This entry is part 6 of 24 in the series Unexpected Results

Posted by Brian aka ChaosMTG

ohlookapictureIf you haven’t listened to this week’s episode of CommanderCast, you should. But if you have, you’ll know I mentioned having a Necropotence addiction. In a wonderful twist of fate, the day after recording,  Chris happened to write an article about alternatives to it and Phyrexian Arena. But I like my Necropotence, so, instead of telling you how to get rid of it, I’ll be showcasing some ways to make an even greater profit from it.The first step in feeding your new Necro-pet is to start thinking a bit differently. Look at Yawgmoth’s Bargain; this card was originally created with the intent of “fixing” Necropotence (we can see how well that worked…). Sure, there are multiple lines of text that are different, but for our purposes, they function nearly identically. Necropotence allows you to pay life to draw cards. In a 40 life format, it’s already made even more powerful, but there are many situations where you don’t want to be dumping all of your life into it and waiting for your next turn.

After translating the ability to “Pay 1 life: Draw a card.”, let’s simplify that to 1 life = 1 card. With that, we can start thinking a differently. “Gain 2 life.” becomes “Draw 2 cards.”, “Lifelink” becomes “Cardlink” and things you had never considered of before become insane draw outlets.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the cards this affects.



The obvious first choice, these six have potential to work with Necropotence in interesting ways.

I’ll discus these six in order of, what I think is, worst to best.

  • Ajani Vengeant comes in last because his lifegain is a minus ability. Also, because this combination can only exist in WBR and WUBRG decks where you probably have better things to be doing.
  • Nissa Revane is low, but is still miles ahead of Red Ajani. There are two drawbacks I see with her, the primary one being the tribal restriction. The other isn’t so much of a drawback as it is antisynergy – the more cards you draw with her, the fewer things you get for free once you ulitmate her. That said, I could see her being absolutely ridiculous in a Nath of the Gilt-Leaf deck (I might have to try that out myself sometime.)
  • Elspeth Tirel is low for also relying on creatures, but she gets a bonus for making creatures herself and not having a tribal restriction. After making her tokens, or having enough creatures already in play, though, she can become an Ancestral Recall machine, which is certainly worth noticing.
  • At CMC 6 and a cost with triple-B, Sorin Markov is expensive, but he’s worth the price. Aside from being a 6 turn clock for one player on his own, his plus ability gives you a mini-lightning helix that translates into a Sword of Fire and Ice trigger plus an additional card. If this were based on other criteria, he might be higher, but for our purposes cost can’t be ignored.
  • I went over Ajani Goldmane in this week’s episode. At 4 mana, he’s easy to play and his plus gives 2 life, much like Sorin but without the added option for removal. For only 4, he draws cards better than any version of Jace with no added investment. Oh, and he does other things if you really don’t feel like drawing cards.
  • Topping the planeswalker list is Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. Like Ajani, he gets his card draw through his plus ability; except his cards have bodies attached… Bodies that he just so happens to be able to make bigger. There is no card to compare this to, nothing has this type of ability without restriction – These are almost Glint-Eye Nephilim tokens… But better!



Sword of Light and Shadow, Sword of War and Peace, Umezawa’s Jitte, Basilisk Collar, Batterskull: Most of these are voltron staples, but even outside of voltron, the lifegain (especially that of WaP) is worth taking note of; if your deck runs creatures, you can probably use them to some effect.

Lucky Charms (Angel’s Feather & Co.): Not great choices, but turns every on-color spell cast into a cantrip for you. And, if you want to for some reason, you can run all six and cantrip off of everything cast.

Ivory Tower – Ancient Tech, it also has two modern cousins in Ivory Crane Netsuke and Venser’s Journal.

Staff of Domination – How about a 3 mana discount? Plus, it probably combos with something in your deck.

Zuran Orb – I was about to say that this is totally legal in Block Constructed… Then I actually checked. Somehow, Zuran Orb is banned while Necropotence isn’t. Also, you can get both of these with shiny (comparatively) new art in their From the Vault form.


Other Stuff (The List Part)

Death Grasp – Burn X, Draw X.
Kitchen Finks – Double cantrip when it enters, and persists – 3/5 color restricted.
Consuming Vapors – Double removal that cantrips at the very least.
Wellwisher – Nissa #2.
Ravenous Baloth – I don’t think G/B beasts is a thing, but if it is – you should be using this.
Pulse of the Fields – 1WW: Draw 4 cards. Then return this to your hand. If you’re running Necropotence and keeping your life total higher than all of your opponents, you’re either winning or doing it horribly wrong.
Children of Korlis/Tainted Sigil – Double the amount of cards you draw this turn… Or more!
Invincible Hymn – This is essentially a W/B Enter the Infinite.
Touch of the Eternal – Usually a smaller version of Invincible Hymn – in a token deck, it might just put you at #ProcessingError# life, which is still probably worth it.
Presence of the Wise/Search Warrant – Draw cards in relation to the cards already in your hand.
Essence Harvest – Draw cards… Or just kill someone. With Kagemaro, First to Suffer you can kill someone, draw cards, then kill someone else.
Syphon Life – Dump your extra lands for other cards.
Sangromancer – Do you like doing black things? Do you like drawing 3 cards every time you do a black thing? Well then, good news.
Rhox Faithmender and Boon Reflection – These are essentially white Thought Reflections
Congregate – You’ll probably be hated on just for using this, but you should have more than enough answers in hand to not have to worry about it.
Riot Control – Not an answer, but certainly a good followup to [card]Congregate[card]
Honden of Cleansing Fire – Double Phyrexian Arena for 4 that can be multiplied by the number of colors in your deck? (Esper obviously gets the best bonus here by also drawing extra cards from Honden of Seeing Winds.)
Suffer the Past – Graveyard hate is good, adding card advantage to it just puts it over the top.
Sphinx’s Revelation – X3: Draw 2X cards.
Exsanguinate – Usually this is a finisher, but if you don’t want to do that, it can still draw you a decent amount of cards.
Convalescent Care – Reverse quadruple Phyrexian Arena.
Blood Artist – Make your own Decree of Pain.
Timely Reinforcements – Draw 6, make 3 incidental blockers.
Righteous Fury – Double Decree of Pain, of course you have to get around that pesky “tapped” restriction.
Oracle of Nectars – X, tap: Draw X. Unfortunately, two nonblack colors make it 3/5 color restricted
Momentous Fall – Draw cards equal to total power and toughness.
Kabira Crossroads and the Zendikar Refuge cycle: Your taplands cantrip.

I blame the fact that the only one I have is Japanese.

Pretty easy to forget he gains life.


Late Edit

It looks like I forgot one of the planeswalkers…
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas – Ajani Vengeant’s lifegain is a – ability… This one is his “ultimate” (In quotes because I hesitate to call anything that needs only one + activation to do it an ultimate.) Honestly, if you’re using this version of Tezzeret, it’s probably only for his +. I’ve never seen his -1 used anywhere outside of 60card. So, given that, I guess you could incidentally hit a point where gaining life from him could be profitable, but for the most part you should probably stick to just using his Ancient Stirrings ability.


Also, no one has voted on which legends should advance to the next round in the to decide who will be Sasaya, Orochi Ascendant’s enemy in my duel deck challenge. So, here are the current matches again – choose one from each pair:

Cao Cao, Lord of Wei vs. Maralen of the Mornsong

Nebuchadnezzar vs. Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief

Sakashima the Impostor vs. Hisoka, Minamo Sensei

Vela the Night-Clad/[card] vs. [card][Wrexial, the Risen Deep

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