Cupid Gone Bad

Posted in Serious Fun on January 13, 2004

By Anthony Alongi

People occasionally ask me why I don’t like mass land destruction in multiplayer. Here’s one way to answer the question: for every one player who thinks it’s “clever” to wipe out everybody’s lands, there are over 100 who need those lands and would invest the mana in being creative with something like this:

It’s not cheap, but as every magician knows: the more you practice this trick, the more impressed your audience will be.

There’s some great flavor to the card already (and I’m doing this without the benefit of artwork, so be kind to me if I’m off here): a weapon sailing through the air, plunging straight through an offending creature’s heart – and then clattering to the ground again, somewhere behind the corpse, ready for someone to pick it up again.

Which only begs the question: who’s the someone picking this thing up and chucking it over and over again, like some deranged cupid with an overlarge spear?

Who’s Cupid?

When I think of the perfect mate for Heartseeker, I think of the following qualities:

  • Hard working. If Heartseeker forces a tap in order to work, we don’t want to interfere with the creature’s ability to attack. This may push us toward certain colors at first, but I at least want to start here.
  • Knows when to arrive. If there’s one thing that bothers me about equipment, it’s that so much of it seems to want to come out or attach when you’d rather be playing a creature. So when it comes to Heartseeker (play for 4 and attach for 5), creatures that come out on turns four, five, or nine will get frowns. Creatures that come out on turns three or eight will get smiles.
  • Looks good before getting dressed. The Heartseeker will provide the nice +2/+1 outfit, but size isn’t everything. We’ll want a pre-existing ability or two on the creature, even if it’s just flying.

Lessee, a smart-lookin’ creature for eight mana that doesn’t tap to attack and has loads of other abilities…where have I seen that before?

Akroma, Angel of Wrath

And for those of you who prefer less beefy, perhaps furrier heroes, we can do this at the three mana slot as well:

Mirri, Cat Warrior

Whadda team! Let’s go right to the deck.


Stalking Stones
All of the equipment has been tailored to this very specific curve – no creatures on turns four, five, or nine. That means some of the equipment, like Slagwurm Armor, will come out and attach on the same turn. Others (like the Scythe) may come out on turn two, and will attach during the “dead” turn four.

Stalking Stones is a finesse inclusion – an artifact creature that can block creatures with fear. Plus, it felt right to have us tapping it and five other lands to activate it, and then using those five other lands to attach equipment to the Stones the following turn. Also, from a flavor standpoint, isn’t “stalker” just another way of saying “persistent heartseeker”?

There are many other directions to explore with white – from a soldier deck using Mobilization, to a “sleeper enchantment” deck featuring Opal Archangel and Cantivore – but there are other colors to explore as well. You can endow all of your creatures with vigilance (my personal pet keyword for “doesn’t tap to attack”) by using either Serra’s Blessing or, more interestingly, Angel’s Trumpet. Let’s take another look at that 3-and-8 pattern deck and turn it black:


No, I don’t have 4 Khabal Ghoul, either. (Or even two Undead Gladiators!) But it’s fun to think about.

Of course, black doesn’t really need the Heartseeker. Nor does red. And blue or white each have their own means of knocking off annoying bugs (though neither color would mind something that pumped offense and waxed non-attacking creatures).

No, the color that loves this the most is green – which coincidentally, also does a really good job of mana acceleration and renewal.


Seedborn Muse
The idea here is to use the Heartseeker on the Birds of Paradise, so that you have some killer toucans just waxing creatures relentlessly. If you don’t have any Birds of Paradise, fear not: you now have an excuse to include those Katabatic Winds you’ve been dying to use. Or, I suppose, Whirlwind.

Last year around this time, wasn’t I saying something about how ridiculous Seedborn Muse was in multiplayer? I think I even had a cut-and-paste-ready quote. (Still available for cutting and pasting! Spread my genius.) Seedborn Muse made all sorts of really expensive permanents and effects practical in group play. It’s a safe bet I’ll be mentioning the card again about this time next year, too.

Many, many creatures can substitute for several slots in this deck. Elvish Aberration, Llanowar Elves, Fyndhorn Elders, Skyshroud Troopers, Femeref Archers, Radjan Spirit – all work in an acceleration deck based on tapping and untapping. You can use Awakening (or even Vitalize) where you don’t have Seedborn Muse, and you don’t really need the Gaea’s Cradle.

In short, Heartseeker was built for this color. Cupid, whoever he or she is, is clearly green with jealousy. And no one wants to be on the receiving end of the next arrow.

You may email Anthony at He cannot give deck help.

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