Graveyard strategies are always going to be an intricate part of an eternal format’s ecosystem like Legacy’s, so it’s vital you have access to some sort of graveyard hate in your 75. Maverick has access to a wide range of answers to the ‘yard but it can be difficult to know which spells are better against the wide range of prevalent archetypes of the format that use their graveyard to their advantage.
Table of Contents:
i. How does Maverick use its own graveyard?
ii. What are the main decks that use the graveyard as a resource in Legacy?
iii. What are the main cards we are wanting to remove from these decks?
iv. How much graveyard hate should I run?
v. Maverick’s Options for Graveyard Hate
1. Scavenging Ooze
2. Faerie Macabre
3. Surgical Extraction
5. Leyline of the Void
6. Bojuka Bog
7. Tormod’s Crypt
8. Nihil Spellbomb
9. Ashiok, Dream Render
10. Containment Priest
11. Anafenza, the Foremost
12. Kunoros, Hound of Athreos
How does Maverick use its own graveyard?
Maverick is a Legacy archetype that uses its own graveyard as a resource for many of its creatures. Knight of the Reliquary is the main reason Maverick doesn’t tend to play graveyard hate that is symmetrical – such as Rest in Peace or, to some extent, Relic of Progenitus . Scavenging Ooze is Maverick’s mainstay silver bullet that utilises the graveyard with other honourable mentions such as Renegade Rallier , Ramunap Excavator and Sword of Light and Shadow which allow your graveyard to act like an extended hand.
Creatures like Remorseful Cleric and Tomik, Distinguished Advokist – which see some play in Legacy Death & Taxes – also take the slot of what could be a Green Sun’s Zenith bullet and tend to not be what a Maverick pilot looks for in a creature-based answer (however these have popped up in GW Maverick lists from time to time). Containment Priest is an interesting answer to creature-based graveyard decks as it also shuts off our own Green Sun’s Zenith. However, the small downside to shutting off access to Zenith is often outweighed by the HUGE upside and impact this has on your opponent’s strategy.
When selecting cards which will have a symmetrical impact on the game, you need to consider asking yourself: “Does this hurt my opponent more than it hurts me?”. Sure, Gaddock Teeg seems odd in a deck where Green Sun’s Zenith is its main engine, but landing a Gaddock Teeg against a deck like Storm or Miracles usually shuts off many of their ways to win, favouring you. Containment Priest comes under the same light. Sure, it turns off Zenith – but because it can be so backbreaking against Reanimator or Dredge, the small downside is worth the tremendous upside.
What are the main decks that use the graveyard as a resource in Legacy?
I want to run through the spells Maverick has at its disposal for graveyard hate, and I want to rate these through the same criteria. I’ve chosen to break down the archetypes against which we need graveyard hate. Note I know this breakdown will have some mixed opinions but hey, it’s a starting point and an insight into how I see the format.
Archetypes with game plans that rely on access to their graveyard to win the game:
Archetypes with game plans that use their graveyard as a resource but are more likely than the ‘all in’ category to win a match without it:
- Storm (Don’t overcommit here – only cards to consider are Rite of Flame, Cabal Ritual, Past in Flames, Echo of Eons)
- Bomberman / Urza Echo
- Lands / Loam
Archetypes that use their graveyard for incremental advantage but by no means are shut off from their strategy without it:
- Grixis / 4c Control
- RUG Delver
What are the main cards we are wanting to remove from these decks?
Bridge from Below, Dread Return, lone dredges.
Reanimate, Animate Dead & Exhume targets (mainly Griselbrand), Faithless Looting.
Lands / Four-Colour Loam:
Life from the Loam, Punishing Fire, Dark Depths.
Oops all Spells:
Narcomoeba, Dread Return.
Narcomoeba, Dread Return.
Past in Flames, Cabal Ritual.
Dark Depths, Life from the Loam.
Note: I wouldn’t’ call Loam a staple in straight Depths builds but after spotting it in some 5-0 lists I thought it was worth mentioning
Lion’s Eye Diamond, Walking Ballista.
Swords to Plowshares, Terminus.
Grixis / 4C Control:
No specific card other than Snapcaster Mage / Kolaghan’s Command targets. Specific lands against Wrenn Piles.
No specific card.
Bridge from Below, Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis.
No specific card.
Cabal Therapy – however, really no specific card other than Academy Rector in NixFit builds.
