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Magic: The Gathering!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Walk Into The Random!!!

A Deep Look At: Mikaeus, the Unhallowed

Welcome one and all! Today I’ve decided to try something new that I like to call A Deep Look At, where I pick a card I think needs a little more exposure. The card I chose to talk about today is…

I know that by now you’ve all probably heard about combining Mikaeus with an artifact creature named Triskelion. For those of you who don’t know by now, and haven’t figured it out yet, these two cards combine to make a loop that could “go infinite” in dealing damage to players. Remove all but two +1/+1 counters from Triskelion to burn your opponent. Then remove the last two counters on Triskelion to deal damage to itself (while having Mikaeus out on your side of the battlefield). Mikaeus gives Triskelion Undying and Triskelion returns with all of it counters plus one. Repeat until everyone is dead or until someone breaks you combo by killing Mikaeus or removing Triskelion from you graveyard or whatever.
While I will admit that this is a great interaction, after people found out about it… they seemed to stop caring about Mikaeus and all he brings to the game. So I’ve decided to take a closer look at him and I’m going to tell you some of the more interesting things you could do with him that don’t include the pervious combo. Ready? Let’s Go!
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed + Dawn of the Dead
I know what some of you are thinking.

“Um… Captain... Are you feeling alright? Dawn of the Dead removes creatures at the end of the turn. Last time I checked, that didn’t work so well with Undying. You know because the creatures never hit the graveyard again “.
I will have you know I still have my wits, or what little I still have, about me. Yes if you reach your end step, Dawn will come and remove your creatures. That’s why I have no intensions on letting them stay that long. I’m thinking of Fleshbag Marauder. We’ll get Fleshbag with Dawn at the beginning of our turn. Fleshbag will force everyone to sacrifice a creature so we’ll sacrifice Fleshbag. Mikaeus gives it undying and it comes back forcing yet another sacrifice, to which we sacrifice Fleshbag again.
With this out we now have a way to make all of our opponents sacrifice two creatures at the beginning of our turn for as long as it’s out… and all it cost us was one life point a turn.
If we go a little... um… Off Color… we can combine this with creatures that like to sacrifice. Sakura-Tribe Elder will give us two tapped basic a turn, for four mana Siege-Gang Commander will pump out six 2/2 goblin tokens (They get +1/+1 for not being human), and for two mana Qasali Pridemage will destroy two targetable artifacts or enchantment a turn. If we dip back into black, Vampire Hexmage will kill two Planeswalkers or remove +1/+1 counters from one of our other creatures that’s about to die. You know so they can Un-die. We could also use Viscera Seer to sacrifice a creature Dawn of the Dead returned to Scry for cards.
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed + Shriekmaw
In case you haven’t heard yet, this game has a pretty deep history of killing creatures. Undying loves watching creature die. For example, back in 2007 with Lorwyn block, which was as of writing this was five years ago, we got Evoke. For those of you who don’t know or remember, creatures with Evoke were creatures that had abilities when they entered the battlefield or died, but you could cast them for an Evoke cost instead of their printed mana cost. The down side was that if you evoked a creature, it sacrificed itself when it would enter the battlefield. You get the effect but didn’t get to keep the creature.
But With Mikaeus some of these may never see their printed mana cost again. Take for instance Shriekmaw.

You have two chooses with Mikaeus out. You could pay five mana to destroy target nonartifact, nonblack creature and get a 4/3 (Mikaeus gives non-Humans +1/+1) or you could pay two mana to destroy target nonartifact, nonblack creature, let Shriekmaw sacrifice itself and Un-die, destroy another target nonartifact, nonblack creature, and get a 5/4 (+1/+1 for not being human and a +1/+1 counter from Undying).
Yeah I know that’s not really a chose but it’s kind of funny how this works out with just about all of the other Evoke creatures in the same way. High cost for effect and creature or really low cost for the same effect (maybe twice) and same creature (with +2/+2).
It’s even has a very similar effect on creatures with Echo, Cumulative upkeep, end of turn sacrifices, and  various other effects like Persist…
Mikaeus + Persist
Since we’re on the idea of Persist, I feel this is a great place to talk about Undying and Persist. Both effects are basically the same with the only difference being that when you creatures comes back you get a -1/-1 counter for Persist and a +1/+1 counter for Undying.
Funny thing is that, if one of your creatures with Persist dies while Mikaeus is out, it comes back with both a -1/-1 and a +1/+1 counter on it. Now the rules state that if one creature has both of these counters they cancel each other out. So your creature basically got a get-out-of-jail free card. Murderous Redcap gets to do three damage to who or whatever it likes, because it’s not a human so it gets a +1/+1 lord boost from Mikaeus. Puppeteer Clique gets to steal any opponent’s creature from a graveyard for as long all the gravy train is in town.
If we combine these two effects with say a way to sacrifice creatures we could use Redcap like the Triskelion combo from above. You could steal all the opponent’s creatures with Clique and then exile them at the end of the turn or sacrifice all the creatures and use the same trick during someone else’s turn to have a field full of blocker. Combine any of them with Ashnod’s Altar and you get all of the colorless mana you could ever want.
Mikaeus + Other Legends
With Mikaeus seeing play I wouldn’t be surprised if Ulasht and its kind get a little more play.

 This is a card that works along the same lines a Triskelion with the difference being Ulasht cost you one mana and activate and doesn’t kill players in one shot. But if you can get enough mana you could make a huge army of Saproling tokens. Just remember to leave one counter to have Ulasht ping itself.
Also if you didn’t know yet, Mikaeus tells Kamahl, Fist of Krosa and Crovax, Ascendant Hero to go take a nap.

Usually someone playing this combo will use Kamahl, Fist of Krosa to turn your lands into 1/1 creatures and Crovax, Ascendant Hero’s Nonwhite creatures effect would kill them. But Mikaeus only sees your land as non-human and gives it +1/+1. That’s not even counting the fact that they’re both humans so if they so much touch you, they better make sure that it’s going to kill you or Mikaeus will make sure they pay, with their lives. Even if they try to use Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite instead of Crovax the lands have undying, so the lands come back with +1/+1 counters as lands. Now if Kamahl tries to animate them again their 3/3’s that Elesh Norn would turn into 1/1’s.
Bury Your Dead

With all of this I feel that Mikaeus has a lot of unseen potential. Even with all of this I’ve still only touched the surface of what this card can do. For more things, you can check out my boy Cassidy Silver over at TCGPlayer.com in the Magic section. He built a whole deck based around Mikaeus, the Unhallowed using a totally different set of cards and combinations. Feel free to leave any comments you have and you can always hit me up at CaptainRedZone@gmail.com. You can also find me on OffColorCast.com where I podcast with Cassidy Silver and Christian Renoe. Just a heads up, OffColorCast.com may not be work safe. As always thanks for the read and I will see you next time for another article!

Hope you had fun and please leave any comments or suggestions.  Until next time,
This is your Captain speaking… We’re heading into the Red Zone!!!