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Abusing Untap - Tim Hebert (5/13/2008)

When I first heard about the new ´´Untap´´ mechanic in Shadowmoor, the first thought that crossed my mind was ´´I bet I could abuse this ability by making things tap AND untap again and again. Golly, that would be fun!´´

However, those clever designers of Magic clearly anticipated my joy and crushed it in advance by making the untap mechanic costly and/or lame in most cases. On the other hand, with a little determination, a little research, and a little reliability on other abusable cards, I know we can do this! (Note: I refuse to use Earthcraft
Earthcraft
EarthcraftSet: Tempest
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Randy Gallegos
Text:
Tap an untapped creature you control: Untap target basic land.
to enable these combos. It's broken and justifiably banned in Legacy.) [Editor's note: I appreciate that on a personal level.]


Two-card abuse: Umbral Mantle
Umbral Mantle
Umbral MantleSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
U
Number:
267
Artist:
Richard Sardinha
Text:
Equipped creature has "3, oQ: This creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn." (oQ is the untap symbol.) Equip 0


Umbral Mantle
Umbral Mantle
Umbral MantleSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
U
Number:
267
Artist:
Richard Sardinha
Text:
Equipped creature has "3, oQ: This creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn." (oQ is the untap symbol.) Equip 0
is an Equipment that gives its wearer ´´3, Q: This creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn.´´ Hey, in case you weren't aware of it already, on Cardshark, ´´Q´´ is the untap symbol. All you really need to abuse Umbral Mantle
Umbral Mantle
Umbral MantleSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Sub Type:
Equipment
Rarity:
U
Number:
267
Artist:
Richard Sardinha
Text:
Equipped creature has "3, oQ: This creature gets +2/+2 until end of turn." (oQ is the untap symbol.) Equip 0
is a creature with a tap ability that will give you 3 mana. I can think of two: Elvish Aberration
Elvish Aberration
Elvish AberrationSet: Scourge
Cost:
6
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf Mutant
Rarity:
U
Number:
118
Power:
4
Toughness:
5
Text:
T : Add GGG to your mana pool.
Forestcycling 2
, a scourge uncommon that taps to give you GGG, and Krosan Restorer
Krosan Restorer
Krosan RestorerSet: Torment
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Druid
Rarity:
C
Number:
130
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
T: Untap target land. Threshold - T: Untap up to three target lands.
, a Torment
Torment
TormentSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
23
Artist:
Paolo Parente
Text:
Enchanted creature gets -3/-0.
common with a Threshold ability to untap 3 lands. So, simply equip your creature, tap the creature to get the three mana, then spend the 3 mana to untap the creature and make it +2/+2 bigger. Lather, rinse, repeat. Of course, having a really big creature often does no good unless you can actually damage your opponent with it. Since both of these creatures are green anyway, you might consider trample effects such as Primal Rage
Primal Rage
Primal RageSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
62
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
All creatures you control gain trample.
or Dragon Fangs
Dragon Fangs
Dragon FangsSet: Scourge
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Number:
117
Text:
Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 and has trample.
When a creature with a converted mana cost of 6 or more comes into play, you may return Dragon Fangs from your graveyard to play enchanting that creature.
, but in the case of the Restorer, you could also use Crafty Pathmage
Crafty Pathmage
Crafty PathmageSet: Onslaught
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
77
Artist:
Wayne England
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Target creature with power 2 or less is unblockable this turn.
to make it unblockable since it starts out at 1/2.


More two-card abuse: Leech Bonder
Leech Bonder
Leech BonderSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
43
Artist:
E. M. Gist
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Leech Bonder comes into play with two -1/-1 counters on it. U, oQ: Move a counter from target creature onto another target creature. (oQ is the untap symbol.)


