• Magic: The Gathering
  • Magic: The Gathering Online

Which game do you want to buy from?

How to Buy at a Glance

  • 1. Search for items
  • 2. Purchase via PayPal or CC
  • 3. Receive items in the mail
    (usually in less than a week!)
Want Magic prices from CardShark.com on your Mobile device? - Try the Decked Builder app

CardShark Content - Spencer Bogan (10/16/2005)

This is part two in a continuing series of articles about the port of Black Gifts from Kamigawa Block Standard to a States metagame near you. In the last article a brief overview of the projected metagame and the reasons for what is or isn't in the deck.

This last block Pro Tour Qualifier season showed two things. One was the absurdity of Umezawa's Jitte
Umezawa's Jitte
Umezawa's JitteSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Legendary Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
R
Number:
163
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Whenever equipped creature deals combat damage, put two charge counters on Umezawa's Jitte. Remove a charge counter from Umezawa's Jitte Choose one — Equipped creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn; or target creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn; or you gain 2 life. Equip 2
. The other was the absurdity of Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven
Gifts UngivenSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Search your library for four cards with different names and reveal them. Target opponent chooses two of those cards. Put the chosen cards into your graveyard and the rest into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
. The deck that ran Gifts Ungiven
Gifts Ungiven
Gifts UngivenSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
D. Alexander Gregory
Text:
Search your library for four cards with different names and reveal them. Target opponent chooses two of those cards. Put the chosen cards into your graveyard and the rest into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
perhaps most effectively was Black Gifts sporting the new board sweeper and life taker combination pack known as Kagemaro, First to Suffer
Kagemaro, First to Suffer
Kagemaro, First to SufferSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Demon Spirit
Rarity:
R
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Kagemaro, First to Suffer's power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand. B, Sacrifice Kagemaro: All creatures get -X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your hand.
. Throw in plenty of disruption, mana fixing and acceleration, and long term card advantage to end up with a potent behemoth of a deck.

When I first got the complete spoiler for Ravnica from MTGsalvation.com, I checked off cards that seemed promising for Gifts. Grave-Shell Scar
Scar
ScarSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
194
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.
ab, Plague Boiler
Plague Boiler
Plague BoilerSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
269
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a plague counter on Plague Boiler. 1BG: Put a plague counter on Plague Boiler or remove a plague counter from it. When Plague Boiler has three or more plague counters on it, sacrifice it. If you do, destroy all nonland permanents.
, Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
, the new Dual lands (Watery Grave
Watery Grave
Watery GraveSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Island Swamp
Rarity:
R
Number:
286
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add U or B to your mana pool.) As Watery Grave comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Watery Grave comes into play tapped instead.
and Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown TombSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Swamp Forest
Rarity:
R
Number:
279
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add B or G to your mana pool.) As Overgrown Tomb comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Overgrown Tomb comes into play tapped instead.
), and possibly Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
were the cards that stood out to me. Then I looked at Ninth Edition and did the same thing. Yavimaya Coast
Yavimaya Coast
Yavimaya CoastSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
143
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add G or U to your mana pool. Yavimaya Coast deals 1 damage to you.
, Underground River
Underground River
Underground RiverSet: Fifth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.T: Add U or B to your mana pool. Underground River deals 1 damage to you.
, Llanowar Wastes
Llanowar Wastes
Llanowar WastesSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
141
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add B or G to your mana pool. Llanowar Wastes deals 1 damage to you.
, and ... uh what else? So I just started testing. A lot of testing and here is how I have found what exactly Ravnica and Ninth Edition contributes to Gifts.

Grave-Shell Scar
Scar
ScarSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
194
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.
ab
I tried a Scar
Scar
ScarSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
194
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.
ab for a Gifts target, a lot like how people run Exile into Darkness
Exile into Darkness
Exile into DarknessSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Text:
Target player sacrifices a creature with converted mana cost 3 or less. At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have more cards in hand than each opponent, you may return Exile into Darkness from your graveyard to your hand.
(I just happened to be one of those people). The problem I found was that the Scar
Scar
ScarSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
194
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.
ab never really did enough. When the Dredge
Dredge
DredgeSet: Invasion
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
103
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Sacrifice a creature or land.Draw a card.
was relevant, I was already losing or in control. Unlike a creature like Kagemaro or Meloku or Kokusho, GSS doesn't win the game. When you play your Scar
Scar
ScarSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
194
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.
ab, your opponent plays their man which will most likely trade with the Scar
Scar
ScarSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
194
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.
ab either by the assistance of Glorious Anthem
Glorious Anthem
Glorious AnthemSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
15
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
All creatures you control get +1/+1.
(s) (not every weenie is Watchwolf
Watchwolf
WatchwolfSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wolf
Rarity:
U
Number:
239
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
) or Jitte. Or just being Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon HierarchSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elephant Cleric
Rarity:
R
Number:
214
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
When Loxodon Hierarch comes into play, you gain 4 life. GW, Sacrifice Loxodon Hierarch: Regenerate each creature you control.
.

