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Spoiler Spotlight – Dictate of Erebos

When I first laid my eyes on Dictate of Erebos, I got a little warm and fuzzy inside. The first place my mind went was to Tom Martell’s Pro Tour winning deck list:

This deck makes use of a Grave Pact like no other. Imagine replacing the two copies of Zealous Conscripts with two Dictate of Erebos, and imagine a hand with Cartel Aristocrat, Lingering Souls, and Dictate of Erebos. If your opponent has any kind of creature-based strategy, it’s almost unbeatable. Lingering Souls has become three-mana Barter in Blood with FLASHBACK. That is completely ridiculous. Often with effects like Dictate of Erebos, all you really need is a way to produce creature tokens and you can lock the opponent out of ever having a creature in play. Let’s take a look at some other cards from Journey into Nyx that combo well with Dictate of Erebos.

Diabolic Edict on a stick that makes a 1/3 reach Spider token that produces another Edict when it dies? Where do I sign?

I’m going to put a large number of Soldier tokens into play tapped and attacking that now effectively have deathtouch unless you want to get Plague Winded. Now every creature I ever come up with is a walking Abyssal Gatekeeper.

There’s another not-so-little thing I forgot to mention—this Grave Pact has flash. Flash is a pretty amazing effect on a card like this, because it means that now you can make the opponent start sacrificing creatures out of nowhere. Grave Pact has always been an interesting card because once you cast it your opponent loses all incentive to kill your creatures and the onus is back on the player with the Grave Pact to kill his own creatures to get value from the enchantment. At least for the turn you cast it from now on, because it has flash, you can get value right away. Imagine I attack you with a Brimaz, King of Oreskos and you control a 3/3 creature. Now you actually have a hard decision between eating the 1/1 for free, or blocking it and risk losing your own guy to a flashed in Dictate of Erebos. From now on, any time I have a creature and five total mana untapped you have to be on alert.

I expect this card to see a ton of play in Standard. Blood Bairn could take the spotlight in Standard now, given that if you can produce enough creatures to make it lethal it also gains a kind of “unblockable” with the Dictate.

Is it time to see Tymaret, the Murder King see play in Standard as a way to turn any creature into a solid threat?

Do I smell the return of Varolz, the Scar-Striped? That card has already seen tons of play in Aristocrat variants across Standard although admittedly nothing recently.

Trading Post both creates creature tokens and has a built-in means to sacrifice them for profit. My initial instincts tell me this is far too tricksy to survive in Standard given its breakneck pace of do-or-die in the early game. Did you make four 4/4 Pack Rats or 12 power with a Master of Waves? Ok then you die. That seems to be the course of things.

Speaking of Master of Waves… with a Dictate of Erebos out, either you let me have my Master of Waves and all the tokens or you kill it, sending all those tokens right to the graveyard. At the very least this is cool.

This looks like a pretty fun starting point and it has a killer late-game engine that creature decks can’t really ever beat. I have always loved Tenacious Dead and it just really hasn’t ever been his time to shine in Standard, although the combination with Blood Bairn is truly powerful. When the wheels get spinning and you draw Dictate of Erebos, there is almost no way you can lose to a creature-based strategy.

One thing that is simply marvelous about this card is that it gets way, way better in multiples. You turn one sacrifice of your own into two Diabolic Edicts for the opponent. The repeated creature-elimination makes for easy sailing on the part of Desecration Demon which will often just read 2BB, flying, 6/6 in this deck. I for one am looking forward to a world where the return of Grave Pact reigns supreme.

Owen Turtenwald
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