Magic The Gathering Graveborn review – Dead and Loving it

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graveborn

The third instalment in the Premium Deck Series, Graveborn is a 60-card all foil preconstructed deck, using a unique foil process.

The premium deck series takes a thematic approach to display how, over several blocks of cards, various themes have come into existence. In Graveborn, that theme is the sinister control that Black mana offers over the graveyard. Sending creatures to the graveyard is often the only option a player has to avoid destruction. So what will your opponent do when the graveyard becomes a staging area for your final assault? Even their graveyard will become a burden to them, as you reanimate their bravest heroes to be your own loyal pawns.

When opening Graveborn, you might be confused as to why you have creatures that need mana you can’t produce. Never fear. Your sinister library has a plethora of tools which allow you to discard these creatures to your graveyard, where they are ripe for the picking. As a result, Graveborn has some really large mean beasties inside. The raging behemoths at your disposal are:

As you can see, these are some of the iconic, large face-beaters of Magic. What makes this even scarier is that you will never pay their mana cost, meaning you could potentially get one of these on the board by turn two!

Crosis, the Purger is an absolute bane to mono colour decks. If he damages your opponent, you can empty your opponent’s hand for a paltry three mana. He also looks pretty flash sporting a great new artwork.

Sphinx of the Steel Wind will bloat your life total and will devastate any red or green deck.

Verdant Force is a mighty 7/7 who makes friends every upkeep, adding up to some serious board advantage.

Watch your foe tremble before the Blazing Archon, as he can no longer attack you.

The Inkwell Leviathan will make short work of most opponents, especially if they control an island.

The Terastodon can destroy land, artifacts, equipments, planeswalkers and enchantments, leaving your opponent with a tiny 3/3 creature instead.

So with all these powerhouses hiding in the deck, how do you get them to the graveyard, and onto the battlefield?

With Graveborn, it becomes all too easy.

Buried Alive allows you to find up to three creatures in your library and dump them into your graveyard, and creatures like Hidden Horror require you to discard a creature card when it enters the battlefield. The Putrid Imp allows you to discard a card to give it flying, and it becomes a 2/2 if you have threshold (seven or more cards in your graveyard), achieving two goals at once. The powerful Entomb is a one mana instant that allows you to find one card in your library and put it into your graveyard.

Now that you have some big nasties in your graveyard, unleash your infernal magic. Reanimate plops a creature from any graveyard onto the battlefield under your control, but it requires some of your life force to fuel this dastardly act. Exhume allows you and your opponent to give a creature a second life, but who cares if yours are much more powerful? Remember, Black mana achieves greatness at any cost.

As with previous Premium Decks, this is the first time that some of these cards appear in the current black-bordered format. As a result, a lot of editing and change has occurred for these cards from the early years of Magic. For example, Animate Dead finally makes its return from the graveyard of old forgotten cards, with a nice overhaul:

Put next to one another, the age really shows. As you can see, both cards have quite a mouthful of text on them. Surely there is an easier way to say: I revive a creature, but it is -1/-0? There is a reason for this though. Cards in the graveyard cannot be enchanted, and this card goes against that cardinal rule. Animate Dead gets a creature from any graveyard, puts it under your control, and then attaches itself as an aura. As a penalty though the creature suffers a -1 penalty to its power, and if the enchantment leaves the battlefield, the creature crumbles to dust. Hopefully that clarifies the daunting wall of text on Animate Dead.

Diabolic Servitude also has more text on it than most players would be comfortable with, but it is a very useful card. The second and third ‘paragraphs’ only occur if the enchantment is destroyed, or the creature it enchanted dies.

Simply put, when you cast this, you get a creature from your own graveyard back in the fight. However, if the creature dies, it gets exiled instead, and Diabolic Servitude returns to your hand, ready for the next dead creature to be yanked out to serve once more. However, if Diabolic Servitude goes to the graveyard, the creature it brought from the grave promptly vanishes and goes to the horrible nowhere of exile.

Graveborn is a must have for the avid collector or any casual player that enjoys the horror of returning hordes from the grave. Graveborn’s premium foil process, coupled with a collection of several rare and hard to find cards, makes it difficult to ignore this new addition to the premium line.

As with all premium sets, Graveborn has a very limited production run and is only printed in English. It also includes an awesome brown spin-down die with a skull on it.

Last Updated: December 7, 2011

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