Grave-Shell Scar
Scar
ScarSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
194
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.
ab isn't big enough to dominate the board so the fact that he can come back every turn isn't special. Until you start looking at the control matches. Against MUC and UB control, Dredge
Dredge
DredgeSet: Invasion
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
103
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Sacrifice a creature or land.Draw a card.
is highly relevant since sometimes you don't get to Ghost-Lit Stalker mana. Sometimes you just can't resolve a threat until you just play a 4/4 every turn. Gifts has finite resources (until Death Denied
Death Denied
Death DeniedSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Text:
Return X target creature cards from your graveyard to your hand.
gets involved, but don't expect that bad boy to get active against Mono Blue Control all the time) and the Beetle gives it an increase in must counters by a force that seems exponential. All in all, I find the Scar
Scar
ScarSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
194
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature.
ab to be a great one-of in the sideboard, but not impressive enough to make my main deck.

Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.

Yes, this card is amazing. It kills everything that is threatening to this deck. It kills Jitte, Kokusho, Kagemaro, Hypnotic Specter
Hypnotic Specter
Hypnotic SpecterSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Specter
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying An opponent damaged by Specter must discard a card at random from his or her hand. Ignore this effect if opponent has no cards left in hand.
, Watchwolf
Watchwolf
WatchwolfSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wolf
Rarity:
U
Number:
239
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
, Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon HierarchSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elephant Cleric
Rarity:
R
Number:
214
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
When Loxodon Hierarch comes into play, you gain 4 life. GW, Sacrifice Loxodon Hierarch: Regenerate each creature you control.
, and Ink-Eyes. When I first saw Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
on the spoiler, I knew it was going in Gifts. I put 4 of them in and loved it. A lot.

So where's the discussion? If Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
is so much better than the previous removal, why keep talking? A little something called White Red Weenie is why. I got schooled by White Red Weenie a few times simply because they could drop fliers that Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Sakura-Tribe ElderSet: Commander
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Snake Shaman
Rarity:
C
Number:
169
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder: Search your library for a basic land card, put that card onto the battlefield tapped, then shuffle your library.
couldn't block and finish me with burn after some sweepers. Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
was good, but not enough to win the match. So I went up to 3 Shoals and added back Exile into Darkness
Exile into Darkness
Exile into DarknessSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Text:
Target player sacrifices a creature with converted mana cost 3 or less. At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have more cards in hand than each opponent, you may return Exile into Darkness from your graveyard to your hand.
while taking out a Hideous Laughter
Hideous Laughter
Hideous LaughterSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
U
Number:
115
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
All creatures get -2/-2 until end of turn. Splice onto Arcane 3BB (As you play an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay its splice cost. If you do, add this card's effects to that spell.)
(just not as effective with Glorious Anthem
Glorious Anthem
Glorious AnthemSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
15
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
All creatures you control get +1/+1.
around) and one Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
. The match up is more than solid now as Sicken
Sicken
SickenSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
156
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Enchanted creature gets -1/-1.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
aW5nIFNob2Fs can take care of early threats while Gifts is developing its mana and Exile
Exile
ExileSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
21
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Remove target nonwhite attacking creature from the game. You gain life equal to its toughness.
can help you keep their development stunted until it is time to take full control of the game.

The number of Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
s you play is your own choice. Some love Lightning Helix
Lightning Helix
Lightning HelixSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
213
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Lightning Helix deals 3 damage to target creature or player and you gain 3 life.
, others love Char
Char
CharSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Char deals 4 damage to target creature or player and 2 damage to you.
, but I am thoroughly convinced that Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
is the best target removal spell in the format. Not running this is in Black Gifts is just inconceivable to me.

Plague Boiler
Plague Boiler
Plague BoilerSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
269
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a plague counter on Plague Boiler. 1BG: Put a plague counter on Plague Boiler or remove a plague counter from it. When Plague Boiler has three or more plague counters on it, sacrifice it. If you do, destroy all nonland permanents.

This is not the sequel Pernicious Deed
Pernicious Deed
Pernicious DeedSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
114
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
X, Sacrifice Pernicious Deed: Destroy each artifact, creature, and enchantment with converted mana cost X or less.
. This is just a just a tribute.

