Sunday 19 May 2019

Archetype Breakdown: Blood Artistry Aristocrats

Blood Artist
This is such a vast body of work that it actually needs an introduction. This has taken over two years to write and is my longest single article. This has made editing it and keeping track of contents a little harder than usual. As such it is a little less refined than usual and may well contain some sentiments that seem to conflict. Take the card ratings with a little more wiggle room than usual and please forgive any continuity style errors I have left in. I am also absolutely going to repeat myself a bunch over the course of this article so sorry about that too. There is also a good chance I have missed the odd card that works well in these decks, ones I recall after publishing will be in the comments. Feel free to point any out you spot for me to add in too. This was the last of the archetype breakdown articles I had planned to do but being less clear cut than the others it took significantly longer to compose and get my head around! This should complete what I deem to be all the tier one archetype builds in unpowered cube drafts. If anyone has any suggestions of an archetype I have left out that they wish to see "broken down" then by all means throw me a comment. Otherwise, until a new distinct top tier archetype evolves into the cube meta this is me done for this style of article simply due to it being completed as far as I can tell. Due to the extent of cards I have looked at this breakdown is actually relevant for EDH play as well. It misses out some of the pricier things that are good in EDH but covers most, if not all of the core synergy cards. As such I have tried to mention where cards have a wildly differing value from cube to EDH. Hopefully this will extend the utility of article. While I don't play EDH I do watch a fair amount of content on it due to how much overlap it does have with cube. It is a good source of inspiration and info. If I find EDH content useful there is every chance my content will be of use to some EDH players. Right, housekeeping done, on with the article!

Blood Artist or Aristocrat builds are an engine deck with a number of ways it can play out. Other token decks are linear, they make tokens and then buff them up and attack face, going wide to win the game. They are a linear aggressive strategy that simply abuse the good scaling of the buff cards to empower them. The "Blood Artistry" archetype is a more dynamic kind of deck. It produces lots of creatures but rather than buff them and go face this deck will consume those creatures and gain advantages from triggers when they die, the things making them die and even triggers when they come into play. It can swarm and win quickly like an aggressive deck, it can control the pace of the game, grind out value and operate like a midrange or a control deck. It can also kill out of nowhere like a combo deck! The deck typically has a lot of reach and is able to win through most defenses. It also has a lot of chumps and lifegain and so is able to weather a pretty savage beat down too. It will still often win through attacking and indeed often use some cards with buff effects to exploit that potential. Running two game plans in the same deck because of huge overlap is a reasonable and in this case, effective thing to do in cube.

Raise the AlarmThe archetype is comprised of three components to make it work and then a fourth group of interactive disruption so as to make it competitive. I will focus little on this last group as the cards are well known. Cards like Thoughsieze and Swords to Plowshares and Kolghan's Command are all just great cards and their value doesn't change all that much in this deck compared to the average value of such cards. You want at least 10% of your deck (so, at least four) as these kinds of potent disruptive interaction. It is no fun being completely cold to an opposing Kalitas or Olivia Voldaren nor a great gameplan when you are such a robust and reliable little deck when allowed to do your thing. The only real difficulty is that being an engine deck you do weaken everything else with each card that isn't directly supporting the engine. This list is not at all short on options but it is very tight on space and has little room for luxuries. Saying you want at least 10% disruption was a bit of a cop out as you can't afford too much either. I suspect much more than eight non-land, non-engine cards would be a problem but I have yet to push those limits properly and am more confident in the minimum requirements than I am with the maximum. It is nice when you can hedge somewhat, a card like a Bone Shredder is a poor removal spell and a low powered card but it is an extra body and a removal spell for relatively cheap and as such supports your theme pretty well. It could be counted as half a card in terms of supporting the engine of the deck. Using these kinds of dual purpose cards will allow you to increase certain interactive and disruptive components of your build without hitting the engine consistency. It is also worth noting that you are a little lighter on good one drops in this archetype than most others that at tier one cube builds and so the one mana interactive and disruptive cards are a little more valuable in this list while the two and three mana ones a little less.

The functional components of the engine are the creature generation cards which range from ongoing producers, to recurring dorks, to the more standard Raise the Alarm style cards that the traditional buff strategies like to use. As this archetype is usually able to sac things off  it cares not how or when the creatures come into play as it can manipulate it all to trigger as much as possible. The aggressive tokens decks really want cards that provide all the upfront tempo like Raise the Alarm while this kind of deck can take advantage of the reduced cost of cards like Doomed Traveler. The largest (non-land) part of the deck will be made up of the "many creatures in one card" cards, probably around ten or so of the forty. Your overall creature count including token generators should be pretty high, much higher than 10 cards, ideally more in the 16 or so range. As your deck is powered by creatures it is extra handy when your engine cards or sac outlets are also creatures themselves. It might not be ideal using them as fuel and increasing your vulnerability to mass removal but it is a whole load better than having no fuel at all!

BlisterpodThe second group of cards are the engine cards. Blood Artist style cards as the title suggests. There are lots of things that trigger when things come and go from the battlefield but not quite so many that are worth building around. You need a good amount of the premium engine cards before this is looking like a good archetype to be in. Ideally you want to be at four or five such cards (in a forty card list) but you can easily get away with less if you just play buff cards to empower your tokens or you play tutor, filter and recursion to ensure you have access to the few you do have.

The third group of cards this deck runs are sacrifice outlets. These are important for turning on most of your engine cards. They are also important for their ability to access all the bits of a creature card this deck might play all at once. Your Young Wolf is able to get involved as a 2/2 right away if needs be when you have the sac outlet to hand. The sac outlets further help by offering their own value, often having replaced some mana or card cost on an effect. Sac outlets can also be very disruptive denying lifelink or fizzling spells. So while the sac outlets primary role is just turning on the engine cards they actually wind up adding a huge amount to the deck. The best sac outlets come on a cheap card, have no extra cost to use such as a tap or mana, have no speed restrictions upon their use, and are repeatable. The very best come on good stand alone cards and offer a valuable return for the ability. You tend to find a compromise of weaker cards that are great sac outlets and some stronger stand alone cards that also have a weaker sac outlet. You want as many sac outlets as you can get but not to the point of making your deck bad. I have been finding that four or so is a good enough number to run, it is easy enough to get to that count and without having to resort to real stinkers. Of the four most can be poor sac outlets so long as they are good cards. You only really need a one or two decent sac outlets for the most part as combat, removal and that sort of thing will ultimately get the job done for you. Sac outlets are the part of the deck you can neglect the most but obviously the best builds have a decent number of the best ones.

The archetype is a nice interesting one, much like the one it replaced in my cube (Reanimate), in that it is able to be done across so many colours. Blue is the only one that doesn't really offer that much. There are lots of overlapping synergies in these archetypes but there are also some counter synergies. As such there are loads and loads of ways to build the Blood Artistry archetype and loads of subtle things you can do to improve it. The more I play with the cards involved the more it is clear how seamlessly you can transition from one iteration of this kind of deck into others and from the broad group of "Blood Artistry" decks into red and white aggro decks, you can even morph a build into a tribal build. Goblins, vampires and zombies are all viable directions to go in. I will try and keep the aspects that relate to the tribal cards on this list brief. I have a pretty current list for a Thallids build which is essentially an extreme end of this archetype. I also have an older goblins tokens build somewhere on the blog which I will likely update soon. You can go pretty deep down the rabbit hole and this is already the biggest article I have ever attempted! The main issue I have for this article is with how this style of deck seamlessly morphs into a more traditional token build all the way through to white weenie. You can play a Glorious Anthem in the Blood Artistry decks when you are light on payoff cards. Do enough of this and you just have your typical traditional token deck. Broadly that side of things was covered in the white weenie archetype breakdown and so despite them being viable additions to these decks I am going to mostly avoid talking about them.

Bloodsoaked ChampionWhite has great token generation but it has little in the way of sac outlets or payoff for doing so. The only payoff white offers are global pump and that somewhat makes it a support colour, all be it a good one. Black has great sac outlets and the best on death trigger cards however it also has the worst token generation and needs the support of other colours to abuse its cards from the other two groups. Black does have the monopoly on recursive one drop dorks and that lets it be more aggressive and abuse the non-token triggers better than other colours. It is worth noting that as you move away from black in this archetype you naturally move towards other archetypes that attack more or revolve around mana production. You can build non-black iterations of this archetype but you lose most of the direct game winning on death triggers and a lot of the best sac outlets too. You have to put in work to make a non-black version of this deck while it comes pretty naturally to those in black. I didn't want to rigidly define this archetype as a black one but for the most part it is.

Green has the broadest range of things it can do with cheap cards all the way up the curve to top end that produce tokens and bodies. Despite this broad range green doesn't have vast redundancy in any one area of things it does. White and red both outclass green at the all important low end of the curve for consistency in their many-bodies-in-one-card cards. Green does have some of the best ongoing token producers although white does also offer some of these effects too. Where green is odd is that the payoff cards are either big one off buff effects like Overrun or they are mana production effects like Crytolith Rite. Now the mana production is amazing but it isn't a way of winning, you need to do something with it and that adds extra components into an already complex brew of synergies. With blue as the clear dud of the colours we have red as the clear champion. It does everything and it does it well. It has cheap dorks that make and come with tokens. It has cheap sorceries that make tokens. It has great sac outlets and some strong payoff cards as well. It has damage dealing on leaving play effects and some nice ones on entering play. It also has aggressive one off global buff effects, some of which give haste too. Obviously red also has burn which is great too! This means a red tokens deck of this nature can be entirely self contained with token generation and payoff all in house combined with some great removal options and aggressive combat options as backup. Just because red is the best doesn't mean you want to aim for mono red. Being such a synergy based deck you are absolutely best off going into extra colours so as to get the most suitable card pairings with the highest base power you can manage. You want to aim for black if you are looking to do this archetype as black has the most redundancy in the effects you want. Ideally you want to pair it with red and pick up the premium red card but it is still a fantastically strong archetype if you pair white or green with your black cards. If you get the mana for it the very best decks are three colours but you don't need to and it is rather demanding. A Mardu list for example is often spoiled for choice as struggles to fit all the good stuff in. It can often be a trap and wind up with people playing what are seen as the best cards and overlooking the synergies and actually having a weaker deck despite the better cards.

One thing that is very clear about this archetype, in part as I have defined it so broadly and included so many colours within it's scope, is that it mergers into a vast array of other archetypes near seamlessly. It is like massive connecting hub. I often talk about archetypes with a seamless direction they can transition in towards another archetype. Just a couple of cards different and you still have a great deck. Repeat this process ten to twenty times and you arrive at something you would define differently. A lot of decks have one or two directions you can morph them this way into other archetypes but this Blood Artistry one seems to be one with closer to ten things you can blend into. We have a lot of the main tribes in these colours that work including goblins, saprolings, zombies, vampires, and I am sure many more. Elves probably works as does humans simply because they are such powerful and well supported tribes. I suspect the same is true of slivers although they do have poor token generation. Almost all the aggro decks also morph out of different directions from this archetpye which gives you white weenie, red deck wins as well as both the go wide aggressive token builds they have. Indeed, those are the two closest archetypes to this and you will find that the more red or white you have in your deck the more naturally occurring overlap you have with these other archetypes. There is the the combo direction as well which links this archetype up to things like the Birthing Pod creature combo decks. This all provides for huge flexibility and creativity in the building process but is has helped to make this article both vast and a little murky in places. With that let us jump into the cards!

Engine Cards

These are the cards we are ultimately building around. These are the payoffs for having loads of bodies in play and they come in four broad flavours. You have those that give you cards, those that give you mana, those that make more bodies and those that deal damage. The general best and certainly most direct are those that deal damage. They work directly alongside conventional aggression to close out a game cleanly and efficiently. Card draw is also universally good but it is less sought after in the more aggressive builds. You have to convert cards into a win and that takes other things that close the game, time and mana. A dash of card draw goes a long way in any of the builds but too much is also a danger. Card draw benefits from access to mana. With both those forms of payoff you can combo off pretty easily, there is a fringe modern deck called something to do with cats and/or monkeys that uses Fecundity and goblin sac outlets to that kind of effect. Then there is the creature generation payoff which is a bit like treading water. It is value but in a less useful form than card draw. It isn't really reach and so it tends to only be played when one a card that is otherwise a good stand alone. Lifegain is also technically a payoff but mostly it is an incidental one, it isn't a route to victory and shouldn't be the focus of a plan. Here are the various cards that provide payoff for your wide boards;

Goblin Bombardment 10/10

Goblin Bombardment
This is the comfortable best card in this archetype. As you can probably see, it is not only an engine card but it is a sacrifice outlet too. It is in fact the best of the sac outlets offering everything you want. Some engine cards make more dorks, some draw cards, the best ones however do direct damage and cut out the need for any middle men on your path to victory. While making more dorks to fuel more stuff and drawing loads of cards is a load of fun just killing them is quicker and more reliable! As this is direct damage to any target it is basically the best or joint best of the engine cards too. The only thing this doesn't do is scale with itself. If another sac outlet arose that did something comparably useful to this then you couldn't benefit from both at once. Presently this isn't a problem but it does mean this card could lose its top spot at some stage. All the other engine cards in this section work off entering or leaving the battlefield and as such they all scale with each other and this very nicely indeed! The fact that this is the best sac outlet and the joint best engine card makes it super hard to rate this. It just has so much more value added to the archetype than anything else. You can work without it, indeed I rate black overall as the most important colour in the deck. Despite all that, this is the best single card in this archetype by a much larger margin than I suggest with the out of ten scale.

Zulaport CutthroatBlood Artist 9.5/10

The other contender for being the best of the engine cards. This dude is such a key card I named the archetype after him. This dude gets out of hand super fast. It is every ones stuff that triggers him so if combat is a thing this guy is basically not something one can race. Aggro decks must kill him on sight or lose to him. This is the Disciple of the Vault for this archetype but it offers lifegain as well! Blood Artist could overtake Bombardment in value one day as it scales with other sac outlets and other engine cards making it always good. Bombardment is at the mercy of no better sac outlets seeing print.

Zulaport Cutthroat 9/10

Redundancy for the Blood Artist. You only need these things to trigger off your stuff but it is nice when it is every ones. The extra power on Cutthroat doesn't come close to making up for that but it is still doing the main thing you want for an acceptable cost. These first three cards we have looked at are the three cards that push me into this archetype in draft and the first three names on the team sheet in a constructed setting. They are ultimately what defines this archetype even though you can have perfectly solid lists without any of them!

Cruel CelebrantCruel Celebrant 8.8/10

More redundancy for Blood Artist. While this is more powerful than Cutthroat the narrowing effect of being gold brings it down slightly overall. The extra toughness is fantastic and makes it a far more durable play with more relevant board presence. The planeswalker trigger is really rather negligible. Being a vampire likely has more of an impact as to what this card can do for you. It seems to allow for a vampire themed aristocrat build in addition to zombie and goblin options.

Purphoros, God of the ForgePurphorus, God of the Forge 9/10

Very powerful and often pretty inevitable. What hurts this card is that it is pretty slow. You rarely have the devotion for this making it something you are almost entirely playing for the effect, the trigger rather than the activated if that wasn't obvious! The mini Trumpet Blast is good too, it just isn't a reason to play this. Paying four mana to do nothing else that turn is a pretty big cost in tempo. You can set it up to have some immediate effect off the back of some dork that summons other dorks when it dies but regardless of this it is a slow card. Not very much gets it out of play once there, it is in fact safer not turning into a creature. Purphoros also offers twice as much punch per trigger as any other good card on this list making it worth it's downsides. Amazing reach card and the perfect example of what you want your top end to look like. Purphoros offers a lot of power and versatility. He also just wins a lot of games.

Impact TremorsImpact Tremors 3/10

Half a Purphoros! This card is fine in these kinds of decks. It is cheap and robust and suitably on theme. In the more aggressive and heavier red focused decks it is decent. If you are going mono or very heavy red then it is good to have as an option. The main issue with this card is that it costs you tempo to deploy on curve and loses a lot of value if made late. I will absolutely run it if I have tokens, a lack of payoff for them and ideally some value generation so as to make up for its card cost. The other issue with the card is that it is a total do nothing in every other archetype. This is a super weak stand alone card and not something you should have in a drafting cube and as such not something you should find yourself with an option on too often as a result. There will be a lot of cards like that on this list but they will not tend to be above the 5/10 rating mark.

Goblin Sharpshooter
Goblin Sharpshooter 7.5/10

This card is nuts good. What limits it is being on a slow 1/1 creature. You don't get to use it the turn you make it and odds on it is getting killed on sight. Sharpshooter gains triggers from all deaths, not just your own. This means he tends to clear the board and then kill opponents rather than going directly for the kill but he does all this quicker than most. A lot of decks cannot compete while Sharpshooter is in play and a surprising number of those will have little to no removal for the 1/1. Indeed, one of the strengths of this deck is that it taxes mass removal and spot removal really hard with so many high value targets. As such the vulnerability of Sharpshooter is lower than usual. When you have decent sac outlets as well you get even more control over the board with this thing.

Outpost SiegeOutpost Siege 7.5/10

Slow and clunky but powerful and surprisingly versatile. Rarely do you want to choose draw cards mode in this archetype but if you have to it is nice to have. It can keep you in the game and help you go on for a long time. Ideally you want to flop this out onto a board where you have a bunch of dorks already and elect to give them all Goblin Arsonist triggers! While the effect is half as damaging per dork as Purphoros the tempo of Siege is far better due to it effecting dorks in play. Often you can just flop it down and turn everything sideways and in wins the game if they block or if they don't!

Pious Evangel

Pious Evangel // Wayward Disciple 3/10

This is a bit of an odd one being a terrible sac outlet but then a rather nice Zulaport Cutthroat effect on the back end. Generally this is a bit clunky, it is poor stats and tempo on the front end and while a great final product getting there via 5 mana and a period of 2 toughness is dodgy. It is one of the best white payoff cards on offer even if it is black when it is offering you than functionality!