Maverick’s Options for Graveyard Hate:
1. Scavenging Ooze
Scavenging Ooze is the embodiment of what a Maverick player loves – a technically correct hate-bear. A hate-bear is best known as a 2CMC 2/2 that has a disruption element attached to it, such as Gaddock Teeg, Ethersworn Canonist, Leonin Arbiter or in this case, Ooze. Scavenging Ooze has been a maindeck silver bullet staple in Maverick since its printing and is a great way to answer your opponent’s graveyard shenanigans in game 1. Common G1 targets for Ooze include Punishing Fire,Life from the Loam, Snapcaster Mage targets, and if lucky, a Reanimate target. Scavenging Ooze fits perfectly into the maindeck – however, I wouldn’t rely on multiple copies for sources of graveyard interaction. To be honest, Ooze does what it does really well, it pings specific cards in graveyards and exiles them at the cost of a single G. Want that Life from the Loam gone? Done. Punishing Fire mowing down your threats? Boom – handled.
Always be wary of instant speed draw from your Life from the Loam opponent. An open green mana could signal a cycle land like Tranquil Thicket, which would destroy your chances of taking out a Loam with your single source. An open green mana could also be a Crop Rotation in disguise – a Grove of the Burnwillows only moments away to have the exact same outcome on your targeted Punishing Fire.
What’s Scavenging Ooze’s level of impact against ‘All-In’ Decks?
You can deal with a full graveyard with Ooze but it’s going to be the result of harvesting your mana for multiple turns and not building out your boardstate. Sure, you may have access to Gaea’s Cradle, but if it’s tapping it for more than 3 mana you’re most likely just winning that game through a beat-down strategy.
What’s Scavenging Ooze’s level of impact against combo Decks?
Ooze can only come online as early as turn 2 on the play if you open with a mana-producing creature like Noble Hierarch. On the draw and without a mana accelerate, Ooze is often just too slow against fast combo decks like Reanimator, Dredge and Storm.
What’s Scavenging Ooze’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
Fantastic. An unanswered Scavenging Ooze can win a game in a matter of turns. It’s a threat that can remove Snapcaster Mage’s power, shrink a Tarmogoyf back to the stone age or just make use of your fallen creatures in previous turns to avenge them. I would say for Ooze’s speed, its best matchups are mid-range decks against the the other types above.
2. Faerie Macabre
Another creature option in the ranks, Faerie Macabre is an uncounterable answer to graveyard decks and can be a devastating moment for your opponent when exiling a target or key card(s) in their graveyard. Macabre is great at what it does. It snipes specific cards out of graveyards at instant speed and out of nowhere. What it doesn’t do well is hurt an opponent who is using their whole graveyard as a resource. Sure it can be great to hit a Bridge from Below & a Narcomoeba with it’s trigger on the stack, but then you have the rest of the graveyard to deal with.
Faerie Macabre is most likely the best answer to Exhume. Not only do you get to remove the creature(s) in your opponents graveyard in response, but after its ability resolves, it’s there waiting for you to resurrect it once your opponent’s Exhume resolves.
Faerie functions much like Surgical Extraction in that it’s an instant-speed interaction that can be used from turn 0. Faerie is a fine budget option in place of Surgical against the fast combo decks. It also has the benefit of being able to play around Chancellor triggers (you’re not casting anything, you’re just activating its ability) and can’t be taken with Duress or Collective Brutality. Faerie also has the bonus for Death & Taxes players as it can be pulled into the ranks with Recruiter of the Guard.
What’s Faerie Macabre’s level of impact against ‘all-in’ decks?
Faerie snipes cards. It doesn’t really perform well when you’re wanting to answer a whole graveyard. Against Dredge, it can buy you time against the fast starts to plant creatures – but it’s no Leyline of the Void. It’s one of the best cards you can have against Reanimator as without hand disruption, it just performs so well. Did your opponent reveal Chancellor and try to just go off on the play? Too bad Faerie plays around Chancellor’s ability. Faerie is better when it comes to the make-or-break moments like your Dredge opponent targeting a creature with Dread Return or your Reanimator opponent casting a payoff spell like Reanimate, Animate Dead or Exhume. With two creatures in their graveyard, Faerie is better than Surgical Extraction in many cases (especially when it comes to Exhume).
What’s Faerie Macabre’s level of impact against combo decks?
Faerie is OK against combo but can feel a little lacklustre at times. Sure, you can try and turn your Storm opponent off threshold for Cabal Therapy or take out their Infernal Tutor already in the bin in response to them going all in with Past in Flames, but I’d rather other types of graveyard hate. Removing a lone Life from the Loam or Punishing Fire might be enough for you to stabilise a board, but most of the time it feels like a band-aid for a bullet hole.
