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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Aug 22 2017 12:00pm
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Eternal_Scourge Misthollow Griffin Torrent Elemental

A card casting itself from exile is a cool and unusual ability. What can we do with it?

Tournament players are already combining Eternal Scourge with Anger of the Gods, Relic of Progenitus, and Chandra, Torch of Defiance—but this is a casual column. So let's not. Instead, what casual combos are out there?

     Manipulate Fate   Ancestral Knowledge
1. Exile from the Library

We'll start with the category that includes my favorite synergy: Manipulate Fate. (If you're playing paper Magic, you also have access to its older sibling, Foresight, which never did come online). For two mana, we not only make three castable cards, but draw one off the top, which is equivalent to drawing four cards. Tidings made us pay 3UU for that effect!

Paradigm Shift and Inverter of Truth are then potential draw-twelves, but they need a lot of setup. Better options include Ancestral Knowledge, Diminishing Returns, Thought Lash, and (especially in commander), Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge.

Speaking of commander, the singleton requirement of the format gives us exactly three targets for that Manipulate Fate! This is something that was never possible before Eternal Scourge was printed. (Boy do I wish Foresight was online. Whom do I write to about this?)

2. Exile from the Hand

    Bane Alley Broker     Mind Swords

Bane Alley Broker and Mind Swords are the most solid ones. The rest are either too weak (like Holistic Wisdom) or way, way too strong for the casual room (like Force of Will).

A word of caution: before you start imprinting a Misthollow Griffin onto a Chrome Mox, keep in mind that this only works in the short term! As soon as you cast that Griffin, it's no longer imprinted, and the Mox will no longer produce mana. (Some decks are okay with this, but most would object.)

3. Exile from the Graveyard

Planar Void is a 4-cent alternative to the $9 Rest in Peace. Alms provides some added utility. Varolz, the Scar-Striped is a funny combo that requires a bit of setup. So too is Sedris, the Traitor KingVoid Maw comes with a body but not one worthy of the 6 mana cost.

Forbidden Crypt fits in very few decks but can certainly accomplish some powerful stuff. There are all the Night Soil-types, from Bearscape through Graf Harvest.

Pushing the constraints of the casual room, The Scarab God is certainly powerful.

4. Exile from the Battlefield

Food Chain plus any of these creatures makes infinite mana, which is for creatures only, but does win the game with Maga, Traitor to Mortals. Come to think of it, that doesn't sound very casual appropriate. (Fortunately, at $17, Food Chain isn't appearing in many casual decks!)

Exile-wraths are now markedly better than destroy-wraths, so look toward False Prophet, Perilous Vault, Final Judgment, and Merciless Eviction.

Descent into Madness is a little clunky but can become oppressive in the right board state. (Hopefully your opponent isn't playing tokens!)

City of Shadows, Safe Haven, and Endless Sands can be useful but generally as a last resort, like to save your guys from a Control Magic or as a preferable alternative to getting Terrored.

5. From a Mulligan

Well this is probably too stupid to ever be used, but it's perhaps worth noting that if your opening hand has both Serum Powder and Eternal Scourge, you can mull it away, and then cast that guy later.

(The problem with this is that whatever card advantage you gain from the exile creature is lost from the mulligan itself. Unless your opening hand had both pieces AND was bad enough to mull anyway, but how often will that come up? You're better off not weakening your list with four overcosted mana rocks, I think.) 

Putting It All Together

So how do we make a deck from all this?

Whittling out the worst (and best) of the above, most of the remainder is either blue and black, so let's start there.  The temptation is to run several cards from each above category, ensuring we can exile our guys no matter where they are, but this is probably superfluous. Having access to twelve of these guys means that if some get marooned in one zone, we'll just exile what's left from another zone. My below deck ignores the graveyard, but that's not to say your build couldn't splash white for some Moorland Haunts.

Moorland Haunt Mind Swords Bane Alley Broker

I started with the cards I most wanted to include—Mind Swords and Bane Alley Broker—and went from there. Mind Swords encourages us to dump our hand quickly, tending us toward a low curve, and away from things like Merciless Eviction. It also wants us to run other discard effects, meaning Descent into Madness will hit the opponent harder than normal.

