Top 5 Best Blood Artist Effects – Riley Ranks

The Meathook Massacre is doing a lot of work in new Standard as a powerful sweeper/Blood Artist hybrid. But what’s a Blood Artist, and why do we call this type of effect a “Blood Artist” effect? Back in the original Innistrad block, in Avacyn Restored, an innocuous little 0/1 with a certain set of abilities was printed. That card went on to effectively name the type of effect we see on all sorts of cards today – effects that provide a small change in life total when a creature dies. Today, we’re going to get across five of the best Blood Artist effects that do just that!



Header - 5. Zulaport Cutthroat

Zulaport Cutthroat (Timeshifted)

In many ways, Zulaport Cutthroat has eclipsed Blood Artist as the go-to two-drop creature with this effect in Commander. Why? Because typically the decks that want a Blood Artist effect are wanting to kill their own creatures anyway, so Zulaport Cutthroat not triggering on opposing creatures isn’t a big deal – but, much more importantly, Zulaport Cutthroat hits all your opponents. 

Blood Artist is actually remarkably inefficient in EDH. When a creature dies, Blood Artist does one damage to one player – that’s no good when you’re up against three opponents. Zulaport Cutthroat, however, dings all of them equally, and also gets around any pesky hexproof effects from things like Witchbane Orb

Sure, you don’t benefit from extra splash damage when other creatures die, but any self-respecting Commander deck that wants a Zulaport Cutthroat won’t be worried about that – they’ll have plenty of creatures themselves, and plenty of creative ways to make sure they die horribly!


Header - 4. Slimefoot, the Stowaway

Slimefoot, the Stowaway (Timeshifted)


Slimefoot is a very narrow Blood Artist effect, it’s true, but the really nice thing about him is that he creates his own fodder for his triggered ability. Another Commander favorite, Slimefoot is the perfect leader for a Saproling-based deck that is looking to go deep on sacrifice effects, as just like Zulaport Cutthroat, it hits all opponents, not just one.

Obviously you can’t just put Slimefoot in any old sacrifice deck and call it a day – he requires your deck to be built in a very specific fashion, with lots of ways to generate Saprolings. Jump through those hoops, however, and you’ve got a powerful game plan that is wholly encapsulated in your general, all by itself – other support cards are nice, but Slimefoot can get there on its own!


Header - 3. Bastion of Remembrance

Bastion of Remembrance


One of the primary shortfalls of Blood Artist effects is that the bulk of them are stapled to creatures. This, of course, means that they die to removal and it is therefore much easier to disrupt a game plan that needs them out on the field in order to function. This is why Bastion of Remembrance is such a sweet way to enable such a game plan – as an enchantment, it’s much harder to remove. 

Bastion of Remembrance can sit back and watch while your legions of tokens and other small creatures march to their deaths, rewarding you richly with infinite Blood Artist triggers (well, technically Zulaport Cutthroat triggers, I suppose) as they do so. Again, it hits all opponents, but again this comes at the cost of not triggering off your opponents’ creatures. 

It’s difficult to fully and properly compare these cards with one another, as they have different strengths and weaknesses in different situations, but I think Bastion of Remembrance is better than Zulaport Cutthroat. They both generate a 1/1, and while Bastion costs an extra mana, it’s much more likely to stick around long-term (especially through sweepers). In a slower format like EDH, I think Bastion of Remembrance the better card – but of course, you should probably just play all the Blood Artist effects you can get!


Header - 2. The Meathook Massacre


The newest Blood Artist-esque card is one of the weirder and more powerful ones – The Meathook Massacre is part-sweeper, part-Blood Artist, and all-powerhouse. Already it’s making its presence felt in Standard as a first-rate black sweeper, its triggers even helping out creatureless controlling decks with a bit of extra life gain. 

Usually, sweepers are a one-and-done affair – they do their grim reaping, then that’s it, their work is done. Even cards like Fumigate, which offered a life buffer as they resolved, didn’t stick around to continue to reward you. Not so with The Meathook Massacre, which even after it’s swept the board, will remain behind to provide incremental value.

Additionally, many decks that play The Meathook Massacre are playing creatures that will happily trigger its middle ability – creatures like Eyetwitch and Shambling Ghast, which reward you when they die anyway. The Meathook Massacre is a weird card, it’s true, but it looks to be pretty powerful and an important tool in the arsenal of the slower and more controlling black decks. 


Header - 1. Blood Artist

Blood Artist


I mean, the article is about the best Blood Artist effects, and I would argue that the best Blood Artist effect is, in fact, found on the card Blood Artist. The original and the best! Well, no, perhaps it’s not the entirely best. In any multiplayer format, as discussed, it pales in comparison, but Blood Artist is unbeatable in regular two-player Magic, and sees a lot of play even today in various formats as a part of black-based sacrifice decks. 

Blood Artist has done a lot of work over the years, putting people in impossible situations – you sweep the board and die to the Blood Artist triggers, or block all their 1/1s and die to Blood Artist triggers, or don’t block and die to… regular damage. Blood Artist is, very naturally, the definition of a lightning rod for removal, and in the “aristocrats” decks of old, was the most frustrating card to come up against. 

Today, it still gets people dead in Historic, in sacrifice decks with Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger, Woe Strider, Cauldron Familiar and friends, and is still enormously frustrating to deal with. While its power in multiplayer might not be on the same level of some of its imitators like Zulaport Cutthroat and Bastion of Remembrance, Blood Artist still remains, after all these year, the best option in two-player games. 

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