Insider: The Secrets of Shadowmoor

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What happens when your fairy tales turn Grimm? When the inky darkness seeps into the wonderland? Shadowmoor answered that, turning good heroes like Sygg, River Guide into murderers like Sygg, River Cutthroat. In the set, we saw game-changers like the filter lands and extensions of themes begun in Morningtide, such as the Liege cycle. Let's take a look at the first half of the set this week!

Ashenmoor Liege


Ashy Larry is one of the weaker Lieges, but he still locks in at two bucks. Our own Corbin Hosler has noted for a long time that people undervalue the Lieges in trade. He stocks up on them when people consider them throw-ins and then unloads them to buylists and casual players who value them highly. I suggest picking them up, too. No reason to let Corbin have all the profit!

Boartusk Liege


The Meat Mountain is worth keeping an eye on because it occasionally shows up in Modern and Legacy Goblin decks. It fights Engineered Plague effects without dying to those effects, itself.

Boon Reflection


Shadowmoor's Reflection cycle contains a bunch of heavy enchantments. I don't think this is especially good for, say, a Commander deck because it's such an expensive card. That said, it turns things like Healing Salve and Life Burst into worthwhile spells to cast. It's also downright nasty with Martyr of Sands.



These are three bucks and they will trade for that price all day long. These are the gems to find in Shadowmoor bulk. They are that expensive because Legacy Merfolk decks are very popular. Cursecatcher fits right into the “fish” mana denial theme. With one on the board, are you going to run out a Firespout? What if you've got two mana up – are you sure they don't have a Daze, too? Cursecatcher often becomes a 2/2 or 3/3 early in the game, meaning that it is at least a cheap beater.

Demigod of Revenge


Demigod is a casual favorite and it's easy to see why. If you're playing with him fairly, you get a free one every time you cast another. People also combined him with Intuition to make fifteen power worth of guys.

Demigod also has, or at least had, Protection From Newbies. Here's the illustration:

Demigod player: Announce Demigod of Revenge.

Newbie: Cryptic Command that!

Demigod player: okay, it's countered. Now Demigod's ability resolves. I'll put it back into play. Thx dood.

This led to a LOT of discussion about implied trigger passing, whether it was okay to do this, whether you could intentionally bait the opponent into countering it before its ability resolved, and much more. It's a problem that never comes up on MTGO, which further frustrated people who wanted precise rules to apply everywhere. I'm unsure about how it works at this point, especially across different RELs. Check with someone brainy before you attempt this on an opponent!

Deus of Calamity


Deus is worth a little bit because it's part of a marginal deck that once existed – All-In Red, or AIR. The idea was that your opening turn involved something like Mountain, Rite of Flame, pitch Simian Spirit Guide, Seething Song, Deus, never let the opponent have a land. It was all-in because a single Path to Exile would do you in. It won a little bit and people like the creature combo aspect of it. I'm sure that a part of its price is currently based on decent Commander playability, too.

Everlasting Torment


I see this as a good pickup if Martyr decks gain a foothold in Modern. As it is, the card is from a long line of spells that Red gets to beat Circles of Protection and the like.

Fire-lit Thicket


The filter lands were huge for Shadowmoor and I feel like they were a do-over for the bad Odyssey filters. This can take a red mana from a Volcanic Island and turn it into two green mana for an Eternal Witness. This fluidity, along with Reflecting Pool and the Vivid lands, let people make obscene manabases in Lorwyn block. Fire-Lit Thicket is at the bottom end of the filter lands, and it still clocks in far above most R/G lands.

Fulminator Mage


This guy is heating up on Modern speculation, too. I think it's a decent card in the right deck, and I've got my eye on Living End lists. They aim to recycle a card like this, turning it into a Sowing Salt. Targeted removal isn't as good anymore and the reason is that you can't hit specialty lands like Cloudpost anymore. You're stuck chipping away at someone in an attempt to color-screw them, which is awkward.

Ghastlord of Fugue


The Lieges are certainly worth a few dollars, but did you know that this one is worth a double cheeseburger, too? Typically it's worth scanning through stacks of Lorwyn-block rares, since there are dozens just like this guy.

Glen Elendra Liege


Another Liege, another money card. Seriously, so many people will just let these go for bulk prices.

Graven Cairns


Cairns were previewed in Future Sight, foreshadowing this whole land cycle. Come to think of it, of the Future Sight lands – Horizon Canopy, Grove of the Burnwillows, Watery Grave, this and Nimbus Maze, all but the last saw significant tournament play. Cairns is below the filter land average because there are two printings of the card.

Greater Auramancy


Did you know that this was worth this much? Seriously? People love their enchantments and you've got to look at cards like this and Doubling Season to realize that casual player does not mean poor player. Casual players will shell out serious money on otherwise-unplayable cards like this, and they do it in enough numbers to make these cards jump in price.

Kitchen Finks


I love Kitchen Finks and I finally broke down and bought my own set. What a reliable card. It has so much packed into it. For 1GG or however you pay for it, you get a 3/2, a 2/1 and four life. Kitchen Finks are the bedrock of a lot of slower strategies. Birthing Pod decks look to sacrifice them twice and Gifts decks use them to buy an eternity of time. I am convinced that Finks are a good long term “hold” card. They won't ever be reprinted, since they have a set-specific keyword, and they've been three bucks since they were first printed.

That's it for this week, but don't forget to come back next week so you can see the rest of the set!

Until then,

Doug Linn

One thought on “Insider: The Secrets of Shadowmoor

  1. greater auamancy is the big surprise here! But it makes a ton of sense considering how gigantic the casual scene is.

    has wizards ever released demographic info on how many players play magic how?

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