ey all and welcome back to the Lab! Today I get to show off an extremely exciting card from Scars of Mirrodin. After today, it will join its fellow extremely exciting preview cards in the Visual Spoiler, for what is sure to be an extremely exciting set (and block!) Scars of Mirrodin definitely has me tapping my lip, and since that's originally the first law of From the Lab, I get the sense that I'll have nothing but artifacts and poison on my mind for a while.
I mean, just check out perfect reprints like the mana-making Myrs, Mindslaver (which actually seemed mythic before mythic rares really existed) and Trinket Mage (which has a new array of cogs to search up, including Brittle Effigy and Elixir of Immortality). Then proceed to the new cards, which are interesting riffs on their 2003 counterparts. Sword of Body and Mind is the blue-green weapon that follows the footsteps of the Darksteel blue-red and white-black Swords. Platinum Angel gets an interesting twist onto an 8/8 Emperion. Soul Foundry gets the artifact treatment in Prototype Portal, and Molten-Tail Masticore is another look at Razormane Masticore (itself the grandson (grand-masticore? Grand-core?) of the famous Urza's Destiny card Masticore.)
I'm proud to be able to share another of these Scars of Mirrodin cards that hearkens back to a 2003 predecessor. I'm equally proud to mention that the effect of Necrotic Ooze is part of an incredibly small subset of effects (only three cards have had this sort of thing before.)
Click here to enter the Ooze attraction.
Quicksilver Elemental introduced the concept of sharing activated abilities back in Mirrodin. Experiment Kraj threw a +1/+1 counter theme into the mix. Skill Borrower (which is, upon reflection, one of my favorite cards from Shards of Alara block) threw a "top of the library" wrench in the works. And now, Necrotic Ooze brings the effect into the graveyard, one of the most manipulated piles in the game.
I'm fond of all three of Necrotic Ooze's ancestral members, and the Ooze quickly won my affection as well. Think about it. Any ability in a graveyard is yours for the oozing—er, using.
Win, Ooze, or Draw
Playing with Necrotic Ooze is like playing with an extra four copies of any key activated ability in your library. If your Blinding Mage is offed, Necrotic Ooze can pick up the slack. If your Cunning Sparkmage or Royal Assassin is taken out, Necrotic Ooze can keep the creature kill coming. Heck, you can even use it as a fallen Ember Hauler! (Don't forget, Necrotic Ooze's name gets substituted for the original creature's name, if necessary.)
Let's get bigger, shall we? Some recent creatures have incredibly cool activated abilities that come with a tacked on fat body and high casting cost. I'm looking at you, Deathless Angel, Sphinx of Magosi, and the exuberant Spawnsire of Ulamog.
My first deck today will use what at first seems like an abundance of huge black creatures in Standard that all have otherworldly activated abilities. Sure, I'd love to activate them, but when I've just cast a 5/5 creature for seven mana, I'm probably just going to beat with it. Not so fast, says Necrotic Ooze! If you can discard your giant thingies early, by turn five you could have an Ooze online and performing Kalitas and Geth flavored tricks!
Kalitas, Bloodchief of Ghet and Geth, Lord of the Vault are two examples of the type of huge black creature that I want. So I packed the rest of the deck with similar cards. Pestilence Demon's ability should be far crazier when online on turn five, rather than turn eight. Nirkana Revenant and Nantuko Shade provides what's generally known as "shading." (Plus, playing the Revenant allows me a good chance of ramping into my fatties, if necessary.) Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief is thirsty removal, especially on a four-drop like the Ooze. Finally, Skeletal Wurm and Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon offer regeneration and haste.
What's the perfect land for this deck? Crypt of Agadeem, as an obvious black mana-ramper. What's an interesting discarder for this deck? Thought Gorger, which plays here as an alternate four-drop, setting the stage for Ooze shenanigans. Mire's Toll, while being a one-shot discarder, has the advantage of being cheap and (obviously) harassing your opponent in the early game. Finally Reckless Scholar splashes in (along with some countermagic and draw.)
Like I often remind myself, sometimes, straightforward deck building is the way to go. That fun blue-black controllish / fatty / Ooze deck in Standard looks pretty interesting, right? Nantuko Shades and Mana Leaks give you some early game, while you build until Necrotic Ooze either takes over the game or your fatties do. As a side note, the activated abilities in this deck can kill opposing creatures (Drana, Kalitas, etc.) or mill them (Geth), both of which sound amazing with your Ooze out reaping the graveyard advantage.
Here's another Standard deck, this time adding green to the spicy blue and black mix. I'm going to go with Allies on this one for a couple of reasons. First, Sea Gate Loremaster has potentially the most powerful activated ability in Standard on a card-drawing basis, so Oozing that should be worth my while. Secondly, I haven't really played around with the Worldwake Allies, three of which have nifty activated abilities. And they're all in my colors. Neat!
Agadeem Occultist offers reanimation options. Vastwood Animist lets your land enter the fray. Harabaz Druid is a top-notch mana-ramper, and with enough Allies on the battlefield, Crab Umbra can turn it into infinite mana. Bala Ged Thief is an Ally that can both frazzle your opponent's development and stock your graveyard with activated ability dudes for Necrotic Ooze. Halimar Excavator provides milling, which as I mentioned before is a great plan with an Ooze out. Overall, another straightforward kind of deck, this time a green-blue-black Ally deck that uses Necrotic Ooze to keep the activated ability ratio strong.
If you have Harabaz Druid and three other Allies out (or alternately, Necrotic Ooze, the Druid in the graveyard, and four other Allies out) you can cast Crab Umbra and achieve infinite mana. The Umbra can act as totem armor protection in the early game as well. Infinite mana can be fed into Geth, Lord of the Vault or the new Exsanguinate. (Best word EVER!)
Until next time!