Daily Dose of Guilds of Ravnica – Trying to build up the Undergrowth
Welcome all to a Friday edition of the Daily Dose of Guilds of Ravnica. This week I’ve taken a look at all the mechanics from Guilds of Ravnica, except for one. Today that new mechanic is revealed, and it’s called Undergrowth.
Undergrowth is all about having creatures in your graveyard, similar to how you want Instants and Sorceries in your graveyard for Jump-Start. The more ways you can get creatures in your graveyard, the better Undergrowth becomes. Whether that’s from dying, discarding, or put there from the top of your library (I’m looking at you Surveil). Today I’m going to look at a new spell with Undergrowth and two Golgaris creature that helps you build your Undergrowth count.
With Fatal Push rotating out, players are going to need a replacement removal spell for Standard. Some potential choices include Murder and Cast Down. But when it comes to one mana choices, there’s not much. That’s where Necrotic Wound comes in.
It’s no Fatal Push, but it does have the possibility of being a great removal spell. I’d liken it more to Murderous Cut. Both spells are almost uncastable in the early game, as in the case with both cards you usually won’t have enough cards in the graveyard to make it playable. But in the mid-to-late game, both can remove any creature on the battlefield for one mana. In the case of Necrotic Wound you do need to build your deck with a lot of creatures to get the most value out of it. I’m not sure if this will mean having cards that mill yourself, or just putting them into the graveyard naturally throughout the course of the game.
Next comes a creature with the possibility of pushing through a lot of combat damage. Here is Moodmark Painter:
Adding menace onto a creature can be the difference between having your creature blocked or getting it through for damage. Players will often keep enough creatures back to block accordingly for your combat. If you could add menace to the equation for just one of your creatures, it could cause a lot of problems for your opponent.
That alone is valuable to me, even if it didn’t add any power to the creature. Any power added from the Undergrowth ability of Moodmark Painter is pure bonus in my opinion. In a long game and with a big enough graveyard, you can set yourself up for one large creature with evasion in the late game. I think this card will be very strong in limited play, but don’t think it will be strong enough to see play in Standard.
Finally, here’s an amazing new creature with a unique ability that will help you with your Undergrowth count. It’s Underrealm Lich:
When evaluating top level cards, I look for ones that generate card advantage. Whether it’s through actual card drawing, or a spell that can remove more than one card or permanent. And Underrealm Lich checks all those boxes when it comes to what its abilities.
Let’s start at the end with its ability to become indestructible by paying four life. This allows it to survive combat, or even a removal spell, negating a resource of your opponent. This can be repeated as many times as you need based on the resource that is your life total. That alone is a great ability to have on any creature. But on top of that, its first ability is a card selection machine! Every time you draw, not just during your draw phase, you can pick between your top three cards. Whatever you don’t choose becomes fuel in your graveyard!
I think this will become a popular card that will prove hard to kill with so few exile removal effects and spells in the format.
As you can see, Golgari has a lot to offer when it comes to Undergrowth in Guilds of Ravnica. It will be interesting to see the balance between cards that get creatures into your graveyard and cards that have Undergrowth themselves. If all the cards with Undergrowth are spells, it would weaken your ability in your deck to have the number of creatures needed to make Undergrowth successful.
Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose. Join me again next week as I continue my look into the new cards from Guilds of Ravnica!