Abzan Ascendancy

Abzan Ascendancy 3/10

Potent in the right setting but suitably narrow. You have to be Abzan colours which is not the go to for this archetype. You also have to have a focus on non-token creatures to get the valuable on death triggers. If you tick those boxes then this is one of the better payoff cards but that is happening like a couple of percent of the times you play this deck at most. While reasonable payoff this is also a do nothing by itself and requires some setup to near its ceiling.

Golgari Germination

Golgari Germination  3/10

Just a budget Abzan Ascendancy. That being said the straight Golgari colour pairings makes this a lot more playable and the loss of the +1/+1 counters and flying on the tokens isn't the worst. If  Blood Artist effects as payoff this will double the effectiveness of your dorks when used as fuel. It will protect your board mildly from removal. It is fine, reasonably on-theme but hardly an impressive power level.

Pawn of Ulamog
Pawn of Ulamog 7/10

Easily the best of the "make tokens from the death of your non-tokens" card for several reasons. Being mono black makes it certainly one of the most playable however being a creature itself just makes it way more useful. It isn't a nasty tempo loss getting it down and it isn't a do nothing on its own. Not a high powered card but a fine one. These should perhaps be in a different section to the payoff as just making limp tokens isn't really payoff itself so much as just turbo charging other payoff cards. A 1/1 flying token might be an upgrade on some cards but 0/1 scions and 1/1 mushrooms are not! When you have the density of non-token creatures in your deck this is one of the best token producers, taking the crown away from Ophiomancer I think.

Sifter of Skulls

Sifter of Skulls 3.5/10

While this is more power than Pawn of Ulamog is it just too risky and far up the curve for what you want a card like this do do. It is value and empowerment, it is a support card not a payoff really and so it needs to be cheaper than four mana. Playable but only because of being on theme and having decent stand alone power level. I would only play this if I was short on playables.

Teysa, Orzhov Scion
Teysa, Orzov Scion 6/10

Actually impressively potent. Teysa makes strong tokens and she makes them even off other tokens. In the right deck she wildly outclasses Pawn of Ulamog. She also has a built in sac mechanism with a powerful payoff. While Teysa is very potent she is another victim of narrowness. Needing black creatures to trigger the gaining of tokens is rather restrictive on deck building. You can sac off three Westvale Abbey clerics and get back an upgraded trio of 1/1 fliers as well as exiling a target creature! If you build around Teysa then she will be nutty but for your average decks she will be too hard to use as removal and a little too infrequent at producing tokens herself. The new Orzhov afterlife mechanic is a big win for the original Teysa what with it producing tokens of both colours. That alone has changed my original 4/10 rating to 6/10. I expect to see both the reasonably cost Teysa cards doing some impressive work in this archetype in the near future.

Xathrid Necromancer

Xathrid Necromancer 4/10

Not great in these lists and really more of a supporting card than a payoff card. Your payoff is a 2/2 token which is little better than the token you put into it. Necromancer is a tool to make a little go a long way while being a passable stand alone card. Mostly the low rating is down to being narrow. There are relatively few human cards or token generators in these lists. This card would be an easy 8+ if all the types were humans! It is big part of why a tribal humans "aristocrats" deck could be a thing at least.

Athreos, God of PassageAthreos, God of Passage 5/10

A lot of potential value but you can get that all over the place in these kinds of deck. This isn't great with tokens, it is a bit on the gold side and gives a little too much control to your opponents. That being said, it does attack life totals pretty hard quickly resulting near immortality for your creatures. It isn't even that hard to turn this into a beater which gives a huge amount of board control. With this costing less and being value rather than a closer when compared to Purphoros you are far less precious about it and are happy to expose it to exile creature removal in order to get into combat with it.

Catacomb Sifter

Catacomb Sifter 5/10

This is a nice little all rounder. A scry is not a great payoff for a dead dork but it is still payoff. This is also two bodies in one card with a boat load of utility and options without scripming on the stand alone power. This card is just good on its own, you don't need synergy with creatures or sac outlets for it to be a decent investment. Mostly you don't end up playing this for space reasons, it is just a good all round fit and not a card solving any specific problem or offering maximum synergy potential. Good filler card, should probably have been in the bodies section rather than the payoff.

Grim HaruspexGrim Haruspex 7/10

A nice solid little value tool. While this is not quite the power level of Skullclamp it does have the added perks of doing stuff on its own and not needing extra mana investments to keep it operational. Grim just gets you value as you do your thing without being a do nothing when things are not going to plan. He is a dash on the narrow side as the token heavy builds get little back from him. He strongly favours being used in conjunction with non-token fuel! Very potent card draw tool in the right setting and sufficiently threatening as such that he will draw a lot of removal.

Field of Souls

Field of Souls 2/10

White payoff but very costly. This is a lot worse than Abzan Ascendancy. The main strength of this is that it is white and nothing else thus giving you a bit more build options with heavy white bases. Power wise it is low and themewise it is poor too. White tends to make more tokens than non-tokens. This is also just dorks into more dorks, flying is nice and will close a game but damage, cards and mana tend to be the more directly workable payoffs you want. Souls is more of a value card.

Ulvenwald Mysteries

Ulvenwald Mysteries 2/10

This is both card draw and extra dorks but ultimately that is still just value. It is also a mana cost to do and thus not nearly as abusive or explosive as a nice simple Blood Artist. This does have some nice bonus synergies with artifacts, humans, clues and that sort of thing. This can be savage in a Smokestack deck for example. Otherwise you can do better as a payoff card.

Dark Prophecy

Dark Prophecy 3/10

Very powerful draw tool. Very very powerful in fact, quite possibly outclassing things like Skullclamp in a deck like this. The lack of mana cost and the passive nature of the trigger meaning you can get value with your sac outlet regardless of dork size. The two issues this card has are obviously the cost, you need to be heavy black and that in turn limits your depth or consistency. The other issue is that if you don't have a source of lifegain, ideally a Blood Artist effect, then you can be in danger of locking yourself out of the game. You can even risk decking yourself with this before you kill someone. Probably best in a deck with green for some extra fixing, token production and reshuffle effects! That or a mono black deck. I think mono black was a stretch when I started writing this article but is now quite viable which in turn ups the value on this card. That being said, black tends to have fewer token creatures and more cardboard creatures which makes both Grim Haruspex and Midnight Reaper appeal more. This certainly doesn't see the play that would match the power of the card which shows the lack of suitability this has.

Fecundity 6/10

This is the clean version of Dark Prophecy. It costs no life so that issue is removed and it is a may on the draw so no decking issues either. The cost also allows for it to be splashed rather than in a mono or near mono deck. The only price for all this convenience is symmetry. You are probably giving some cards away by playing this. All told, you are fine with that. You are going to be gaining far far more value courtesy of deck design and having their guys die just means they are losing tempo and letting you snowball.

Hissing Iguanar

Hissing Iguana 6/10

This is the red Blood Artist. It is pricier and less potent lacking the life gain. The extra power is relevant but not really what the card is about, it would certainly be preferable as extra toughness! You can ping planeswalkers I guess! A fine substitute card for when you are light on payoff but due to relatively low stand alone power this is not a card you are seeking out. Nice that mono red has a Blood Artist effect on legs and nice that it works from all types and controller of creatures dying.

Judith, the Scourge Diva

Judith, the Scourge Diva 9/10

Judith is a beastly good all rounder. She is a khans mode Outpost Siege for your non-token dorks, for three mana and on 2/2 legs I might add. That alone bumps her above Siege for this archetype. Judith, unlike the Iguanar, pings any target, that makes her pretty terrifying for board control. Then she is also a permanent +1/+0 for your team which is most potent. One of the issues this deck faces in cube is that despite its low cost it is a deck all about setup. Until you have a bunch of things in play you don't really want to start using your resources. Judith is so potent that you can just get stuck right in with your stuff and be nicely ahead. Your cheap low value dorks just start to trade really nicely and pose that much more threat when they are buffed in attack. Judith is an outstanding commander option for this style of deck in EDH. One of the very best.

Mayhem DevilMayhem Devil 8.5/10

Another huge new card for the archetype. Mayhem Devil has multiple things going for it in these decks. Primarily it is another card that does a damage when you sacrifice a dork but the other things it has going on are not minor perks. Being a 3/3 for 3 is pretty substantial for these lists and it lets you have a bit better board control in the early game. It is also harder to kill off. Secondly it damages any target which is pretty huge. Unlike Judith it can be tokens or indeed non-creatures and things your opponents control! Devil provides disruption as well making things like sac lands, clue tokens etc. a bit of a pain to use. You can scale with Devil too using sacrifice removal such as Angrarth's Rampage instead of Bedevil. The only thing this card doesn't do is trigger when getting your things killed with a Wrath of God or when they trade off in combat. You really need an in play sac outlet to ensure this does the job you need it to but given that is your game plan you will mostly achieve that.

Midnight ReaperMidnight Reaper 7.5

The upgraded Grim Haruspex. While generally worse at the top end of performance than Grim due to the life loss that is not a big deal in most cases as so many of your payoff cards yield life. What makes Reaper superior to Grim is that it gives you a card when it dies making it a vastly better curve and setup play. This deck is weak early and can get picked apart before it is setup and Reaper has a substantially better floor than Grim. It covers the areas your build is weakest and that is the best way to go about improving a deck. Reaper is just easy to include in decks with low cost, high base power and good synergy.


Deathgreeter 3/10

While only the bad half of Blood Artist this is still a useful tool. The lifegain element of Blood Artist is actually what kills the aggressive decks and so Deathgreeter can be used as a nice cheap filler dork that hedges incredibly well against aggression or it can be used to counteract Dark Prophecy/Midnight Reaper! Just being a one drop dork that works in the deck is a pretty big win. Low combat relevant does detract from the baseline value of this, as does a polar performance. You really want this as a sideboard card to deal with aggression rather than a maindeck card.

Falkenrath Noble

Falkenrath Noble 5/10

The big Blood Artist. Begrudgingly this is pretty good. The cost is horrific and in no way efficient but it isn't a total disaster if you are playing it out as a finisher. This might well be an easy target for removal but instant sac outlets mitigate that, as does the fact that many of your better engine cards in black are flimsy dorks as well. Safety in numbers and all that! You can't Bolt them all. Noble triggers on opposing creature deaths which is very powerful should it stick in play for a few turns. Two mana for +2/+1 and flying isn't a horrific deal even if it isn't all that on theme. Noble is pretty savage against removal light decks, any board stalls, and anything creature heavy. It is better than having no payoff cards that is for sure. In EDH it is a staple but in cube it is more of a last resort.

Vindictive VampireVindictive Vampire 4/10

The newer Falkenrath Noble is more backwards powercreep in these types of dorks yet it remains playable. Three toughness is nice but this is pretty bottom of the barrel stuff otherwise. In 40 card cube decks this should only really get a look in if you somehow don't have a couple of the better options available to you. For commander decks this is actually one of the best as it hits all players. Those being over twice as big as cube decks and less under pressure to be quick are more than happy running the most costly payoff cards too so this would still see loads of play even if it were just one opponent. It is also a damage dealing effect making it a cute tool to pair with things like Keen Sense and Snake Umbra. I don't advise doing so, that is a risky tactic on top of an otherwise easily disrupted one. Adding in layers of further synergy and payoff is all a bit much.

Teysa KarlovTeysa Karlov 7/10

Not strictly a payoff card. More of a buff to your payoff cards but a damn good one at that. Doubling all on death triggers and empowering tokens on top of that is pretty spot on for this archetype. Teysa works better with some cards than others and being a touch on the luxury / win-more side of things you do have to be a little careful with her. You want a higher than usual number of cards that she supports as well as those that she does so for best. That means playing cards like Doomed Dissenter over Raise the Alarm or Butcher Ghoul, Ministrant of Obligation over Weaponcraft Enthusiast etc. When Teysa doubles up the power of your token generators and the things that benefit from their death that is a double double and thus gets very out of hand fast. You don't need much with your Taysa to cultivate a win. You might want a bit more card quality and tutoring so as to set up her synergies that bit more reliably. If you just make her as a 2/4 vanilla dork she is painfully weak. While I tend to prefer my 4 drops to be game closing power houses and Teysa is more of a value card and synergy buff the fact that she can make so much happen with so little and how perfectly themed she is for so much of this deck I am more than happy not just playing Teysa but warping my deck somewhat to suit her. One of the best commander options for EDH decks built around these synergies. The only bad thing about her for EDH is that she locks you out of red (and less sadly green).

Grave PactGrave Pact 3/10

While this can be filthy good it is all a bit overkill. You are trying to stall the board, not clear it for attacks. This card does nothing on its own, it costs a lot and it is hard to cast. It may work well with the deck but it isn't working towards the same goal as the deck and so I would probably only ever play this as a sideboard tool. There it would be a great answer to awkward threats and counter some strategies effectively. It is however too poor against decks with no creatures or at least no important ones as well as most aggressive decks. This is a bomb in EDH builds of this deck but for cube it is typically a lot worse than targetted spot removal. The best use for this in these archetypes is in the Smokestack iterations that lean on resource denial rather than life drain to close the game.

Dictate of Erebos

Dictate of Erebos 2/10

This is just a slower Grave Pact! It is easier to slip round countermagic but harder to cast and have out at a useful time. Not a card I rate for heads up play. A good sideboard card for crushing slow creature based decks with at least and of course another premium EDH tool.

Savra, Queen of the Golgari

Savra, Queen of the Golgari 3/10

Grave Pact on legs! While both narrower and less powerful as a Grave Pact Savra does things on her own and offers some utility in the life gain. If I felt I needed a Grave Pact effect in my build then this is absolutely the card I would try and play. Sadly she is hard to fit in, you probably need to be exclusively Golgari colours as she does so little without the right coloured fodder. She also only triggers when you sacrifice creatures rather than whenever they might die which greatly ups the burden on sac outlets. Also, yet more 4 mana 2/2 dorks is all very flimsy!

EarthcraftCrypolith Rites / Song of Freyalise / Earthcraft 6+

Song of FreyaliseThese three are a very different kind of payoff to the rest of the option here. They are more like a way to milk a bit of extra value out of your stuff as you progress from making it to sacrificing it! You can gain a lot of momentum and do some very powerful things with any of these cards and some token generation effects. Particularly persistent ones, those with buyback, those on creatures or enchantments that simply have a mana cost to use. These cards are not payoff in the sense of being a way of winning but they are payoff in the sense that you can make an absolute tonne of mana out of them which in turn can be abused with the appropriate sinks. All potent cards but all in need of much building consideration when used. They will be duds if badly incorporated. They are however one of the best things about green in these kinds of deck. Green is all about creatures and so you might expect it to be the best of the four colours supporting these kinds of archetype at making tokens. This however is not the case. You need cheap and often upfront dorks and green is just fine at that. White and red are arguably better and black is not that far behind green if at all in the bodies department while also offering so much more to decks. The thing with these three enchantments is that you can actually get away without any sac outlets at all. You can just use the mana to win in so many different ways. You can make infinite tokens with a card like Ant Queen, you can just Fireball them to the face for the win. I think these three cards stand at the intersection between two slightly different archetypes. Earthcraft is by far the most potent of all three as you can use dorks for mana right away but you do need to be careful with your mana base so as to have basic lands commonplace. The other two can be improved with effects that give your cards haste like Concordant Crossroads or even just a Lightning Greaves works, although very slowly and tediously on something like Magic Online!

Opposition 8/10
Glare of Subdual 5/10

While I said this deck wasn't blue there is one rather good blue payoff card (and a much weaker Selesnya version). Make a lot of dorks then make an Opposition has been a game plan as old as the card itself. With enough dorks you could lock people out of all non-instant speed cards and any sort of attacking or blocking. You would technically eventually win by attacking but most would be conceding well before the lockdown reaches conclusion. I don't like relying on just Opposition and at double blue it is a bit rough to splash in. Like the Crytolith Rites being an intersection card between two archetypes so are these. Along with Blood Artist builds all these groups could be considered as "using dorks as an alternate resource" and come under that umbrella.

Hellrider 6/10

While I stipulated this deck doesn't need to attack to win that is just a good way to understand and classify it. You still can attack and frequently will be doing so. You attack if it is free to do so and sometimes you attack to force things into getting killed, or at least then offering free damage if not! Hellrider offers a lot of value with a lot of tokens and is a great way to close out a game. The attack rarely has to be a good one, you can throw loads of dorks in the bin and make minimal connections with face and still have it be excessively fatal with all the various triggers. Hellrider tends to be a bit one shot but it is sufficiently powerful to be well worth looking at. It is useful when you can drip feed dorks in you were saccing off anyway and milk a bonus damage out of doing so. It pairs nicely with Legion Warboss as an example of that.
Brutal Hordechief

Brutal Hordechief 6.5/10

Just a black Hellrider in most cases. He is less punchy due to no haste but lifegain is probably a comparable value trade off. You might just win with the ability too! All your dorks block this 1/1, everything else makes it to your face! Both Hellrider and this are just solid top end high power finisher cards and both very playable in the archetype. They scale nicely with all the things you want to be doing and they have have enough power on their own. Fairly ideal top end finishers.

Pitiless Plunderer

Pitiless Plunderer 6/10

Pricey and low board impact. The four mana 1/4 body does not impress but the treasure rather does! With the right sort of synergies you can essentially combo off with cards like this and win out of nowhere. There are lots of cards that generate card draw with dying creatures but not so many that give you mana. When you have both you can potentially play and draw your whole deck which should be more than enough to win with. Plunderer plus Ashnod's Altar turns every dork into three mana. Given the average cost of getting dorks into play is closer to 1 than 3 in most of these decks that is a lot of gas. The more you are leaning on a combo kill the better this is, the more you lean on aggression the worse this is. A bigger name in EDH than cube but not to be overlooked in either. Also a nice way to generate artifacts for use with something like a Makeshift Munitions. Pretty filthy with Mayhem Devil too!