Plague Boiler
Plague Boiler
Plague BoilerSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
269
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a plague counter on Plague Boiler. 1BG: Put a plague counter on Plague Boiler or remove a plague counter from it. When Plague Boiler has three or more plague counters on it, sacrifice it. If you do, destroy all nonland permanents.
can be strong, but it suffers a few problems. The first is that it is slow. It is near impossible for a control deck to pop the Boil
Boil
BoilSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
169
Artist:
Jason Alexander Behnke
Text:
Destroy all islands.
er before turn 5, which seems a little late in a format full of Isamarus, Savannah Lions
Savannah Lions
Savannah LionsSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Lions
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
, Leonin Skyhunter
Leonin Skyhunter
Leonin SkyhunterSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cat Knight
Rarity:
U
Number:
11
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying
s, Watchwolf
Watchwolf
WatchwolfSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wolf
Rarity:
U
Number:
239
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
, and Skyknight Legionaires. However, the Boil
Boil
BoilSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
169
Artist:
Jason Alexander Behnke
Text:
Destroy all islands.
er could still be a solid Gifts target or as a more supporting sweeper.

The real problem is that Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
is in a lot of decks and negates a lot of the power of the Boil
Boil
BoilSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
169
Artist:
Jason Alexander Behnke
Text:
Destroy all islands.
er. Having your Boil
Boil
BoilSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
169
Artist:
Jason Alexander Behnke
Text:
Destroy all islands.
er destroyed in response to adding the third counter is bad for you. Really bad. Since there is probably a reason you are going to pop your Boil
Boil
BoilSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
169
Artist:
Jason Alexander Behnke
Text:
Destroy all islands.
er. Oh yeah, Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon Hierarch
Loxodon HierarchSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
4
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elephant Cleric
Rarity:
R
Number:
214
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
When Loxodon Hierarch comes into play, you gain 4 life. GW, Sacrifice Loxodon Hierarch: Regenerate each creature you control.
has the Boil
Boil
BoilSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
169
Artist:
Jason Alexander Behnke
Text:
Destroy all islands.
er's number too.

Maybe he should have the flavor text:
´´Don't mourn for me, this is my destiny.´´

Or they can just leave that on Vindicate
Vindicate
VindicateSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
Destroy target permanent.
. Oh well. Plague Boiler
Plague Boiler
Plague BoilerSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
269
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep, put a plague counter on Plague Boiler. 1BG: Put a plague counter on Plague Boiler or remove a plague counter from it. When Plague Boiler has three or more plague counters on it, sacrifice it. If you do, destroy all nonland permanents.
isn't good enough for my list either in the main deck or the sideboard. I would advise play testing with them though. The reason is that you may see them at States and learning to play around them could be invaluable. Especially so you don't play Meloku, return 8 lands, and watch you opponent add two counters and laugh. Oh yeah, I read the card very carefully next time.

Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
, Watery Grave
Watery Grave
Watery GraveSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Island Swamp
Rarity:
R
Number:
286
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add U or B to your mana pool.) As Watery Grave comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Watery Grave comes into play tapped instead.
, Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown Tomb
Overgrown TombSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Sub Type:
Swamp Forest
Rarity:
R
Number:
279
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
(T: Add B or G to your mana pool.) As Overgrown Tomb comes into play, you may pay 2 life. If you don’t, Overgrown Tomb comes into play tapped instead.
, Llanowar Wastes
Llanowar Wastes
Llanowar WastesSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
141
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add B or G to your mana pool. Llanowar Wastes deals 1 damage to you.
, Yavimaya Coast
Yavimaya Coast
Yavimaya CoastSet: Apocalypse
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
143
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Text:
TAP: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. TAP: Add G or U to your mana pool. Yavimaya Coast deals 1 damage to you.
, and Underground River
Underground River
Underground RiverSet: Fifth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.T: Add U or B to your mana pool. Underground River deals 1 damage to you.

I guess I will start on a simple truth of Gifts. This deck has more in common with The Deck (or Keeper if you must) than some people like. It is slow, but wins in the long game by getting steady card advantage through discard and draw enhancement. Rather than Jayemdae Tome
Jayemdae Tome
Jayemdae TomeSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
4, T: Draw one extra card.
, Gifts has Sensei's Divining Top
Sensei's Divining Top
Sensei's Divining TopSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
268
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
1: Look at the top three cards of your library, then put them back in any order. T: Draw a card, then put Sensei's Divining Top on top of its owner's library.
with shufflers. The Top engine is very effective but not very fast which means while you are setting up your mid and late game players, you opponent is smashing face with men. Even if you have the most crippling turn 5 play, you have to live long enough to make it and you have be at a high enough life total afterward to be able to establish control. In a format where the best aggressive deck runs good burn, dipping below 8 life can be lethal. Not to mention that even against the decks without burn you still end many a game with only 1 to 3 life.

