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CardShark Content - Wenhao Xia (3/11/2004)

Darksteel gives us many interesting choices in our current card pool. Today, I will be examining the black cards from Aether Snap
Snap
SnapSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
43
Artist:
Mike Raabe
Text:
Return target creature to owner's hand. Untap up to two lands.
- Grimclaw Bat in Darksteel.

I will give each card a rating, with 1 being completely unplayable and 5 being a card that you will always want in a deck with that the appropriate color. Each card will receive two ratings, a constructed rating and a limited rating, and I will give my reasoning in both of them. I will describe the cards a little as the set is new and not everyone is familiar with each card. Keep in mind that these are my opinions, and my opinions may not be always right. You are free to judge the card by yourself. Now let’s get on to the first card…

Aether Snap
Snap
SnapSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
43
Artist:
Mike Raabe
Text:
Return target creature to owner's hand. Untap up to two lands.

Constructed - 1.5
Limited - 2.5

This is a card that will remove all counters and get rid of all token creatures. With that in mind, one can see pretty clearly that this card is almost completely unplayable in constructed. There just won’t be a lot of times when you would want to lose a card to get rid of all counters and tokens. The reason is received a 1.5 instead of a 1 is solely because that it might make into the sideboard on some black decks as it will kill off all modular creatures instantly. So if modular becomes a dominant deck (I highly doubt it, but they say everything is possible…) this might be somewhat useful.

Limited though, this card is a lot different, especially in a Mirrodin block only limited environment. The amount of modular creatures that you will see in limited will significantly increase, as they are incredibly good in limited. Cards like Spawning Pit
Spawning Pit
Spawning PitSet: Darksteel
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
141
Artist:
Tony Szczudlo
Text:
Sacrifice a creature: Put a charge counter on Spawning Pit. 1, Remove two charge counters from Spawning Pit: Put a 2/2 Spawn artifact creature token into play.
and Nuisance Engine
Nuisance Engine
Nuisance EngineSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Number:
221
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Text:
2, T: Put a 0/1 Pest artifact creature token into play.
will always be played in limited. While this is still quite a situational card, it will be useful in limited. I realize that I might be severely overrating or underrating this card, but the truth is that I haven’t played much with it, as it is rare and doesn’t come up too often.

Burden of Greed
Burden of Greed
Burden of GreedSet: Darksteel
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
38
Artist:
Vance Kovacs
Text:
Target player loses 1 life for each tapped artifact he or she controls.

Constructed - 1
Limited - 2

This is another card that doesn’t make it as it doesn’t do a lot. It will cause your opponent to lose 1 life for each artifact he/she controls. Once again, this will be virtually useless in constructed, even as an instant. Rarely will this card do anything at all against an opponents; most of the time, it will be a dead card in your hand. The cards is even useless against heavy artifact decks like affinity as it doesn’t tap a lot of its artifact, and spending one card to do usually zero damage is pretty bad.

In limited though, this card gains some value, because it could potentially be a card that can kill you opponents in one shot. But the truth is that it most likely won’t do a lot. There might be sometimes when you might side it in against some strange artifact deck, but most of the time, it’s just bad.

Chittering Rat
Constructed - 1.5
Limited - 4

This is another three for a 2/2, it has the come into play ability of making your opponents put a card from his/her hand on top of his/her library. In constructed, this is just not very good; there is simply much better card for the same price. The double black means that it’s not really splashible. It might make it into a few monoblack decks, but I doubt that it will ever see the light of constructed tournament. The only use for this card, that I see, in constructed is to use an astral slide combo to lock down your opponents draw phase. And even that combo is very easily broken by a few creature removals.

In limited though, this card is a completely different story. You will always want to play with this card if your mana base can afford it. While it won’t seemingly do a lot, a 2/2 is not a bad body to have in limited, and the come into play ability is great in limited. You’re essentially getting a card advantage by just playing this. Try it next time you play black

Death Cloud
Death Cloud
Death CloudSet: Darksteel
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
40
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Text:
Each player loses X life then discards X cards from his or her hand then sacrifices X creatures then sacrifices X lands.

Constructed - 3
Limited 4.5

People have been trying to break this card in constructed since it was previewed. But so far no one has really been able to come up with a degenerate deck based around this card. This is because that this card is way too balanced. The heavy mana requirement means that you will always sacrifice the maximum amount of land. And if you’re not sacrificing creatures, it usually means you’re discarding cards as you’ll usually be playing control if you have no creatures. So in general, since nobody has been able to come up with a way to break this card yet, it will only receive a mediocre rating of 3 for constructed.

This card is so much better in limited than in constructed. And this is true for all cards that can act as a reset button. The triple black casting cost is the only thing that made it a 4.5 instead of a 5. This can be used offensively for the final few point of life, or defensively for a board clearing effect. You can also set x equal to the number of creatures your opponent have, and if you have just one more creature, it’ll be hard for your opponents to come back at all. As they’ll usually have no creature, no hand, lost a bunch of life, and very little land to play anything. In short, if you can afford the triple black, you definitely want to play this.