Slimefoot, the Stowaway
Slimefoot the Stowaway 6/10

An outstanding card but a fairly limiting one. Slimefoot is both a token producer and a Blood Artist at once, all packaged up in a decently powerful yet pleasantly cheap body. He is not far off the Golgari equivalent of Judith. Very potent but restrictive on your build. Slimefoot is narrow to say the least and that, rather than power, is why I have rated him fairly low. He makes it so that you really only want to be involved in the creation of saproling tokens. A Slimefoot list is given fairly little wiggle room on build with such a reduced pool of token producers. You have to play basically all the half decent cards that make saprolings. While narrow and contained it is very potent and one of the best Golgari builds. You can go infinite with Earthcraft, a Forest enchanted with a Wild Growth and an Ashnod's Altar using Slimefoot! A great EDH commander for Blood Artist decks that want a significant green element.

Poison-Tip ArcherPoison-Tip Archer 4.5/10

This is relatively low power but still sufficiently on point so as to be playable. Ultimately it is just another 4 mana payoff dork. It does trigger from any creature that dies and it has the best body of all the four mana alternatives but it is gold and it gains no life back. All in all these are pretty minor nudges this way and that and matter fairly little. The defining feature of this is that it is a four mana card and thus pretty far from ideal but it is one of relatively few cards with this kind of effect making it also a necessary evil from time to time.

Plague Belcher

Plague Belcher 6/10

Saproling are not the only tribe with their own exclusive Blood Artist effects, zombies have a couple. While the lifegain is missing you are fine with that given how much more you get for your mana with this compared to something like Zulaport Cutthroat. It is a bit harder to build a token heavy zombie build of this archetype than it is for other tribes but zombies do have a lot of other strings to their bow. You can either go heavy zombies and have the drain sac plan as a backup or your can just play Belcher in a zombie light Blood Artist deck and have it be a good all round card that adds a little punch and utility to the mix.

Vengeful Dead
Vengeful Dead 2/10

I feel like this is the oldest of the "when something dies someone else loses a life" cards that saw play. I have certainly used it in many a format with cards like Carrion Feeder and Patriarchs Bidding to win on the spot. These days low power and narrowness hurt this card. Now only ever seen in the combo focused tribal zombies decks and only as a supporting piece of redundancy for Plague Belcher and Bidding.

Sacrifice Outlets
Carrion Feeder(free ones)

These are simply the tools used to trigger the majority of your payoff cards. Some of the payoff comes from things entering play or being in play. Most of them need things to die and so you need sac outlets. It is also another potential source of value as you are producing tokens of low importance. If the return from the sacrifice is good you are getting value even without a one of the engine cards. This is less common with the free sac outlets for obvious balance reasons. The free sac outlets tend to be those best for burst and combo killing. The pricier and more restrictive ones tend to afford more potent returns. They do have to though to be a consideration. You are happy enough playing a fairly rubbish card just to have a good cheap sac outlet. When it comes to the more expensive sac outlets you want a really good card on the back of it.

Carion Feeder 9/10

Great little card with a free to use, permanently active sac option that adds reasonable value. Carrion Feeder will turn into a serious threat if left alone too long. It will also combo kill people out of nowhere later in the game. Hard to go wrong with Feeder, even if you don't need his sac outlet option he is still nice cheap fuel for other effects! Very nearly a 9.5/10 card, certainly something I am never leaving out of my deck if I am black. The best creature sac outlet and the best one drop sac outlet.

Viscera SeerViscera Seer 7/10

In many ways this is the equal or better of Feeder. Same initial size and cost, of both it and the sac effect. Seer can even block! The only difference is of creature type which is barely relevant and of effect from sacrificing a dork which is pretty huge. Seer critically fails to do a few things you want. It provides no board presence, disruptive effect or means to close, nay even threaten a game. Feeder gets dangerous, Seer never does. The other issue with Seer is diminishing returns on scry. The nature of these decks means that often you want to sac a lot of your stuff in one go. Scry 1 becomes useless as soon as you keep a card on top. Indeed scry is pretty useless on the turn you are trying to win and totally useless without further draw. The odd useful early game scry is nice for sure but Seer is mostly just a tool to put your stuff in the bin and you can do better. Just play better cards that do more for you even if they cost a bit more. Seer is like a Putrid Imp in a Reanimate deck when you could just play the far better Careful Study instead etc. It is too all in on a sac outlet without enough of the kinds of return you want. Sure, it is an OK incidental or ongoing effect and works fine as a combo kill card but it lacks all the middle bit where you get to push ahead and develop a position as Feeder allows for.

Greater Gargadon

Greater Gargadon 7/10

This is quite like Carrion Feeder in that it starts out life as a one mana sac outlet and winds up as a big old threat! Gargadon is generally great but it does have some polar issues and some longevity ones. You only get 10 sacs with it at most and you get one less per turn you if wait about. You also have no tempo at all prior to it resolving and no sac outlet once it does. At the end of it all it is just a big dork too and probably not getting much done.

Cartel AristocratCartel Aristocrat 8/10

This seems pretty low key but is actually impressively potent. Not only is this a limitless, instant speed, zero extra cost sac outlet (top marks on those three major categories) but it is also a relevant tool in its own right. A Bear that can be hexproof and unblockable sounds very alike to True-Name Nemesis, which it is! It gives some bonus reach, decent protection and good planeswalker control. It also is one of the safer sac outlets you can pack being hard to remove. The worst thing about this is the cost. Either you are not red or you are three colours plus making this a little trickier to run. It also offers best returns when incremental sacrifices are made, dumping all your stuff in one go has little bonus value but that is OK, that is why we play enablers! It is relevant enough on the board to not matter in this area despite Viscera Seer being marked down for it.

Bloodthrone VampireBloodthrone Vampire 6.5/10

This looks better than it is. It is pretty rare to have this connect in a meaningful way and it forces you into burning dorks if you want to use it in combat. It isn't bad but it isn't actually all that much more exciting than the 3 mana 2/2 versions of this card of which there are many! While Carrion Feeder in play makes soft removal options weak due to some value staying in play after the fact. If you ping a Bloodthrone Vampire something is going to die and it will still be a 1/1 next turn. Bloodthrone is at its best with cards like Judith and Sharpshooter which allow you to clear a path for her to connect. As soon as this is going unblocked it is pretty terrifying.

Spawning PitSpawning Pit 8.5/10

Like Cartel Aristocrat this little card hits all the sweet spots with a few bonus perks of its own. Being colourless to play allows it to go in any list and the bonus it provides stacks up nicely. Indeed, if mana isn't an issue Spawning Pit simply increases your total dork count by 50% when you come to cash them in. Spawning Pit is fantastic mass removal protection which is something the deck can be weak to. The closest thing this has to a downside is that it is a bit easier to remove than some alternatives. It is also a little less proactive than some alternatives but that is only a downside for the more aggressive builds. It is also only mild, you will have plenty of other proactive cards to play first as an aggro player.

Yahenni, Undying PartisanYahenni, Undying Partisan 7.5/10

Worse than he looks but played more than his actual power levels should dictate! Cartel Aristocrat is the better card in these kinds of deck but Yehenni is easier to cast while fitting in more versions of the deck and that is pretty much that. Two mana and protection is a lot better than three mana, indestructible and haste. The +1/+1 counters come up in these decks infrequently as you have so little in the way of removal and are not trying to threaten that much in combat. Still, all round a reasonably high powered card. It scales very well with removal effects, say an Outpost Siege in dragons mode. You can sac off your dudes to clear theirs and grow Yahenni into a dangerous threat. Mostly he is just a hard to kill hasting 2/2 with a highly convenient, even if low returns, sac outlet on him. That in turn is enough for him to see play in most builds when they have access to him.

Ashnod's AltarPhyrexian / Ashnod's Altar 3 - 9 /10

Hard to rate these in a removed way. With good (and appropriate for the type) mana sinks these are strong and without they are poor. Although they do tick all the boxes for being repeatable, free and instant sac outlets they are three mana to lay and can do nothing for you beyond being a sac outlet. Make sure you are careful in building with these. Get it right and you can go off pretty impressively. You want card draw, big payoff cards and ideally things you can loop. Ashnod's tends to lean slightly more in the combo direction with Phyrexian being a bit more generally useful. These are do nothing cards on their own and so have to put in that bit more work to be worth running when compared to a card like Yahenni.

Grafted WargearGrafted Wargear 4/10

Pretty poor all told. Free to do but only sorcery speed and also only able to sacrifice X-1 things where X is your number of things. A chunk of stats is really not what this deck is after most of the time. Although some iterations of this build like to get ahead with some early aggression Wargear offers too much blowout potential to be of much help in those more attacking builds. That is of course fine when you lose a token or recursive one drop but it does make Wargear something you don't want to put on any dorks of value. Mostly it is about the sorcery speed to equip thus reducing the utility of the sacrifice.

Phyrexian Ghoul / Blood Bairn / Nantuko Husk / Vampire Aristocrat 6/10
Devouring Swarm 4/10

Phyrexian Ghoul
Three mana two power dorks that pump as sac outlets. Good threats but usually getting blocked. Swarm gets round this a bit with flying but is pretty feeble as a trade off and threatens a lot less. These are all good sac outlets but they are not the most exciting. They have great stacking returns for multiple sacrifices but timing and game state are a big factor in how much you can do with it. For goldfishing these are probably some of the best sac outlets but for interactive games these are much harder to make work and a big part of why the permanent growth of Carrion Feeder is so potent.

Bloodflow Connoisseur 6.5/10
Defiant Salvager 3/10
Scarland Thrinax 4/10

Bloodflow Connoisseur
The three mana Carrion Feeders. Salvager is mostly poo as it is sorcery speed sacrifice but it can at least do artifacts as well which has its place, most notably with Pitiless Plunderer. Thrinax would be good if you were in Jund colours ever. Connoisseur is the cleanest all round and is literally just a Feeder that can block and with a tribal change. Blocking is pretty big game for this deck and having your biggest dork able to do so is a big win. One of the best bad looking sac outlets.

Fallen Ideal

Fallen Ideal 5.5/10

Surprisingly potent. This is fairly hard to deal with and offers a potent sacrifice outlet. Not only does it have all the things you want in a sac outlet but it also turns the enchanted dork into a serious threat, the evasion combined with the large pump goes a really long way to ending games quickly. The only thing I don't like about this card is that it can be such a do nothing, either it is closing the game or it is a near blank. Worse still, as a three mana creature enchant it can just lose you the game when your dork is killed with this on the stack affording a two for one and savage tempo loss.

Varolz, the Scar-Striped
Varolz, the Scar-Striped 4/10

Pretty small for the cost and while having scavenge is nice it is not really what you are looking to do. There are not many cards that you want to play that synergize with scavenge. Varolz feel like  he struggles to impress more than the many other three mana options. Lack of stacking on the sac effect is a shame and detracts from the sturdiness and utility of the card. His colours don't help him much either.

Fanatical Devotion

Fanatical Devotion 6/10
Martyr's Cause 5/10

Both three mana enchantments that give you some protective utility and the holy trinity of sacrifice potency; instant, free and unlimited. Play these if you need a white sac outlet. You shouldn't as you only really get payoff from sacrificing cards in the other colours and they all have sac outlets of their own that tend to outclass these. The protection these things offer is lovely if you can afford it. They help keep your key dorks in play but they are a big investment in tempo and cards. While these are nice utility for longer grindy games the benefit these offer don't stack like Phyrexian Altar or Goblin Bombardment and so they are far less useful in a bursty combo sense. These shine more in the setup and a longer grindy game.

Falkenrath AristocratFalkenrath Aristocrat 8.5/10

This is an expensive card to play purely as a sac outlet. It is however an exceptional one. The sac is free, instant, repeatable and sometimes rewarding. On top of that you get a fantastic threat. Aristocrat is a large flying hasting indestructible threat! It is hard to stop and hard to race. You can win by using the sac outlet to empower synergies or you can just win by sending it at face a few times! Part of the strength of a Blood Artist deck is the ability to play like a creature based deck or a combo deck and Aristocrat feeds into that plan perfectly by being so good at both parts. In a pure combo deck she would seem pricey but in these decks she is the business. This is what a four drop should look like for this deck. It is powerful and threatens to close the game out in more than one way without any compromise on effectiveness in either role.

Butcher of the HordeButcher of the Horde 4/10

This is a bit too many eggs in one basket and the eggs are a very expensive kind. Really you want to use a card like this to win not to sac other cards. Mostly this will eat spot removal as it is too scary to leave in play. It isn't even that good as a sac outlet as it doesn't yield great scaling value. Now if you also got to put counters on this dude with sacs then you might well have a great finisher! Rather colour intense is an issue too. Potent but clunky, narrow and more off theme that it seems. Indestructible is just a far more useful key word to gain on your four mana investment than any of what Butcher can get. Having haste baseline is also fairly convenient.

Greater Good

Greater Good 0/10

I simply can't see the token deck that produces things with more than three power consistently. If such a thing happens then this will be a playable sac outlet. Until then this will be for other archetypes! While very powerful it isn't even something you can use that much in a 40 card deck before you deck yourself or at least put yourself on a tight clock.

Tooth and Claw

Tooth and Claw 3.5/10

A rejig of Spawning Pit. This has more upfront costs both in actual mana cost and number of dorks needed in the sac cost. Once in play however Tooth and Claw should catch up in efficiency pretty quickly with no further mana costs. The overall clunkyness of this card combined with its low power level are what make it weak. Functionality is spot on but the rest lets it down. Support cards want to cost less than this and only loads of power makes for good exceptions. The potential four mana do nothing cards this has to compete with are Purphoros and Outpost Siege and both of those offer more utility, much more power, and better odds on having a big impact immediately.

Goblin Chirurgeon
Goblin Chirugeon 5+
Goblin Sledder / Mogg Raider 5+
Skirk Prospector 6+

These are all great sac outlets but they are super narrow in that they only work with goblins. Much as almost all the red token generation comes in goblin form almost none of the other colours token generation supports that. If you are going mono red then these cards start to look interesting, if you are just splashing black for Cutthroat and Artist then again, looking quite reasonable. As soon as you are just drafting a two or three colour list without the tribal focus these become pretty unplayable. Low power and low utility without the fairly high threshold of support needed for them. When you consider that these are all one drops, all tick the three key boxes for sac outlet utility (instant, free, unlimited), and further to that all offer powerful and on theme returns you appreciate why the tribal goblins builds are so potent. These are all Carrion Feeder levels of good with a high enough goblin count and you have four of them! If you could play 4 copies of Feeder then the zombie tribe would look substantially more impressive. These are the cards that really make tribal goblins such a big name despite being so out of the spotlight compared to other goblin cards.

Thermopod 3/10

This is an unusual one. Normally this sort of low power enabler card at such high mana cost is the preserve of commander and not something you can get away with in cube. As it produces mana however you can more reliably offset the cost of it and continue to go off after playing it in the right situation. The more combo like your deck is and the more card draw it has the better this looks in it. Almost a build around, the only reason it is not is that in red you might as well just limit yourself to goblins and run Prospector. Or indeed Phyrexian Altar... Really you are playing this when you have a Phyrexian Altar build around and want some backup for it.

Phyrexian PlaguelordPhyrexian Plaguelord 5/10

One of the original premium sac outlet cards and I believe the card that somehow gave The Rock it's name (the archetype not the actor/wrestler dude). This is a five drop but it is also a very potent sac outlet. It has all the key attributes and it has good payoff for sacrificing things. It is monumentally good board control and about as close to Goblin Bombardment as you can get for that. Having a decent 4/4 body is nice as well, that is about as big as a dork gets in this archetype as a base. It is very refreshing to flop out a big dork in some matchups where you otherwise find yourself fighting against the tide of necessary chump blocks all the time! While low power by today's standard of dork Plaguelord is still a powerful card once in play and is a perfect fit for this archetype other than the cost. It is at least effective immediately once in play.

(one mana sac outlets)

Ayli, Eternal PilgrimAyli, the Eternal Pilgrim 6/10

Great all round card. It is good as just a 2/3 deathtouch for two and then it offers a lot of additional utility to go with that. As a pure sac outlet costing one is not great as it is limiting on those one shot kills but beyond that it is about as good as can be. It offers big returns in life, it is repeatable and instant speed and it is colourless to activate. It also works towards the other utility mode which can be pretty relevant in this kind of list. It is pretty easy to turn on with so many lifegain triggers in these kinds of deck and super useful to have access to. These lists are often removal light so as to maximize the returns on synergy cards. Having removal and interactive options on your synergy cards is a huge help. As a sac outlet I don't love Ayli but as an all rounder for the archetype I do rather like her. A nice card to throw down on turn two and steal the tempo with.

Dark-Dweller Oracle
Dark-Dweller Oracle 4.5/10

Pretty much as above in most cases. Oracle offers a comparable sac outlet to Ayli while also offering some good utility. Oracle offers a bit less of the latter and is a bit less impressive on the board but he is much easier to include in a list being less colour intense. What holds this back is how poor the sac outlet is outside of your turn. That probably makes it bad for EDH and certainly holds in back in cube. Tribal type is of little help as goblins already have the best sac outlets on offer. Oracle is good in grindy games in concert with ongoing token producers but is left a little wanting in quicker games. At best in green decks where you have a lot of mana simply to be able to play the things you exile most reliably.

Plagued RusalkaPlagued Rusalka 7
Starved Rusalka 2.5
Scorched Rusalka 6
Martyred Ruslka 3

These are convenient little sac outlets being one mana investments and also dorks themselves. You don't want to rely on them entirely but they bolster very nicely while adding utility and keeping your list low to the ground. The issue with these cards is mostly in colour intensity, in a three colour deck you might only be able to do a couple of sacrifices per turn which is probably a little slow. Plagued is great for the board and combat control it brings. The mini Plaguelord! Scorched is great for the extra reach although it is completely eclipsed by Goblin Bombardment, even Makeshift Munitions! The blue is the next best ability but as yet there is very little call or capacity for this kind of thing in blue. White and green are a little bit defensively focused and offer too little in the way of useful extra utility.

