have lesser color identity. They consider rather decent mid-game play. Below are the required number of Lands and their enter the battlefield effects for each Hedge-Mage. As you can see, all their effects are not mandatory; you could safely cast them without worries of their effect backfiring on you.

Duergar Hedge-Mage

Two or more Mountains: May destroy target Artifact.

Two or more Plains: May destroy target Enchantment.

Gwyllion Hedge-Mage

Two or more Plains: May put a 1/1 White Kithkin Soldier token onto the battlefield.

Two or more Swamps: May put a -1/-/1 counter on target Creature.

Hag Hedge-Mage

Two or more Swamps: May have target discard a card.

Two or more Forests: May return target card from your graveyard to library top.

Noggle Hedge-Mage

Two or more Islands: May tap two target permanents.

Two or more Mountains: May deal 2 damage to target player.

Selkie Hedge-Mage

Two or more Forests: You may gain 3 life.

Two or more Islands: May bounce target tapped Creature.

 

Utility Creatures: Activators & 187

Reaper King

“With me…. Every Kin is a Nuclear Missile.”

During the Blink style introduction, we had explained the meaning of 187 Creatures. Creatures may not need to do multiple things to be very useful. They could also be umber useful when they could deal with multiple targets or kind of targets. Having dead cards in hand is very bad as they face the danger of being discarded. So at the very least, a Creature which could target many kind of targets with their enter the battlefield effect or abilities will be useful in all situations. Below are just some examples of such Creatures which are very common in most EDH decks. Some of them may already be in your decks.

Acidic Slime

Destroy target Artifact, Enchantment or Land. Deathtouch to deal with Creatures.

Angel of Despair

Destroy target permanent.

Angel of Serenity

Exile three other target Creatures from battlefield and/or graveyards.

Harmonic Sliver

Destroy target Artifact or Enchantment.

Indrik Stomphowler

Destroy target Artifact or Enchantment.

Mold Shambler

Destroy target nonCreature permanent when kicked.

Necrotic Sliver

3, Sacrifice itself: Destroy target permanent.

Reaper King

Turn all Scarecrows into Vindicate.

Sunblast Angel

Destroy all tapped Creatures.

Sylvan Primordial

Destroy target nonCreature permanent of each opponent.

Terastodon

Destroy up to three target nonCreature permanents and give the permanents’ controllers a 3/3 Green Elephant toke in return.

Tyrant of Discord

Target opponent chooses and sacrifices a permanent at random. Repeat process if sacfriced permanent is nonLand.

Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Destroy target permanent when casted.

Woodfall Primus

Destroy target nonCreature permanent.

 

Doing more than Just Attack

Creatures are the most abundant resource in MtG. They are the most easily available resource and easiest to get rid of too. Board sweep is a common Creature removal that everyone will or at least try to include in their decks to defend themselves against multiple opponents in EDH. It is then beneficial to have Creatures which has abilities on them. These Creatures may not necessary have high power but the least they could be of some use should they be unable to attack. Another avenue to get the most out of Creatures is by their enter and/or leave the battlefield effects. Lot of times, these Creatures with their enter and/or leave the battlefield effects might not even need to attack for you to gain back the investment of casting them. It doesn’t even matter that they are board swept away as their purpose had already been served the moment they entered the battlefield. The Battlemages and Hedge-Mages do it the best for this purpose since they have two instead of one enter the battlefield. Due to the deck building restriction of EDH, it is then advantageous to have Creatures which could do multiple things by themselves. If you have an idea or had been using a Creature which falls into the groups of Creatures mentioned and would like to share with the rest of the EDH community, please do leave it in the comments below. Sharing is always good for all, hahah.

We have come to an end now for the whole One Card Too Man article. Hope that what we had shared with you all would be useful in some ways to your EDH decks.

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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