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Shards of Alara Black October 27, 2008

Posted by Norm in Casual, Shards of Alara.
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Part of my Shards of Alara exploration, here is my review of selected black cards, found on the full visual spoiler.

Ad Nauseam
If you haven’t yet read this flavor text take a second to do so now. I like Ad Nauseam because it gives the black player some interesting card advantage in a traditional way. Evan Erwin was lucky enough to receive this card to spoil before the set was out. He has some interesting thoughts on the card you can see here.

Ad Nauseam is really good and a great late game out of nowhere card advantage machine. Dropping this on your opponents turn gives you a huge advantage to make sure you will not draw a land or other irrelevant card. 

Death Baron
I’m kind of surprised that we are still seeing creatures that give +1/+1 to other creatures in this set but since Death Baron (and his counterparts) only give the bonus to limited creature types I suppose this isn’t as powerful as the liege cycle in Shadowmoor block.

Still +1/+1 and deathtouch is no small bonus. There are 10 Zombies and only 2 Skeleton creatures in Shards of Alara; 2 Zombies and 1 Skeleton in Lorwyn – Shadowmoor Block; and 12 Zombies and 1 Skeleton in Tenth Edition. So there isn’t a huge influx of these creatures around but I do expect to see more of these two types in the rest of this block. 

At first I didn’t think too much about Infest but on second look I decided that this is the black Firespout. While not as potent as 3 damage -2 to everything is still game over to most creatures. This card could potentially wipe out a Kithkin hoard or a swarm of Fairies fresh off the Bitterblossom. I’ve also seen some cool uses of infest with decks that need to send creatures to the graveyard for strategy. How fun would it be to play double infest and same turn bring everything back with Liliana Vess. 

While Infest isn’t as good as some of the on the spot removal i think this is a great card in limited and good enough in draft. Especially if you can get this in your hand and in play turn three. 

Scavenger Drake
I really like this cycle of creatures. While they are weak at first they have the ability to get big. So be careful if you are playing infest with this guy on the board, but if the drake is big enough to survive the -2 for the turn you might have a really big flier on your team. 

I had someone play this against me in draft and paired with the red drake you can really have a serious combination. I’d look for these guys if you are playing limited especially draft. In the long game they can really become the deal breaker.

Vein Drinker
If Skeletal Vampire had a kid sister she would be it. She is silently sucking the life out of little bats while becoming fatter than a dragon. That would take more turns that you want to pull off but a cool combo. I’ve always like this art ever since we first saw this art spoiled over the summer. 

Unfortunately she costs just a little too much and isn’t going to be an auto win. So she probably won’t see much constructed play, but she is awesome in limited and she is going to be a lot of fun in casual decks.

Here is this weeks poll:



1. cadenadebronce3 - October 28, 2008

You forgot that the incredibly versatile shapeshifters from Lorwyn block (Changelings) combine with Death Baron. I think Death Baron can see play in Constructed, I’m trying to build an Extended/Legacy deck about zombies, and Death Baron is an awesome creature for that. About the rest of black cards you show, I think infest is great though it is not an instant spell. And I miss the black capsule here.

2. Mobius - October 29, 2008

I used to be extremely addictive with all the magic cards….but its good to see its still going strong!

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