Disciple of GriselbrandDisciple of Griselbrand 2/10

I would generally want this over Starved Rusalka. The extra casting cost is more than offset by the generic mana cost in use. The extra life it brings is also a pretty big deal! I think I would only look to play this if I had big life costs in other areas of my deck, perhaps as a hedge/SB card against burn. This looks poor next to Ayli though and is never getting into any Orzhov build but it does have things to offer non-white lists.


Skullclamp 10/10

Most of this high rating is because the card is nuts and this effect is enhanced by having lots of small chaffy dorks in play and synergy cards you want to find. As a sac outlet this is poor, it costs mana, it is sorcery speed and it only works on the smallest of dorks. Draw two cards however takes a massive dump on the returns of any other sac outlet you are going to find in any way reasonably cost. Other sac outlets also help empower this on bigger dorks too. It is hard not to play this in a deck full of small, cheap creatures and loads of cards that make multiple bodies.

Evolutionary LeapEvolutionary Leap 6.5/10

This is pretty good but it is only something you want if you have ways to win on the back of creatures and a good portion of your creature generation is also on creature cards. If your payoff is all in enchantments and your dorks mainly from non-creature cards then Leap is going to be weak. If you only have a handful of targets, even if they are good and important ones you are still going to get limited value with Leap. Most of these kinds of build do have payoff dorks and a high enough count of dorks for this to be a good value tool. It is only half the return of Skullclamp but it is at least instant speed and covers all your dorks at once. The intensity on green mana using this as a big finisher is an issue however. This is best as a source of value and tutoring rather than a sac outlet but it gets the job done.

Hidden StockpileHidden Stockpile 7.5/10

This is a great all round card for these kinds of deck as it so freely keeps up your momentum. It usually acts as both a Bitterblossom and a Viscera Seer, all be it with a mana cost. It is at least colourless mana. This is comparable to Goblin Bombardment in that it is a nice cheap enchantment that does two things your deck is about. Bombardment is a payoff card and a sac outlet while this is token generation and sac outlet. That is a weaker pairing but also being gold and having a mana cost and a per turn limit all chip away at the relative power of this versus Bombardment. Still almost always worth playing if you are in these colours.

Nezumi Bone-ReaderNezumi Bonereader 3/10
Mind Slash  2/10

Cute cards that afford disruption. Bonereader is a lot better both for price and type reasons. It comes online earlier when discard is best and it feeds your other synergies when it is dead. Sadly that is the issue with both of these cards, they are sac outlets you want to use early for their function but the archetype ideally wants to use sac outlets later in the game when you are setup for it. Mind Slash is targetted rather than enemy choice but I don't think that is enough to offset the downsides. This kind of hand disruption is generally a bit off theme for these kinds of deck, it is not what you are really about so while it is quite good it just isn't that enticing or effective.

Makeshift MunitionsMakeshift Munitions 7/10

The poor man's Goblin Bombardment. Turns out Goblin Bombardment is so good you will play it even with a mana cost to activate! This is almost never better than Bombardment in these archetypes although I have played it over Bombardment in other archetypes. There simply are not enough non-creature artifacts that you want in any of these lists to make Munitions the optimal choice. Those that do make artifacts like Pitiless Plunderer up the value of this for sure and it is more than just a good card without any.

Pitiless Pontiff

Pitiless Pontiff 3/10

The poor man's Cartel Aristocrat. Sometimes the effect is better, sometimes it is worse. Pontif is a better defensive card while Aristocrat is better at getting through. For this deck it is all about cost for sac outlet and in that department Pontiff is well beaten. Play this if desperate but ideally don't.

Ravenous HarpyRavenous Harpy 5/10

This is the alternative to Bloodflow Connoisseur. You get a relevant extra toughness and a powerful flying keyword but you incur a mana cost on the sac outlet greatly reducing your combo and burst potential. This card is sufficiently good that I am OK with that in a lot of the slower versions of this deck. It is vulnerable when first deployed but your whole deck fits that bill somewhat. A lot of the time that extra base toughness will offset the mana cost over Connoisseur in terms of keeping it alive. You can't just sac off your board to keep one big dork alive if those dorks are all you really had going on. Anyway, this is a fine threat come sac outlet. It provides reach and high threat level with a decent return on the sac outlet. It is on-theme and affords the right sort of utility. Despite all this good stuff it is quite a weak card itself and cannot get that impressive a rating as such.

(two or more mana)

This is the group where by the sac outlet is just a nice perk, a bit of on-theme utility. These are not suitable cards for powering up your archetype as the sac cost is just too great for any sort of quick finish. This includes the cards that cost a lot of mana or are limited to one use per turn or even one use period. These are a nice supplement to other good sac outlets, they benefit and provide additional synergies and can often be good inclusions. What they are not is a substitute for a proper 0 mana limitless sac outlet. Play these cards because they are powerful in their own right or play them because they do something your build wants. Don't play them in place of 0 mana sac outlets.

Bontu the GlorifiedBontu, the Glorified 5/10

Very clunky and slow but fairly powerful. A two mana sac outlet is poor showing but the drain effect is spot on for payoff. Bontu also applies a lot of pressure being hard to remove and substantial. He will win some games all by himself and is well supported with other cheap sac outlets and plenty of disposable dorks. He can also be a do nothing which is bad. He can also drain your resources more than the payoff you get for him. Good against midrange but a bit demanding against control, slow against combo and awkward against aggro.

Flesh CarverFlesh Carver 8/10

Three mana is usually a bit much to pay for two bodies in one but this is also an OK sac outlet and generally just a very good card. It gives you some reach, lets you go tall if you want, gives you some Wrath protection and that sort of good stuff. A great turn three play to gain the tempo initiative against both aggressive and slower decks. Flesh Carver is on theme for bodies and for sac outlets and while not up to the premium levels of the best in slot cards he is still perfectly serviceable on those fronts. What really pushes Carver is that he is just great on top of those things. You play Carver in a lot of cube archetypes and pretty happily. Another noteworthy aspect of Carver is that the sac outlet is one of the highest potential value. You get +2/+2 immediately on an evasive body and then you get another +2/+2 later down the line.

MortarpodMortarpod 5/10

Reasonable effect but very slow. Being both two mana to equip and being sorcery speed to do so makes this a pretty shocking comparison to Goblin Bombardment. This does come with a germ which is nice and it can be tutored for more easily. This does a decent job of filling in for better cards but it isn't what you want to be running. It is just a bit too fair.

Vampiric Rites

Vampiric Rites 3/10

This is nice in some ways but it is also just very expensive and highly damaging on your tempo. In the slowest versions of this deck, or those with stupid access to mana from Crytolith Rites I am happy running this but in an aggro list this is not doing a lot. It somewhat boils down to there being loads of things which draw you cards when dorks die and so you just play those over this and better sac outlets that don't cost two mana a time.

Thallid Soothsayer

Thallid Soothsayer 1/10

This is a poor body and an onerous upfront cost. It is vulnerable, low power and slow. I would strongly avoid playing this in heads up cube play but it is on theme... Play Vampiric Rites over this if at all possible.

Qarsi High Priest

Qarsi High Priest 3/10

A sac outlet, a one drop and a producer of non-token creatures. The latter point is an incredibly rare ability in the game. This is a big synergy card even if it isn't a particularly powerful one. It is a slow and not even very mana efficient to make bodies and equally as slow to sacrifice them. A cute on theme utility card. Often it might as well be blank but now and again it will win a game. It reminds me most of Llanowar Mentor. It is a little lower power but it is so well suited to this archetype.

Lyzolda, the Blood WitchLyzolda, the Blood Witch 4/10

If this had a little more toughness it might be rather good. The limitation on effect based on the colour of the card is pretty minor in this archetype. Both are powerful enough on their own, if you get both at once or pair one with some Blood Artist triggers then you are getting a lot of value and progress towards your win. Lyzolda is expensive but fairly powerful and effective. She adds a different build dynamic to the token / non-token and creature / non-creature lines most of the other synergy cards force you to look down. Suddenly your Footlight Fiends and Redcaps jump in value when you pack Lyzolda.

Tymaret, the Murder King

Tymaret, the Murder King 5/10

This dude is fine, he does a couple of jobs fairly well. He is a durable sac outlet with a direct game closing payoff. He is cheap to deploy and not unreasonably costed to sacrifice given the high payoff for doing so. What is best about Tymaret is that he is a synergy support card you don't need to be precious about, you can flop him out turn two in the face of removal or just trade. Having that kind of proactive freedom is a big win for this archetype. Sadly he a bit below par both as a tempo two drop and as a sac outlet payoff enabler.

Recurring Nightmare
Recurring Nightmare 6/10

Very powerful card but neither that good of a sac outlet nor all that exciting in this archetype. Your dorks are typically quite small and so you are not gaining any tempo by recurring them to play. You have few to no big top end cards you can cheat out and no depth of ways to discard such cards if you did. Nightmare is a sorcery speed three mana per go sac outlet and so pretty horrible in that role. It is still a great lategame value tool but then so is Genesis... If you have the big name cards like Seige Gang Commander then Nightmare takes a jump in value. Shriekmaw is always a good one with at and obviously on the X in 1 creatures cards are a big buff to it as well. Mostly you are better off running cards with Raise Dead modes like Liliana, the Last Hope, Kolghan's Command and Wretched Confluence over this what with your dorks being so cheap to play.

Arguel's Blood Fast

Arguel's Bloodfast 4/10

So don't play this as a sac outlet! Not only is it a once per turn job but it isn't even online until you pass through an upkeep on dangerously low life! This is on this list to provide contrast to things like Recurring Nightmare and Vampiric Rites. Simply put, this is a better source of value. Early in the game you want to draw into your combo cards rather than trying to find them in the bin. You also want to pay less for your things and two mana is a pretty cheap rate for a card. The flipped land provides great utility and is at least mildly on theme. You don't really want to be running this but it is a far better card to plug holes in a deck with than a bad card that seems to be more on theme. Certainly play this over Thallid Soothsayer if at all possible! Often play over other actually good cards too. Odds on if you need card draw you are not spoiled for gas in play.

Bankrupt in BloodBankrupt in Blood 1/10

Another way to turn creatures into cards. This is very mana efficient and given how your deck is built it should be fairly low cost in terms of your board. The drawback can even be a positive from time to time. Being limited and one shot and sorcery makes it not a great sac outlet but then really this is just an on-theme card draw tool. Three cards is a lot of draw but it is risky. It is the Cathartic Reunion of this deck. You can get caught with it in hand and unable or unwilling to use it or it can be countered and become pretty ruinous for you. Use with caution and ideally not at all. You just don't want to be caught in a position where this is un-castable. Cheap card draw spells suffer a lot from being conditional.

Costly Plunder

Costly Plunder 5/10

If Bankrupt is the Cathartic Reunion for this deck then Plunder is a much better Tormenting Voice. The dig isn't as deep and the value potential isn't as high but the risks are significantly lower and the conditions far easier to meet. Being instant also allows for further safety, potential value and of course some trickery. Sacrificing artifacts can also come in handy. A good filler card. Certainly a whole lot better than Skulltap which itself isn't totally unplayable.

Kheru BloodsuckerKheru Bloodsucker 3/10

Technically I could have put this in the payoff section. The issue is without something like Mardu Ascendancy this is triggering from hardly anything in your deck at all. This certainly isn't potent enough to be thinking about running chaff like Castle! Sadly it isn't much better as a sac outlet as 3 per go makes it pretty limited. This does become one of the best payoff cards as you tend towards 100% >3 toughness dorks but that is so detrimental that it isn't a good plan at all. I feel like you would struggle to make a playable deck with the bare minimum number of 4 or more toughness dorks in it to even have Bloodsucker be playable on that payoff side of things. One to keep an eye on at least as it does have a lot of potential. It is a vampire so a tribal thing has some chance with ease of buffing tribally. That would be a hybrid deck as you most certainly also want to be taking advantage of the attacking buff by getting into combat as well!

Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Kalitas 5.5/10

As sac outlets go Kalitas is shocking. He is three mana per sac and can only do two creature types. As a token producer Kalitas is stronger but still unreliable. This archetype is typically thin on removal and as such getting triggers with Kalitas is hard. Kalitas is best in this deck, much like in most other places, as a high power card with massive option gating for your opponent. He comes down and suddenly no chumps or trades are going down. The lifegain is nice too, it really puts wind up the aggressive decks. Kalitas is like an amped up Flesh Carver, he does a couple of things you want, but poorly, yet he is carried by his high overall power level.

High MarketHigh Market 2/10

A reliable and hard to disrupt sac outlet card but sadly it is low return and just a once per turn effect. The cost of colourless lands on your mana base is high and the returns here don't feel worth the cost. I would play this if I was light on sac outlets but had a great mana base. I can't see me playing this in a three colour deck ever, likely only in a mono one. Even then there are just more potent lands I would want to use up my colourless allowance on.

Phyrexian Tower

Phyrexian Tower 7/10

Two mana (or even the effective one that you get) is a whole lot better than one life. This also isn't always colourless. You can do some naughty starts with this. Turn two four drops courtesy of Blisterpod anyone? This is more of a utility ramp card in this archetype than it is a sac outlet but it is both and it is pretty good. It gives you loads of options and an impressive amount of tempo in the right situation. I am generally pretty happy to play this in any black aristocrat list these days. It adds worthwhile things and is low risk and low cost to do so.

Stronghold Assassin
Stronghold Assassin 3/10

In the way that Tower was foremost ramp and only a sac outlet as a secondary function Assassin is very much a removal card first. Broadly I would look to play things like Ravenous Chupacabra over this as they are just more reliable but the ceiling on Assassin is far higher. If you want to highroll people, or just know they lack the appropriate disruption than this is the dude for you. A must kill card for most creature based plans.

Priest of Forgotten Gods

Priest of Forgotten Gods 8/10

Although a slow and limited sacrifice outlet it is very cheap and offers fairly substantial returns. Getting BB and a card is not far off the cost of two bodies in most of these builds and so this pretty much taps to deal two and Edict in addition to triggering all the on death effects you have in your deck. This is a must kill card which makes it a nice addition that will tax opposing removal. More of a grinding value card than a combo kill tool but it has proven more than potent enough to play in any list that can easily produce sacrificial fodder. This is a mashup of Grim Lavamancer and Deathrite Shaman and is well worthy of the same kind of respect.

Braids, Cabal Minion 6
Smokestack 7

These are interesting sac outlets that take the archetype in yet another direction. The idea here is still to use a lot of the same support cards but rather than winning through direct drain and damage effects and the sacrifice triggers you win through denial of your opponents resources while yours persist or are simply more efficient when under constant erosion. Due to the reasonable overlap in support you can just run one or a smattering of cards like this and they will give you options and alternate routes to victory. You can also go full on with such a plan and entirely abandon the synergies with Blood Artist etc. The latter I would consider a different archetype but the transition from this one to that one is smooth and continuous.

Death CloudDeath Cloud 4
Smallpox 3

These are the one off versions of Braids and Smokestack. Both are good cards and both will tend to favour you more than your opponent both by your timing discretion and your build. It is a little more demanding being setup to handle the self inflicted hand disruption but far from impossible. Smallpox is usually a supporting card for the other three (Cloud, Braids and Stack) bigger effect cards and playing it signifies you are moving further away from the Blood Artistry archetype. Cloud is a little high up the curve to really abuse unless you are green and using mana boost effects. Both of these cards are good but they are pretty narrow in where and how you use them. Not things to just throw into decks willy nilly. Devastatingly good when good but hard to build to maximize that outcome and even more complex when doing so from the starting point of a Blood Artist archetype.

Bound by Moonsilver

Bound by Moonsilver 1/10

This is pretty poor as sac outlets go being limited to once per turn. Where it has mild merit is that it is white and white has few other sac outlets to speak of. It is also not a dead card by any means, you get decent utility out of it. All told the removal aspect is more useful to this archetype than the sac outlet which is so poor it barely merits attention. The only really noteworthy thing about this is that it can sac any permanent. If you want a white sac outlet play one of the ones that properly work as sac outlets, if you want removal play a good removal card. Avoid playing this unless somehow you really need a white card that facilitates the sacrifice of any permanent. Sounds like the stuff of other archetypes.

Westvale AbbeyWestvale Abbey 7/10

My favourite of the colourless lands for this deck. Abbey provides a lot of reach and utility. You rarely make tokens with it but it is nice to have that option on a land. Where it really shines is just being a mass sacrifice effect for the win or a 9/7 demon of winning for the win. Abbey provide huge reach and it does so well. It is a pretty low cost to include, breaks most stalls and gives you a much bigger edge in the late game than any other land is offering by quite some margin. On several occasions I have just won with Abbey in this archetype when I reach six mana. It is very easy to have five guys in play by that stage and so if you are confident of dodgy answers it is a great play. It is still good even against bounce and exile effects as it is such a threat and such burst. It is 14 uncounterable damage with just one Blood Artist effect in play which means tapping out as a control deck, even with Force of Will up, is risky business.

Emrakul's Evangel

Emrakul's Evangel 2/10

An instant speed mass sacrifice outlet at no mana cost and with impressive returns. The issue with this is that it is a one time sac outlet and it is affected by summoning sickness. Green isn't overdone with sac outlets but then you don't much need them if you are not in other colours anyway. All green does with loads of dorks is Overrun and make mana! Certainly a 3/2 token per sacrificee is about as good as you will find as a payoff but it is trading like for like. It is not dissimilar to playing an anthem effect when used on small dorks. Really you want to convert dorks into cards, mana or damage and so this has very limited appeal.

