Sadly, I bought this as an impulse buy while standing in line at Wal-Mart. The back to school shopping crowd had maybe fifty customers waiting in line at three registers. While I stood and waited, I thought, (I guess) “I would like some more punishment. Why not buy and intro pack.”
So was it punishment? Keep reading!
I chose “Shallow Graves” because it is in the colors Black and Blue. I am interested in making a zombie deck with my foil Liliana, The Last Hope, and my four copies of Gisa and Geralf. I have worked at this at home a little bit, but not really tested it out, and didn’t really feel all that inspired with my results. What I made at home was simply with the cards I owned that fit the theme in Standard right now…the kind of thing I might have made when I first began playing Magic. I thought maybe opening a pre-constructed Black Blue Zombie deck might let me attack the problem from a different angle.
That said, I also like the foil alternate art Noosegraf Mob card feature. I own several copies of Noosegraf Mob, from drafts and from pre-release. In limited it is the kind of card that makes your opponent sweat. I feel it is probably too slow for standard, but we will see!
Shallow Graves came in the standard window box intro pack package. This one was wrapped in tight fitting thick plastic, which I’m sure was meant to deter thievery.
Here are the contents of the box. The deck, with the foil Noosegraf Mob, shrink wrapped in a cigarette wrapper. Two Eldritch Moon booster packs. A Quick Reference Guide. (Trash). And a nice poster with propaganda and a decklist. Here is the front side of the insert, notably featuring the fantastic art of Liliana. (The SpartanNerd IS Liliana. What else COULD I say?)
So, basically the deck is designed to flood the board with hard casted zombies. Crypt breaker here is a new card for me. The “Discard a card” will enable two things…Madness and Delirium. The card I can’t get out of my head on this is Voldaren Pariah. Not a zombie, but a powerful black card with madness. Sacrificing three creatures lets it flip, and forces the opponent to sacrifice three creatures. So here is at least one way the deck might be improved…if I had more copies of Cryptbreaker, that is.
Noosegraf Mob is so good because he lets you keep a board presence against players trying to control the game. You are trading six mana for ten power, basically. which is good, but it is all around deterrent.
Another card I would like to point out is Ghostly Wings…a card that enables a creature to fly, and creates discard for you. Spontaneous Mutation is a new trick…flash it onto a creature, and slowly bing down that creatures attack power as the game progresses!
So what was in my booster packs? I am trying to save memory space on WordPress, so let me summarize that a little bit.
I opened Ulvenwald Observer. A lame tree folk. I won’t waste a picture. That pack also had Tamiyo’s emblem. Graf Rats was here too. That card permeates this set. I’m glad the Wizards wanted to push the meld mechanic so much.
It was the rare on the second pack that caught my attention. A card I had never seen.
Cast him from exile. WOW! A THREE DROP. There is a deck here.
So how does “Shallow Graves” play out?
I tested it against a few non-standard decks, and this time I uploaded a copy to image and tried it out against a standard environment.
In short, this deck is unsurprisingly unfit for a tournament. New players will like casting the foil Noosegraf Mob, if they survive long enough!
The dominant deck in standard, Bant Humans, just is too much for “Shallow Graves.” But not just that. Just about ANY constructed deck can take out this pre-con.
I love its flavor…but I would rather save the flavor for Dual Decks and Commander. The Wizards are rightly retiring this product. I have reviewed several intro decks as the SpartanNerd. This one is “meh.” Lots of points for flavor. Not so much for function.
This time, my booster packs were geared more towards other decks. One pack had almost all black and red cards. So that one would be better for a vampires player. Vampires, by the way, are pretty good in standard. A good Olivia Mobilized for War deck can eat up Shallow Graves. I did get some black and blue Eldrazi with Emerge. If I really wanted to altar the deck, thinking BIG, I could add those. So this time thats a plus.
I RATE “SHALLOW GRAVES” 2/5.
The art is good. The flavor is good, even though that doesn’t really belong here in my opinion. It is fun. But it is a loser. There are possibilities for expansion. Throw in Kalitas. Lilian, Heretical Healer, Liliana, the Last Hope, and Prized Amalgam and you have something decent!
The Spartannerd rates his FINAL INTRO DECK 2/5. DO you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments!
(There are not going to be any more intro packs. The Wizards are going to put out “Planeswalker Packs” starting with Kaledesh!)