Posted in Limited Information on November 22, 2011

By Steve Sadin

I was at Worlds this past weekend doing coverage, and I was struck by just how many different uses players were finding for cards in Innistrad Limited. There were a bunch of cards that were serving as lynchpins in aggressive decks and controlling mill decks alike.

Want to know what multipurpose cards stood out to me the most this past weekend?

Then read on!

At first glance, Dream Twist can look pretty underwhelming... and with good reason.

In a vacuum, Dream Twist just isn't something that you should want to play. But cards don't exist in a vacuum. Innistrad's many graveyard-reliant cards make Dream Twist an excellent inclusion in a variety of decks.

Dream Twist as a Pure Enabler

If you have an abundance of Stitched Drakes, and Makeshift Maulers in your deck, you can get some pretty clumsy draws. But when your deck is firing on all cylinders, then you'll have a lot of overpowered, undercosted creatures to make short work of your opponents with.

Stitched Drake
Makeshift Mauler

Fortunately, there are cards like Armored Skaab, Forbidden Alchemy, Civilized Scholar, and Mulch to help insure that you'll have creatures in your graveyard to exile. But those options won't always be good enough.

Armored Skaab

That's when Dream Twist comes in handy.

If you spend your first two turns casting, and flashing back, Dream Twist, then spend your third and fourth turns casting a Stitched Drake and a Makeshift Mauler, the fact that you "wasted" a card on your Dream Twist won't be all that apparent since your creatures will be so much better than your opponent's. And if you hit any flashback cards like Think Twice or Feeling of Dread, then you'll find that you've more than made up for the card that you spent to fill up your graveyard.

Think Twice

If you're playing a dedicated mill-yourself deck that looks to win with something like Burning Vengeance or a big Spider Spawning, then Dream Twist will often be an essential part of your plan. Dream Twist acts as a pseudo-card-drawer as you put a bunch of flashback spells into your graveyard, where you will be able to use them to great effect. On top of that, it is also a cheap flashback card for Burning Vengeance, and a great way to flip more creatures into your graveyard to power up your Spider Spawning.

Burning Vengeance

Dream Twist as a Victory Condition

Dedicated mill decks aren't that easy to put together in Innistrad Limited, but if you get the right pieces for it, you can end up with an incredibly potent deck.

You should look to supplement your Ghoulcaller's Bells, Curse of the Bloody Tomes, and Dream Twists with as many good defensive cards as you can get your hands on. Your Ghoulcaller's Bells are awesome as they not only grind away at your opponent's library, but also fill up your own graveyard with all sorts of good flashback cards (and creatures for your Stitched Drakes).

Ghoulcaller's Bell
Curse of the Bloody Tome

When you're playing the mill deck, be sure to keep a close count on just how many turns it's going to take you to deck your opponent. If it's late in the game and the only recurrent mill source under your control is a single Curse of the Bloody Tome, then a Dream Twist is going to be worth an entire turn for you and should be valued appropriately when you're trying to figure out whether or not you should take it with a Forbidden Alchemy or discard it to a Civilized Scholar.

Hanweir Watchkeep is an easy inclusion in mid-range decks. It provides you with defense when you need it, and it can give you a very powerful attacker if your opponent ever misses a beat. But does Hanweir Watchkeep fit in both aggressive decks and controlling decks?

Hanweir Watchkeep as an aggressive creature

I've noticed a lot of players leave Hanweir Watchkeep in the sideboards of their aggressive decks. Upon initial inspection, this makes a lot of sense. After all, why would anyone want to play a 1/5 defender in their aggressive decks that will only turn into an attacker after someone has run out of spells?

In practice, however, Hanweir Watchkeep is a very solid threat.

No, you typically won't want to play Hanweir Watchkeep on turn three if you have any other options—but if it's the last creature in your hand, then you should be able to transform it fairly quickly—even without any help from your opponent.

If you have a lot of instant-speed removal spells, then Hanweir Watchkeep should be an easy inclusion in even the most aggressive of decks, since you will be able to "take a turn off" to transform it while still pushing ahead on the board.