Echoing Decay
Echoing Decay
Echoing DecaySet: Darksteel
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
41
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target creature and all other creatures with the same name as that creature get -2/-2 until end of turn.

Constructed - 2.5
Limited - 5

This card will be okay in constructed as a creature kill for goblins and as an offensive tool for suicide black decks, but it won’t be that good. Terror
Terror
TerrorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Buries target creature. Cannot target black creatures or artifact creatures.
usually will be more effective, and if your opponent is playing affinity, then you really can’t do much with this against broodstar or enforcers anyway. In the end, this card will probably be another sideboard card against goblins than anything else.

In limited though, you will always want to play with this card. The one black mana means that it’s splashible, and it will usually kill a creature, sometimes even two or three. Effective creature kills are always in premium in limited and this card is no different. It will especially shine in Mirrodin block limited with the amount of myrs and two toughness creatures. Remember, same tokens have the same name, so you can kill all those annoying spawn tokens with one shot.

Emissary of Despair
Emissary of Despair
Emissary of DespairSet: Darksteel
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
42
Artist:
rk post
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying. When Emissary of Despair deals combat damage to a player that player loses 1 life for each artifact he or she controls.

Constructed - 1.5
Limited - 5

This creature will be virtually useless in constructed, the only reason that it received a 1.5 instead of a 1 is because that it can be sided in against affinity decks. This will be its only use. (It will be deadly against affinity if they can not deal with this though, for them, this is usually a two turn clock) The one toughness is also not welcoming. In general, this is useless against everything save affinity, and it’ll still die to any kind of removal affinity decks have.

In limited though, you will always want to play this card. The two black is a bit of a problem, but not a severe as Death Cloud
Death Cloud
Death CloudSet: Darksteel
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
40
Artist:
Stephen Tappin
Text:
Each player loses X life then discards X cards from his or her hand then sacrifices X creatures then sacrifices X lands.
’s triple black. For starter, this is a two powered flyer, and in the flayer light environment of Mirrodin, this is a great card for a great price. Second of all, this is usually a much more powerful card than a two power flyer, because it’ll usually deal around 5-6 damage if it hits. In general, you want this card in any kind of Mirrodin limited environment.

Essence Drain
Essence Drain
Essence DrainSet: Darksteel
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
43
Artist:
Tony Szczudlo
Text:
Essence Drain deals 3 damage to target creature or player and you gain 3 life.

Constructed - 1
Limited - 5

This is one useless card in constructed. If you’re playing black, there is much better removal, and if you’re playing monoblack, then consume spirit is simply a better card. There is simply no way to use this card at all in constructed.

Limited on the other hand, this card become a must have. The single black casting cost means that this is very much splashible. This will kill a lot of things, and have the power to hit your opponents. It also has the advantage of not needing more than one black mana, unlike consume spirit. In general, you want this card in limited; it is simply a good card.

Greater Harvester
Greater Harvester
Greater HarvesterSet: Darksteel
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Horror
Rarity:
R
Number:
44
Artist:
Daren Bader
Power:
5
Toughness:
6
Text:
At the beginning of your upkeep sacrifice a permanent. Whenever Greater Harvester deals combat damage to a player that player sacrifices two permanents.

Constructed - 4
Limited - 3

This is one good card. For five mana, you get a 5/6 with a great ability. This will be a great card for suicide black decks as it will force your opponent to block it, for they really can not afford to let it through even once. For black control, this will also serve as a great finisher to the deck. It’s drawback of having to sacrifice a permanent each turn if rarely a severe enough penalty. Just think of it this way, if your opponent blocks it every turn, then they’re usually losing creatures, meaning you’re not losing any card advantage by sacrificing a permanent each turn. If they don’t block, then they will be in a lot of pain, and you will even gain card advantage. If, for some reason, they can chump this forever, then you can just sacrifice it to itself.

In limited, it’s still good, though not on par with constructed. For one, the triple black means that you can rarely use this card in anything but a truly black deck. And with the amount of modular and darksteel creatures, this creature won’t be that good. There’s also the fact the nuisance engine and spawning pit will always be played. But, this is still a solid card, and much better than a lot of other black card. Its own ability can still be used to sacrifice himself.

Grimclaw Bat
Constructed - 1
Limited - 4

This is another card that is virtually useless in constructed. There won’t ever be a time where you’ll see the bat in a constructed environment as he requires black mana, life, and dies pretty quickly.

In limited though, the bat is a great card for those heavy in black. He will usually play the role of a blocker as your opponents just won’t attack you if you have the bat untapped and mana open. Being a flyer, he also has the ability to force through that last few point of damage, or to force a block from your opponents. The bat is a great creature to use to control the sky, as there really isn’t another creature that will dominate like the bat does. In general, play him if you have enough black mana sources to make use of his abilities, most of the time though, the treat of making the bat big will stop your opponent from attacking you.


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