What’s Faerie Macabre’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
Not where you want to be. You really don’t want to be siding this in against other fair mid-range decks to try and ‘get them’ when they try to Snapcaster back a Brainstorm or Swords to Plowshares. However, if you do see your opponent has something like a Loam or another card that just rewards them with incremental advantage from the graveyard, I’d consider your options post-board.
3. Surgical Extraction
Surgical Extraction is by far the most played graveyard hate card in Legacy – and for good reason. At the mere cost of 2 life (or a single black mana) you can rip apart your opponent’s game plan. Surgical does have the gotcha clause of coming free and straight from your hand, unlike options like Scavenging Ooze or Tormod’s Crypt where your opponent knows about the threat of fallout. I believe Surgical is the best sideboard option for graveyard hate in Maverick.
Always be aware that the majority of the time, Surgical Extraction is going to be card disadvantage. Have a good think before you side it in against your opponent and what you’re wanting to target. Is a well-timed Surgical going to break their game plan, or are you overthinking its importance in the matchup? Surgical against Reanimator or Lands? Great – you’ve got some specific cards that are going to slow down or completely obliterate their plan. Surgical against UR Delver to try and snag their Dreadhorde Arcanist targets? Not really the value you’re after.
What’s Surgical Extraction’s level of impact against ‘all-In’ decks?
Pretty fantastic. Surgical is great at sniping out not only targets in graveyards but also removing them from your opponent’s hand and library. However, there are downsides. Surgical isn’t great against Exhume when your opponent has 2 different and powerful threats in their graveyard, or on the draw after your opponent has revealed a Chancellor of the Annex. With cards like Tormod’s Crypt or Faerie Macabre, you are only hitting (most of the time) one copy of a card and buying yourself 1 or 2 turns. Imagine removing all copies of Griselbrand from Reanimator Dredge without Bridge from Below – not as scary, right?
What’s Surgical Extraction’s level of impact against combo decks?
Backbreaking. Storm without Infernal Tutor? Lands without Life from the Loam? Depths without… Dark Depths? Surgical is great against the combo decks that rely on 1 or 2 cards to muster a win. Sure, a Storm player without Infernal Tutor could just try and go off for X amount of Goblins, or a Lands player could try to beat down with their Vampire Hexmages and Dark Confidants alone, but it’s a much different threat compared to with those specific cards.
What’s Surgical Extraction’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
Many of these decks don’t rely on any specific cards from the graveyard, so I wouldn’t bring it in unless you’re really wanting to target specific cards. I don’t mind bringing in Surgical Extraction against Miracles if I also have access to Thoughtseize post-board. Being able to take removal like Swords to Plowshares or Terminus or a win condition like Monastery Mentor or Jace, the Mind Sculptor then not have to worry about it for the rest of the game is a fantastic feeling. However, the majority of the time you’re putting yourself down a card. I wouldn’t say this is a clear strategy to have against Miracles but it’s worked for me in the past and I’ve come around to believing that although I’m down a card, my opponent is now going to have a much harder time winning the game – or stopping me from winning.
5. Leyline of the Void
Leyline of the Void is another great option for sideboard graveyard hate because it’s a turn-zero interaction that plays around counter magic, Chancellor triggers, discard and cards like Shenanigans. The look of a Dredge player’s face when you drop one after keeping a hand can be a pleasure to look at – sometimes even resorting to feeling sorry for them.
The new Mulligan rule also improved the chances of having not only a Leyline in your opening hand, but also a hand with a decent game plan.
Too many times I’ve seen players across all formats keep a hand with a Leyline and no real game plan, then go on to lose because they just didn’t have anything to back it up. Here’s a great example of Tom Ross on Dredge doing this against Jund when his opponent opened on a turn-zero Leyline.
You have a 39.9% chance of having Leyline in your opening hand if you play the full playset, that % drops to 31.5% if you only run 3. Drawing Leyline’s is a rough feeling but if you’re a GWB Maverick player, you have the added bonus of being able to cast them later in the game.
What’s Leyline of the Void’s level of impact against ‘all-in’ decks?
Huge. The one downside of Leyline is that it happens before your opponent has committed to the graveyard. What I mean by this is I would rather my opponent ‘go for it’ only to be Surgical’ed than for my opponent to see the Leyline, then craft a plan to remove it and quickly take over the game.
What’s Leyline of the Void’s level of impact against combo decks?