God-Eternal BontuGod-Eternal Bontu 6.5

This is a potent card that can perform a couple of different roles in these kinds of deck. Obviously it is a big one shot sacrifice effect that can be used for the combo kill. You waste the rest of the functionality in doing so and could just be using a cheap card like Plunge into Darkness for the same effect but that is missing the point. When you win it is all good and Bontu does a whole lot more for you than Plunge or indeed when you are not directly winning as a result of it. Bontu is a fine dork in his own right. He is big and solid and a pain to deal with. He is resistant to most removal and awkward to block. In a game of attrition Bontu is the kind of card you want. He is good when you have a board stall and when you can't develop a board. The persistence and value he brings give him a significant degree of inevitability which is nice. This archetype likes to build up things and when it can't it is pretty pathetic. Trying to beat down with a bunch of one power two drops isn't a great way to win games. Because of the synergies you want in these decks there are not many impressive, effective or powerful stand alone cards you are able to run. Bontu is one such card and this makes him impressively appealing. He is very high up the curve which is the only thing really keeping his rating so low. Bontu is also incredibly effective in between his two poles of performance. When you have some stuff but are not in a position to win with a mass sacrifice. Bontu is fantastic value then as so many of your cards cheaply make multiple permanents. You get to cash in all your spare crap and get a huge refill of gas at minimal cost. The archetype is so naturally cheap you can usually afford to sac back down to four lands, sometimes even three if you are feeling brave. Bontu is value, he is a threat, he is an enabler, he has inevitability and presence and is able to bring a lot of power in an a-typical way to the archetype.

Cabal TherapyCabal Therapy 3/10

A one time sorcery speed sac outlet. Useful if you have specific cards you want to die like Veteran Explorer or the classic Academy Rector. As a way to just up your sacrifice potential this is poor. Doubly so as you rarely have space for much hand disruption. That you do have tends to be on the back of dorks which isn't optimal for Therapy. You want to Therapy after you have Duressed someone so it can be informed yet still early in the game. It wants to be the 3rd or 4th Discard spell you include in your list and not the first and a similar thing applies to the timing of it. Sure, it is great to follow a Sin Collector with a Therapy but by then it is likely all a bit late in the day. There is a vast difference on the effectiveness of hand disruption from turn two to turn four. Therapy is less on theme in these decks than it would seem. Generally I would look to play cards like Thougthsieze, Pilfering Imp, Collective Brutality and Kitesail Freebooter in its place. I might even look to Ravenous Rats style of cards in preference if for some reason I want to attack people's hands.

HecatombHecatomb 6/10

This is almost more of the focal point of a deck than the Blood Artist would be if played properly. You would be pretty happy saccing off a Blood Artist as one of the 4 dorks needed to play this. There would be plenty of overlap with this an a Blood Artist deck due to the nature of both wanting good things to sacrifice and so they would look and play similarly. A Hecatomb build would be mono or heavy black and focus less on other sacrifice tools. It would likely have a bit more hand disruption as well so as to protect the high value Hecatomb. Once in play you will win quickly and safely with a Hecatomb. So while this is a sac outlet of sorts it really isn't how or why you play it. You play it because it is devastating end game and control and you play it in this kind of deck because that is how you support it.

Last-Ditch Effort

Last Ditch Effort 4/10

Super cheap, and sneakily instant with a perfect payoff. It is a little low value returns on the cost but that is fine given how on point it is in the rest of what it does. You can use it as a Shock style card in the early game if needed or a finisher in the late game. Sadly it is miles away from the Goblin Bombardment you want it to be. These decks are so stretched that you want to avoid conditional cards, those that are not also dorks and those that only offer their synergy support once. This is either perfect, onerous or dead and it certainly isn't going to the former of those three as much as it needs to be to be a big name in this kind of deck. Certainly playable but likely as a way of making up for a  better card you don't have.

Plunge into DarknessPlunge into Darkness 4/10

This is a Tutor to set you up or a mass sac outlet to try and close out the game. Life gain is nice but it isn't helping you at the same time as winning with a mass sacrifice. Either you are desperate and buying some time at great expense or you are winning and wasting 3X life. Not a biggie if you are winning but it isn't a boost to the value of the card. Tutors are nice but paying life early is risky and more so is the tempo cost of spending two mana to do nothing. So much so that Vampiric and then Imperial Seal would be my first two tutors of choice for their minimal tempo cost. In draft I find I need to lean on tutors fairly often with a nearly great version of the deck just lacking the redundancy in one area. When you can construct your deck you should always try and build with redundancy over tutors where possible. Also, in general, both one off mass sacrifice effects and those limited to once per turn are overly restrictive. You want the control over how and when you sacrifice dudes, sometimes it will be a drip fed affair where you block and sac for incremental value and others you will dump things and go off out of nowhere. All these cards that limit you on these options are pretty poor sac outlets and need to be something you want primarily for other aspects of the card. This isn't a bad card as such but it looks a lot better than it actually is.

Torgaar, Famine Incarnate
Torgaar, Famine Incarnate 3/10

A poor sac outlet for many reasons but a potent return on doing so. You can have some pretty filthy openers with this and it scales fairly well into the late game. It is always huge and offers significant damage output or potentially even some life gain. Where this falls down is that it isn't really that much of a help to your plan. Your deck is a synergy deck and cramming in clunky random high powered stuff isn't a huge help. Now if this made tokens or had an ongoing sac outlet on it then I would be all over it but as it stands I think it is a card more suited to a Hecatomb deck as a backup powerful thing to do with sacrificial chumps.

Whisper, Blood Liturgist

Whisper, Blood Liturgist 3.5/10

Slow and vulnerable in all ways and limited as a sac outlet but otherwise a very useful all round card. It is a body, it is recursion, it is potentially value of sorts too, and it is a sac outlet all be it a capped one. Being able to do the effect at any speed makes the card quite tricky and pushes it into the realms of playable. It outclasses Recurring Nightmare in that the extra dork you need to sac is worth less in general than the three mana needed to replay Nightmare. Also in that it is itself a dork and thus at worst contributes to your fuel itself. There are a vast array of poor statted, poor tempo four drop dorks you can run in this kind of deck, you can get away with one or two in a list to plug some holes but too many is going to make your deck bad.


Dreadmalkin 3

This is an OK all round card you can pad out a list with. The cost on the sacrifice ability is rather too high to really lean on it but it is better than not having access to one at all. Beyond that the card is a cheap dork itself with zombie type. It can be a Carrion Feeder like threat and it can do some reasonable work on defense. Cheap utility filler but pretty low power.

Spark Reaper

Spark Reaper 2

A mild upgrade to Thallid Soothsayer in most ways. It is less to play, has zombie types, gains life and can eat planewalkers even though you almost never will! Much as this is still a bad Vampiric Rites it does come on a body itself which makes it a lot more playable overall. I can see myself running this when I need a little bit more of the things it does and am simply looking for some filler cards. Low power but not awful suitability.

Creature Generation

This is just the section about what dorks and things that make them that are ideal for these decks. As these are just the bulk filler of the deck and the most redundant aspect by a long way I have focused on the good stuff. It is also broken down into colours and within them should be in mana cost order. While one of the less critical areas of your deck, in that it would be super hard to hate draft you out of this archetype by taking cards from this group, it is the area that makes up the majority of your non-land deck. It will determine a lot about how your deck plays and is not just a case of playing the highest rated cards. You want to sculpt your dork section so that it fits what you are doing as best it can while retaining as a high a power and low a cost as possible!

Doomed Traveler

Doomed Traveler 7.7
Hunted Witness 7.5

One of the better reasons to be white. These are some of the best supporting dorks for the deck being so cheap and effective. You get a pair of 1/1s for half the going rate and the first is a non-token and the second flies or has lifelink! The archetype is also not overdone with 1 drops so any good one drop you can find that is on theme has added value. These are cheap and afford you exactly what you want. They are not what you call powerful cards but they are no slouches either. They get you off to a great start while still having large impacts later in the game. The only downside to such cards is needing to be a bit heavier white to reliably play one mana spells on turn one.

Legion's LandingLegion's Landing 7.7

Two permanents in one card for one mana can be nice for Smokestack style builds but that is narrow. Mostly this is good in this deck in the same way it is good generally and that is for the midgame mana boost and the late game value generation without having a significant early game cost. All the elements of this card aid the synergies of this archetype making this one of the best homes for this card. It does need decks that can attack for the flip trigger but that is not a big ask. Attacking is often one of your sac outlets!

Thraben Inspector

Thraben Inspector 6

Never a bad card in any archetype it seems! Mostly this is good for being a "free" body and a one drop in addition to just being a great all round little card. Mana is tight in this deck, especially in two mana chunks. A great filler card and curve smoother but only something I want to play in this archetype when I have artifact synergies on the go as well, or as with Landing, a Smokestack build. That or a gap in my one drops but in white you should be better off in that area.

Sacred CatSacred Cat 6.5

This compares poorly to Landing, Traveler and the one drop cards like it. You get weaker bodies, less value, less mana efficiency and that sort of thing. You have little in the way of discard synergies to further empower it. It is still mostly 2 bodies for 2 mana and 2 bodies in one card and so does tick all the boxes for being a support tool. The fact that you mostly want to sac things off minimizes the drawback this has compared to things like Raise the Alarm as you get easily get the Cat in the bin to eternalize it! Cat is not a card you desperately want to play but it is far better than playing an off theme card and not having the right ratios and curves. It does have several perks over things like Raise the Alarm ranging from being non-token in part, to having a nicer breakdown of cost, not to mention the lifelink all over.

Mother of Runes

Mother of Runes 5 - 8

The value of Mother really depends on how many dorks you have that you need to protect. If you are mostly tokens and enchantments then Mother is poor while if you have all the Blood Artist dudes or the prowess token generators Mother will be yet another must kill cheap dork and will absolutely steal some games. Mass removal is an issue for Mother still and so she is not a cover all protection card by any means.

Gather the TownsfolkRaise the Alarm 6.8
Gather the Townsfolk 7
Servo Exhibition 6.5

All basically the same in these kinds of deck which is two mana for two 1/1 vanilla dorks. The instant aspect of Raise is OK but given that these decks are like 50% two drops a lot of the time if you leave up two mana people are pretty wise to your likely plays. Gather is actually nuts when you trigger the fateful hour and not overly risky to do with lifegain and life payment things you can run in the deck to get you there. Exhibition even has some merit for potential artifcat synergies. There are not loads of such things in this archetype but they are out there. One thing to be mindful of is that if you are going down the prowess route you really need these white two drops as they provide dorks and spells. Without a good four of these kinds of card you are going to be short on dorks or on prowess activators.

Precinct CaptainPrecinct Captain 4

While this is a great card and seemingly very on theme it is awkward in many ways. Double white is a chore for any deck that isn't heavy or mono white and these decks are rarely more than 50% white, often being more in the 20-33% range. Next up with the issues is needing to attack and connect to generate those extra bodies. When this deck attacks it is typically because it is going super wide. Rarely will you be in a position to force through a Captain with removal or trickery. It winds up having a poor floor and a ceiling that is in the win more area.

Steward of SolidaritySteward of Solidarity 4.5

Not a great card but still manages to outperform the much more powerful Precinct Captain being neither double white nor needing to attack to make the extra bodies. The more controlling your build seems to be the better this will be in it. It even keeps pace with Bitterblossom for three turns in terms of dorks on the board!

Tithe Taker

Tithe Taker 7.5

A lovely cheap two in one card with impressive stand alone power and disruptive effect. This mildly protects your stuff and provides a surprising degree of option gating. It is annoying to play against and low value to kill. A total of 2 bodies, 3/2 of stats with partial flying and the option gating all add up to the best of these two in one two drop creatures.

Martyr of DuskMartyr of Dusk 6.5

The bad Tithe Taker with no disruption and a poorer token. Still perfectly playable but just a filler card.

Loyal Cathar 4

Despite being a lot of stats on a two bodies in one card and a rare two non-token bodies in one card as well the Cathar has some critical downsides. The WW cost is a biggy in a deck that is low to the ground and usually two or three colours. The other is that you don't get your 2nd body back right away making it pretty slow. The marginal stats and stuff are all secondary, you play cards like this for the two in one bodies and Cathar is simply too inconvenient in that primary role.

Blade SplicerBlade Splicer 6

Two bodies in one on card that has good stand alone power level. Blade Splicer leaves a decent impression on a board being hard to attack through and good at threatening planeswalkers. It has some synergies with flicker effects but they are uncommon in go wide plans. Ultimately this is not a very efficient way to get two bodies but it is more punchy than the cheaper alternatives. I wouldn't go out of my way to play this but if I found myself needing what it offered I wouldn't be unhappy running it. Great stand alone power and reasonably well suited to the archetype.

Hallowed SpiritkeeperHallowed Spiritkeeper 8

While rather contingent on having creatures in the bin Spiritkeeper is absolutely one of the most powerful cards you can use for going wide. With a sac outlet you don't even need things in the bin yet, you can just sac your other creatures first and get that extra free spirit for each.  This is decent tempo, reasonable stand alone power level and pretty extreme scaling. The only real issues with the card are reasonably heavy white commitment and wanting some build support. Both easy things to cover in build and support and usually worth it for the extreme value and synergy this offers. While certainly a card that falls on the side of wanting creature cards and not non-creature token generation cards it is powerful enough that you will fairly happily play it in either given the mana base.

Promise of Bunrei

Promise of Bunrei 7

Narrow but super potent. Promise offers more bodies per mana and bodies per card than any other low cost token producer. While it needs other dorks and sac outlets to be functional that is what your build is trying to do and so shouldn't struggle too much with those things. Outside of this kind of archetype the card is pretty unplayable and so you shouldn't see this in most drafting cubes. If you expect to be able to reliably cast and trigger this then you should probably be playing it.

Spectral ProcessionSpectral Procession 4

While this card is amazing it is not that well suited to this archetype. White lacks the tools to utilize tokens outside of combat. White is great at producing the tokens but less great at using them for things and needs to be paired with other colours and that is the problem. When you pair your Procession with non-white cards you have a much weaker card. Even white weenie decks with Procession you have to think carefully about any colourless land you might want to run. Flying is great but you are not looking for combat advantages in Blood Artistry decks and so really Hordeling Outburst or Sram's Expertise is just a more convenient version of what this does for you. They are easier to cast and produce the same number of bodies. Procession is really an aggressive card, it is an amazing one too but it is just too hard to play in this archetype effectively.

Monastery MentorMonastery Mentor 6+

Supremely powerful card as one might expect with its restriction in vintage. Typically Mentor is better in aggressive Boros decks or tricksy tempo cawblade style Azorius decks. They have not just a higher density of spells in their pool of playables but those spells are also better suited to supporting Mentor in an attacking role. The prowess element is rather wasted in a Blood Artist deck. It is all a bit thin trying to make a spell heavy list that would suitably abuse Mentor. He is likely at his best in the hybrid decks that have some token payoff and some attacking payoff cards. You can make mentor a lot more playable if you build with him in mind but that is too much effort for a replaceable support card. That means you only play Mentor when you are desperate or things happen to naturally align in a creature light way. On average Goblin Rabblemaster will outclass Mentor but it is hard to deny the ceiling on the card. This is turn makes it entirely possible for him to win a game effectively by himself or at least force opponents into extreme over reactions. A mixed bag of a card. Sometimes he is the best thing you can have, others he is a trap.

History of Benalia
History of Benalia 6

A fairly slow two bodies in one card. Certainly you get a lot more power out of this than you do with a Raise the Alarm style of card but that power is mostly in an attacking form. The vigilance and third act are all but wasted if this is purely a defensive card. It is also fairly heavy white making it less appealing to the archetype on average. Certainly it is a powerful card that is broadly on theme. I will happily include it in a list but you can almost always do better as a three drop for this archetype. The more combat orientated and aggressive you are the better this is in the build at least.

Lingering SoulsLingering Souls 9

Just so very good. You don't care about over paying for flying, the card is four bodies in one with protection against discard and counter magic all at an affordable rate. Linger has been the best reason to have white in a black deck or black in a white deck since Innistrad and that is no different in the Blood Artistry archetypes. It remains the best token producer and one of the biggest pulls to Orzhov. Some time it is just a very efficient and convenient token producer that helps out the rest of your deck considerably. Other times it will just be enough to conventionally win the game all by itself!

Midnight Haunting

Midnight Haunting 4

Fine and playable but not really what you are looking for. The instant and flying elements are certainly perks but you are much more into bodies to cost ratios than the benefits of flying. Mostly this is just a bad Raise the Alarm. That being said these decks are fairly two drop heavy and one drop light making it so you can often get away with shifting some things from the two slot to the three slot. While decent when compared to two drops you should be trying to pack real power into your three slot and Haunting lacks that accolade.

Brimaz, King of OreskosBrimaz, King of Oreskos 7

This is one of my favourite places to play Brimaz although I do feel like he is a massively overrated card in general. What makes Brimaz weak normally is that the tokens die immediately in most combats. That makes Brimaz feel like he is just a 3/4 with vigilance and bushido when blocking! When in this kind of deck however you are getting to drain with your Artist or ping with your Bombardment with each token and that makes Brimaz a whole lot more value. Having him be more relevant and value generating in turn makes his hardiness more rewarding too. He brings a solid amount of board control to the part too which is nice. In general however the archetype is not great at combat and will often need to do a lot of chump blocking so as to buy the required time. Brimaz can stop an opposing assault dead. So often will Brimaz block and kill something, then eat a burn spell to finish him off resulting in basically a 3 for 1 with the residual 1/1 token remaining.

Recruiter of the Guard
Recruiter of the Guard 5

Slow and clunky but fairly well suited to these builds. Recruiter finds all your Blood Artist style cards, a few other payoff cards, and most of the good sac outlets. It is support by finding an important support card and by being an extra free body to fuel things further. The ideal builds won't play this as they already have good ratios of things but any build with a deficit will look to cards like this to mitigate that. Much better in the slower builds than the aggressive ones obviously.

Ministrant of Obligation

Minstrant of Obligation 7.5

One of the few three in one three drops on offer. The card is initially low power but fantasticaly on theme. It is more consistent than Hallowed Spirikeeper and generally easier to work with. Once popped it is pretty high value and overall power (assuming something good came of the 2/1 starting body). This is efficient, affordable, playable and pretty spot on for what you want in this kind of supporting card. It is annoying for control players to deal with and a pretty good defensive chump to handle aggression with.

Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Elspeth, Knight-Errant 7.5

A powerful top end token producer that provides potent reach and board control. Elspeth is a bit off theme being best for attacking with however she does make tokens and is very good so translates well into this archetype. Indestructible permanents is also about as good as it gets in this archetype, not that Knight-Errant needs her ultimate to be strong. You will win most games with her well before that is an option.

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Gideon, Ally of Zendikar 7

Better tokens is not much of a thing in this archetype, you would prefer loyalty gains in most cases as per Knight-Errant. Her attacking mode is more useful as well with the ability to use it right away and the evasion it offers. It just makes her much better against opposing walkers. Gideon does however brings that Anthem emblem option that can prove most useful when you have a board full of small dorks and tokens. High power and versatility with mild theme perks is what you get with Ally of Zendikar.

Elspeth TirelElspeth Tirel 6.5

While normally one of the weaker white walkers Tirel gains most in this archetype. Her +2 is frequently massive, the -2 is a lot of immediate presence and potential fuel and the -5 is potentially ruinous for opponents while easily negligible for us. If you want to dust off Tirel for some play this is one of the best archetypes to do so in. Her lack of combat buffs is not relevant for this archetype's game plan and so having those things replaced with broad utility, greater immediacy, and rate on token production is a big win. She is one of few five drops I am happy running in this archetype outside of green. Sun's Champion is obviously better but that leap to six is really hard to support. This archetype is about synergy, most six drops win by themselves. You are better off either ramping and surviving to six mana without synergy and just winning with your six drops if you want to play them!

Hero of BladeholdHero of Bladehold 4

Overrated in general and ill suited for this deck. As a token producer Hero is slow and unreliable. It needs to survive and then attack and then have those tokens to survive combat to be a token producer as such. Obviously like Brimaz you can put these tokens to use with sac outlets before they are chumps but that requires you to have such things. The difference is simply that Brimaz is better defensively in all ways and costs less for a comparable threat. Hero is an attacking card and wants to be in a deck that is setup to attack effectively. High stand alone power keeps this playable but it is not what you are looking to run. Hero makes you vulnerable to all kinds of removal. For a generic high power top end card with mild theme ties play a planeswalker that will evade a Wrath, don't play this junk if you can help it.

Emeria Angel
Emeria Angel 4

A cute little ongoing token producer but sadly a little slow and vulnerable. To get good returns on this it is really a five drop card you immediately follow with a land, ideally a sac land. Then you want to make land each turn there after. That is not really what this deck does. After getting to about four mana it tends not to care that much for extra lands and often curves up past that point very slowly. Emeria is going to die a lot before she makes enough tokens to have been a good include. I wouldn't play her unless I had good card draw so as to make land drops reliably past four mana. In a deck without card draw you are going to be playing a Phantom Monster a lot of the time and that is miserable.

Sram's ExpertiseSram's Expertise 7

A surprisingly good card in this deck. It is one of the best four drops you can make on curve simply for how much overall tempo it provides. It lets you flop out a load of tokens onto the board and something that can work with them as well. Any two or three drop follow up is a big old swing and will let you grab control of the game. Expertise is a lot of bodies in one card at impressively low, if variable and precondition locked, cost. It is high enough power that as a late game draw with no stuff in hand to play of use it is still fine.

Battle Screech

Battle Screech 4

This is a little hard to abuse. The ceiling on it is arguably above Lingering Souls but it is a lot less convenient to setup in getting there. Typically you are forced into playing this all in one go thus not helping you bait out mass removal effects like Souls does. You are paying a little more for the flying on these tokens and you mostly just want the bodies, as such the tempo of it is pretty mediocre. More of an aggressive tool to play with team buffs and less of a pure token generator despite being a fairly tidy four in one card that retains the efficient mana per body ratio. Given that you cannot reasonably make this archetype in mono white due to zero effective payoff cards, and that many of whites token generation now produces artifacts it is not even certain that you can flash this back right away even with some board presence.

Angel of InventionAngel of Invention 5.5/10

Three bodies in one card plus an Anthem effect. Nice utility and scaling potential too. This has some reasonable finishing capacity while also being a solid recovery play all the while being nicely on theme. One of only a few five drops I am happy playing. High stand alone power is a nice thing to have on some of your cards what with so many having low stand alone power. It can make winning through heavy disruption tricky and so flopping out this bad boy in the appropriate mode gets a lot done. A tad too vulnerable and expensive for my liking despite the seemingly good suitability.

Increasing Devotion

Increasing Devotion 3/10

Five bodies in one card and at a decent rate of mana per dork. While potent this is just a support card and thus too far up the curve to really be worth playing. Where this does jump in power is in combination with things like Pitiless Plunderer, Pawn of Ulamog, Crytolith Rite and Ashnod's Altar. All of these mana production synergy tools facilitate the flashback on this card (which is utterly unrealistic in builds without the mana tools). When you can flop out 10 or 15 bodies on one card that is going to get it done.

ReveillarkReveillark 3.5/10

This is nuts in the right setting but both a clunky five drop and terrible when lacking worthwhile targets. Although you usually have two things in the bin when you get to five mana are they things you really want back? If so then Reveillark is great but if not then it is fairly unexciting. It does get back most of your best cards and it is three non-token bodies in one card but it is also vulnerable to graveyard hate. I much prefer my recursion to come on cheaper cards with higher utility and less situational issues.

Cloudgoat Ranger

Cloudgoat Ranger 5/10

The original white Siege-Gang. Not as good by a long way despite the extra +1/+1 in total size. Mostly this is just a slightly different take on Angel of Invention, it is more bodies and more versatility in combat. It is a reasonably recovery tool and a reasonable card to close the game out on its own or with support. It is a little lower power than the Angel but they are sufficiently close that I am perfectly happy with either if I need some top end meat.


Khalni GardenKhalni Garden 8.5/10

Outstanding card for any green deck wanting a token presence. Also fine for non-green decks but a colourless, comes into play tapped land is a big ask on most cube mana bases. This is just a free 0/1 which is pretty huge given what you can do with tokens. It might technically cost you a mana but it comes at no card cost or deck space cost and that is massive. Two guys for one mana and one card is great as per the cards below but one guy for one mana and no cards is more than twice as good! It is in fact half as good and then infinitely better! A reasonable example of why maths isn't a perfect way to analyse cards in magic. Regardless of that, this is your best on-theme one drop in most ways this archetype can muster.

Tukatongue Thallid

Blisterpod / Young Wolf / Tukatongue Thallid 7.8

The Doomed Travelers of green. Overall the power level of all four of these one mana two in one cards is super comparable. As soon as you have sac outlets these cards are very efficient fuel and generally pretty good ways to start out the game clogging up the board and generally being annoying. Having this depth of support cards in the one slot, especially if you include the Garden, is a big part of why green is a desirable support colour for the archetype. You can be setup and be in a threatening position far quicker when you are not so locked into making two drops. It is just so much more convenient. Each of these has perks that scale fairly well in the right build.

Birds of ParadiseMana Dorks 6

These tend to be weaker than usual in these builds. Those that fix hold value a little better but generally these are not what you are looking for. Especially as green has the most on offer in terms of two for one dorks in the one slot thus reducing the need of ramming in utility cards to pad out the slot. The main reason these are not so appealing is that most of the green token decks seem to want to abuse Cryptolith Rite and similar cards which effectively turns Llanowar Elves into Willow Elf! Not a good include in any list.

Veteran Explorer

Veteran Explorer 5

These are pretty good against most decks however they are abusive against decks with one or less targets for it. The more mana sinks and card draw you run the better this is and green is pretty good at both of those things in this archetype. The risk comes when your opponent picks them off and gets the first go on the extra mana while having a deck with serious game winning top end. You just fold when you double ramp your opponent into their Inferno Titan. You might have the ability to spend a lot of mana but you don't tend to have much in the way of big powerful game winning swing cards and risk folding to those who do. Potent but not a risk I think you need to take with these decks.

Llanowar MentorLlanowar Mentor 3/10

Super slow to act as ramp and still fairly slow and costly as a token producer. I find this best as a discard outlet (as opposed to ramp or token producer) and this archetype rarely has cause to play such things. In a deck with abundant card draw effects I am happier playing this but without it the cost is far too great. You only really want mana dorks early, ideally turn one and Mentor can't do that.
Saproling Migration

Saproling Migration 7.5

This is the best of the various two mana for two 1/1 instants or sorceries. It has the solid base of two mana for two 1/1 creature tokens but it has the best upside. Being able to throw out four 1/1 tokens when you are flush with mana makes this a fairly hard hitter. In other colours that might be a bit infrequent but green gets to six often and at good pace. The token type is ideal for this as well. A spot on support card. Not obscenely powerful or anything, just entirely suitable and as good as it gets for that kind of thing.

Fists of IronwoodFists of Ironwood 4.5

By contrast to Migration this is likely the worst of the two mana two 1/1 guys cards. It needs a target and it can be countered with removal or protection effects. You can bypass this if your opponent has targets but you have to give away some trample which is not ideal when your defenses are primarily 1/1s. Still, you need these effects and if you are green you may well need this. It can be useful in Smokestack builds as another free permanent to sac.

Sprout Swarm

Sprout Swarm 7.5

This is a surprisingly potent tool. It provides that Cryptolith Rite feel without having to include those kinds of cards. Sprout Swarm just says get a free token at the end of the opponent's turn for every five dorks and/or spare mana you have. Being instant works perfectly with your game plan of sitting back and amassing tokens as it lets you represent blockers. It also scales nicely with itself allowing you to get to nice high numbers of tokens fast. That last token is nearly free as well as you don't need to buy it back if it is making fatal. Sprout Swarm is not a good early game card but it is unlimited gas in a fairly safe way. One of the more enticing reasons to be green and making tokens.

Jade MageJade Mage 6 - 8

This is the other good two mana ongoing token generator in green. While a lot more efficient than Sprout Swarm it is more easily disrupted and needs more tools to be able to get out of control as Swarm can on a bloated stagnant board. This is dangerously good, better than Young Pyromancer good, when you have silly mana production courtesy of Cradle or Crytolith Rites etc but it is much more on the fair to unimpressive side without. When saproling or mana themed, as many green variants of this archetype seem to be then I would try and run this. It has a sufficiently high ceiling  for such a cheap card to make up for the relatively low floor. It can often scare people into overreacting as well due to the inevitability it comes with, regardless of how slow such things might be.

Brindle Shoat

Brindle Shoat 6.5

Two bodies in one and with overall impressively high stats. You are not really looking for stats in these kinds of deck however and with this being back loaded it is not the worlds most impressive tempo card. It can significantly ward off attacks from a couple of 2/1s but the range and value of what attacks it wards off are not that extensive. It is a mild disincentive to mass removal but not enough that you really consider it protection. Really this is a bad Young Wolf but it is still sufficiently on-theme and high powered in a role you need but that isn't overly flush with options that you will play this most of the time.

Strangleroot GeistStrangleroot Geist 6

Another two in one with good stats and this one is more evenly distributed on the stats, has haste and is a creature card in both of its lives. Sadly the double green cost about offsets that and just leaves you with another very average filler card.  Certainly playable and a nice early way to gain a tempo boost but ultimately it is your mana dictating the viability of this.

Viridian Emissary

Viridian Emissary 4

This is OK but not good, you are not looking to sac dorks early or to ramp all that much and so this feels like it is a little too off theme. It is just one body and the value it comes with isn't making up for the lack of more bodies. Where this does shine is as a defensive card. This will stop most attacks on curve as ramping you from two to four while taking out an attacker is just too much cost. The more mana sinks and top end you have the better this gets. The same is true of symmetrical resource denial. Generally I am going to play one of the 1/1 dorks for two that find lands when I play them over this though.

Sylvan RangerElvish Visionary 6
Satyr Wayfinder 6
Sylvan Ranger 6

These are just filler but they are good on theme filler. They thin the deck and allow the build to be more focused. In a vacuum Visionary is slightly better but the others are a more useful aid in assisting land ratios making it occasionally more desirable on that front. Wayfinder also empowers any graveyard based cards which in turn can push it above Visionary in power as well. Lovely cards to help you reliably set up and curve.

Nest InvaderNest Invader 7

One of the very best two mana two in one cards out there. This is good stats, good utility, part creature card, part self sacrificing, and all front loaded. Still not as good as Blisterpod for this archetype though! This trend of being less useful continues as you go up the curve with cards that produce either Eldrazi Scions or Spawn. Most are playable with a couple of 2 bodies at three mana and a couple more three bodies at four mana. While they have reasonable utility the slow late game mana burst they offer isn't usually something these decks crave. I imagine there is some clever way of abusing the Eldrazi tokens which in turn makes all of the mediocre cards something you want for that build. Until such plans are discovered you won't be needing any of the Eldrazi cards left off this list. Even Awakening Zone isn't all that exciting for this archetype simply being a slow and low powered ongoing token producer.

Fungal PlotsFungal Plots 4

A good all round card that offers both token generation and a sac outlet. It is a bit too pricey and unreliable as a token producer to run on just that basis. Although the card draw works with the tokens it produces it is not good enough at producing for that to be good either unless you are heavily into the business of making saproling tokens already. In the Slimefoot decks this is great. Otherwise it is probably not getting there. Potent but marked down for being so exclusive.

Turntimber Sower

Turntimber Sower 3.5

I didn't really know where to put this as it is both a token producer and a sac outlet yet it is so bad at both that placing it in either list felt like a bit of a stretch! Sower only makes plants when lands go to the bin and that is not a commonly found synergy in these decks. If you are running a Smokestack deck then this looks pretty decent for support. If you happen to have loads of sac lands and some discard effects then perhaps it gets there too. If you can average a 0/1 a turn then this is great as a token producer but I suspect that is very hard to do. The sac outlet isn't free but it is cheap. Sadly it is pretty awkward having to come in chunks of three dorks and having to have a target land in the bin. The returns for sacrificing your three dorks is also pretty pathetic!

Nissa, Voice of ZendikarNissa, Voice of Zendikar 7.5

A lovely little token generator. Nissa will spit out a 0/1 every turn at worst. This protects her and builds up your board nicely over time. She threatens massive card draw and life gain if ignored and also has the ability to make your developed boards very threatening. On theme, decent power and lots of valuable utility.

Eternal Witness

Eternal Witness 4

Recursion is nice and anything useful on a reasonably low cost body is a nice pairing. Witness is just a bit on the slow side to be outstanding. She is a fine stand in for when you are light on key parts but not as proactive or useful as a tutor would be in those situations

Master of the Wild Hunt

Mater of the Wild Hunt 2

Slow and vulnerable. A Hill Giant that needs to stick around till your next turn to do much of much. The value of the larger tokens or the fighting mechanic is minimal. You just want bodies and this is bad and unreliable in that capacity. I would be packing Awakening Zone over this every time in this archetype. You are not going to be mono green and thus in need of the subpar removal. Sure, if this stays in play for three or so turns then it is going to dominate the game but lots of cards fit that bill.

Squirrel Nest

Squirrel Nest 6

As a token producer this is on the expensive side. It is fairly safe but that doesn't make up for the relatively low power and tempo Nest offers. Where this able to look good is when you pair it with land untap effects. Garruk Wildspeaker and Arbor Elf make Nest a little better and Earthcraft makes it broken. The infinite combo with Earthcraft is well worth playing Nest for as well as some dig and tutors to pair them with. You have to go fairly basic land heavy as well to do this and it is still worth it.

Spore Swarm

Spore Swarm 3.5

Not great, the instant is cute but not often that relevant. You get three bodies in one card but the price is not impressive. Going a bit higher up the curve isn't as much of an issue for green with the many types of mana ramp it has and getting more return on each card becomes more worth it when you have that ramp. The other perk of Spore Swarm is making saprolings which empower Slimefoot. It is only on this list for that fact with many other green cards offering this same return of bodies to cards and mana but with other perks as well. You need cards like this to make up the numbers in the tribal builds. Outside them you can usually find better options.

Scatter the SeedsScatter the Seeds 5

A nicely potent token card in green. It has a bit of a Sram's Expertise feel to it with the return it offers and the ways in which both can effectively cost less mana. Being both instant speed and convoke allows you to reliably and easily slip it out early and cheaply with little detriment to what you want to do. The only drawback is that green decks using Crytolith Rites do not scale brilliantly with convoke. Scatter is versatile enough that you play it regardless and it is still great. Saproling generator as well making it desirable for most green builds.

Deranged Hermit

Deranged Hermit 5/10

If it is maxmising your bodies per card and per mana then Hermit is one of the premium cards. This is a lot of card and it is nicely on theme. It can even just win on it's own if not much else is going on for either player. The total 9/9 stats are pretty serious for a five drop. Lack of saproling synergy does edge this out of a bunch of green decks as well as being just a token producer so high up the curve. Usually you want your top end to have more closing power than this. All in all this is powerful and generally on-theme making it a tempting card.

Ant QueenAnt Queen 5.5/10

This is a quirky one that is best in class for turning mana into tokens. At a mere two mana a pop you can fire out 1/1 insects. This you can halve in cost with an Earthcraft in play and turn infinite with a +1 mana buff to a basic land. Ant Queen is a win condition, a combo piece and a token generator. For best results you want to build with her and cards like her well in mind but that does lean towards what green does best. I am only really looking to play Ant Queen in the decks that are mana focused but like I just said, what else are you really doing in green?

Tendershoot Dryad
Tendershoot Dryad 6

As token generators go this is about the best in colour. It freely makes two per round of turns and will quickly, if not immediately buff them and all other saprolings you have made too. Tendershoot will eventually win all by itself but it will also speed up any other route to victory as well. The only drawback is that it is a five mana 2/2 and will eat most removal on sight. Play with protection ideally. Beyond Tendershoot there are many potent green token generators from Verdant Force through to all manner of treefolk legends. These are playable but not optimal. They are more for EDH than cube. In heads up when you are making that kind of mana you should look to win rather than get more ahead. I think that Craterhoof is the first creature above five mana you should be considering in green token decks and after that the weaker versions of Craterhoof. Tendershoot and Hermit feel like they represent the sensible top end for this style of deck when it comes to token production. There is a good argument for Whisperwood Elemental deserving mention in and being included in that group. It is robust and offers immediate board presence, ongoing value and utility. A bit jack-of-all-traits for a top end card but undeniably a good one.


