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Monday, October 18, 2010

Necrotic Ooze Sees Legacy Play at Nashville

HA! I knew it was abuseable!

This weekend was the Star City Games Open Series tournament in Nashville. Today was the Legacy part of the event, with Magic 2011 and Scars of Mirrodin making their marks. Koth of the Hammer, Fauna Shaman (which apparently is not a worse Survival of the Fittest), Memnite, and more saw some decent play at the Legacy portion of the event. And you know how hard it is to make it into Legacy, whatwith all the powerful stuff that's as old as the game itself at times!

But Scars of Mirrodin made use of not only a new card from the set but also two fairly old cards, one of which hasn't seen print since Alliances 14 years ago!

Find out more...after the jump!

 So which Scars of Mirrodin card makes use of a 14-year-old Rare? Well, if you didn't catch it in the description, it's this one...

Seems pretty good in casual, anyway, right? That Birds of Paradise that died a few turns ago? Now you have a 4/3 non-Flying version. Playing Qasali Pridemage? Now your 4/3 can chump block and take out an artifact/enchantment as long as the Pridemage bit the dust earlier.

But what about breaking him? That's what Legacy player Rion Marmulstein did this weekend.

He formed a triangle of Necrotic Ooze and two old-school Artifact Creatures to make what could be as cheap as a 5-mana OTK:

So the trick is to dump both the Devourer and Triskelion in the Graveyard (gee, I wonder how we can handle all that discarding...), then cast Necrotic Ooze. Necrotic Ooze picks up both of these creatures' activated abilities, remember? So you not only get Triskelion's "Remove a +1/+1 counter..." effect, you also get Phyrexian Devourer's "Exile the top card of your library..." effect.

"But wait a minute! If Necrotic Ooze goes above 7 Power, you have to destroy it!"

Um...Necrotic Ooze doesn't pick up all abilities, just the activated ones.

So let's say you activate this ability once and exile a 7-cost card. Necrotic Ooze gets 7 +1/+1 counters. And guess what? He can remove those at will to do damage thanks to having Triskelion there too!

Repeat ad infinatum, and ta-da! You've just killed your opponent, and all you had to do was run your library out.

This can also work extremely well in Multiplayer. Exile your whole library and just plop off counters until all your opponents are dead.

Who said Necrotic Ooze would never see tournament play and be successful? By the way, this deck took 7th place at the Nashville event. I doubt you fluke into the Top 8 of a tournament with as much on the line as an SCG event.

EDIT (10/22/2010): It seems I was working off the printed text on Phyrexian Devourer rather than the Oracle official updated text. The Oracle text on Devourer's activated ability does add in the part about sacrificing it if its power goes to 7 or higher.

Why does this matter? Well, it's part of that activated ability, that's why. If it were just a completely separate check on a line separate from the activated ability, then there's no problem. But because it's in the activated ability itself as well, once Necrotic Ooze gets its +1/+1 counters the ability will check during resolution for what Necrotic Ooze's power is. If it's 7 or higher, it's sacrificed as part of the resolution of the ability.

So how do you overcome this?

Easy. The Oracle text makes exiling the top card of your library the cost of the ability. So you pay the cost, and in most cases (all other power modifications aside) if the exiled card has a mana cost higher than 2 you can choose to exile the next card in line, therefore activating the ability again and stacking onto the previous activation, and see if that has a low enough casting cost to keep the Ooze going. If it does, then before your Ooze gets more +1/+1 counters you activate Triskelion's ability and remove those +1/+1 counters to do damage to your opponent. Rinse and repeat until either your opponent's dead or you just keep hitting high-cost cards and exile your library out.

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