Leyline can be hit or miss against these types of decks. Storm doesn’t always need its graveyard to go off in the early turns and decks like Bomberman have the backup plan of swinging with Mentor and his students. Outside of those who play Life from the Loam, Leyline doesn’t really do anything against Dark Depths either. Sure, Lands is a little more orientated towards the graveyard but once they see Leyline they can ‘play around it’. What I mean by this is they have the ability to not commit to the graveyard until they find their Krosan Grip or Force of Vigors. If they also just have the combo together they may not even need to get Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage back from the graveyard. I would still bring it in against Lands but I would find Surgical Extraction to be a little better at devastating your opponent’s plans.
What’s Leyline of the Void’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
I would say medium. It’s great against RUG Delver but with creatures like True-Name Nemesis and Hexdrinker, they can win without access to their yard. As RUG moves away from traditional builds with Nimble Mongoose and towards No Bad Cards (NBC) RUG, Dreadhorde Archanist, Tarmogoyf and Wrenn and Six are still hit hard by graveyard hate like Leyline. It also negates the value of Veteran Explorer, Academy Rector and Cabal Therapy in NicFit and any recycling cards like Eternal Witness or Meren of Clan Nel Toth. Only stopping Snapcaster Mage and maybe Accumulated Knowledge (if your opponent is playing that build) in Miracles means Leyline isn’t worth it. However, it’s interesting against Grixis / 4C Control as it stops Kolaghan’s Command, Wrenn and Six, Gurmag Angler and Snapcaster Mage.
6. Bojuka Bog
I’ve always been on the fence with Bojuka Bog in Maverick. It’s a little better if you’re running a Crop Rotation package in the board, but I believe Bog is just too slow to rely on against some of the faster graveyard decks in the format. This is an effect you want at instant speed – something you can’t get in traditional Maverick until turn 3 after a mana dork and Knight of the Reliquary have survived and you’re not dead already. Elvish Reclaimer builds do have the ability to fetch up Bog turn 2 but at the cost of a land and your whole turn. I just believe there are better options for Maverick and the fact that it’s a land that can be searched up with Knight sucks some players into believing it’s better than other spells more than it should.
If you already have Bojuka Bog in play but need to exile your opponent’s graveyard before their next turn, you can destroy it with your own Wasteland or sacrifice it with Elvish Reclaimer and then play it from the graveyard with Ramunap Excavator or Renegade Rallier for another trigger.
What’s Bojuka Bog’s level of impact against ‘all-in’ decks?
Slow. Unless you’re playing some number of Crop Rotation, I don’t believe Bog is your answer to fast combo. You have just under a 12% chance of having a 1 of in your opening hand, and Bog at sorcery speed just isn’t what you’re after the majority of the time. If you’re leaning towards Bojuka Bog as graveyard hate, I would also have some other pieces like Surgical or Faerie to shore up the fast combo matches.
What’s Bojuka Bog’s level of impact against combo decks?
Still slow. I’m just not a fan of Bojuka Bog as an answer to combo in decks that aren’t running the full playlist of Crop Rotation if you haven’t caught onto that yet. Sure, you have around a 15% chance (yes we did the math* – thanks Raymo!) to get it turn 3 with a turn 2 Knight but if you’ve got that much time to play with, your opponent is most likely stumbling anyway.
What’s Bojuka Bog’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
I actually don’t mind it here. As a mid-late game exile effect on graveyards against the mirror, 4C Loam or other decks that slightly rely on their graveyard – I approve.
7. Tormod’s Crypt
Tormod’s Crypt is a free, Chancellor-proof spell and probably the best artifact-based graveyard hate piece. It can be too slow on the draw but it’s great on the play. This is one of the few exile effects that only hits your opponent’s graveyard but also allows you to hit your own in weird cases (if your opponent goes to Reanimate your own creature, you may want to exile your yard in response).
Crypt as a zero-mana spell also has the bonus of allowing you to play your hand on curve without interfering with your other lines of play.
What’s Tormod’s level of impact against ‘all-in’ decks?
Crypt is pretty good. Against Dredge, they don’t have control over what spills into the graveyard from a dredge so you can get multiple big hits from the one activation. However, you really have to time this right to get the full value from its one go. Crypt is great at removing a graveyard in response to a trigger or spell, yet can also deal with a large graveyard in the mid-game. I think it’s fine against Reanimator and Dredge and also seems fine against the other all-in decks of the format. The biggest downside is unlike Leyline, Surgical or Faerie, you need to wait until your turn to cast it.
