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Deathrite Shaman
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Deathrite Shaman

: Exile target land card from a graveyard. Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
, : Exile target instant or sorcery card from a graveyard. Each opponent loses 2 life.
, : Exile target creature card from a graveyard. You gain 2 life.

  • Rarity: Rare
  • Cost:
  • Color: GB
  • Pow/Tgh: 1/2
  • Type: Creature-Elf Shaman
  • Artists: Steve Argyle
  • Card Name: Deathrite Shaman
  • Edition: return-to-ravnica
  • Reference:290529

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Deathrite Shaman

Deathrite Shaman

Creature-Elf Shaman

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Deathrite Shaman


Being one of the most iconic cards from the Return to Ravnica expansion so far, Deathrite Shaman

has already become an all-formats staple. Costing one single ybrid black/green mana and possessing

three (yes, three!) strong abilities, this makes it splashable and useful everywhere. The first format

abusing of Deathrite Shaman was Modern. The Shaman’s first ability is giving you one mana at the

cost of exiling one target land in a graveyard. It is not just your graveyard, but for every graveyard.

This makes a synergic way of playing with an abuse of the so-called “fetchlands”, granting you

a land in play first and a second mana afterwards with the Shaman ability. And if you run out of

fetchies, you can use your opponent's ones as well. The second and third abilities are more tricky:

“G, tap, Exile target creature from a graveyard. You gain 2 life” and “B, tap: Exile target instant or

sorcery card from a graveyard. Each opponent loses 2 life”. You remove target threats and then you

are rewarded for it. Want to take back that fatty? Not today. That Snapcaster Mage wants to let you

play a Cryptic Command again? No thanks. Deathrite Shaman is a shiny superstar, especially when

adopted in full force in Jund, one of the best decks of the format.

The following list was played by Nazar Sotiriadi, who was awarded 3

October 2013

rd place at Gp Antwerp in

4 Blackcleave Cliffs

1 Blood Crypt

1 Forest

4 Marsh Flats

2 Overgrown Tomb

2 Raging Ravine

1 Stomping Ground

2 Swamp

2 Treetop Village

1 Twilight Mire

4 Verdant Catacombs

4 Dark Confidant

4 Deathrite Shaman

2 Kitchen Finks

3 Scavenging Ooze

4 Tarmogoyf

2 Abrupt Decay

3 Inquisition of Kozilek

4 Lightning Bolt

1 Maelstrom Pulse

2 Terminate

3 Thoughtseize

4 Liliana of the Veil


2 Ancient Grudge

1 Creeping Corrosion

2 Fulminator Mage

2 Jund Charm

1 Maelstrom Pulse

2 Olivia Voldaren

1 Seal of Primordium

1 Slaughter Games

1 Sowing Salt

1 Spellskite

1 Sword of Light and


Other than fitting perfectly with the colour pie and the strategy of the deck, it does what the deck

lacked before, which is Mana acceleration and graveyard disruption without losing important card

slots. Also, giving a look on the vast Modern field seems more than useful. When it comes to

stopping entire strategies on its own, like those pesky “persist” or “undying” triggers at the base of

MeliraPod decks and exiling out precious Flashback spells while slowly killing your opponents,

the Golgari Elf became the man. Modern format evolved as well and most of the graveyard-
based strategies fell on the tracks opened by these toolbox creatures. But that was for the Jund

deck as well. The overly broken Bloodbraid Elf was banned thanks to the Shaman. Thanks to the

acceleration ability of our latest adoption, a turn three cascade elf was considered too powerful.

Enough said.

But Modern is just the tip of the iceberg, as Legacy and Standard are being corrupted as well. While

on Standard, the Shaman comes out occasionally as a strategy to fight certain kinds of decks, mostly

graveyard based strategies with his buddy Scavenging Ooze, but in Legacy and Vintage formats,

Deathrite Shaman is already a staple card for many tier one decks. Cheap and disruptive in many

ways, Eternal formats always abuse these kind of cards. Even though these formats are easy to

change, Deathrite Shaman has found a space to be used more than often.

Legacy abuses of him in two current tier decks: Shardless BUG and Elves.

Shardless BUG by Ted McCluskie, 7th

1 Baleful Strix

4 Deathrite Shaman

4 Shardless Agent

4 Tarmogoyf

4 Abrupt Decay

4 Brainstorm

4 Force of Will

4 Ancestral Vision

2 Hymn to Tourach

1 Maelstrom Pulse

2 Thoughtseize

2 Bayou

2 Creeping Tar Pit

2 Misty Rainforest

4 Polluted Delta

2 Tropical Island

4 Underground Sea

4 Verdant Catacombs

2 Wasteland

2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

2 Liliana of the Veil

place GP Washington D.C. , November 2013

As a deck that uses counters and disruption to break through, Deathrite Shaman is a key creature

in the plan. It can be played by cascade using Shardless Agents, or on turn 1 to have a strong

and fast start. In late game, it lets you win a lot of matches just with his ability to kill opponents

while exiling your or his used cards. As a plus, with the huge amount of Wasteland going around,

his mana ability helps this three colour deck to not lose so easily by a land destruction strategy.


Elves, by Andrew Cuneo, 5th

2 Dryad Arbor

2 Craterhoof Behemoth

4 Deathrite Shaman

4 Elvish Visionary

1 Fyndhorn Elves

4 Heritage Druid

1 Llanowar Elves

4 Nettle Sentinel

4 Quirion Ranger

1 Scavenging Ooze

4 Wirewood Symbiote

4 Glimpse of Nature

4 Green Sun's Zenith

3 Natural Order

2 Bayou

1 Forest

4 Gaea's Cradle

3 Misty Rainforest

1 Savannah

4 Verdant Catacombs

1 Windswept Heath

2 Wooded Foothills

place GP Washington D.C. , November 2013

Compared to the Shardless deck, Elves are a completely different strategy. As a combo deck that

abuses the Elf tribe, it uses Deathrite Shaman for its mana ability and for its creature type at the

same time. Wirewood Symbiote and Heritage Druid effects are abusing for the Elf type and having

access to a powerful 1 drop like this is a must have to the deck construction. Winning on early turns

by a massive Craterhoof Behemoth is the deck’s main plan, but it's not new to disruption battles

with the Shaman on long games.

In Vintage formats the role is less definite, as the presence of turn one kill decks make it a bit slow

as a defensive mechanic, but it is still used when needed. Vintage, aside from recurring decks such

as TPS, is changing in almost every tournament and toolbox decks sometimes exist. The so-called

Fish is an example:

2 Trygon Predator

4 Dark Confidant

3 Deathrite Shaman

2 Snapcaster Mage

1 Ancient Grudge

2 Mana Drain

1 Hurkyl's Recall

1 Mystical Tutor

4 Force of Will

2 Lightning Bolt

1 Brainstorm

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Vampiric Tutor

3 Mental Misstep

2 Flusterstorm

1 Time Walk

1 Yawgmoth's Will

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Emerald

1 Sensei's Divining Top

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Jet

1 Black Lotus

1 Island

4 Scalding Tarn

2 Wasteland

1 Strip Mine

1 Library of Alexandria

2 City of Brass

1 Tropical Island

2 Volcanic Island

3 Underground Sea

3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

Being part of the kind of decks called “solution” , it offers responses to most of the threats of the

formats, in the form of powerful cheap artifacts and graveyard recursions. Deathrite Shaman being

cheap is part of this strategy and it's good at it.

In conclusion, in Magic the Gathering there's always a place for cheap, powerful and flexible

creatures, and being all of this in one single card, there will be a place for him.

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