Forgotten Harvest - Enchanting with the Enemy
(Tiana, Ship's Caretaker | Art by Eric Deschamps)
Greetings once again, and welcome to another serving of Forgotten Harvest, where we explore those cards that see play in 300 decks or less on EDHREC. For a while, I've been itching to get back into another Enchantress build, especially after Nefarox Enchantress was so well-received. However, I can't just go in and do the same kind of enchantment stuff all over again, and I certainly can't keep to the commonly-played Enchantress cards entirely. So what else is there? Well, I could try using the Auras on my opponents' creatures.
Now, instead of walking through my usual article layout of starting with the commander and moving through various classes of hyper-underplayed cards that do similar things, I'm going to relay the process of how I arrived at this deck idea and the combos that are weaved in throughout the brew. Our story begins with one card: Laccolith Rig.
This card may not look like much, just an overly-complex common from Nemesis that grants a creature the "Laccolith" ability of being able to deal combat damage to any creature instead of the one blocking it. Laccolith Titan, Laccolith Warrior, and Laccolith Grunt all have the same ability that this Aura grants. But what if you put the Rig on an opponent's creature? You still control the Aura, so if that creature becomes blocked, you'd be able to throw its damage at any creature... including itself. You've neutralized any damage this creature would deal to you (assuming you have a blocker), and gain a powerful weapon on the board. Only 45 decks on EDHREC are playing this card right now, but I'm seriously considering it as part of my standard tech for a red deck.
So, I expanded upon this idea. What other cheap Auras could I find that create an interesting effect for me when attached to an opponent's creature? Some of these cards, like One with Nature and Spirit Link, already see enough play that they don't need any cheerleading from me. But others, like Latulla's Orders, need some love. This card sees play in only 66 decks, but it can provide some great artifact hate using an opponent's creature. You still control the card, and you determine if the trigger happens. So if the Ordered creature swings your way, you aren't forced to lose a mana rock. The flash on this card is just icing on the cake!
Incendiary can really go on any creature on the battlefield, but possesses very interesting political options to the caster when enchanting a creature on the other side of the table. It can be used as a deterrent to prevent attacks from coming your way, it can be dropped on an opponent's creature to abbreviate their board wipe with some retribution, or it can encourage a player to start getting crazy in an effort to intentionally lose their creature before the bomb gets too big. Only 24 decks are using the card right now, but that number could be higher.
Another Aura that can go on just about anything on the field is Elemental Resonance (204 decks). If you're starting to fall behind on the ramp race, this card can launch you back into first place. While you may not get the right colors of mana, throwing this on an opponent's permanent (like Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis, for instance) can vault you so far ahead while creating an interesting decision for the opponent: destroy their permanent or let you keep the extra mana each turn.
Round One... FIGHT!
With this theme established, I started looking for Naya commanders that would encourage attacking. No matter how hard I wish for it to change, Thantis, the Warweaver is still Jund. Seriously, though, Gahiji, Honored One stood out as an obvious pick. Its ability encourages attacks against your opponents. Combined with white's ability to deter attackers, this would be a great option to keep out of the way while reaping the rewards of all the combat. Plus, it's a decent body size that, in a pinch, could become the base of some Voltron-style hijinks.
But Gahiji doesn't really synergize specifically with Auras, especially once creatures start dying off and taking our enchantments with them. Hence, I also added in Tiana, Ship's Caretaker. She's here to get those Auras back from the 'yard, and she can provide some interesting interactions with cards like Quiet Disrepair (59 decks) and Faith Healer (177 decks). To add some redundancy, I've also included Dowsing Shaman to help get the Auras back after they're lost. The Centaur only sees play in 244 decks, but remains one of my favorites for Enchantress builds. I looked at trying to make the deck in Boros colors with Tiana at the helm, but I just didn't have enough options, especially in red, to make it viable and different from the Nefarox build.
There was yet more room in the deck after gathering together the Auras I'd like to cast on opponents' attacking creatures, so I started looking for other Aura-themed shenanigans. That's when I remembered an interaction from my days in college: Guilty Conscience and Stuffy Doll. This combo is an auto-knockout for a player, assuming you get the chance to untap with the Doll. Stuffy Doll picks a player, you enchant it with Guilty Conscience, and then the Doll pings itself for a damage. This causes Guilty Conscience to trigger, dealing a damage to the Doll. The Doll then deals a damage to the chosen victim, again triggering the Aura. Rinse. Repeat. Be careful with this combo, as there are no "may" clauses here. This means you could potentially end the game in an infinite loop, which to me feels like the worst ending for an EDH night. I also like the Conscience generally, even if there's no Doll to enchant. It sees play right now in only 172 decks.
Since we're also in green, why not add in another Aura to the mix. I'm talking about the underplayed Druid's Call. In only 271 decks right now, this is the key to building a great and powerful Squirrel army. By itself on Stuffy Doll, it gets you a furry friend each turn. Include Guilty Conscience, and you'll be swimming in Squirrels! I don't recommend casting this Aura on an opponent's creature, though, as the card specifies that the creature's controller gets the tokens from damage dealt to it. Even without the Doll, this card provides a nice rattlesnake effect.
The next fun combo I've managed to sneak in here revolves around everyone's favorite walking, talking Auras: the Licids. All of these cards are hyper-underplayed, with Quickening Licid coming in at only 5 decks on EDHREC. These Licids are an excellent addition to this deck, some of them can hurt opponents' creatures, like Calming Licid (19 decks). Others provide support for your creatures, like Nurturing Licid (24 decks), but all of them come back with the help of Tiana, Ship's Caretaker, so long as they were Auras when they died.
The combo comes in when you use the Licids to enchant Bramble Elemental or Brood Keeper. Because these cards trigger when an Aura becomes attached to them, not when the Aura is cast, each activation of the Licid targeting one of the two can net you two Saprolings or a 2/2 flying Dragon. With mana available, that can happen each turn! Please note that because the Licids tap to turn into Auras, and they still count as tapped when enchanting the creature, the effect is a once-per-turn kind of thing for each Licid you have. With six in the deck, that shouldn't be hard, though. As for deck numbers, Bramble Elemental comes in at 33 decks, and Brood Keeper only sees play in 75, so give them both some love, please!
Let's give the deck a look, shall we?
Enchanting with the Enemy
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Aura-n't You Glad I Didn't Say "Banana?"
Well, that about does it for the jankiness that has been this Forgotten Harvest. Any questions, comments, or snide remarks? You know where to leave them below. I'll be around to talk about what it's like sifting through boxes of commons at my LGS looking for inspiration for an article, or how the best janky cards always seem to come from Masques block. What hyper-underplayed gems have you found while digging through bulk? Any hyper-underplayed strategies that need some attention? Let me know! I'm always looking for suggestions! See you all next time!