What’s Tormod’s level of impact against combo decks?
Crypt is fine against combo decks but you’re most likely trading it off 1:1. What I mean by that is you’re most likely activating Crypt in response to a spell being cast or a trigger occurring rather than being in a position of luxury where you’re exiling multiple, impactful cards.
What’s Tormod’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
It’s fine as a 1 off exile ability but you most likely have better ways of dealing with the graveyard of a midrange opponent. Against these types of decks, you’re most likely going to be activating this to gain some sort of advantage by manipulating the size of an opposing Knight, Tarmogoyf or Nimble Mongoose.
8. Nihil Spellbomb
Nihil Spellbomb doesn’t see too much play when compared to the other options.
What’s Nihil Spellbomb’s level of impact against ‘all-in’ decks?
Nihil doesn’t have the luxury of playing around Chancellor like Tormod’s Crypt but has the upside of being cycle-able. Nihil is fine against fast combo but you need to be splashing black to gain the added value of being able to draw when you sacrifice it. One issue you may find with cards like Spellbomb is your opponent can bait you into using it and then follow up with a much better play. An example could be going to reanimate a Chancellor of the Annex, then after you’ve cracked your Spellbomb, chaining a Dark Ritual into Entomb for Griselbrand and bringing that 7/7 flyer back to life.
What’s Nihil Spellbomb’s level of impact against combo decks?
Much like Tormod’s Crypt, it’s fine. But you’re most likely looking for some other types of hate. The biggest advantage is you can cycle this to find further disruption so that once you’ve exiled your opponent’s graveyard, you can follow up with another spell to tie them down.
What’s Nihil Spellbomb’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
The greatest draw (no pun intended) to Nihil Spellbomb is that it has the ability to replace itself. When you feel the need to exile your opponents graveyard the opportunity is there, but if you’re needing to quickly dig for interaction or a specific card, you can get an extra look at a card for the cost of a black mana while activating its ability.
9. Ashiok, Dream Render
Ashiok, Dream Render is some new tech I’ve been seeing pop in the sideboards of Abzan (Dark) Maverick players. What Ashiok does is quite unique, but may not be what you’re looking for in graveyard hate. Ashiok doesn’t work at instant speed and really does NOTHING on your opponents turn. This is the biggest issue I have with Ashiok but its static ability has kept it in my testing pile.
What’s Ashiok’s level of impact against ‘all-in’ decks?
Ashiok is a little like Scavenging Ooze against All-In decks where you’re going to need a T1 mana accelerate to get this online by T2. However, as I said above, Ashiok does not work at instant speed. If your opponent is putting a creature into the bin then passing turn or dredging a bunch of value but not going off in their turn, you’re most likely in a great position anyway.
What’s Ashiok’s level of impact against combo decks?
Ashiok against a deck like Storm or Lands seems really good on paper but can be pretty tough to get online asap. Turning off fetchlands, and cards like Gamble and Infernal Tutor while exiling cards off the top of their library AND graveyard seems insane, especially if you hit a win condition. Ashiok puts additional pressure on combo decks like storm as exiling a card like Empty the Warrens or Tendrils of Agony could be game, set, match.
What’s Ashiok’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
This is where Ashiok shines. Incremental graveyard hate while also pressuring your opponent on mana and their ability to use their library as a resource. I don’t believe Maverick is a deck players would bring in Surgical against, but Ashiok does stop them from searching your library.
10. Containment Priest
Containment Priest is an interesting one, a card that many players bring in against Maverick to stop the Green Sun’s Zenith engine. However, when building your sideboard, you need to ask yourself: “Is this card going to have a much larger impact on my opponent’s game plan than mine?”. A great example of this is Gaddock Teeg in Maverick’s maindeck. Sure, it turns off our own Green Sun’s Zenith but if we get to play it against Storm or Mono Red Prison in Game 1, it can be backbreaking for your opponent.
What’s Containment Priest’s level of impact against ‘all-in’ decks?
Fantastic. Containment Priest completely shuts off Dredge and Reanimate decks – and to tell the truth, has caused the most scoops on the spot compared to any other card.
What’s Containment Priest’s level of impact against combo decks?
Against Dark Depths variants, Storm and Bomberman Priest just doesn’t do anything. No need for a breakdown here. The only Combo deck where Priest shines is against those trying to make Arclight Pheonix work in Legacy. Yes you read that correct, Arclight Pheonix’s ability is NOT a may.