At first glance Leech Bonder
Leech Bonder
Leech BonderSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
43
Artist:
E. M. Gist
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Leech Bonder comes into play with two -1/-1 counters on it. U, oQ: Move a counter from target creature onto another target creature. (oQ is the untap symbol.)
looks cool but limited. It comes into play with 2 -1/-1 counters, and its untap ability is ´´U, Q: Move a counter from target creature onto another target creature.´´ The trouble with trying to abuse this ability is that Leech Bonder
Leech Bonder
Leech BonderSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
43
Artist:
E. M. Gist
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Leech Bonder comes into play with two -1/-1 counters on it. U, oQ: Move a counter from target creature onto another target creature. (oQ is the untap symbol.)
would run out of counters to distribute after the first two. The answer to Leech Bonder
Leech Bonder
Leech BonderSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
43
Artist:
E. M. Gist
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Leech Bonder comes into play with two -1/-1 counters on it. U, oQ: Move a counter from target creature onto another target creature. (oQ is the untap symbol.)
is a black Alliances card that until now, in technical jargon, ´´sucked.´´ It's called Krovikan Plague
Krovikan Plague
Krovikan PlagueSet: Alliances
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Liz Danforth
Text:
Play on a non-wall creature you control.Draw a card at the beginning of the upkeep of the turn after Krovikan Plague comes into play.0: Tap enchanted creature to have Krovikan Plague deal 1 damage to target creature or player. Put a -0/-1 counter on enchanted creature.
, and it's an aura that gives the enchanted creature ´´Tap: Put a -0/-1 counter on this creature, and Krovikan Plague
Krovikan Plague
Krovikan PlagueSet: Alliances
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Liz Danforth
Text:
Play on a non-wall creature you control.Draw a card at the beginning of the upkeep of the turn after Krovikan Plague comes into play.0: Tap enchanted creature to have Krovikan Plague deal 1 damage to target creature or player. Put a -0/-1 counter on enchanted creature.
deals 1 damage to target creature or player.´´ So, play Krovikan Plague
Krovikan Plague
Krovikan PlagueSet: Alliances
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Liz Danforth
Text:
Play on a non-wall creature you control.Draw a card at the beginning of the upkeep of the turn after Krovikan Plague comes into play.0: Tap enchanted creature to have Krovikan Plague deal 1 damage to target creature or player. Put a -0/-1 counter on enchanted creature.
on the Leech Bonder
Leech Bonder
Leech BonderSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
43
Artist:
E. M. Gist
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Leech Bonder comes into play with two -1/-1 counters on it. U, oQ: Move a counter from target creature onto another target creature. (oQ is the untap symbol.)
, then use the tap ability. Quick! Before the tap ability's effect happens, use the untap ability! Then, in LIFO order, the Bonder will 1) move a -1/-1 counter onto another target creature (momentarily becoming 2/2), and 2) deal 1 damage to something while gaining a -0/-1 counter (becoming a 2/1). Brilliant! The tap ability puts counters on, and the untap ability moves them off. The net effect is that you have spent 1 blue mana and killed 2 obnoxious Goldmeadow Harrier
Goldmeadow Harrier
Goldmeadow HarrierSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kithkin Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
17
Artist:
Steve Prescott
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
W, T: Tap target creature. 0
s. Now, proceed to kill opponent's creatures at an exchange rate of 1 blue mana per 2 toughness. Sweet. Your friends will hate you. Please give me some credit for your stunning victories.


Less-Impressive Two-card Abuse: Knacksaw Clique
Knacksaw Clique
Knacksaw CliqueSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Faerie Rogue
Rarity:
R
Number:
42
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Power:
1
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying 1U, oQ: Target opponent removes the top card of his or her library from the game. Until end of turn, you may play that card. (oQ is the untap symbol.)


Knacksaw Clique
Knacksaw Clique
Knacksaw CliqueSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Faerie Rogue
Rarity:
R
Number:
42
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Power:
1
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying 1U, oQ: Target opponent removes the top card of his or her library from the game. Until end of turn, you may play that card. (oQ is the untap symbol.)
is a flying 1/4 with ´´1U, Q: Target opponent removes the top card of his or her library from the game. Until end of turn, you may play that card.´´ Now, being able to play your opponent's card sounds fun, but what about just using this ability to mill the poor slob? Put Utopia Vow
Utopia Vow
Utopia VowSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Number:
142
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature can't attack or block. Enchanted creature has "T Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."
on the Clique, and they become a clique you don't want to hang out with at school. Use the Utopia Vow
Utopia Vow
Utopia VowSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Number:
142
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature can't attack or block. Enchanted creature has "T Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."
ability to tap the Clique and get one blue mana, then spend that blue mana and one other to untap the Clique and remove your opponent's top card. The net result is that you can remove one card for every free mana you have every turn. Want to make this combo infinite? Um, Celestial Dawn
Celestial Dawn
Celestial DawnSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
7
Artist:
Liz Danforth
Text:
Nonland cards you own that aren't in play are white. Nonland permanents you control are white. Lands you control are plains. Colored mana symbols in the costs on all those cards and permanents are W.
, Imagecrafter
Imagecrafter
ImagecrafterSet: Onslaught
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
87
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Choose a creature type other than Legend or Wall. Target creature's type becomes that type until end of turn.
, and Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro
Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro
Sachi, Daughter of SeshiroSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Snake Shaman
Rarity:
U
Number:
238
Artist:
Nottsuo
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
Other Snakes you control get +0/+1. Shamans you control have “T: Add GG to your mana pool.”
? Well, it?s a five-card, three-color combo, but it *does* mill your opponent's entire library.


Four-card abuse: Order of Whiteclay
Order of Whiteclay
Order of WhiteclaySet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kithkin Cleric
Rarity:
R
Number:
16
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Power:
1
Toughness:
4
Text:
1WW, oQ: Return target creature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard to play. (oQ is the untap symbol.)


