CottonRhetoric's picture
By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Sep 29 2011 12:50am
Login or register to post comments

You know how sometimes you're looking through a spoiler, and there are a bunch of limited cards, and a bunch of constructed cards, and then randomly some piece of unplayable jank so weird that you can only wonder who they made it for?

Me.  They made it for me.  Innistrad's Heartless Summoning is just such a card.  And there are toooonnnnns of things you can do with it.  Not tournament-worthy things.  Definitely casual-room-worthy things though.

C.R. + H.S. = TLF

Strategy 1 Extraneous p/t

Nemesis of Reason    

Nemesis of Reason is a cool card but it doesn't need to be 3/7.  Magus of the Tabernacle is a cool card but it doesn't need to be 2/6.  Same goes for Guardian Beast, Magus of the Abyss, and a bunch of other creatures.

With Heartless Summoning, you can cast these guys for much cheaper and have them still be bigger than you need.  In fact, if you're playing Nemesis of Reason, you can complement the strategy with fellow millers Belltower Sphinx and Riddlekeeper, who themselves have p/t to spare.

Strategy 2 Defense

With Heartless Summoning, Wall of Junk is down to an 0/6, but he's 0 mana.  He still bounces to your hand, but does it matter?  He's 0 mana.

Etched Champion becomes only a 1/1, but you were probably just hanging him back as an infinite blocker anyway, weren't you?  For a paltry 1 mana, his nigh-indestructibility is a good deal.

Come to think of it, a lot of walls could stand to lose a point of toughness while still being playable.  Fog Bank is fine as an 0/1.  Living Wall and (Wall of Brambles) regenerate as well as they ever did.

Strategy 3 Utility

    Wood Elves

This is probably the most obvious application, but Heartless Summoning is good with creatures whose main focus is their spell-like ability and not their combat stats.  Wood Elves are great when they cost only G, even if they die in the process.  Ditto Bone Shredder at B and Perilous Myr at 0.

Even Prowling Pangolin starts to look good when his cc is lowered by 2.

Strategy 4 Artifact combo

Any artifact creature costing 2 is now free.  This opens the floodgates for combos based on Recycle, Cloudstone Curio, Glimpse of Nature, Beastmaster Ascension, Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, Grinding Station, the Fallen Angel avatar, and all sorts of other shenanigans.

Now you might be saying "we already have 0 mana artifact creatures without Heartless Summoning," which is true, but my reply is this: Myr Retriever and Painter's Servant can do a lot more for a combo than Phyrexian Walker ever could.  (Have at it, johnnies.)

Soultether Golem    

Strategy 5 Artifact onslaught

There are a lot of aggressive artifacts that become more so when given the -2 mana, -1/-1 transformation.

Soultether Golem becomes a 0 mana 2/2 (and is easily sustainable in the right deck).  Lurebound Scarecrow is a 1 mana 3/3.  Razormane Masticore is brutal as a 3 mana 4/4 who casts a Lightning Bolt every turn.

(As a quick aside, this is one of the very few decks for which Razormane Masticore is preferable to the original Masticore.  We simply won't have the mana on board to sustain old-core's damage ability.  But we have a cheat to sustain the higher cc!  Fortunately for us, new-core is the much cheaper of the two in the mtgotraders store.)

Aside from aggressive artifacts themselves, there are the cards that synergize with your artifact deck.  Covetous Dragon is now only 2R for a 5/4 flying.  Mephitic Ooze could scale well in the right deck, as could Master of Etherium (while also negating the Heartless Summoning's drawback!).

And speaking of artifact onslaughts...

Strategy 6 Myr Superion

Yes, he gets his own strategy.  0 mana for a 4/5 is that good.

Myr Superion

Strategy 7 Less relevant drawbacks

    Goblin Goon     Orgg

It's hard to predict in a regular game whether Goblin Goon's clause will be satisfied or not.  It's a little easier when you're casting him for only 1R in a deck full of severely discounted creatures.

The Fallen Empires beatstick known as Orgg is also a safer bet when he comes down on the 3rd turn instead of the 5th.  It's possible your opponent will have a big enough guy by then, but much less likely at least.  Similarly, the amount that Canker Abomination will get downgraded is likely to be lessened.

Endless Wurm can be hard to feed in a regular deck.  But when you drop him out on the 3rd turn after a Heartless Summoning, you have at least one card to sacrifice to him (the Summoning itself).  Not to mention that doing so will also pump him back up to his full size.  This whole paragraph applies to Greater Harvester as well.

Emperor Crocodile will have plenty of pals to keep him alive.  Dust Elemental will have plenty of pals to bounce — and it will be easy to recast them.

