Entomb | Eternal Masters | Art by Seb McKinnon
1, May, 24

New MH3 Spoilers Enable Serious Graveyard Shenanigans!

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Since yesterday, Wizards has set the internet ablaze by officially confirming some of the MH3 leaks, and throwing in some new reveals as well. As expected, these MH3 spoilers are exciting for a range of decks and formats, but some in particular lend themselves to graveyard strategies. For those who treat milling and discarding like drawing a card, your time is now.

We’ll be discussing three cards today, all of which offer new angles of attack for graveyard decks. In a nice thematic flourish, all three are also remixes of popular older cards. In a sense, they, too, have been dredged up from the graveyard. Grab your shovel and your lantern: today, we’re delving deep into the darkness.

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Wight Of The Reliquary

We’ll start with the most exciting card of the three. Knight of the Reliquary was a staple part of Modern Zoo decks in the past, and it still sees play in niche Legacy decks like Maverick and Dark Depths to this day. Wight of the Reliquary is a new ‘deadshifted’ (thanks r/MagicTCG for that gem) version of the card, and it comes with some intriguing differences. It’s one mana cheaper, scales off of creatures in the graveyard rather than lands, and requires creature sacrifice instead of land sacrifice for its ability.

The original Knight of the Reliquary was mainly used for fixing, or to tutor utility lands. Since this one relies on creature sacrifice, however, you can actually use it to ramp yourself. There’s no shortage of cheap sacrifice fodder in Modern, such as Gravecrawler, so this card has serious potential in that regard.

The real question is where Wight of the Reliquary will find a home. Yawgmoth decks seem like a natural fit, with plenty of sacrifice fodder and a game plan that benefits from the consistency of having fewer cards in the deck. Players have also quickly cottoned on to the card’s combo potential. Get a Bloodghast and a Retreat to Coralhelm in play and you can tutor up every land in your deck in a single turn. Throw in a Landfall trigger, such as Lotus Cobra and you’ve got even more spice.

Wight of the Reliquary is a card with a lot of potential. That said, its most exciting home may be in fair Midrange lists. Here, it can serve as a scaling threat, a sacrifice outlet, a mana fixer, and a deck thinner.

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Chthonian Nightmare

Next up is another blast from the past. Recurring Nightmare is a classic piece of repeatable reanimation, so powerful that it was eventually banned in Commander. This left the card with no home outside of occasional Legacy Nic Fit lists. That may be about to change with the advent of Chthonian Nightmare, a ‘fixed’ version of the card that may end up surpassing the original.

Outside of being one mana cheaper, which is a huge plus, the main difference between the two Nightmares is Chthonian’s reliance on Energy counters. You can’t just reanimate whatever you want with this one: you need the Energy to pay for it. Since the card itself only gives you three Energy on entry, this greatly limits the pool of creatures you can pull from the grave.

But does it really? In Modern, most creatures cost somewhere in the one to three mana range on average. This means that you’ll likely be able to get most of your deck back with Chthonian Nightmare even just playing it normally. It’s also worth noting that if you bring back something that costs less than three, you’ll save some Energy for a bigger reanimation later. Using this tactic, you can slowly build up to a big creature, looping fodder like Young Wolf and Blisterpod for value along the way.

We’ll likely need to see more good Energy cards printed before we can start thinking of this card as a good reanimation spell. In the meantime, though, we can think of it as a grindy value engine for Midrange decks. Like Wight of the Reliquary, it has serious potential in Yawgmoth. It may end up creating its own archetype as well, though. Watch this space.

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Our final card is one that’s been floating around in leak form for a while before finally being confirmed in yesterday’s post. Meet Nethergoyf, the new one mana Tarmogoyf. Well, sort of… On one hand, it’s similar to classic ‘Goyf in that it scales based on card types in the graveyard. On the other hand, however, it’s different in that it only counts your graveyard and not your opponent’s. This makes a big difference, especially early on in a game.

Thankfully for Goyf fans, there are still ways to bring this down as a 3/4 on turn one. Going Fetchland into Greedy Freebooter into the new black Flare can certainly do it, and remove your opponent’s turn one creature in the process. The question is whether warping your deck so heavily around a one drop will pay off in the long run. As we’ve seen with aggressive strategies in the past, it can work. However, it may not do so well in today’s Modern.

Nethergoyf also has Escape, and it’s one of the most unique Escape costs we’ve seen yet. There’s no specific amount of cards to exile here, but rather a specific amount of card types, this being four. This can allow for a fairly lenient Escape cost if you play cards with multiple types: Urza’s Saga, Grist, the Hunger Tide, etc. It’s great that you can recast this later on in a game, but the cost will likely eat into the card’s stats, which are really the only reason to play the card at all. Of all the MH3 spoilers from today with graveyard applications, Nethergoyf is the most tenuous in terms of playability. It may surprise us yet, however.

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