GravecrawlerGravecrawler  7.6
Bloodsoaked Champion 7.4
Dread Wanderer 7.3
Gutterbones 7.2

All recurring 2/1s for B. These are great for being high tempo one drops that often let you get ahead in the game without any cost to your late game. They are pretty much rated on their cost to recur. When you have zombies in play, which is pretty often in these decks, the Crawler can own games being a single mana to bring back. When you can pay B to draw a card and put a +1/+1 counter on a Feeder or deal direct damage to creatures and/or face then that is usually all she wrote! The others rarely steal a game on their own but they contribute a lot and are some of the most important pickups if you want to do a more aggressive take on this archetype. Those that can block are a little better outside of the aggro lists although slow as hell to do so with. These shine in the decks that really want to trigger off non-token creatures. They also shine in the decks leaning towards the aggressive side of things. High pickups that get better the more you have of them.

CryptbreakerCryptbreaker 4 - 6.5

A pricey way to make dorks and little in the way of support for and from things that want discarding. Mostly Cryptbreaker offers a good way of drawing cards should your zombie count be reasonably high. He is not useless without other zombies but certainly on the weak side. Really you want the token production aspect in the late game like a Legions Landing, not as your curve. Still, if you ever make this and instantly (or post blocking in enemy turn) tap 3 dorks to draw, with the threat of doing that again the following turn, you will love this card. That happens a lot in the zombie decks and is good enough to make an effort towards supporting. Especially when it supports other gems like Gravecrawler. It does however bring up a resentment of vampires!

Pilfering ImpPilfering Imp 5

This is a nice support card for these decks. It gives you a relevant turn one play that provides a wealth of options. You can get to ping people down and obtain raid. You can disrupt opponents hands or you can just use the body sacrificially to get those lovely triggers from your payoff cards. Imp is a bad Thoughtseize but in a synergy deck the cost of having a non-synergy card like Thoughtsieze is significant. The Imp provides for a lovely middleground. Low power but decent utility and suitability.

Doomed Dissenter
Orzhov Enforcer 7
Carrier Thrall  6.5
Butcher Ghoul 6.5
Sultai Emissary 6.5
Doomed Dissenter 6

This is what black has instead of the Dragon Fodder / Raise the alarm kind of cards. You get more stats and total value with the black versions but they are poor stand alone cards. You really need the sac outlet and the value triggers from the engine cards to power these things appropriately. Butcher Ghoul is great for always being non-token bodies and for always being a zombie. Carrier Thrall is the best standalone card in terms of being the most front loaded in tempo but does have the lowest stats overall. Enforcer is probably the one you most want to play on turn two while also scaling better than the others. Early defense can be an issue for this archetype and Enforcer does a good job of sorting that out. Mostly it is about number of bodies and not stats in this archetype and so these cards are grouped as they are for all being two for two in the same style. I have ranked these quite a lot above what they should be relative to what the better green versions received and that is to do with black having way more need of these cards. Black has no token generators like Saproling Migration to lean on and it is a much more powerful colour in these archetypes with Blood Artist and Cutthroat as well as a lot of the sac outlets.

Lazotep Reaver

Lazotep Reaver 6.8

This is the only two mana two bodies in one card black has that gives it all up front. That makes it a lot better in the more general sense but when you expect to reliably have sac outlets the value on that decreases somewhat. Compared to cards like Doomed Dissenter the stats on this are not all that exciting either. Zombie is a nice plus on occasion but then amass will be a pain on occasion too. A decent setup turn two play that lets you be offensive or defensive as you desire in a fairly effective way.

BloodghastBloodghast 7

One of the only cards you actively want to discard as playing it is colour intense and more of a tempo set back than you want to eat. Once you have this dude in play or in the bin you are just getting free value for the rest of the game and it is lovely! Convenient and plentiful sac outlets are the most important to empowering a Ghast in your builds. You really want to trigger it on as many land drops as you can as you are only really making one, max two with a sac, land drops a turn and will be averaging less than one a turn overall. Bloodghast works best with cards that give good sacrifice payoff but are limited to once per turn. It is a slower grinding value card as a sacrificee but it is on the aggressive side in what it does for your board. Built with well this is great and done so badly this just gums up the works.

BitterblossomBitterblossom 7

One of the most potent two drop token generators ever printed. While generally very strong the card doesn't translate that power across to this archetype nearly as well as you might expect. Early on it is a pretty big tempo setback and late on it is extremely slow to impact the game. Late game a simple Raise the Alarm is often four to the face as the dorks come in and then another huge loads of damage and value when they are immediately sacrificed! Bitterblossom is not what you want to see late and it can be tough to get out early if under pressure. The flying aspect of the dorks is also less valuable than normal. While it is certainly nice to be able to chip a bit of damage through and obviously better than not having fliers it isn't needed for your game plan. The life cost is at least usually negligible in this archetype.

Dreadhorde Invasion 6

Dreadhorde Invasion
This is all round worse than Bitterblossom in this archetype while suffering all the same issues. This is a bad late game draw and a slow card to take effect. The main problem with this is that it doesn't allow you to stockpile tokens very effectively either. You go tall rather than wide when "stockpiling" would occur for other token generators and that is a problem. If you are the kind of deck that wants to drip feed sacrifices over multiple turns with tap to sac outlets then this will be good but if you are going for the one shot kills this is far poorer. You are almost never triggering the life gain with this either. The only perk this offers over Bitterblossom is that it makes zombies thus giving it some tribal appeal.

Kitesail FreebooterBrain Maggot 5.5
Mesmeric Fiend 6
Kitesail Freebooter 6.5

These dorks are a good way to add in depth and breadth to disruption packages without lowering your all important dork count. With an instant speed sac outlet and the Fiend you can eat their card forever! Mostly however you are hoping to just sit on a card until you combo kill them that bit sooner due to your extra dork and their lack of disruption, or you force them to kill a weak dork that gains you some triggers perhaps and works to protect later high value dorks.

Dusk Legion Zealot

Dusk Legion Zealot 6

Black filler. About as good as Elvish Visionary... obviously! The life barely matters in these builds and being black is better than being green. Black also benefits from the filler cards and any deck size reduction effects more than green due to less redundancy but higher power top end cards. A rare example of when this is better than Thraben Inspector. You are playing this because it is on legs but ultimately for the cantrip and as such it is just a cheaper, higher ultimate tempo play than Inspector.

Reassembling Skeleton

Reassembling Skeleton 6.5

Endless bodies! Just at a cost of two per go which is a pretty passable rate. A great card to supplement a dork light deck or one that wants to focus on the non-token creatures or one that has access to a whole lot of mana. When you have the sac outlet active and mana to burn Skeleton is a premium recursive dork as you can consistently recur it as much as you like. One of the better recursive dorks on defense and also a mild boost to any discard outlets you might have.

Fleshbag Marauder 4
Merciless Executioner 3.5
Plaguecrafter 5

I am not a huge fan of these cards. They are high cost yet they fail to do what you want from them reliably. The sac outlet is weak as well with it being a one off affair. Sure, you are setup to take advantage of it but the payoff is a 3/1 or 3/2 body? Hardly exciting. These are too much of a compromise on what you want for them to be effective half and half cards. Just play a proper removal spell and better bodies, or play cards like Ravenous Chupacabra.


Ophiomancer 9/10

One of the best token generators on offer. Not only is this pretty much always a pair of bodies they are also both high value. If they can't kill the Ophiomancer and you have a sac outlet then you can go nuts on the tokens generating a new one on each turn. You don't need many things triggering off that for it to quickly own a game. Ophiomancer is also a great stand alone defensive card and a huge tax on removal. You have to kill the 2/2 first but this leaves the deathtouch in play to trade with your stuff. Ophiomancer combines high stand alone power with top of the line token production rate while also being well themed. While more appropriate for the slower midrange builds of this archetype it is so good you play it in any of them. At worst in an aggro deck it is 3/3 stats over 2 bodies with partial deathtouch and mild option gating disruption. That is still better than a lot of what aggro Blood Artist decks play.

Weaponcraft EnthusiastWeaponcraft Enthusiast 6

Three bodies in one card for a mere three mana equates to a pretty efficient all round deal. You want a few heavy hitting token generators if possible and this is one of the only upfront options black has on such things. The card is far from good but it just does what you need and is pretty much the only thing that does this for black.

Geralf's Messenger

Geralf's Messenger 5

High power but very awkward. This is two bodies in one card but very slowly. You really want to be able to block with this sooner than it lets you. You also want to be able to play non-black spells a lot of the time and this is a touch prohibitive. In the very black heavy builds this is decent. It has zombie synergy and high stand alone power level but it is a lot less good than it looks for this archetype. It is nice for that surprise burst as it adds a neat 4 damage to the two bodies should you sacrifice it all off right away.

Liliana, Heretical Healer
Liliana, Heretical Healer 8

Generally this Lili is great in these decks. She is super easy to flip at your discretion and combined with her -X ability she reliably becomes three bodies in one card with a planeswalker kicker! She is a good amount of utility and ongoing value and offers decent power for your investment. Recursion is also a big help in reassembling combo dorks. Just a good all rounder that works with what you are doing pretty well.

Curse of Disturbance

Curse of Disturbance 5 Curse of Shallow Graves 5.5

These are both great if you have good attacking dorks. Things like Gravecrawler and Kitesail Freebooter are your friends here. If not these are a liability. A three mana do nothing is a bad place to be. You have to play these and then attack every turn for ideally more than two turns before these are great. Ideally you don't want to be throwing dorks away to do that with either, you want your attackers to stay in play or at least trigger a bunch of nice on death effects. Better than Bitterblossom when good but a whole lot worse when not.

Ravenous ChupacabraBoneshredder 6
Shreikmaw 6.5
Nekrataal 4
Skinrender 5
Ravenous Chupacabra 7

The many 187 dorks in black are great includes in these decks much like Pilfering Imp. They give you removal and interaction without cutting into your dork count. Broadly speaking these dorks are about as good in this archetype as they are in others. Boneshredder is the one that is most improved in this style of deck for a number of subtle reasons. It just gives a nice balance of board presence and low cost of removal. It is option dense and relatively easy to recur compared to the others. Chupacabra is still just the best by a solid margin with no restrictions on what it can kill.

Bloodline KeeperBloodline Keeper 4.5

This is a Phantom Monster in a lot of cases. It will get killed quickly and usually leave you behind as a result. As a token producer this is about as slow as it comes but it does have the upside of being a fairly significant threat. There are even a reasonable number of vampires kicking around in these lists giving you some ability to instantly flip it. I don't love this because it mainly provides reach and that is something you are already good for. It does not do tokens all that well nor does it do safety and tempo well. Certainly playable with its good high standalone power level but not a card I am looking to run outside of a tribal deck.
Rite of Belzenlok

Rite of Belzenlock 4

This is five bodies in one card for a mere four mana! Sadly it is slow to yield these perks and fairly low tempo as a result. If you can play this in a position of being ahead then it is very potent, both as a stand alone and as source of fuel. The final demon token is a beating and will demand an answer while chunking away at life totals.  He is even a bit of a sac outlet! Played from behind you will just be chumping with your clerics and left with a demanding demon token you could have done with a few turns back.


Grim InitiateGrim Initiate 8.5

Finally red gets one of it's own versions of Doomed Traveler. While a low powered card as a stand alone it is hard to overstate the importance of these in this archetype. Historically the biggest pull of white or green in these builds was access to these kinds of one drop while black and red had all the payoff cards. Now you can reap the rewards of such things without having to stretch your mana base! Not only is this half the price of most other cards you use for exactly the same purpose but it is also on a point in the curve where it is hard to do progressive and useful things otherwise. In the best cases this buys you a whole turn. It is comparably better to other red options than Lightning Bolt is to Searing Spear. It is even all zombie making it a little tempting for black tribal decks to look at red.

Insolent NeonateInsolent Neonate 2

Not really what you are after in this deck but sometimes a suitable patch over card. This is just a dash of a bunch of different things you (sometimes) want. Cheap bodies, discard, sac outlets and card quality. It doesn't do any of these things that well and the thing it does best (discard) is the thing you least often have uses for.

Grim Lavamancer

Grim Lavamancer 7.5

Just a good card and a one drop. You should have a reasonable amount of fuel for it with the ability to sacrifice stuff and the spells that make tokens being proactive things that go directly to the bin. Grim will contain and disrupt things for you at low cost and draw removal away from your synergy creatures. Grim is a way of playing good disruption and value without having to eat away at your dork count too much.

Goblin ArsonistGoblin Arsonist 4.5

A nice little utility filler card. This kind of thing has a huge impact in your matchup against aggressive decks. It lets you get on the board and combats early aggressive dorks well. It then gives you that little bit extra if you get to sacrifice it. A low powered card but both on theme and able to cover you in your weaker areas. This has most of it's appeal in a tribal build.

Dragon Fodder

Krenko's Command 7
Dragon Fodder 7

Solid staples of the deck as per the white ones. Goblin is also a pretty useful tribe! Just a clean cheap two bodies in one card with no fuss. Core staple cards of tokens, goblins or prowess leanings of the archetype. Only ever excluded when non-token creatures are desired.

Mogg War MarshalMogg War Marshall 9.5/10

A comfortable best in the token generation world. This is 3 bodies in one card for 2 mana! One of them is even a real body so you can trigger Grim Haruspex etc or recur it with a Kolghans Command! The tokens are goblins too. This is massive tempo and value. It is aggressive and defensive. It is delightfully on theme. It is hard to counter efficiently. While I rave about it Marshall is only a support card and is not as important as things like Blood Artist and Skullclamp. Pick those sorts of card over this.

Kari Zev, Skyship RaiderKari Zev,   4 or 8

In the right deck Kari is excellent. In those builds aiming to apply some pressure with early attackers Kari Zev can be good. With a good instant speed sac outlet Kari Zev is able to product a token a turn and that is pretty good for a 3 toughness two drop that otherwise applies a lot of pressure. If you can't attack however there is a good chance Kari Zev is one body and no bonus value.

Young Pyromancer

Young Pyromancer 4 - 9

This all comes down to the support. In a focused Boros prowess style list very light on creatures this card will excel. It will be a must kill card or it will generate enough value on its own to put a lot of games out of reach. Given how much play this gets in modern and legacy it's potential is not a secret! It is still usually worth playing in these decks if you have some triggers for it and red mana. Two guys is decent, three is great and our opponents won't know how scary it is and will frequently over react to handle it.

Goblin BushwhackerThe Bushwhackers 6

While neither of these cards is directly better than the other they do average out to be fairly comparable in power level. While these are both potent and well supported in these kinds of deck they are not entirely on theme. Against many decks you will not be looking to attack much, often having just one attack on the final turn. This might sound ideal for Bushwhackers but not being able to usefully play them in the midgame and get some extra useful damage in makes them a lot worse. Cards that sit dead in your hand until the last turn are weak. Sure, you can, and often have to, make these on turns with no attacks just to have that extra body in play. Basically, the more able your deck is to attack throughout the game the better these become. It is not just about having lots of token support, you need some combat capability and removal to support them too.

Goblin RabblemasterGoblin Rabblemaster 8.8

This is filthy good. It is like Brimaz except easier to cast and getting to token production more quickly and without need of getting into combat himself. Two bodies for three right away plus the promise of another every turn there after is fantastic. One thing that keeps this card fair in a normal sense is that the token is forced to attack and will usually die achieving little. In this deck however we have loads of things to take advantage of that.

Legion Warboss

Legion Warboss 9

The other Rabblemaser and generally better. Unusually because it doesn't force all your other goblins to attack! Just a body that makes another body right away and every turn there after is premium for what this archetype is about. What makes both these goblin token producers so strong for this deck is that they are powerful on their own and can put you ahead in the battle for tempo, or indeed just win if they go unanswered.

Hanweir Garrison
Hanwier Garrison 5

All round rather less effective than the other 3 drop dorks that make more dorks. Either you get this killed one for one right away and it gives you nothing extra or it sits there doing nothing or it chump attacks and makes a pair of 1/1s that often also die. This means like the Bushwhackers this will often do nothing until your final turn (although you can at least usefully preplay it). Oddly I find this card best suited to midrange decks where it is a nice cheap but very threatening threat! Midrange has the removal needed to clear a path for the Garrison which is what it really needs to perform well.

Najeela, the Blade-Blossom

Najeela, the Blade-Blossom 4-7+

A slightly more vulnerable version of Hanwier Garrison that scales dangerously well with warrior subtype cards. Najeela also scales well with access to all the colours of mana, so cards like Phyrexian Altar. Without support this is playable but mediocre however it can surpass Warboss and Ophiomancer comfortably as the best three drop token producer with optimal support.

Pia Nalaar

Pia Nalaar 6

Not the most powerful of ways to produce bodies but Pia also offers good utility and good stand alone power. A fine include for padding out the list. Also somewhat of a sac outlet if you have a lot of artifact tokens.

Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin

Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin 5+

This is basically just another Hanwier Garrison in this archetype. It gets a lot of bonus value from creature type however. There are a lot of tribal boosts to Krenko on offer from stats increases to providing haste, all of which scale very impressively with him. He is worse in general than Hanwier Garrison as he starts life with a toughness less thus making him less board presence and easier to kill. His performance on the second hit and onwards are generally pretty irrelevant. If you get to attack with Krenko or Garrison more than once it is so hard for you to lose. The low rating this gets is more a reflection of the abundance of safer options for this kind of thing red has in the three slot. I am certainly going to be putting this in my deck if I don't have an over subscribed three slot chock full of Warboss and Rabblemaster.

Hordeling Outburst
Hordeling Outburst 6.5

Simple no fuss top end token generator. Not high powered compared to other effects but when you are mostly about the scaling effects or raw numbers this is a commonly played card.