Hanweir Watchkeep as a Victory Condition in Control Decks

While you can transform Hanweir Watchkeep in your aggressive decks by casting a removal spell on your opponent's turn, you will typically have access to a much larger range of instants in your control decks. Everything from Desperate Ravings to Brimstone Volley to Lost in the Mist will allow you to comfortably pass your turn without playing a spell. This will allow you to transform your Hanweir Watchkeep (along with any other Werewolves you may have) very early on.

Even if you're playing a "control deck," you should keep an eye open for opportunities to be aggressive with your Hanweir Watchkeeps. If you have a couple of removal spells and a Silent Departure, then it won't take you very long at all to lock up a victory with your 5/5 Werewolf.

If you're playing an attrition deck that looks to win by having one final threat that your opponent can't deal with, then Feeling of Dread isn't the card for you. But there are a whole host of other decks where Feeling of Dread can play a key role for you – either by allowing you to push through those final points of damage, or buying you the time that you need to win through other means...

Feeling of Dread in Aggressive Decks

In aggressive white decks, Feeling of Dread allows you to win all sorts of tight races. If you get off to an early lead, you'll be able to use Feeling of Dread to press your advantage and ensure that your opponent won't be able to claw back into the game. Heck, even if you fall behind early, you will often be able to use Feeling of Dread to come out on top if you have some decent-sized threats of your own.

Is Feeling of Dread worth an early pick? Not always. But if your deck needs a way to close out the game, then you might find yourself happily first-picking a Feeling of Dread in pack 3.

Feeling of Dread in Mill-Yourself Decks

In mill-yourself decks that look to win by decking, with Burning Vengeance, a big Spider Spawning, or even Laboratory Maniac, Feeling of Dread can help buy you the time that you need to win.

Laboratory Maniac

Now just tapping a couple of creatures (even if you can do it twice) usually wouldn't be worth a full card in these types of decks, but the fact that you can easily put Feeling of Dread into your graveyard with cards like Armored Skaab, Ghoulcaller's Bell, or Dream Twist makes Feeling of Dread an excellent piece to have in what can be a somewhat puzzling deck.

Spider Spawning is a very reasonable inclusion in an aggressive Green-White deck that needs a way to win if the game goes long.

Maybe you were fortunate enough to pick up a late Woodland Cemetery, so your black splash is virtually free. Or maybe you're already playing a couple of Swamps, and a Traveler's Amulet to support that Sever the Bloodline that you took first pick overall (before your draft took you in a completely different direction).

Woodland Cemetery
Traveler's Amulet

If so, then Spider Spawning will be an even more attractive inclusion than it would be normally since you'll be able to get two uses out of it... but it still pales in comparison to how good Spider Spawning is in a carefully constructed mill-yourself deck.

If you can reliably fill your graveyard with Forbidden Alchemy and company, then Spider Spawning can be your primary route to victory, giving you a swarm of Spiders that you can use to bite your opponents to death.

Forbidden Alchemy

Spider Spawning also has one clear advantage over most traditional victory conditions: You don't need to draw it. If you have Spider Spawning in your deck, then you can either draw it or mill it into your graveyard, and you'll be able to assemble a gigantic army of Spiders that can just as easily lock up the board for you while you deck your opponent with your Curse of the Bloody Tome as they can swarm your opponent to death.

I'm going to conclude today's article by drawing attention to a card that players tend to underutilize, even when they're including it in decks that it's perfect for: Bonds of Faith.

I've seen a lot of players lose games because they were unwilling to use a Bonds of Faith to pump up their own creatures.

While it's definitely a good sign that you're hesitant to use a removal spell to give a creature +2/+2, it's important for you to be able to keep your eyes open for the times when it's correct to use Bonds of Faith to grow your creature.

If you're on the play and you have the option to put a Bonds of Faith on your Doomed Traveler on turn two, you should probably do it (at least unless you have another good aggressive two-drop that you could cast). Being able to hit your opponent for an extra 6 or 9 points of damage and then forcing them to trade an Ulvenwald Mystics or a Brimstone Volley for your enhanced Doomed Traveler is going to be worth far more than a conditional Pacifism ever would have been.

Doomed Traveler

If you have access to cards such as Feeling of Dread and Silent Departure that will allow you to win races and press on-board advantages, then using Bonds of Faith to enhance your own creatures becomes an even more attractive play.

After all, the reason you wanted to hold your Bonds of Faith was to deal with your opponent's biggest threats. And if you can just kill your opponent before those big threats matter...

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