No apology this time: let’s just get down the old fashioned way. One card. One review. (And one continued-to-be-delayed-but-I-promise-it’s-getting-finished series.)
So let’s try this again:
Freaking living weapons, how do they work? (Wait, what?)
Well, let’s take a look at a common living weapon: Flayer Husk.
Let’s be honest here: a 1/1 for one mana isn’t breaking any excitement-o-meters. In fact, with a 1/1 for free recently printed at uncommon you might wonder what this thing has to do with anything at all. Isn’t it just bad equipment on a weak dude?
Kinda. But here are some facts that make this my stone cold lock of the century (of the week):
- It’s a colorless one-drop.
- It provides utility at any stage of the game.
- It serves purposes for all three major archetypes (aggro, midrange, and control).
Let’s jump through the requisite hoops:
The lightest slot in most aggro decks in my cube is the one-drop slot. It isn’t a matter of not having creatures available, but that the creatures available aren’t the creatures that are very exciting to run in a cube. Deathgreeter? How about Fugitive Wizard? Or Serra Zealot?
While there are many spells that cost one mana, the number of those that are (or function as) creatures is significantly less in my cube; options just aren’t that exciting.
Having a 1/1 for one that can be played by any color provides powerful flexibility to be used in any deck. It fills a very useful role for aggro decks and provides a much-needed cheap body.
But because it’s equipment it’s also useful for other decks as almost any reasonable equipment carried great utility in Limited.
Utility at Any Stage
Equipment is a powerhouse in Limited. Converting any number of smaller, weaker dudes into something more powerful is a phenomenal tool to have at your disposal.
Two mana to bump a creature up by +1/+1 may seem minor, getting a late game Llanowar Elves to trade with an x/2 or buffing an Errant Ephemeron into a true four-turn clock is not something to take lightly. Since equipment is repeatable you gain strong incremental advantage over the course of the game.
On turn one you can play a body that will sneak in for a little damage or trade with an x/1. Every turn thereafter shifts the use away from aggro and into equipment utility.
It’s not the raw power of Flayer Husk that is exciting for pauper cubes, but the breadth of flexible use it provides. Aggro decks get a first turn body, midrange decks get a body and equipment, and control gets equipment to close the game out quicker.
One of the features I try to build into my cube is redundancy. I’ve discussed it at length on ManaNation, but there’s something that works well with redundancy that I didn’t quite stress enough: flexible utility. What I mean by this is that including multiple copies of a card that provides use in multiple deck archetypes is important to creating consistency across the board. Instead of amping up one specific feature (aggro, midrange, or control) you give a smaller bump to all three simultaneously.
While cards like Flayer Husk won’t be the strongest in any deck, the utility to be in any deck reasonably is enough to make me excited to get a premium foil version as soon as possible.
If only to play the most curious of one-drops in my whatever colored deck.