Bane Alley Broker has something in common with all three of our exile creatures: a toughness greater than two. That means we can safely run the Infest of our choice, and my favorite is the scrying Drown in Sorrow. (Also worth considering: the blue-black Rags/Riches.)

Descent into Madness

With all the Manipulate Fates and Mind Swords and such, we will often be exiling more cards than just our main creatures, so we might as well run some situational cards that we don't mind exiling in some games. I went with Steal Artifact and Engineered Plague, but really take this wherever you want, including color hosers like Mind Harness or Dystopia. If you have a lot of discard in your meta, throw in a Psychic Purge!

Here is my list. You are encouraged to customize it to your own casual liking.

Exileathon 2000
- 61 Cards Total
3 Bane Alley Broker
4 Eternal Scourge
3 Misthollow Griffin
1 Inverter of Truth
3 Torrent Elemental
14 cards

3 Go for the Throat
1 Agony Warp
4 cards
4 Manipulate Fate
3 Mind Swords
3 Drown in Sorrow
10 cards

3 Dimir Signet
3 cards
2 Ancestral Knowledge
1 Engineered Plague
1 Steal Artifact
3 Descent Into Madness
4 cards

10 Island
11 Swamp
2 Endless Sands
21 cards

Bonus! Inverter of Truth

Inverter of Truth

Looking at this guy as a singleton in my above deck got me wondering if he was worth using as a 4-of centerpiece, rather than a 1-of I hope to draw in the late game or pitch to Mind Swords. It turns out, he is. There are three possible routes as I see it:

#1 The Doomsday route

Craft your graveyard into a perfect assortment of only a few select cards and then cast Inverter of Truth (or Paradigm Shift) to win the game soon after. Key cards might be Entomb or Gifts Ungiven.

Paradigm Shift  Entomb  Gifts Ungiven

#2 The Aggro Route

Spend the early turns rushing into a big graveyard, drop your 6/6 flier as soon as possible, and hope to kill the opponent before their new library runs out. Key cards might be Commune with the Gods and Satyr Wayfinder. Also pairs well with Eternal Scourge and friends.

Commune with the Gods  Satyr Wayfinder  Stinkweed Imp

#3 The Synergy Route

This is halfway between the above two. It fills its graveyard like #2, with bulk rather than precision, but perhaps does a little filtering before dropping the Inverter, for example using a Bearscape or Cryptwailing to exile the lands in its graveyard. It also may have pre-Inverter graveyard synergies, such as Carrionette, Vengeful Pharaoh, or Genesis.

Withered Wretch  Thunderblade Charge

For my own tastes, #1 is too non-interactive, #2 is too mindless, and #3 is perfect so let's pursue that one!

Green and black are of course the kings of filling the graveyard, thanks to Grisly Salvage-types (and there have been a LOT of those in recent years). Limiting ourselves to only green-black (and so removing the temptations of a hardcast Torrent Elemental or a flashbacked Unburial Rites, although either of those would be viable), we end up with this:

Truth, Inverted
- 60 Cards Total
4 Withered Wretch
4 Carrionette
4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Eternal Scourge
4 Inverter of Truth
20 cards
4 Grisly Salvage
2 Golgari Charm
2 Putrefy
6 cards
4 Drown in Filth
4 cards
11 Forest
13 Swamp
24 cards

A few notes:

  • Don't discount the importance of early damage from Withered Wretch. Bringing the opponent from 20 to 18 means we can finish them off with only three attacks from our 6/6 flying Inverter of Truth.
  • In many games, your graveyard does not need to be THAT BIG before casting the Inverter. Even if we still have a 44 card library, do you really need more than 9 turns to close it out? Even if you lose the game, it will probably be sooner than 9 turns from now.
  • If your current board plus an Inverter doesn't feel like enough to win, remember that you are also getting free Eternal Scourges to help out.
  • No opponent ever notices Carrionette to play around it.

Have fun, give 'em a try, and I'll see you next time!