It’s with great joy and excitement that we are about to preview a card out one of Magic’s long-expected sets, Eternal Masters. At the office, we were very happy when we got the news a few weeks ago we would have a preview card. As you might expect we play Magic from time to time at our monthly game nights. While I and Victor can be considered competitive players, Elisa, Ellen, Wouter and Thijs are less experienced. That is why they could not really undertsand our excitement, it’s understandable, cards are better in play than in the graveyard, no? Luckily we had our Pro Team ready to explain why Entomb is such an appreciated card:
Here are the questions Ellen and Elisa asked to them, enjoy the read!
Ellen: Entomb? Why would you want to get a card in your graveyard, they are better in play right?
Lukas Blohon: Well, when a creature is in your graveyard, you can get it into play and have "discount" on it's casting cost if it is expensive enough. Works best with creatures that do something powerful when they enter the battlefield, like Angel of Despair, usually using cards like Reanimate and Exhume.
Elisa: Ok, so we get the reanimator combo, which cards are best to support this combo in Legacy?
Thomas Enevoldsen: With a reanimator combo, we have some combo cards that only impact the game if you get them together. It is tough to draw 7 with Griselbrand, if you can't get it into your graveyard for reanimation. Having a reanimation spell in your hand is not very threatening to your opponent's creatures if there is no Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite in the graveyard. So of course a reanimator deck needs some glue to make the whole thing work. In come the blue spells! Brainstorm and Careful Study helps with both filtering and putting fatties in the graveyard for later reanimation, Daze and Force of Will help protect the combo. And of course black offers you discard spells as well to both disrupt the opponent and get any annoying answers out of their hand
Here is an example decklist. Link: http://sales.starcitygames.com//deckdatabase/displaydeck.php?DeckID=102919
Ellen: Sweet deck, but has reanimator been successful in the past?
Matej Zatlkaj: While Entomb was not on everyone's eyes when it was first released in Oddysey, it didn't take long for the card to start showing up in Top8s of tournaments all over the world. The biggest breakthrough was at Pro Tour Houston in 2002 where Rob Dougherty and John Larkin piloted 2 Entomb-fueled Reanimator decks into the Top8 and this particular archetype has been established ever since. Whether it was Standard, Extended, Legacy, Vintage or Modern, albeit without Entomb itself, people have embraced Reanimator's fast clock, powerful disruption and straightforward game-plan. And you can always see the glee on the faces of players when a new set introduces an awesome creature that can be reanimated! While it has been more than 14 years since Entomb was originally printed, I would still expect many copies at GP Prague so don't forget your graveyard hate at home.
On a personal note, I am happy to see Entomb in Eternal Masters because it is one of the cards which got me my only tournament win on a mulligan to 3 cards! The hand was Swamp, Entomb and Reanimate and I will let you figure out the rest.
Elisa: Would players consider Reanimator a viable option for GP Prague?
Oliver Polak-Rottmann: Reanimator was the first deck I ever played on the Pro Tour so it always has a place in my heart. Back then Entomb was banned in Extended, so this cleary shows how strong this card is. Current builds are very resilient to hate as you can run discard spells, Daze and Force of Will along with Brainstorm to find the tools you need. Deathrite Shaman is currently your enemy number one, and the high number of Shamans running around doesn't place Reanimator in a perfect spot. The Deck would be my second choice for the upcoming Eternal Weekend but I found something I like better. It's a great Deck and who doesn't love to boost out big Monsters on Turn 1 or 2? It suffers from all the hate sideboard cards people bring to beat other Matchups but if you are prepared to fight them you will succeed
Immanuel Gershenson: Reanimator i
s not in the good position it used to be. Looking at the latest results shows us that eldrazi is a real deck, with real hate (in form of chalice of the void). On the other hand there are more decks than usual, running Deathrite Shaman, which also isnt reanimators best friend. I would not recommend running it at a Grand Prix, as the hate is at an all time high, but if you are looking for a fun deck to bring to some local tournaments you should definitly give it a try.
Ellen: What cards are good against entomb?
Marijn Lybaert: It speaks for itself that cards that remove cards from the graveyard are good against a deck build around Entomb. The one you'll face the most is probably Deathrite Shaman. This 1-mana “planeswalker” is just great in Legacy, and is seeing play in different decks like Delver and 4c Loam. After that we get to the more narrow cards, which mostly come in after sideboard. I'm thinking about cards like Rest in Peace, Surgical Extraction or Relic of Progenitus. A card that doesn't remove anything from the graveyard, but is still quite good against decks with Entomb is Grafdigger's Cage. This card makes sure that whatever creature is put into the graveyard, there is no way that it will sneak into play from the graveyard with for example Exhume or Reanimate. And now that we're speaking about Reanimate... that's probably the most efficient answer to Entomb. You say you're putting that Griselbrand into your graveyard. Let me just grab that for myself. GG. Thanks for playing
Elisa: What cards would actually be a good entomb target?
Pierre Dagen: I have seen quite a lot of cards being entombed against me. Most of the times, they were pretty much what you would excpect: big, nasty creatures to reanimate. A very thorough research gives a total count of 123 Griselbrands, 102 Gin-Jitaxias, 74 Elesh Norn and 26 Hornet Queen. I am sure the number of Life from the Loam would also be pretty damn high, for obvious reasons. But some other times, things turn out differently. The end of my list goes like this: 2 plains, 1 Emrakul, and my personal favorite...1 Entomb.
Figured it out yet? Ok, I'll tell you. Entomb on plains was how my opponent planned to get out of his manascrew thanks to an Eternal Witness on the following turn...two games in a row. Emrakul, as I am sure you guessed, was a fairly hilarious response to me activating a Relic of Progenitus. But what about Entomb on Entomb? Turns out that my opponent did not have any answer to my Rest in Peace, and figured that drawing additional Entombs was probably not the best idea, which I definitely agree was correct. Turns out, he won that game.
Moral of the story? Entomb is a much more versatile card than you would think. Keep it in mind when playing with this sweet card!
Ellen: The art is quite pretty, but what do you think about it?
Thoralf Severin: A graveyard, awkward silence, a strange feeling. All seems quiet, nobody is here. You can imagine the screams, nobody is here. You can hear the whispers, somebody IS here. Whatever is burried underneath was never supposed to come back. Burried for the rest of time. Entombed for all eternity. At least that was the plan. That was somebodies plan, but it certainly is not yours. You know, that a grave is just a temporary residence. Besides its general conception, death for you is not a final. It is just a brief break. And you know its coming. You know it won't be pleasant for your enemies. A graveyard, awkward silence. Until they break it. Until you break it. Then all hell breaks lose.
On this awesome art, you can just feel the intense feeling. The graveyard is certainly not a final resting place. You don’t put the card into the graveyard just to let it rot there. Whatever it is, it won’t stay there. And it won't be peasant!
Elisa: Do you think this card can be played in limited?
Fabrizio Anteri: Absolutely!.. I've done it myself. Most Cube draft have enough Reanimator pieces to make it happen also in Limited! The best part is that you are drafting the cards nobody else wants!.. Seven or Eight Drop? Too expensive, each player return a creature from their graveyard? Why would I let my opponent get their creature back when I may not have anything to retunr myself? ENTOMB!? That's unplayable, why would I draft that? Oh well... If they would only know that you are drafting all these cards and building the sweetest deck of the table...
Thanks everyone for your help! I’m sure Elisa and Ellen now understand the power of Entomb better. See you all at GP Prague, where we will have some sweet limited EMA side events!