What’s Containment Priest’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
Priest isn’t a card I’ve considered bringing in against the mirror BUT I have had matches were I have sided it in against Death & Taxes as extra hate against Aether Vial, however, since the printing of Knight of Autumn, it just isn’t needed. NicFit does tend to play Green Sun’s Zenith, but this is usually a matchup that needs a case-by-case assessment.
If you’re bringing in Containment Priest against Death & Taxes, make sure you don’t play yourself into your opponent getting free exiles on your own creatures. If you have a Priest and Knight of the Reliquary in play and your opponent casts Flickerwisp targeting the Knight, you’re not getting it back, ever.
11. Anafenza, the Foremost:
Look, who doesn’t appreciate some spice? Anafenza, the Foremost sees a small amount of play in Modern to combat decks like Dredge and Viscera Seer style combo decks, but they’ve seemed to have been put aside for the more straightforward Devoted Druid combo. I’ve seen Anafenza, the Foremost get some fringe play when it first was spoiled but since, hasn’t really hit the mark when it comes to graveyard hate.
What’s Anafenza’s level of impact against ‘all-in’ decks?
A little slow. At best, you’re getting this out on your turn 2 and with that WBG cost, you’re going to have to dodge Wasteland and Gaea’s Cradle as land drops. This also only answers creatures which for the most part is fine, but may struggle against some non-creature heavy decks. Anafenza stops creatures going into your opponent’s yard but Containment Priest stops the bigger issue of non-token creatures reappearing on the battlefield… I think we all know which sees more play right now.
What’s Anafenza’s level of impact against combo decks?
Sadly, Anafenza doesn’t do much outside of hating on Dredge, Reanimator and any Zombie Bombartment style decks. Storm, Dark Depths, Bomberman and Lands don’t care about the ability Anafenza brings to the table.
What’s Anafenza’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
Anafenza is a great, un-bolt-able clock as well as a disruptive creature. However how many decks running Bolt these days aren’t running Wrenn? Is 4 toughness the new 3? One dis-synergy Anafenza has as well is it restricts the growth of your own Scavenging Ooze.
12. Kunoros, Hound of Athreos
Kunoros is a really interesting card, a pile of text to say the least. Not only does it have vigilance, lifelink and menace, but the beast can also be protected through Karakas. Let’s quickly breakdown the two sections after that.
1.Creature cards in graveyards can’t enter the battlefield
Goodbye Reanimator. This also stops the majority of threats in Hogaak decks and thankfully, hits Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath.
2. Players can’t cast spells from graveyards
Take that Dreadhorde Arcanist. But seriously, this card is pretty awesome. Faithless Looting, Cabal Therapy, Past in Flames – there’s a few Legacy staples that this card completely nullifies.
What’s Kunoros’s level of impact against ‘all-in’ decks?
Most decks won’t be able to beat it once it’s on the field, but can you afford not being able to play this until T2 or T3?
What’s Kunoros’s level of impact against ‘combo’ decks?
A little slow, but once in play it can be very hard to beat. On the play it seems fine but on the draw, you’re going to be lucky to get it out on T2. I wouldn’t rely solely on Kunoros for combo decks.
What’s Kunoros’s level of impact against ‘midrange’ decks?
Even without the graveyard hate text, Kunoros is great for battling midrange. It’s great on attack and defense thanks to vigilance and can cause some real combat match headaches with lifelink.
How much graveyard hate should I run?
Below is a great chart from Frank Karsten’s CFB article on How Many Copies of Any Given Card Should You Put in Your Deck? This is a great resource for figuring out how much graveyard hate you want to be playing to make sure you have it when you draw your opening hand.
Leyline of the Void and Surgical Extraction are the clear winners for attacking your opponents graveyard, but that’s not to say the other budget options can’t be competitive. Scavenging Ooze is going to stay a maindeck staple for a long time to come and is the premier threat against graveyard decks pre-board (R.I.P Deathrite Shaman).
Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering what type of graveyard hate you should be yielding:
- Do I need specific target removal (Surgical Extraction, Faerie Macabre) or a more blanket type effect to interact with my opponent’s graveyard (Leyline of the Void) ?
- How will this impact my mulligan decisions? What sort of hand am I keeping that doesn’t include this card? (Really important when mulling for Leyline)
- Does this card impede my own game plan? If so, does it impede my opponent more?
- Can I rely on this to close out the game or is this only a speedbump for my opponent?
- What sort of removal / disruption would they have to answer this? Is there anything I can do to protect it?