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Limited Spotlight: Whisper, Blood Liturgist

Everybody knows that Eviscerate is a strong Limited card. It’s clear that Baloth Gorger has a good power and toughness rate for its mana cost. It only takes a few Drafts to know that you should usually pick Icy Manipulator and put it in your deck. But some cards are a bit trickier to evaluate in Limited. They have strange abilities, and can rise and fall in value depending on what the rest of your deck looks like. One example is Whisper, Blood Liturgist, who I feel deserves a little more discussion.

Returning creatures from your graveyard is a powerful effect in Limited. The value of creatures can vary wildly, and the ability to get a second shot out of your best card can determine the outcome of the game. I’m a big fan of Soul Salvage, and even weaker versions of the effect—like Raise Dead—are staples of my Sealed Deck strategy.

Whisper offers this effect in a repeatable way, which gives you a ton of control over the game. The fact that you can do it at instant-speed makes things very tough on your opponent, particularly because you can sacrifice a creature that might be dying in combat, or eating a removal spell anyway. For a number of reasons, your opponent will typically be obligated to spend their first removal spell on Whisper herself before answering any other problematic creatures you might have.

When is Whisper Good?

Whisper is good when you have an exceptionally powerful creature in your deck. Any way to rebuy a bomb is great, and puts pressure on your opponent to have multiple answers. Since Whisper puts the creature directly into play, you can even set up tricks like dumping something expensive with Dark Bargain, and reanimating it as a surprise during combat or at the end of the opponent’s turn.

Some of my favorite creatures to pair with Whisper include: Verdant Force; Muldrotha, the Gravetide; Slimefoot, the Stowaway; Siege-Gang Commander; and Garna, the Bloodflame. (Look for the Limited Spotlight on Garna!)

Whisper also requires disposable bodies to operate at her max effectiveness. Tokens generated off of Saproling Migration are great, but small creatures with enters-the-battlefield effects can do the job too. Skittering Surveyor is a great example, but even something like dropping a Caligo Skin Witch for early defense, blocking a few times, and then sacrificing it on turn 5 is a nice play pattern. Note that Verdant Force, Siege-Gang, and Slimefoot all serve double duty as token generators and being prime reanimation targets.

Finally, let’s not forget that being a legend has a lot of upside in Dominaria Limited. If you have a legendary sorcery, a Blackblade Reforged, or are looking to trigger historic, then Whisper goes up in value.

Black-green and black-red are my favorite color combinations for Whisper.

When is Whisper Bad?

Whisper is bad under the opposite circumstances—if you’re a creature-light deck you might have few disposable bodies or few premium targets to rebuy. If this is the case, she won’t be at her best.

More specifically, if your most powerful cards depends on being cast with kicker, then Whisper can be a bit of a dud.

Additionally, if you run into a matchup where your creatures aren’t going to the graveyard, you should consider making some changes during sideboarding. The best example would be a white-blue deck where you’re getting raced with flyers, tempo’d out with bounce spells, and their hard removal spells exile things instead of sending them to the graveyard.

How Good is Whisper?

Historically, Whisper has made the cut in about 80% of my black decks. But it’s worth noting that I draft black-green and black-red a lot more than I draft black-white and black-blue. If the circumstances aren’t right, she’s getting the cut, and if I wind up with two copies, I’ll often start just one.

I’m not happy to first-pick Whisper, but I am happy to take her around the third or fourth pick if I’m already drafting black. In that sense, she’s comparable to something like a Deathbloom Thallid (although Whisper will sometimes be mediocre and sometimes be amazing, whereas Thallid is always going to be solid).

Later in the Draft, you’ll begin to see whether or not she’s going to shine in the deck you’re building. If I already have Garna, the Bloodflame or Siege-Gang Commander, then I’ll take Whisper over premium commons like Eviscerate.

Whisper, Blood Liturgist is one of the more fun and interesting cards in Dominaria Limited, and I hope you’ve found this discussion helpful. Let me know in the comments if you’ve had particularly good or bad experiences with her.

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