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Hey there! Today’s article is a special shout out to what some may consider the “less desirable” cards that often get cut. I wanted to shine a light on some of these gems in the rough, outlining why and where they can be great inclusions to your 40!
Some of y’all didn’t get the invite, and that’s ok. I’m here to formally tell you that this card is good. How good is it? Well, that is relative to the amount of vampires you have. Lifelinking a 4/4 unblockable can be an 8 point life swing, AND it replaces itself. There are some other niche uses for it, such as inviting a Creepy Puppeteer, but vampires are the real guests you’re looking for.
The biggest thing to discuss here is how much of an overperformer this card has been. I think it has been one of my top few most underrated cards in this set. I went from never wanting this in any deck, to always playing it in B/W, to always wanting a copy in my deck.
If you think about it, it’s basically Thirst for Discovery at sorcery speed that hits you for two. Which is amazing since black doesn’t have any card advantage. This card gets better the more early interaction you have, so you don’t fall too far behind using it.
I feel like this card’s presence is still a bit unknown. This card is largely unplayable in B/W and G/W, but is a very real card in U/W and R/W. Nurturing Presence is the 5th best common in Boros (R/W), and 7th in Azorius (U/W). It’s a great tempo card that lets your smaller creatures attack through bigger creatures for a couple of turns while providing a 1/1 flier to whittle away your opponent’s life total! One of the greatest things about this card is that it still often wheels – not every deck wants it, but it’s an amazing inclusion in the decks that do!
I actually looked at the definition of epicure, it is a person who takes particular pleasure in fine food and drink. Well this epicure likes the blood of your enemies. While initially written off completely, this little connoisseur is still a bit of a sleeper. Epicure does a lot of things, and none of them particularly well – which somehow sums up to a strong card.
It pings for a point of damage, likely attacks for a point or two, and gives you a blood token and a body to chump or exploit later in the game. Epicure is largely a role player, and should most likely ride the bench in any Gruul deck.
Crash Through with an attitude. This card is still playable as a 23rd card if you’re short on playables, but really ramps up when you get 3+. It’s great in any tempo deck, and pairs very well with Kessig Flamebreather. This card really can end games out of nowhere when you chain a few of them together.
Watch out Eminem, this guy’s spittin’ straight FIRE! Seriously, he spits out fire in the form of one point of damage at a time. I’ve learned to love this 1/3, picking him up earlier and earlier. Flamebreather is a fine inclusion in most every deck. It’s a little lackluster in G/R but absolutely shines in U/R. The stat line is great as it holds most creatures at bay, and the incidental damage has the potential to really put opponents on the ropes early.
This is a carbon copy of Feign Death. I think we’re all used to these spells being largely unimpressive, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in VOW. There’s a lot of reasons Undying Malice gets a bump up in playability this go around, but I’ll name the two most relevant: Exploit and good enter the battlefield (ETB) effects.
You can set up some really great exploit plays with an Undying Malice, sacrificing the exploiter and getting two exploit triggers can be a game winning sequence. There’s some great ETB effects in this set and there’s a lot of blood creation, but one of the all stars with malice is my favorite zombie bear boy Diregraf Scavenger.
I think it’s time for this recluse to join the rest of the creatures in our 40. This card can go from rags to riches very quickly depending on what deck it stumbles into. The best home for this card is R/B due to the abundance of blood, but can also be great in W/B because of the lifegain synergies. If you can clear the path or provide a pump spell to protect this card through combat, it can be a big tempo swing.
I wanted to make sure I got a green card on here, but there’s only a handful of green commons I will sign off on, and this is the fungi for the job. I don’t think anyone will disagree that this card is playable, but I do think it’s a bit underrated. Sure, this isn’t Sarulf's Packmate, but it does check a lot of boxes! If my opponent has this on turn 3, I’m likely unhappy – which is the hallmark of a good card. Even if I’m trading my 2 drop up for a 3 drop, the opponent is still up a card.
An intangible reason this is good for green, is a lot of their power comes later in the game with big creatures. I’m always happy to trade off one of these for an opponents trick or creature if it gets me deeper into the game where green really flourishes.
There are definitely some scattered thoughts about this card. It is the second highest win rate common in blue, yet it is picked around pick 7-9. I’ve come to learn that card advantage in VOW is king. There is such a thing as playing too many “do nothing” spells, but as long as you balance this out with interaction and creatures, it is an absolute house. I’m very happy to include at least one copy in any blue deck I play.
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