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 via throughout fight.
While in our final installment we sought to evade our opponents’ blockers by merely operating over them, this week we’ll need to be a bit extra devious, as we’re
tackling lockpicking one among Magic: The Gathering‘s most (the most?) under-supported evasive mechanics: Skulk. Skulk states that creatures with Skulk can’t be blocked by creatures with higher energy. Simple and flavorful in design, but like a dough that’s too sticky, or that one group member that your teacher or supervisor paired with you, it’s tough to work with.
The key phrase was designed with the intent of it being an evergreen evasion capacity, with the concept it will reward you for going ‘under’ opponents’ creatures which can be suited up with Equipment or Auras. Turns out, it proved far more tough in enjoying than it did in design, and sits fairly squarely at a 7 on the Storm Scale, which means that it’s unlikely to return outdoors of the appropriate circumstances. Apparently, these circumstances had been glad within the Secret Lair: The Walking Dead crossover’s . Outside of that, solely 13 playing cards have been printed with the Skulk key phrase, all of them from the Shadows over Innistrad block (Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon).
Skulk, Where Less Is… Well, Less.
Okay, so a key phrase with solely 14 playing cards to its identify isn’t an important begin. Heck, if creatures with the phrase “Skulking” within the identify are any indication of Skulk’s energy degree, we’re in for some bother.
Let’s begin off with our shade breakdown of playing cards which have or grant Skulk:
So outdoors ofand , Skulk is actually restricted to the Dimir shade pairing.
Skulk requires us to be smaller than our opponents’ creatures – we actually are going beneath them. Let’s see how the everyday creature with Skulk seems, after which we’ll examine it to widespread commanders and creatures as scraped by EDHREC:
So the everyday Skulk creature is small — usually a 1/three like — however how does that examine to widespread commanders and creatures? Even with that 1 energy, are we nonetheless more likely to encounter some blockers? Let’s have a look at the distribution of energy values by widespread creatures in addition to all format-legal legendary creatures/commanders. Note: I’m excluding a number of the wonkier ones like because it’s difficult to know precisely the place their worth would find yourself.
Since our Skulkers are small, because of this smaller creatures and commanders will pose a menace (extra purple), whereas larger creatures received’t be capable of block us (extra inexperienced). This reveals that roughly 30% of widespread creatures will be capable of block us if we have now aout, and roughly ~60% will be capable of block us if we attempt to swing in with a .
The excellent news is, it seems like most commanders have an influence higher than one (~90%). Yet, these don’t even cowl the various 1/1 tokens these commanders can produce ( you,).
The larger drawback, in fact, is that even in any case this work, we’re getting in for one measly injury when our opponents have cumulatively 120 life. Even if our opponents chip away closely at one another, or faucet theirs and storm off with and , chipping in for one injury simply isn’t going to chop it. In a 100-card singleton format with lower than 15 whole playing cards to select from, constructing round Skulk merely isn’t going to work properly, a minimum of not till we return to Even More Shadows over Innistrad (or another LGS-circumventing product…). We need to assume if we wish to make Skulk work.
Another Brick within the Wall Tribal
We wish to have smaller energy than our opponents’ creatures, however nonetheless must scale that into injury one way or the other. So why not deal injury with our toughness as an alternative?
, , , and imply we will start swinging in with essentially the most
sleuthy imposing Skulkers of all — Walls. What Walls lack in energy they make up for in toughness, which is ideal for us using Skulk evasively, however scaling injury in a extra impactful method. (451 decks, 63.34%) and -variant decks have lengthy used to make their Treefolk, Walls, and different big-booty brethren sneakily punch via.
But since Skulk is primarily restricted to Esper colours, let’s consider who we will use to allow a Skulk + Wall tribal monstrosity. Someone who may also fetch up our, , or persistently…oh I do know!
Look, we’ve most likely all performed in opposition to one among these Zur decks. Heck, by now many have even performed in opposition to “it’s not that Zur deck, it’s Zur biking with!”, which has grow to be its personal different Zur deck at this level. I’m normally not an advocate for commanders that include lots of memory-laden baggage that screams “remove me,” particularly when we have now such an under-supported technique that doubtless received’t maintain as much as these individuals who simply received’t belief you. But then again, we form of do want a strong commander in Esper colours to get our in any other case janky technique rolling. The proven fact that he’s a 1/four is gravy for our Skulk toughness issues construct.
Pleased to Meek you
Aside fromto fetch items for our Walls to assault, he can seize issues like to assist our different Skulkers increase in energy after evading blockers, in addition to and to scale injury much more, or removing items like . We’ll be operating a slew of Skulkers (a minimum of, not the actively dangerous ones like ), in addition to to assist unfold Skulk to our Walls in a pinch.
and are some neat (albeit janky) choices to try to get Skulk to work, as they supply an anthem impact to all creatures, so our smaller guys can develop in energy, however nonetheless meet the edge for Skulk. was designed with blocking in thoughts, but when our Walls can assault, issues get humorous, quick.
, , and might help cull our opponents’ creatures in the event that they get too out of hand, whereas minimally affecting us.
Finally,could be our final blocker and nearer, as we will swap his energy and toughness after having him Skulk via, both via his personal capacity or via a , assuming we have now no out. Just maintain monitor of your Islands and anthems so he doesn’t die after swapping!
Similarly,‘s lack of energy and excessive toughness will truly turn out to be useful right here. Even if simply and assault, Zur’s assault set off can fetch out , which implies we might be gaining Zur’s 4 toughness in life factors, and 12 from ‘s, for a total of 16. Assuming we haven’t misplaced an excessive amount of life, there’s an actual potential for to be a win situation right here, what with all of the toughness issues and evasion.
Putting all of it collectively:
You’ll discover that I didn’t embrace arguably the perfect Skulk creature,. Frankly, it’s an superior card and one thing I personally would construct, if it weren’t solely made out there the best way it was, and the present price ticket is nothing to disregard both. But I’m curious: of these of you who did buy the Secret Lair, have you ever constructed Glenn? If so, have you ever discovered success or any neat tech to creating Skulk work within the command zone?
For everybody else, have you ever had luck with Skulk, and if not, why? Do you hope we get extra assist for the mechanic sooner or later? Sound off within the feedback beneath!