Okay, I'm not trying to suggest that a four-card combo is really feasible, but, what are we if we don't dare to dream? Order of Whiteclay
Order of Whiteclay
Order of WhiteclaySet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Kithkin Cleric
Rarity:
R
Number:
16
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Power:
1
Toughness:
4
Text:
1WW, oQ: Return target creature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard to play. (oQ is the untap symbol.)
has probably the coolest Untap ability of all: ´´1WW, Q: Return target creature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard to play.´´ Wow! Bringing creatures from the graveyard to play! I'm sure there's an evil genius out there who could really figure out how to make that work. But what I've thought of is more mundane: a way to do one damage at a time and ´´ping´´ your opponent to death. Start with the Order with Utopia Vow
Utopia Vow
Utopia VowSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Number:
142
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature can't attack or block. Enchanted creature has "T Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."
on it. You also need Blasting Station
Blasting Station
Blasting StationSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
107
Text:
Tap, Sacrifice a creature: Blasting Station deals 1 damage to target creature or player. Whenever a creature comes into play, you may untap Blasting Station.
, two lands, and in the graveyard, Cloud of Faeries
Cloud of Faeries
Cloud of FaeriesSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Faeries
Rarity:
C
Number:
29
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying When Cloud of Faeries comes into play, untap up to two lands.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
. Other than the lands, I call that a four-card combo. You tap the Order with the Utopia Vow
Utopia Vow
Utopia VowSet: Planar Chaos
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Number:
142
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature can't attack or block. Enchanted creature has "T Add one mana of any color to your mana pool."
ability to get one white mana. Then tap the two lands (one of which better be a plains, I guess), and use your three mana for the Order's untap ability, reanimating Cloud of Faeries
Cloud of Faeries
Cloud of FaeriesSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Faeries
Rarity:
C
Number:
29
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying When Cloud of Faeries comes into play, untap up to two lands.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
. When they come into play you can untap your two lands, and Blasting Station
Blasting Station
Blasting StationSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
107
Text:
Tap, Sacrifice a creature: Blasting Station deals 1 damage to target creature or player. Whenever a creature comes into play, you may untap Blasting Station.
untaps. Then tap Blasting Station
Blasting Station
Blasting StationSet: Fifth Dawn
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
107
Text:
Tap, Sacrifice a creature: Blasting Station deals 1 damage to target creature or player. Whenever a creature comes into play, you may untap Blasting Station.
to sacrifice Cloud of Faeries
Cloud of Faeries
Cloud of FaeriesSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Faeries
Rarity:
C
Number:
29
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying When Cloud of Faeries comes into play, untap up to two lands.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
and deal 1 damage to the opponent. And now start all over again. Yay! Dead opponent. Please note that you don't actually have to be running blue to play this combo because Cloud of Faeries
Cloud of Faeries
Cloud of FaeriesSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Faeries
Rarity:
C
Number:
29
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying When Cloud of Faeries comes into play, untap up to two lands.Cycling 2 (You may pay 2 and discard this card from your hand to draw a card. Play this ability as an instant.)
can be cycled into the graveyard.

Not worth abusing: Everything Else

The rest of the untap abilities don't really strike me as being all that interesting or desirable. They are things like giving something -2/-0 or +0/+2, tapping something else, looking at your top card and choosing whether to remove it from the game, and other boring stuff. But I would like to congratulate in advance the person who figures out a way to abuse Pale Wayfarer
Pale Wayfarer
Pale WayfarerSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
7
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit Giant
Rarity:
U
Number:
17
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
2WW, oQ: Target creature gains protection from the color of its controller's choice until end of turn. (oQ is the untap symbol.)
, a 4/4 Giant with this untap ability: ´´2WW, Q: Target creature gains protection from the color of its controller's choice until end of turn.´´ Good luck with that!

PS: Wait, I've got it! Pale Wayfarer
Pale Wayfarer
Pale WayfarerSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
7
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit Giant
Rarity:
U
Number:
17
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
2WW, oQ: Target creature gains protection from the color of its controller's choice until end of turn. (oQ is the untap symbol.)
, Ashnod
Ashnod
AshnodSet: Vanguard
Sub Type:
Character
Rarity:
X
Number:
1
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
+1
Toughness:
-8
Text:
Whenever a creature successfully damages you, destroy it.
J3MgVHJhbnNtb2dyYW50, Power Artifact
Power Artifact
Power ArtifactSet: Antiquities
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchant Artifact
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
The activation cost of target artifact is reduced by 2. If this would reduce target artifact's activation cost below 1, target artifact's activation cost becomes 1. Power Artifact has no effect on artifacts that have no activation cost or whose activation cost is 0.
, Imagecrafter
Imagecrafter
ImagecrafterSet: Onslaught
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wizard
Rarity:
C
Number:
87
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Choose a creature type other than Legend or Wall. Target creature's type becomes that type until end of turn.
, Skyshroud Elf
Skyshroud Elf
Skyshroud ElfSet: Tempest
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elf
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Add G to your mana pool. Play this ability as a mana source.1: Add W or R to your mana pool. Play this ability as a mana source.
, and Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro
Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro
Sachi, Daughter of SeshiroSet: Champions of Kamigawa
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Snake Shaman
Rarity:
U
Number:
238
Artist:
Nottsuo
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
Other Snakes you control get +0/+1. Shamans you control have “T: Add GG to your mana pool.”
! And then hope they don't have any artifacts that can block or kill the giant!


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