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Spoiler Spotlight – Obzedat, Ghost Council

Every once in a while, I have to pause and wonder: Did Wizards really print that?

The goodness starts with the comes-into-play ability. The drain 2 combines the powers of [card]Kitchen Finks[/card] and [card]Geralf’s Messenger[/card], reflecting the offensive/defensive hybrid Orzhov is known for. Even if your guy trades, you’ll have gained value, and I look forward to rebuying this one with [card]Angel of Serenity[/card].

It’s the ability to self-blink that makes this card overpowered. When the board clogs up, and creatures can’t get in, Obzedat will slowly grind down the opponent’s life. On top of that, the ability to blink out for your opponent’s turn makes it immune to all sorts of answers, like [card]Detention Sphere[/card], [card]Angel of Serenity[/card], [card tamiyo, the moon sage]Tamiyo[/card] tapping, and [card]Supreme Verdict[/card]. [card]Azorius Charm[/card] in particular seems lackluster, since Obzedat drains for 4 before it even attacks.

There are some downsides: 1WWBB is prohibitive, especially compared to [card]Thragtusk[/card]’s modest 4G. Also, if you’re blocking you’re not blinking. The legendary status means that you can’t play multiples, and the best answer to an Obzedat will often be another Obzedat.

Tips and Tricks

If evolve turns out to be a Constructed-playable mechanic, Obzedat can grow your team by blinking into play every turn.

With some work, the immunity to sweepers can be abused. [card]Magmaquake[/card] is a fine option, but introduces a double off-color. Perhaps a [card]Chromatic Lantern[/card] deck could make it work, though such a deck could also try [card]Alchemist’s Refuge[/card] and [card]Supreme Verdict[/card].

If not, an Esper list trying to cantrip into [card]Terminus[/card] might be a sweet option, especially with the new Dimir Charm to bin [card]Think Twice[/card] while setting up miracles. For reference, ChannelFireball’s own LSV previewed the Charm here.

[card restoration angel]Resto[/card]-blinking Obzedat leads to a good time, and whoever manages to best take advantage of that synergy should have a head start in the new metagame.

Slews of Brews

BW Zombies

[deck]3 Plains
2 Cavern of Souls
1 Orzhov Guildgate
10 Swamp
4 Isolated Chapel
4 Godless Shrine
4 Geralf’s Messenger
3 Blood Artist
4 Diregraf Ghoul
4 Gravecrawler
4 Restoration Angel
3 Obzedat, Ghost Council
4 Bloodthrone Vampire
1 Sign in Blood
1 Victim of Night
4 Orzhov Keyrune
4 Lingering Souls[/deck]

[card]Restoration Angel[/card] combines well with both [card]Geralf’s Messenger[/card] and Obzedat, giving the deck a ton of reach. I wish I knew the Orzhov Keyrune’s ability. Based on the others, we can assume that it’s at least reasonable. The Orzhov Charm might also be an option.

White adds a lot to the deck. Now we can play turn one [card]Gravecrawler[/card], turn two [card]Bloodthrone Vampire[/card], turn three [card]Geralf’s Messenger[/card] + sacrifice, and turn four [card]Restoration Angel[/card] to reset the Messenger. [card]Lingering Souls[/card] has some fascinating interactions with both [card]Bloodthrone Vampire[/card] and [card]Blood Artist[/card], and now Zombies has the mana to make it work.

Speaking of mana, we have the tools to get greedier.

UWb Flash

[deck]1 Moorland Haunt
3 Cavern of Souls
4 Godless Shrine
1 Island
4 Drowned Catacomb
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Watery Grave
4 Restoration Angel
4 Geist of Saint Traft
3 Obzedat, Ghost Council
4 Snapcaster Mage
2 Think Twice
2 Sphinx’s Revelation
4 Azorius Charm
4 Unsummon
2 Ultimate Price
4 Thought Scour
2 Dimir Charm[/deck]

I don’t have much experience designing [card geist of saint traft]Geist[/card] decks, but I wanted to showcase a blue deck that sets [card]Cavern of Souls[/card] on Spirit and rides Geists, Obzedat, and [card]Restoration Angel[/card] to victory. The raw power of the threat base should win games.

I’m not sure how well Dimir Charm works here. Note that targeting the opponent is more devastating than a Jace fateseal. When combined with [card snapcaster mage]Snapcaster[/card], the Charm should generate a strong advantage against an opponent near parity or in topdeck mode. Like [card]Thought Scour[/card], the UB Charm can get rid of problem creatures put on top with [card]Azorius Charm[/card].

Another option I considered was the old [card]Drogskol Captain[/card] and [card]Lingering Souls[/card] combination, but [card]Restoration Angel[/card] works much better with Geist.

Junk Ramp

[deck]1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Isolated Chapel
5 Forest
1 Swamp
1 Plains
3 Cavern of Souls
4 Temple Garden
4 Godless Shrine
4 Overgrown Tomb
1 Borderland Ranger
1 Acidic Slime
3 Angel of Serenity
3 Arbor Elf
4 Avacyn’s Pilgrim
3 Obzedat, Ghost Council
4 Restoration Angel
4 Thragtusk
2 Ultimate Price
1 Selesnya Charm
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
2 Selesnya Keyrune
4 Farseek
2 Garruk Relentless[/deck]

This deck has a lot going for it. The mana acceleration lets you play a ramp-style game, spitting out a giant fatty as quickly as possible. While Obzedat and [card]Thragtusk[/card] are slightly weaker than the Titans you want, [card]Angel of Serenity[/card] picks up the slack.

Against aggro decks, you have plenty of huge, life-gaining dudes to ramp into. Against control decks, those same creatures have a high level of resiliency to removal. Vs. green midrange piles, you can go over the top with [card]Angel of Serenity[/card].

Other Formats

Five mana is a lot in Legacy. [card]Thragtusk[/card] sees some play, though that’s partially due to the presence of [card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card]. I haven’t played a five-drop in Deadguy Ale, though I have gone up to four for [card]Hero of Bladehold[/card].

The card shouldn’t have much of a Modern impact, though the thought of running him in Pod or Teachings is interesting.

Obzedat makes a great Commander general, especially if you expect a lot of sweepers. I would favor a control deck full of fast artifact mana and rounded out with some combos (like Helm) and a few quality creatures (like [card]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/card] and [card]Griselbrand[/card]).

Enjoy the rest of spoiler season!

Caleb Durward
@CalebDMTG

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