Evasive Maneuvers — Lure and Deathtouch – EDHREC


(Gift of the Deity | Art by Steve Prescott)

Greetings sleuths, saboteurs, and skulkers! Welcome to a different installment of Evasive Maneuvers, the place we study key phrases and methods that assist get our creatures by way of throughout fight.

This week it’s double bother: we’ll be lumping collectively Lure-effects with deathtouch. While every have sufficient help to warrant their very own discussions, deathtouch and Lure are a match made in heaven, and I’d be remiss to attempt and squeeze an article out of 1 with out mentioning the opposite.

The idea behind deathtouch was initially launched in Alpha with none aside from Thicket Basilisk, the place it was initially a triggered capability. In Future Sight and main into Lorwyn, deathtouch gained key phrase standing, and it was finally transitioned to a static capability quite than a triggered one. As of now, the rulings for it may be discovered underneath 702.2c:

“Any nonzero amount of combat damage assigned to a creature by a source with deathtouch is considered to be lethal damage for the purposes of determining if a proposed combat damage assignment is valid, regardless of that creature’s toughness.”

Deathtouch is a kind of difficult key phrases that skirts the road with evasion by performing as a deterrent for blockers quite than straight up “I’m getting through and there’s nothing you can do about this.” As a outcome, regardless of it not being as efficient as different types of evasion, it does create extra decision-making and company in-game, which I feel is an efficient factor. For all its evasive faults, deathtouch is definitely a extremely interactive mechanic.

Lure mechanics, alternatively, come from the namesake, Lure, in Alpha, which compels all creatures that the defending opponent controls to dam, if ready. What deathtouch offers, by way of company, Lure takes away. A real dream crew!

Can’t (Death)Touch This

As is custom, let’s begin with the breakdown of playing cards which have or grant deathtouch (n = 244), adopted by what playing cards exist that inhibit deathtouch’s potential.

It’s no shock that deathtouch is predominately present in Golgari: between your Deathgaze Cockatrice and assorted Daggerback Basilisks, there’s a menagerie of venomous villains at your disposal.

Unlike flying or Horsemanship, which have particular blocking necessities, any creature can block a creature with deathtouch. The query is: will they?

Archetype of Finality

Let’s take a look at the playing cards that outright negate deathtouch’s potential, beginning with Archetype of Finality. Like its star-studded color-cycled brethren (e.g., Archetype of Aggression), dealing with towards an Archetype of Finality can pose a severe obstacle in your personal deathtouchers, as they immediately simply misplaced their necrotic nudge potential. How a lot play does it see?


It makes an excessive amount of sense why Archetype of Finality sees comparatively little play towards its starry key phrase counterparts. Other than being a six-mana creature that may additionally die to a Reclamation Sage, there simply aren’t lots of creatures printed with deathtouch, so its potential to strip away deathtouch is pretty corner-case outdoors of going towards your Yarok, the Desecrated or Queen Marchesa lists.

People run Archetype of Finality ’trigger they actually wish to give their different creatures deathtouch, plain and easy. When we take a look at its web page, we see it’s sometimes run in decks which have commanders that innately synergize with deathtouch, whether or not it’s the proactive methods, like Kelsien the Plague (306 decks, 46.9% of lists), to regulate the board and hold it away from creatures, or the extra reactive methods, like Ishkanah, Grafwidow (161 decks, 36.8% of lists), who wish to deter attackers from wanting their means.

Mirror Shield

Mirror Shield is one other card that may inhibits deathtouch’s potential by outright inverting the fight step and killing the deathtoucher as an alternative. As of writing (1/28/2021), it sees play in 2,294 (1% of potential) lists and for good cause: it’s a budget-friendly Equipment that gives a toughness increase and hexproof, with a small corner-case of circumventing deathtouchers. As acknowledged above, working Archetype of Finality simply to meta-game towards deathtouchers probably isn’t going to do you a lot good, however the Mirror Shield offers a lot extra upside, its Gorgon-gutting potential is simply gravy.

With solely two playing cards that may metagame deathtouch, it’s a strong type of evasion, proper?

Not fairly. Deathtouch’s largest draw back isn’t a collection of playing cards or a card that sees an excessive amount of (or too little) play; it’s your opponents’ willingness to sacrifice blockers, plain and easy. If you’re determined to get in together with your Isareth, the Awakener, Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire, or Oakhame Adversary for numerous results, your deathtouch might deter the occasional blocker, however your opponent can also throw even their commander in hurt’s means if it means stopping your plan, not to mention a chump blocker like a token or Reassembling Skeleton that they will get again.

