I’ve decided to make regular posts on cards that I think are sleepers in the current standard environment. While I am not sure of the regularity at which I will post(because partly these ideas come through play and testing), you can expect this to be a regular feature here at the site.
Corpsejack Menace: I’d like to bring your attention to a more or less forgotten card from Return to Ravnica, [mtg_card]Corpsejack Menace[/mtg_card]. Here’s a card that, for four mana, gives you both a 4/4 body and a very powerful ability. Granted, some extra 1/1 counters may not be earth-shattering, but they are enough to out beef your opponents in a stalled out game, or to force a stall and a slow push with giant dudes. To show you the power of this card, I want you to consider it in combination with over cards from the format. While it isn’t likely strongest card in a control deck, I think an aggro-control variant running four is viable. Think of it as micro advantage–with enough little advantages, (that is to say, with the deck built with Corpsejack in mind), you should be able to win the game and out grind or overwhelm your opponent. Here are the key players in the current standard.
Undying Creatures: Green/Black decks often run undying creatures. Cards like [mtg_card]Strangleroot Geist[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Geralf’s Messenger[/mtg_card] are common place, and both would receive additional counters when their undying abilities triggered, which they will, more or less, every game. Having a 2/1 [mtg_card]Strangleroot Geist[/mtg_card] turn into a 4/3 with haste is no joke, nor is the 5/4 Messenger.
Scavenge: [mtg_card]Varolz, the Scar-Striped[/mtg_card] is already getting play in a few different decks, because of it’s ability to make use of the beef in the graveyard. Combined with [mtg_card]Corpsejack Menace[/mtg_card] your threat just went from moderate to severe, and if your opponent doesn’t have an answer, they are going to be overwhelmed by the sheer monstrosity of your creatures . I mean, when looking at these cards side by side, it’s almost as if they were made to be played together… hmm.
Unleash: How’s a 3/3 vanilla for one mana sound? That’s [mtg_card]Rakdos Cackler[/mtg_card] with Corpsejack Menace in play. My wheels are turning, and maybe, just maybe there’s a viable use for [mtg_card]Blood Scrivener[/mtg_card] in this format after all.
Lotleth Troll: Chucking cards into your graveyard for a 1/1 counter is great, but chucking them for two +1/1 counters, and then chomping them up with [mtg_card]Varolz, the Scar-Striped[/mtg_card] is devastating on a trampling regenerating creature that is now huge and eager to eat your opponents face. But wait, it gets better. What do you chuck with your [mtg_card]Lotleth Troll[/mtg_card]? How about [mtg_card]Veilborn Ghoul[/mtg_card]? And then play a swamp, over and over again. Things just go ugly for your opponent.
Evolve: While I think this is the least viable use mentioned so far, evolve does grant counters, and [mtg_card]Experiment One[/mtg_card] would be a likely target for the deck, should you take the evolve route. I think, for our purposes, though Undying would be better, but an aggressive evolve deck could also benefit from [mtg_card]Corpsejack Menace[/mtg_card].
Some Oddities: Okay, I hadn’t planned on spilling my guts about this today, but I’m working on a Black/Green/Blue deck that abuses the Corpsejack in some interesting ways . First, [mtg_card]Master Biomancer[/mtg_card]. This card hasn’t made much of a splash in the current standard, but it’s one of those cards that changes your whole board and will likely find a home in a playable deck later on. With a Corpsejack Menace in play, your single Biomancer is now granting four +1/1 counters. Add another Biomancer, and it gets ginormous quickly. Now, what about card draw, you ask, because you are like me and you always want cards. Ahh, here’s something you probably haven’t thought of: a way to draw 9 cards for six mana and have a 9/9 body on the board. [mtg_card]Prime Speaker Zegana[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Corpsejack Menace[/mtg_card] will net you just that. Add the Biomancer into the loop, and you just got 13 cards for six mana and a 13/13 body to boot.
Final Analysis: These guys are going for less than a .10 on MTGO. Pick up four, hit the lab, and overwhelm your opponents with some unexpected beef.