This is why the Shock
Shock
ShockSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
206
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
Shock deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
lands (or New Duals) aren’t in my deck. Most of the time, they are just tap lands, but I wouldn't run Salt Marsh
Salt Marsh
Salt MarshSet: Invasion
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Number:
326
Artist:
Jerry Tiritilli
Text:
Salt Marsh comes into play tapped.T: Add U or B to your mana pool.
in this deck. Since I am not running the Shock
Shock
ShockSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
206
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
Shock deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
lands, then Farseek
Farseek
FarseekSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
163
Artist:
Martina Pilcerova
Text:
Search your library for a Plains, Island, Swamp, or Mountain card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
falls by the wayside since it is just an inferior Rampant Growth
Rampant Growth
Rampant GrowthSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
246
Artist:
Tom Kyffin
Text:
Search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
which isn't making the main deck anyway.

The painlands are actually much better, but they can't beat Tendo Ice Bridge
Tendo Ice Bridge
Tendo Ice BridgeSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
165
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Tendo Ice Bridge comes into play with a charge counter on it. T: Add 1 to your mana pool. T, Remove a charge counter from Tendo Ice Bridge Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
. The pains allow you to get reusable mana and get your mana right away, but they don't let you get all three colors of relevant mana, thus making them inferior to Tendo Ice Bridge
Tendo Ice Bridge
Tendo Ice BridgeSet: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
165
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Tendo Ice Bridge comes into play with a charge counter on it. T: Add 1 to your mana pool. T, Remove a charge counter from Tendo Ice Bridge Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
.

The Birds of Paradise
Birds of Paradise
Birds of ParadiseSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Mana Birds
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Power:
0
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.
Conundrum
Gifts is a very slow deck. One of the cards that best facilitates it is a three mana sorcery (Kodama's Reach
Kodama's Reach
Kodama's ReachSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Number:
225
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Search your library for two basic land cards, reveal those cards, and put one into play tapped and the other into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
). Its newest toy (Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
) costs three mana. So why is having a card that lets you play both of those earlier and give you a better game ineffective? First they get killed often. Secondly, Gifts’ best weapons involved killing everything like Hideous Laughter
Hideous Laughter
Hideous LaughterSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
U
Number:
115
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
All creatures get -2/-2 until end of turn. Splice onto Arcane 3BB (As you play an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay its splice cost. If you do, add this card's effects to that spell.)
and Kagemaro. Throw in the fact that every draw matters, even the tenth land, in Gifts and Birds has lost all of its promise. Sad but true.

Carven Caryatid
Carven Caryatid
Carven CaryatidSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
155
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Power:
2
Toughness:
5
Text:
Defender (This creature can’t attack.) When Carven Caryatid comes into play, draw a card.

The successor of Wall of Blossoms
Wall of Blossoms
Wall of BlossomsSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
75
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
0
Toughness:
4
Text:
(Walls cannot attack.) When Wall of Blossoms comes into play, draw a card.
could be much stronger despite being a thoroughly different beast. Instead of getting a cheap, efficient life saving cycler you get a cheap, baby killing cycler. Yes this wall will take out Isamaru and then his/her cubs. Or maybe just let the dog bounce because Glorious Anthem
Glorious Anthem
Glorious AnthemSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
15
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
All creatures you control get +1/+1.
has hit the table.

So how is a creature that gives aggro second thoughts and filters draw not an auto include? First off is how it affects deck consistency. Running more Carven Caryatid
Carven Caryatid
Carven CaryatidSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
155
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Power:
2
Toughness:
5
Text:
Defender (This creature can’t attack.) When Carven Caryatid comes into play, draw a card.
s cuts into Gifts targets. Running a lone Caryatid as a Gifts target is highly ineffective. Oh yeah, and it is rough on the mana. I know I said the mana is smooth enough to not warrant adding Shock
Shock
ShockSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
206
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
Shock deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
lands or Pain lands, but that doesn't mean you can reliably get double Green early enough for the Wall to do its job. Especially since you search up to 3 Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.
s and an Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.
before you think about getting a Forest
Forest
ForestSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool.
. Too bad, it could be very nifty.

For every card that could help Gifts, there is undoubtedly one that gives Gifts fits.

