Going Ghoulish with Tainted Adversary – Preview Highlight

Many Mythic Rares have the in-your-face appeal of planeswalkers, massive Dragons or multicolor powerhouses. However, Tainted Adversary is the type of Mythic Rare that really gets my attention. 


This is a simple, two-drop creature which is obviously quite efficient, and obviously belongs to a creature type that’s well supported on the plane of Innistrad. Zombies have been represented in every Innistrad set to date, and the new decayed mechanic should be ripe (rotten?) for abuse. It seems to me that Tainted Adversary is designed to see Constructed play. But rather than guess at what the designers intended, let’s sink into evaluating the card. 


Translation by MTGGoldfish.com


At face value, two mana for a 2/3 deathtouch is already solid. It usually won’t trade down against either remove spells (Play with Fire) or opposing creatures (Falkenrath League Fighter). Notably, it doesn’t have any of the downfalls that commonly appear on Zombies such as can’t block, enters the battlefield tapped or decayed. This means that it can even be effective defensively, like in holding off the ground onslaught of an Esika’s Chariot

Add to that Tainted Adversary’s other ability, and you have a very strong card. Scalability is highly desirable in aggressive creatures, since it means you’re happy to see them in your opening hand, but also happy to draw them later on when you might be starting to flood out. 

For the price of five mana, you get a 3/4 deathtouch and two Zombie tokens. Spending eight or more mana will come up less often, but that will generate an entire army! Granted, these Zombie tokens have decayed, but to think that they’re merely throwaways would be a mistake. With a good, aggressive start, your opponent’s life total will be under siege in a way that they can’t simply shrug off an extra four damage. Moreover, you might be bolstering these tokens with Zombie synergies, or sacrificing them for value before they meet their end. Notably, paying the extra mana is an ability that triggers upon entering the battlefield, not an additional cost to cast the spell. This means that Tainted Adversary will play remarkably well against permission spells. 

In all of this, I’m confident that we have a fairly strong, stand alone card. But crucially, Tainted Adversary does not stand alone. 


Translation by MTGGoldfish.com


I think a Zombie deck is certainly in the cards for Innistrad Standard. To know exactly what it will look like, we’ll need to wait for more preview cards to roll out. However, I’m confident that Tainted Adversary will be an important part of it. I’ll be trying to get my hands on a playset right away. 


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