In a Core Set 2019 spoiler universe where Elder Dragon legends soar into the imaginations of players everywhere, it’s easy to overlook the simple utility of good design.
Allow me to tell you about my new friend, the Remorseful Cleric. In life, he was an upstart white mage, but he made one critical blunder in his first magical contest… he left his Dredge hate at home. Oh, dear—facepalm.
By turn 3 the Zombie horde was deployed and in his final living moments on this world the mage gazed dejectedly at his seven-card hand full of spells that didn’t matter before being promptly gobbled up.
From beyond the grave, the wizard lamented that fateful day and those regrettable words he had so confidently uttered to his friends en route to the battle:
“I’m probably not even going to play against Dredge. I’ll add a few more cards for the Humans matchup…”
Now he’s back and he’s out for blood. Zombie blood! In a Ghost versus Zombie matchup for the ages.
I love this card because it does something that doesn’t happen very often—it’s a narrow silver-bullet card that isn’t actually too narrow to actually play outside a sideboard.
1W for a 2/1 flyer with a good creature types isn’t embarrassing. A 2/1 flyer has an impact on a board even when the Tormod’s Crypt effect doesn’t matter. But having access to a Tormod’s Crypt on a body with evasion is something I find delightful.
I’m also a fan of the fact that this creature has this effect as an activated ability for no mana cost, rather than as an ETB trigger, since this gives you more control over when and how to get the most value out of exiling your opponent’s graveyard.
In terms of power level, this card competes in Eternal formats with Containment Priest. The Priest likely gets the nod in most situations (and also combats things like Oath of Druids, Tinker, and Show and Tell) but I think there could be situations where a deck wants to cheat things into play or use its own graveyard, which would allow Remorseful Cleric to function as one-sided hate rather than crippling both players’ yards. It’s a niche category, but it could find a home in the right deck.
I’m actually more excited about playing with this card in Modern since there isn’t a Containment Priest in that format.
This is a slight modification from Pierre Camps’ Abzan Company list from a PPTQ:
I think it’s a pretty reasonable move to swap out the second Scavenging Ooze for the first Remorseful Cleric in these types of lists. The Ooze is great at taking control, but it’s sometimes too slow and a good Dredge or Storm opponent can play through it before it can establish a lock. With a split, you have one graveyard hate card that is fast and high impact, and a second (Scavenging Ooze) that is more of a lock piece.
Also, it is worth noting that Remorseful Cleric is an above average Spirit tribal card. If I were going to try and main deck it somewhere, this could be the place for it.
I found this list on TappedOut, posted by Mushroomking, and tuned it to run Remorseful Cleric (which feels really nice in this list).
The deck was already running Rest in Peace in the sideboard, and in this specific deck the Cleric seems to have even better synergy.
First of all, it is an impactful graveyard hate card and a Collected Company hit. Second, the deck is jam packed full of Spirit triggers and synergies that this card will further enhance.
I’m a huge fan of cards like Remorseful Cleric. The card isn’t so obviously “in your face” with ridiculous stats, but it is an efficient and versatile option to consider across a wide array of decks.
Hate cards make me think of things like Stony Silence, Rest in Peace, and Arcane Laboratory—narrow cards that have a profound impact against specific types of strategies. It’s rare that players can play these kinds of cards in their main decks because the level of impact varies too much depending on the matchup.
I love to see effects that actually challenge narrow linear strategies put onto cards that are reasonable to play in the main deck, especially for a format like Standard where a 2/1 flyer for 1W with a narrow (but impactful ability) would shine. Imagine how dramatically the existence of a card like this would have impacted the Standard format where Rally the Ancestors dominated the landscape.
Also, Remorseful Cleric is an awesome Cube/Battle Box card. It was a no-brainer addition to my Danger Room. The fact that this is a card that has applications across a lot of different formats and types of games is what makes it so appealing to me. It’s a testament to subtle but good design.
I’m happy to see a card like this in Core Set 2019 and hope to see more cards with abilities that help combat linear strategies in the future. In my opinion, this is easily the card that impresses me most (in terms of design, functionality, and playability) in Core Set 2019.