Lightning Helix
Lightning Helix
Lightning HelixSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
213
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Lightning Helix deals 3 damage to target creature or player and you gain 3 life.
and Char
Char
CharSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Char deals 4 damage to target creature or player and 2 damage to you.
and Skyknight Legionaire
White gets burn. Which means that your life total is in even more trouble in the White Weenie match. This is a problem too, as it means your Kagemaros and your Meloku may not last until the end of the turn. The best way to combat this is Cranial Extraction
Cranial Extraction
Cranial ExtractionSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
R
Number:
105
Artist:
Dave Allsop
Text:
Name a nonland card. Search target player's graveyard, hand, and library for all cards with that name and remove them from the game. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
against Char
Char
CharSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
117
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
Char deals 4 damage to target creature or player and 2 damage to you.
as that extra point can usually be the margin of victory.

The Legionaire gets grouped with the Burn as the time these cards will be relevant is when they are seen together. The ability to have a hasted creature that flies over the majority of your deck can be very bad for you considering your removal options at Instant speed are spent quite quickly.

While these cards do not specifically hate Gifts, they do signify that there is a very quick deck with plenty of reach to contend with. As I have mentioned already, Gifts uses it life total as a resource similar to the Deck. I remember when Weissman, after handing me 6 consecutive losses with The Deck, imparted this wisdom on me, ´´Your life total is a resource. It doesn't matter until you are about to die.´´ Gifts takes that mantra to the extreme.

Razia's Purification
Razia's Purification
Razia's PurificationSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
6
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
224
Artist:
Shishizaru
Text:
Each player chooses three permanents he or she controls, then sacrifices the rest.

Yes, this card is really bad for you. Unless you have some sort of win on the board, things could be very dire for you. When this is played against you, the game isn't over, but the winner is probably pretty close to being determined. Sometimes you just march on with Kagemaro or Myojin, but a lot of the time you just end up getting pounded by ... anything.

Suppression Field
Suppression Field
Suppression FieldSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
31
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Activated abilities cost 2 more to play unless they’re mana abilities.

Everyone is saying how this just stops Jitte. It does. It is pretty much Damping Matrix
Damping Matrix
Damping MatrixSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
161
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
Activated abilities of artifacts and creatures can't be played unless they're mana abilities.
when it comes to Jitte. And Top. And Elder. And Kagemaro. And Meloku. And Hana Kami
Hana Kami
Hana KamiSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
211
Artist:
Rebecca Guay
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
1G, Sacrifice Hana Kami: Return target Arcane card from your graveyard to your hand.
. Oh crap.

Some people have Pithing Needle
Pithing Needle
Pithing NeedleSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Color:
Colorless
Rarity:
R
in their decks or their board to help their match up with Gifts. I laugh when I see it since Suppression Field
Suppression Field
Suppression FieldSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
31
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Activated abilities cost 2 more to play unless they’re mana abilities.
is the absolute nuts. I see one hit the table and I wonder how much longer I can wait to draw my Wear Away
Wear Away
Wear AwaySet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Sub Type:
Arcane
Rarity:
C
Number:
250
Artist:
Tim Hildebrandt
Text:
Destroy target artifact or enchantment. Splice onto Arcane 3G (As you play an Arcane spell, you may reveal this card from your hand and pay its splice cost. If you do, add this card's effects to that spell.)
to get back in the game. One of the reasons Pithing Needle
Pithing Needle
Pithing NeedleSet: Saviors of Kamigawa
Color:
Colorless
Rarity:
R
doesn't hack it against Gifts, aside from only stopping one thing, is that it is destroyed by Putrefy
Putrefy
PutrefySet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Jim Nelson
Text:
Destroy target artifact or creature. It can’t be regenerated.
.

Shadow of Doubt
Shadow of Doubt
Shadow of DoubtSet: Ravnica City of Guilds
Cost:
10
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
253
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
(U/B can be paid with either U or B.) Players can’t search libraries this turn. Draw a card.

This card counters Gifts like it was nothing. It counters Elder and Reach too. It is bad times for Black Gifts. It’s bad enough it effectively stops you from winning/trying to win, but it can cycle meaning people will run it just because of the times it can be useful. Fortunately, that strategy isn't prominent as many believe Gifts to be nonviable due to the presence of White Red Weenie.

There are more cards that invariably have some sort of effect upon Black Gifts, but these are ones that are most important. Sure the introduction of twelve mana accelerators has ramifications, but that is a discussion for another day and another deck.


Rate Article



Discuss Article

Click here to discuss this article in forum or leave comments for the author.

RSS feed RSS Feed


This article is provided to you by CardShark.com - A Better Way to Buy and Sell Collectable Games Online. Please check out the rest of our site - you won't be disappointed.

View More ArticlesView More Articles