“Hey, You! Over Here!”

While deathtouch has some 230+ playing cards to its title, mass Lure results have roughly 30. There’s an additional suite of results which might be focused (e.g. Culling Mark), and nine cards which have Provoke, which goal a defending participant’s creature throughout the declare attackers step, and can untap the creature to drive it to dam. Provoke was notably changed by the combat mechanic after Legions. RIP Goblin Grappler — you have been too younger.

The coloration breakdown for these numerous Lure results is as follows:


Predominately present in inexperienced adopted by crimson, it is sensible why the colours of “Smash!” are related to diversionary techniques and pressured fight.

We see Lure results crop up with enjoyable mechanics like Rampage (e.g. Gabriel Angelfire, 29 decks, 90.6%) so that every successive blocker leads to bigger energy boosts; indestructible commanders, like Rhonas the Indomitable (who additionally has deathtouch! 87 decks, 43.7%); or different commanders that profit from brawling (e.g. Neyith of the Dire Hunt). We additionally see it paired with different high-synergy creatures, like Brash Taunter, or playing cards like Infiltration Lens to attract twice as many playing cards as there are opponents’ creatures.

A Deadly Duo

Lure results can clearly be used for excellent evasive potential, by diverting the defending participant’s blocking selections onto one creature, whereas the remainder of your crew will get by way of. Deathtouch generally is a semi-effective type of evasion, as long as you (because the attacking participant with deathtouchers) suppose your opponent gained’t wish to block. Its effectiveness lies in creating uncomfortable selections for the defending participant, however as quickly as they’ve expendable creatures or simply actually don’t wish to get hit by your Virtus, the Veiled, they probably can and will block.

Which is why the 2 have been made for one another! Lure might be slapped on a deathtouch creature and not solely divert blockers in your others to get in, however immediately put you (the attacking participant) in management to destroy as many creatures as you have got factors of energy since only one level of energy is required to be thought of deadly.

A tag-team of mechanics go hand-in-hand with the dynamic duo of none aside from Virtus, the Veiled and Gorm, the Great.

Just like how Lure and deathtouch are companions, so are Gorm and Virtus, every embodying one of many respective mechanics. From a taste perspective they’re fantastically designed, with Virtus, the Veiled because the agile, small, black-aligned (bear in mind our coloration stats above!) deathtoucher, and Gorm the Great as a lumbering, defensive diversion tactic in inexperienced.

The inflow of help playing cards for deathtouch has been a godsend for Dana Roach and different deathtouch aficionados. Deathtouch tribal decks have lengthy been in a position to create efficient ‘pillow forts’ (extra like barbed-wire fort?) to encourage opponents to look elsewhere with their assaults, however sometimes have struggled in closing out video games, outdoors of combos or massive spells (e.g. Exsanguinate). Cards like Ohran Frostfang, Hooded Blightfang, Vraska, Swarm’s Eminence, and Fynn, the Fangbearer have been instrumental in beefing up deathtouch to be extra aggressive than simply defensive.

We pair a few of these deathtouchers with a heavy quantity of Lure results, simply in case Gorm the Great isn’t obtainable to us, or we wish to slap a Lure impact on a deathtoucher to begin clearing some pesky creatures.

Slapping a Lure on Toski, Bearer of Secrets lets our crew get by way of for injury and card draw, and Toski stays unscathed. Anara, Wolvid Familiar (in addition to Dolmen Gate) retains Gorm, the Great secure to proceed being the large distraction that he’s, and they permit Virtus, the Veiled to swing with reckless abandon. Falthis, Shadowcat Familiar could also be redundant with Virtus’s deathtouch, however giving Gorm the Great deathtouch will get actual nasty, and the menace for Virtus is excessive.

Putting all of it collectively, we now have a mix of mechanics and commanders so intently bonded that they might probably pull Gold on the subsequent winter Olympics pairs skating:

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer


That concludes our deathly duo!

But what do you suppose? Do you utilize deathtouch, and if that’s the case, for a extra offensive or defensive technique? Do you benefit from the help we’ve gotten for making deathtouch extra aggressive? Do you favor evasion that promotes determination making in fight, or simply plain circumvents it? Sound off within the feedback beneath!

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