Strategy 8 Just plain huge

Sometimes you don't need clever synergy.  Sometimes you just need efficiency.  Consider:

You'd pay 4 mana for a 5/5.  So wouldn't you pay 2 mana for a 4/4?  That's exactly what Heartless Summoning does to cards like Juzam Djinn.  Any just-plain-efficient creature becomes all the more efficient, whether it's Spectral Force or Seizan, Perverter of Truth.

Tuktuk the explorer    

Tuktuk the Explorer is R for a 4/4.  As soon as you cast him, he becomes a 0/0, dies, and puts the golem token into play.  Without haste, but it's still pretty nice.

Grinning Demon is BB for a 5/5.  Assuming you hardcast him rather than morph him.

But speaking of morph creatures...

Strategy 9 Morph creatures

Any morph card can be cast for a single colorless mana.  Its flip cost will be unchanged, but there are plenty of cheap flip costs.

Willbender's effect becomes much cheaper.  And his innate 2 toughness even lets him survive long enough to chump block!

Nantuko Vigilante is another cheap trick.  And Ixidor, Reality Sculptor can pump up all those 1-mana morphs (while himself being cheaper to play).


So let's combine some of the above to make a deck!

A Deck

The artifact stuff above interests me the most, so I'll be using that as a starting point.  Most of my card choices are things I've already discussed, but there are a few new picks as well:

        Shimmer Myr
  • Shimmer Myr: allows for some unexpected tricks, especially when everyone costs so little.  I must point out the fun of dropping a free Myr Superion mid-combat.
  • Palladium Myr: this is your backup accel for games when you don't get a Heartless Summoning.  It's also your backup way to cast the Myr Superion.
  • Myr Galvanizer: I ended up with a lot of Myr in here.  Why not this guy too?
  • Seizan, Perverter of Truth: we can drop our hand very quickly.  We need to refill it.  Note that a second-turn Heartless Summoning curves into this guy's new cost of 1BB.
  • self-sacrificing land like Quicksand provide extra use in the post-Heartless-Summoning world, when we won't need as many lands.
  • Dark Ritual can create BBB on the first turn, BB of which goes to casting a Heartless Summoning, and the remaining B of which goes towards casting a 3-mana creature.  Or it can just help you power out the 5-mana guys when you don't have a Heartless Summoning.  Either way, it's strong.

It's a blast to play, and there's quite a lot of synergy going on.  Give it a try!  (And since it's a casual deck, feel free to tinker with its contents.)

Creatures (33):
4 Myr Superion
4 Perilous Myr
4 Soultether Golem
2 Myr Galvanizer
4 Palladium Myr
2 Shimmer Myr
3 Bone Shredder
2 Razormane Masticore
2 Mephitic Ooze
2 Prowling Pangolin
4 Seizan, Perverter of Truth

Noncreatures (6):
2 Dark Ritual
4 Heartless Summoning

Land (21):
13 Swamp
3 Quicksand
3 Buried Ruin
2 Crystal Vein

Perilous Myr Mephitic Ooze

Eagerly biding my time until the next janktastic card is printed,


Thanks for this by apaulogy at Thu, 09/29/2011 - 11:33
apaulogy's picture

Seems like Heartless Summoning is one of those cards that everyone is talking about, but no one is putting practical application to.

I like how this article subtly suggests potential card choices and winds down with a deck.

Good work. Kumagoro was right. You are a good writer.

Now imagine this card with Bloodbraid Elf or Enlisted Wurm....

Enlisted Wurm is a 4/4 for 4 that cascades....

I have to admit that I've by Drbenwayy at Thu, 09/29/2011 - 12:20
Drbenwayy's picture

I have to admit that I've been intrigued by this card as well and am considering buying myself a playset to toy around with it. Works great with Myr Superion and Perilious Myr as mentioned in the article. But there are plenty of other interactions this card can have. Glissa the Traitor works well in returning your Perilious Myr's to your hand and you can play them again for free, hitting either one of their small guys or going right to the face. I think playing this on turn two and then Bloodgift Demon turn three is a pretty strong play. Plus makes cards that replace themselves like Solemn Simulacrum or effects like Acidic Slime stronger during the early turns.

I just need to build a by PiDave at Thu, 09/29/2011 - 14:36
PiDave's picture

I just need to build a Commander deck with this. Right now!

P.S.: The Myr Superion tech is sick!

I pulled one in sealed! by KaraZorEl at Fri, 09/30/2011 - 00:15
KaraZorEl's picture

Imagine my surprise to discover how good it is! Wurmcoil Engine comes out on turn 4....