Tibalt, Rakish Instigator

Tibalt, Rakish Instigator 5.5

A relatively slow way to produce tokens and a somewhat capped walker in terms of ongoing potential in these archetypes. You are unlikely to be including ways to make this produce more than two devils. The ceiling on this is greater than Dance with Devils but it is less immediate impact and has little in the way of trickery potential. Ultimately this is two bodies in one card at a reasonable cost and with a whole lot of bonus utility. Attacking into devil tokens is a pain in the arse and having sac outlets makes them more effective as well. If you are confident that resolving Tibalt will result in making two devil tokens then he is a great include. If you are a little poor on early defense then you are better off sticking to more reliable cards with higher initial tempo.

Imperial RecruiterImperial Recruiter 5

This is two bodies in one card but it is never very mana efficient. If you get a one drop it is still four mana. The value of Recruiter is as a Tutor that doesn't diminish your support cards. The body is useful even if it is a 1/1. The tutor is also great. It finds most of the things you want it to to setup and support your combo. The main downside of Recruiter is awful tempo but red at least is the best place to be to make up for such things.

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death

Alesha, Who Smiles at Death 4

A powerful card but a little off theme. A lot has to happen with Alesha before she is two bodies in one card, including a five mana investment. It is a bit dodgy to get something like a Blood Artist back as well what with a 0/1 attacking not being ideal! The most noteworthy thing about Alesha is that she is one of the best two Mardu commanders for this archetype (along with Edgar Markov). Recursion is nice as your deck revolves around having a selection of creatures with specific different effects on them, most of which are flimsy and vulnerable. Much as I rate recursion in this archetype it is incredibly hard to fit in and usually needs to be on another high power standalone card that you are playing for other functionalities as well such as Liliana, Last Hope or Heretical Healer, Kolaghan's Command, Wretched Confluence and the like. Alesha is great if you are planning on being aggressive in combat but if you have a slower game plan in mind she lacks the suitability to reach that stand alone power threshold.

Pia and Kiran NalaarPia and Kiran Nalaar 7

Three bodies in one card with some utility, some sacrifice outlet potential and a good solid stand alone power level. I am always happy to have one of these in my deck. It makes any other incidental artifacts you play a whole bunch better. Fairly mana intensive and very midrange but not something you can easily pass up on. Just such a high power level while being so well suited to the deck. Given that we are sometimes playing 4 mana cards that make three 1/1 tokens this card was bound to look good!

Krenko, Mob Boss

Krenko, Mob Boss 5+

As a stand alone card Krenko is a little dodgy. He is a Hill Giant and he takes a couple of turns in play to really ramp up. If however you have protection (Chirugeon) and haste (Goblin Warchief) then Krenko becomes insane. He is one of your best cards in the decks tailored towards him, those usually being goblin focused and mostly, if not all red. Krenko tends to win the game with two activations but can do so with just one. Probably the 2nd best mono red commander for this kind of deck after Purphoros. Best in a goblin build too I expect!

Siege-Gang CommanderSiege-Gang Commander 7.5

I am not a huge fan of five drop in these decks but I am more than happy to make exceptions for cards of this suitability. Siege-Gang really does it all. Four bodies in one card, decent stats to cost, a sacrifice ability that provides a top quality effect and that extends to the whole tribe. I have won games where I did nothing for three turns then made Purphoros into Gang and just won from that. Gang seems to pack enough punch that you can both stabilize with it and have enough gas left over to press the win.

Nesting DragonNesting Dragon 4

This is a quirky one that does have a place in this kind of archetype. It suffers from being a top end card needing landfall triggers like Emeria Angel. It is worse because it is already a five drop making it a pretty filthy psuedo six drop. There are some strong redeeming features however. A big flying dragon body is always nice for one. Most relevantly however Dragon can produce two bodies per landfall trigger, of which one is neatly protected behind the other. Nesting Dragon builds up a nice solid mass removal protection array of eggs. The Dragon Whelp tokens produced are pretty potent in their own right and can threaten to close out a game. Dragon gives ongoing value, loads of reach and high stand alone power level all while being fairly well on theme. Her only real drawback is cost but this is easily mitigated by slower decks and more value focused ones. Certainly she is affordable in commander builds of these decks.

Gold / Colourless

Retrofitter FoundryRetrofitter Foundry 4/10

While a great card, a token producer, sac outlet and a one drop Foundry isn't really what this deck is after. It is quite mana intense and reactive. Neither the token production nor sac outlets are convenient or mana efficient ways to go about things. Foundry is fine filler but it is very much a late game card best suited to midrange and control decks. Run card draw and recursive value if that is what you want. Good if you have artifact synergies but without this is a filler or a bandaid card for me.

Footlight Fiend

Footlight Fiend 5/10

Just an Arsonist with no tribal synergy but easier casting potential. Useful support and curve card. Low power but high tempo and synergy potential with a dash of interactivity.

Voice of Resurgence

Voice of Resurgence 5/10

This is the actual cream of the crop when it comes to two mana two bodies in one cards. You play it in basically all the cube decks that have good green and white mana production and not just these archetypes. The thing is that green and white are some of the least commonly seen colours to be paired together in these decks. The two most commonly seen Selesnya builds are the combo ones using mass recursion like Rally the Ancestors and saproling themed ones. Voice is fine in the former but a bit of a luxury card and somewhat off theme in the latter. Great card and theoretically great here, just in practice very narrow.

Hangarback WalkerHangarback Walker 7.5/10

Hard to go far wrong with this X in one card. Baseline it is a pair of 1/1 dorks contained in a two drop. One even flies! Then it either scales with time in play or total mana available in to be more dorks in one card. It can even just be a threat unpopped in some games. Powerful, widely playable, on theme with additional artifact synergies. Hard to go wrong. Ultimately you are playing it because it is at base a Myr Sire but in every other way it is an enhanced version of the Sire.

Tidehollow Sculler

Tidehollow Sculler 5/10

Solid disruptive card and empowered by instant speed sac outlets. Able to up your interactivity without significant compromise on dork count.

Imperious Oligarch

Imperious Oligarch 4/10

More fine filler. Out of context this is probably top five best two in one for two dorks but it has less synergies than most of the others while also being a narrower gold card. A filler card that is close enough in power to a lot of similar alternatives that it is much of a muchness. Not a good drafting card and not an interesting constructed one.

Myr SireMyr Sire 4/10

Low power but reasonably high convenience. Easy to cast and still living up to the requisite bar of being two bodies in one card at two mana.

Scrapheap Scrounger

Scrapheap Scrounger 4/10

Aggressively statted low cost recursive dork that is easy to cast is a decent win but inability to block is a bummer. It is fine on the one drop recursive dorks but if your first play is a two drop that can't block you are exposing yourself to aggression yourself. I only look to play this in decks that are able to be fairly aggressive, those that do a chunk of the work towards winning with conventional aggression and then use the synergies to close out games that stabilize. In a midrange build this card is a liability.

Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
Saheeli, Sublime Artificer 5-9

This might as well be in with the red cards as it is very rare that you will be playing this for blue mana in these kinds of archetypes. Basically this can be considered much like some redundancy for Young Pyromancer. This triggers with more cards and is generally a little safer but it costs a bit more. You have to play both in decks actively looking to play more spells than dorks which makes them narrow but when you have the right setup they are among the best token producers in the game.

Sprouting ThrinaxSprouting Thrinax 6/10

This is one of the most efficient token producers out there. You get four bodies for your three mana as well as 6/6 worth of total stats. Thrinax is a total beast in these decks but he is hard to include. Perhaps it is just my experience but Jund isn't that common for this archetype. There are many reasons that could be due to or more likely it is the combination of them all. Despite being one of the best support cards for this archetype I almost never see it in action for them.

Kitchen Finks

Kitchen Finks 4/10

Not bad at all but also not all that good. While very impressive on the stats ultimately you are after bodies and this is just two of them in one card but for three mana. The extra life is nice but it is only at all good against aggressive decks and green and white builds are already the best colours for handling aggression in this archetype. The other problem with finks is that it is almost always a 1GG or 1WW card what with Selesnya being pretty uncommonly seen (although still more common than Jund less explicably).

Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast

Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast 7.5

This dude is great. He is a powerful and cheap planeswalker which is a great starting place. He is an ongoing token producer making him highly on theme, he is versatile and powerful removal making him useful and card efficient, and lastly he is even a sac outlet of sorts upping his utility and synergies. Speaking of synergies, any artifact things you might have on the go improve Daretti and may in turn be improved by him. Hard to leave this guy out of builds in his colours and one of your best cards when you have other good artifacts that pair with him.
Mardu Ascendancy

Mardu Ascendancy 4/10

Quite a good token producer but narrow in that it is BRW and because it needs attacking non-tokens to trigger. If you happen to be in that flavour of build then this is great but otherwise it is a hard sell. This does double up as a nice protection tool for your team or even to empower Kheru Bloodsucker but those are even more conditional. I think I would generally rather have a bit of a warrior focus and play Najeela, the Blade-Blossom over this. Usually an effect you want put on a body is just opening it up to removal but in this archetype it helps you keep your synergy support nice and high.

Start // FinishStart / Finish 6

Neither wildly efficient token production nor removal but getting both in one card while remaining within the realms of playable actually makes this pretty good. It is one of the most on-theme cards that also provides interactive disruption.

Sin Collector

Sin Collector 4/10

Great against control but a little weak elsewhere. While it is great that you can use this and then sac off the body without giving back the card taken the fact that it is three mana and pretty small and not having great odds on hitting on average all stand to make this more of a sideboard card in my books. Certainly playable and a good way to hedge but if I want hand disruption on dorks I am going to look at a lot of other cards before I look at this one.

Elenda, the Dusk RoseElenda, the Dusk Rose 3.5/10

Elenda is both token production and payoff for creature deaths. She is at worst a two in one card and at best a massive dangerous threat that you have to be most careful about how you deal with her. Much as she fits in well with your game plan she feels a bit win more and a fairly risky card. If you get blown out by a Lava Dart that is a pretty filthy tempo swing. There is so much exile removal in cube as well than this low tempo four drop is a dodgy include.

Sorin, Solemn Visitor

Sorin, Solemn Visitor 6/10

A really naughty card in these builds as he provides several angles all wrapped up in a nice powerful package. You should be good at clogging up the board which in turn makes planewalkers pretty safe.  A +1 power boost allows for a dangerous swing out of nowhere and the lifegain bit crushes aggro and most midrange decks, in any attempts to alpha strike back in return or any sort of race. Even without a board Sorin is a token generator himself. While not very efficient at just churning out dorks he is does at least make very useful dorks compared to most other walkers. Sorin is a fairly weak planeswalker than has the capacity to scale better than most. That nicely overlaps with your game plan and result in Sorin being pretty decent and near his ceiling.

Vraska, Golgari QueenVraska, Golgari Queen 6/10

Not a token generator or really an effective sac outlet. Vraska just seems to sit quite nicely in these lists. She is broad and repetitive removal. She is very easy to fuel and use to dig into your deck with. Her ultimate is effective in token decks and fairly easy to protect while getting to. A good all round card that fits quite nicely into the archetype although probably in a removal/disruption slot rather than anything else. It is just dandy when your removal spells afford you value, lifegain and a win condition though! Worth those extra mana over an Abrupt Decay in most cases.

Murderous Redcap

Murderous Redcap 3/10

This might seem good being a decent stand alone card and for being a two in one card both of which are non-tokens. The issue is that this isn't effective removal for its cost and rarely gets you that kill you need. You are much better off with Ravenous Chupacabra if you want removal and any kind of Dragon Fodder or Butcher Ghoul card should you want two dorks in one. Redcap is a support card but occupying a valuable four drop slot and that makes it far less appealing than you might expect. Four drops need to give a big helping hand in closing a game and Redcap just isn't able to provide that. Shocks and pings have lost of a lot of their punch by the four mana mark.

Heroic ReinforcementsHeroic Reinforcements 6/10

It is a Bushwhacker effect and a Raise the Alarm in one. This card is deceptively good. It might look like support but it is much more in the reach camp. This will close a lot of games or at least induce a huge swing. It is a little off theme for some builds but those tend to be the slower black heavy builds. The Boros builds do tend to be a lot more about attacking than the black ones and for those, especially the prowess token producer themed ones, this is a fantastic card. It is value, tempo, on theme, great when ahead, fine from behind and importantly it is immediately impactful on the game.

Mass Recursion

Immortal ServitudeImmortal Servitude 2/10

This is a good recovery I win button late game or a win condition in a combo focused deck. You can find this and fill up your bin with the relevant combo pieces and win with an X = 2 or perhaps 3 on the spot fairly quickly. Very quickly with cards like Stitcher's Supplier and Survival of the Fittest. Much as cards like this are nutty in the long games you are not that scared of the long game in most cases. Just play more value cards that are good early if you are scared. This can indirectly kill you against faster decks when you draw it too often. Broadly speaking I think this is best seen as a combo card and not a recovery or value card for more general use. With better card quality I would be more interested but it is hard to find such things outside of blue and while trying to cram in so many synergy elements to a deck. It is noteworthy that this is no good with token producing things that are non-creature, when using cards like this you want as much of your synergies and effects on dorks as possible, and cheap ones at that. The best thing about this is that you can play it in black decks unlike the broadly better pure white options as seen below.

Rally the AncestorsRally the Ancestors 4/10

This is the card Immortal Servitude wishes it was. This is a mana less to play and is also instant. You lose the option on playing it for black and you have to exile the things you return but you will be sacrificing your stuff before then so it doesn't matter a jot. This is just a quicker and safer Servitude and a fantastic combo win condition. I am not a fan of it for general use as it is fairly useless when you don't have a sac outlet you can recur or already in play. Wake the Dead and Return to the Ranks are your cards for doing that if you so inclined.

Return to the Ranks
Return to the Ranks 4/10

The better your deck the better this is as you will have a nice high density of the premium one and two drop synergy cards. You cannot so easily one shot people with this as it is getting X targets rather than all the things with X or less cost making it scale with mana rather than graveyard size. Return is not really about that as much as it is just a beastly value card. It is very easy to get back a lot of dorks early if they are there to be recurred, and very cheaply. This is tempo and value and a fine card to just run in these lists. It is able to recover games and wildly swing them in your favour. Harder to use as a combo card but still good enough that you will tend to play it supporting Rally the Ancestors.

Wake the DeadWake the Dead 4/10

This is the cheaper punchier Immortal Servitude. It doesn't hit as many dorks but it can be much more effective earlier in the game. Four mana can get you back two potent cards for a turn. If that is a Flesh Carver and a Hallowed Spiritkeeper you are going to get some good blocks in and net a whole bunch of tokens into the bargain. Wake can just be good tempo and value or it can be used later on to fully combo kill one shot people. It is still a do nothing card till you bin is full and as such very much falls into the luxury category of cards.

Second Sunrise

Second Sunrise 1/10

Not an ideal tool for this kind of deck. Mostly it is a win more card as it does little until you are going for a kill. It can speed up that kill and allow it to happen with fewer resources but it is all a bit situational. The saving grace of this card is that it will counteract a Wrath effect giving it a somewhat dual purpose. The thing is a 3 mana counter is pretty poo, you are going to get more from a recursion effect that works after the fact for most uses.

Dusk // DawnDusk // Dawn 4/10

This can be a gem in this archetype. It is pretty much a one sided Wrath that also has a huge value recursion aftermath. Neither of these things are core elements of the deck so it does find itself somewhat in the luxury category but it is powerful and high utility. The removal is mostly good against midrange decks and those are generally quite good matchups anyway. This is a mediocre card against aggro and while decent against control it is slow to come into effect and hard to use well. Being a luxury card to begin with while not improving the areas this archetype is weak in makes this a card that is hard to justify playing but it is incredibly powerful.

Living Death

Living Death 7/10

When you have sac outlets Living Death is very much the one sided Wrath and mass recursion in one! It can win the game on the spot in a number of ways and it can be just a huge source of value. It is slow, late game and expensive but it is also pretty extreme. Certainly one of the first cards outside of your core needs that you look to. As with all these recursion cards, they rely on creatures and so you do not want a list made of of things like Dragon Fodder. This does have all the same matchup suitability issues of Dusk // Dawn and so you don't see it as much as the power and synergy of the card suggests you might.

A few example lists

BW Classic
Orzhov Enforcer
24 Spells

Carrion Feeder
Doomed Traveler
Hunted Witness

Swords to Plowshares
Pilfering Imp

Cartel Aristocrat
Tithe Taker
Orzhov Enforcer
Stoneforge Mystic

Blood Artist
Cruel Celebrant
Hidden Stockpile

Doomed Dissenter

Hallowed Spirit Keeper
Midnight Reaper
Recruiter of the Guard
Anguished Unmaking

Liliana, Heretical Healer
Lingering Souls

Taysa Karlov
Sorin, Solemn Visitor


16 Lands

Collective BrutalityBR

24 Spells

Carrion Feeder
Dread Wanderer

Lightning Bolt

Mogg War-Marshall
Collective Brutality
Goblin Bombardment

Butcher Ghoul
Sultai EmissaryBlood Artist
Zulaport Cutthroat

Sultai Emissary
Spawning Pit

Grim Haruspex
Kolaghan's Command
Judith, the Scourge Diva
Legion Warboss

Mayhem Devil

Falkenrath Aristocrat
Outpost Seige
Purphoros, God of the Forge

16 Lands

Commune with the GodsGolgari

24 Spells

Young Wolf
Tukatongue Thallid
Pilfering Imp

Carrion Feeder
Fatal Push

Cryptolith Rite
Jade Mage
Evolutionary Leap

Commune with the Gods
Blood Artist
Cryptolith RiteZulaport Cutthroat
Saproling Migration

Priest of the Forgotten Gods

Squirrel Nest
Liliana, Heretical Healer
Slimefoot the Stowaway
Maelstrom Pulse

Nissa, Voice of Zendikar

Ravenous Chupacabra

Tendershoot Dryad
Ant Queen

16 Lands

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