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Subject: Gravecrawler - why is this good? Am I missing something here? rss

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I think that I may not be realizing how the Gravecrawler card works.

Dark Ascension Rare
Card Type: Creature
Creature Type: Zombie
Power/Toughness: 2/1
Casting Cost: B
Card Text: Gravecrawler can't block.
You may cast Gravecrawler from your graveyard as long as you control a Zombie.


Does this mean that if Gravecrawler is in the graveyard and I control a zombie on the battlefield, that I can just put Gravecrawler back into play at no cost? OR do I have to pay his mana cost first?

If no cost, it seems pretty good. But if I have to pay the cost less good?

Can anyone share the tricks for how to play this guy most effectively? Thomas? Anyone?

Thanks!

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Ian Toltz
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First and foremost, a 2/1 with no appreciable drawbacks for one mana is just plain good to begin with. Not being able to block isn't an appreciable drawback.

The fact that you can keep replaying him over and over just makes him bonkers. He doesn't care about being destroyed, short of being exiled. He can just keep attacking over and over, every turn, keeping the pressure on your opponent.

Also, yes, you do need to pay his mana cost to play him from your graveyard.
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Thanks for the input guys.
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Ian Toltz
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wytefang wrote:
Still waiting for an answer to how his ability works.


I edited my post (a few times, actually)
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Matt Vollick
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wytefang wrote:

Can anyone share the tricks for how to play this guy most effectively? Thomas? Anyone?

Thanks!



Well for starters he has many uses. He can be used because of his recursive abilities in combos that will outright win you the game. He is more commonly used as an extremely efficient attacker in Black/Red aggro decks (decks that try to put a bunch of cheap creatures on the board and kill you quickly). Say you have 2 Gravecrawlers in play and your opponent has a 3/3 creature he can block with. You can attack with both Gravecrawlers and he'll block one, kill it and you'll get 2 damage through. Then since you have a zombie in play you can recast the one in the graveyard and set up the same situation next turn. He can instead attack you for 3 damage, but then you can attack him for 4 (the two 2/1 Gravecrawlers). The scenario is pretty contrived but you get the idea. Gravecrawler turns bad times to attack into good times to attack and that's exactly what an Aggro deck wants to do.
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Dave Kudzma
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The card reanimates itself for one mana. All you need is a zombie or zombie token, and there's tons of ways to do that.

How is this card NOT good?
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Like I said, I wasn't sure. I'm staring to see why.

SIDENOTE - Dave, I like that you're using my Mutant Chronicles Giveaway contest icon for your GAMER microbadge acronym. NICE!
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John H.
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The card is very good in a competitive setting where steamrolling your opponet is often a good strategy.

The card is generally not very good in a casual environment because overall it is very powerful.
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Tommy Occhipinti
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The short version is that 2 power for 1 mana is an incredible deal, and people will play most 2 power 1 mana creatures. Have a look at the card Jackal Pup mentioned earlier. That card saw a lot of play back in the day, despite being a 2/1 for 1 with significant downside and no upside! The ability to replay him varies in value a lot depending on the board. If your opponent has something as measly as an Augur of Bolas lying around, it will not mean much late in the game unless you are overwhelming them or have something like Diregraf Captain around. Still, the price isn't bad!

Speaking in general terms now, rather than this specific card: By turn 3, a 1 mana 2 power creature is not very different from a 2 mana 2 power creature, and those are incredibly unimpressive. Thus, it only makes sense to play these aggressively costed 1 drops (that will be unimpressive late game) in decks that want the first turn of the game to comprise a higher than average portion of the game (less obliquely, in decks that want the game to end very quickly). If you get in enough early beats and play enough creatures you don't care that on turn 4 your opponent can block and kill some of your creatures when you alpha strike (that is attack with all your creatures) because just by virtue of having so many creatures they won't be able to block them all, and you will only need a few more damage for the kill.

But I'm not a constructed guy at all, how good is this guy in limited? Well, I've happily cut him from a lot of black decks. So that says a lot!
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Here are a couple of competitive Standard decklists that use him:

B/G Zombies (aka Gravecrawler really likes Rancor)

B/R Zombies (aka I Have 12 1-Drops with 2 Power)
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Jason Cawley
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Besides coming out fast to hit early, and reanimating if removed in most ways, here are some of the other degenerate things you can do with a Gravecrawler -

Play Falkenrath Aristocrat, which can make itself indestructible until the end of the turn at the cost of sacrificing a creature. If they try to kill the Aristocrat with a spell or it is blocked in (air) combat, sac the gravecrawler, and just bring it back the next turn (other live zombie permitting).

Play Bloodthrone Vampire. With another Zombie in play, before swinging sac the Gravecrawler and replay it. The Bloodthrone gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Repeat with all your black mana. Now swing for a million. (Note, you cannot reanimate at instant speed e.g. in combat, only when you could cast a creature normally - so pump before swinging in this case).

Play Grimgrin. He is already a zombie. Sac as with the Bloodthrone above to put permanent +1/+1 counters on Grimgrin, as many per turn as you have black mana to replay the gravecrawler. Also use this to untap Grimgin as often as you need to (both removing his drawback and giving him Vigilance, effectively).

Play Liliana of the Veil. +1 her, forcing both players to discard a card. Discard your gravecrawler into the graveyard. Now play it straight from the graveyard because you have some other zombie in play. The supposedly fair and symmetric Liliana effect just became a one-sided discard.

Play Tragic Slip along with any of the sacrifice outlets above. Use the sac ability on the gravecrawler to trigger the "morbid" keyword, making Slip a super efficient and high powered removal spell for 1 black mana - without card disadvantage.

Play Bone Splinters to "throw" the gravecrawler at their biggest creature. Then replay the gravecrawler at will.

Play Switcheroo to steal the enemy's biggest creasture, giving him your gravecrawler. Later kill the gravecrawler, and it will go to your graveyard, not the other guy's (dead creatures go to their *owners* graveyard, not their *controllers* graveyard). Replay it from there when you have another zombie in play.

Play "self mill" cards (thought scour, forbidden alchemy, drownyard targeting yourself etc) and you will occasionally "hit" a gravecrawler. You can play it from your graveyard even though it never died. Works with lots of "flashback" cards that also give "card advantage" to a self-mill deck (e.g. lingering souls, think twice, forbidden alchemy itself).

To get rid of a pesky gravecrawler, the enemy will often target it with high quality "exile" removal. This is a fine trade for your 1-drop that already hit him a few times, already. But it won't even work if you have one of the instant speed sacrifice outlets above. Just sac him in response to the targeted spell, and he will be safely in the graveyard, not exiled. Replay him on your next turn (other zombie permitting).

I hope those help...

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Wow, that is such a cool list! Thank you!

I need to tap into your creative brain-power in the future, Jason. Sheesh!
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wytefang wrote:
Wow, that is such a cool list!


Also often you have Blood Artist on the battefield as well.
 
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Alex
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While irrelevant to most everyone, this fellow looks like he would fit right in in an old Hatred deck, bumping fists with the likes of Sarcomancy, Carnophage and Phyrexian Negator. The uses for this dude are significant (Zombie Infestation and Recurring Nightmare have yet to be mentioned, too. Any sac effect, really). ...I think I want four of these. Wow.
 
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Jon Grey
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New use for him in Gatecrash with Undercity Informer. Dimir mill is looking pretty gewd.
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SPARTAN VI wrote:
New use for him in Gatecrash with Undercity Informer. Dimir mill is looking pretty gewd.

Legacy players are cooking a land-less deck to turn this guy into an I-Win button ala Hermit Druid. Looks pretty cool
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