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You Should Be Playing Cling To Dust

Started by SpielRaumThrias, 10-03-2020, 09:02:08 PM

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Theros: Beyond Death introduced a lot of powerful new cards to Highlander: Underworld Breach, the Titans Uro and Kroxa, Thassa's Oracle, Klothys and many more.

One very unassuming and in my opinion severely underplayed card from the new set is Cling to Dust.

For just one black Mana you get to remove a card from a graveyard at instant speed and either gain 3 life or, even better, draw a card. While this doesn't seem like much at first, you get to do it all over again in the mid to lategame thanks to the Escape mechanic. This possible card advantage should not be underestimated but is not the only reason to run the card.

The small downside in comparison to cards like Tormod's Crypt, Relic of Progenitus, Nihil Spellbomb or even Bojuka Bog is that Cling to Dust only removes one card at a time. This downside is, in my opinion, neglectable when considering the biggest upside Cling has over all these cards: It is an Instant for just one mana and thus the opponent has little idea that it is coming. (Maybe this will change when more people catch on but even then it is still harder to play around than any permanent based grave removal)
Crypt, Relic and Spellbomb all need to be on the battlefield to be used. There is no denying that you will be able to delay the opponents game plan with the permanent based graveyard removal but it comes at the expense of giving the opponent the information as to what he has to play around. Exiling an opponents graveyard in response to a Snapcaster Mage or Reanimate that he willingly cast to get rid of your grave interaction is not quite the same blowout as if you happen to remove the targeted card with Cling to Dust.

On top of being instant speed, it also replaces itself for just one Mana (in comparison to the 2 of Relic or Spellbomb) or at the very least gives you 3 life. Sometimes a Healing Salve is all that is needed to outrace the opponent. (And removing a Hellspark Elemental or Hell's Thunder against Mono Red is a winning play right there!)

As for the use in different matchups of the card:

The cellar
If for some reason (Rest in Peace f.e.) both graveyards are entirely empty, the card is dead. Then again so are a bunch of other cards. I doubt that this will come up very often...

The Floor
Realistically Cling is at it's worst against an opponent who doesn't interact with their or your graveyard as main game plan.
Against these decks Cling will often just cycles for another card at the cost of B. That's not great, but it isn't too bad either and sometimes you get to win a race because you gained 3-6 life.

What's in the middle?
Because the graveyard is such an important resource and even though a lot of cards don't work directly with it, there are a ton of relevant cards (Tarmogoyf, Knight of the Reliquary, etc) that at least rely on the graveyard somewhat.
Against most decks, Cling will be able to deny the opponent card advantage or screw up important lines in their game plan (Whether it is a Flashback target or a land that is about to be returned to hand with Wrenn and Six, there are tons of interactions). Just a quick check of the most powerful cards from Theros: Beyond Death reveals 3 (4 if you count Klothys) cards that are graveyard centered. If you take a look at the decklists from our last local tournament you will come to notice that out of 23 decks only 1 (MonoWhite) didn't have any interaction with the graveyard at all.

The ceiling
While messing up lines of gameplay is already great, Cling is obviously best against dedicated graveyard strategies like Reanimator or Breach Storm where the instant speed lets you disrupt your opponent when they "go for it". Here it has the potential to throw the opponent several turns back.

And all of that for the very low cost of one black mana.
You should definitly be playing Cling to Dust.