Magic Memories: Corrupt

Discussion in 'Single Card Strategies' started by Oversoul, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Even though a few cards caused some problems, I've always liked Urza's Saga and I think the set has some real gems. It's got to be one of my favorite sets. It was the latest expansion set at the time when I finally both owned enough cards and understood the rules and strategy well enough to build cohesive decks (I got some sealed product for my birthday about a month after the set was released).

    I can't be the only person who has always loved Corrupt! I never hear much about the card and it doesn't seem to come up much in discussions, but it's a respectable workhorse sorcery for casual black decks. It might have flown under the radar because tournament decks from the Urza's Block era were super-fast and Corrupt doesn't start becoming viable until mid-to-late-game. But in any environment where you can afford to sit on a six-drop damage-dealing sorcery, Corrupt is a fantastic six-drop damage-dealing sorcery.

    I saw it stated by someone from WotC years later, but I suspect that it was true at the time of Urza's Saga as well, that they deliberately selected commonplace one-word card names to go on cards that they thought had potential to eventually get incorporated into core sets (probably with some regret that they wasted the name "Teleport" on a piece of junk). And for that concept, Corrupt was right on the mark. It was reprinted in 7th Edition, then later in Shadowmoor, Magic 2011, Magic 2014, and a couple of Duel Decks. I contend that it is not just nostalgia that has me preferring the trippy original artwork...
    For comparison, here are the other artworks for the card...
  2. Terentius The Instigator

    Back in my initial exposure to Magic in junior high, we started out with mono-colored, archetypical decks. So there was "the black deck", and it had a set of Corrupt, and it always made waves in the games of that environment.
    Oversoul likes this.
  3. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I've sometimes thought that Corrupt should really only cost five mana and that'd still be fair. Probably true, but they did make Tendrils of Corruption, which is very similar and costs only four mana and gets instant speed, but cannot hit players.
    It's another fine card, but I prefer Corrupt. The potential to hit players is worth the extra mana. Some will disagree. There's a gulf between an instant for 3B and a sorcery for 5B. I acknowledge that. It depends on the type of deck you're playing and the type of deck your opponent is playing.

    I first encountered Corrupt in the Urza's Saga theme deck "The Plague." I went on to use Corrupt in my own Pestilence decks. Come to think of it, I don't know that I ever built a Pestilence deck without Corrupt. I guess I must have at some point, but it wouldn't have been one of my long-running decks. In such a deck, Corrupt is a nice tool because it can finish off an opponent or hurt the opponent enough to threaten lethal damage with Pestilence, while healing away self-inflicted Pestilence damage. I started a Memories thread for Pestilence and talked about this a bit over there.
  4. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    The Shadowmoor version has my favorite art of those by far - my preference in art tends to the abstract, geometric, and weird. For my purposes, Damnation, Mutilate, Yahenni's Expertise, and Vraska's Contempt all edge out Tendrils for utility at the same (or better, more splashable) cost. Corrupt, though, has a "big CMC spot" that is not edged out by other cards in my experience.
  5. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I think that's a big part of my preference for the original. Tendrils of Corruption isn't bad. In most casual settings, you're probably getting decent value out of it. Sitting on it and building up swamps increases its potency, but wiping out an X/4 right away is generally worth it, especially with lifegain. Ultimately, though, it's just a creature removal spell, and black has plenty of them. Tendrils of Corruption isn't the worst, but it's also not the best. But Corrupt is more than just a kill spell! It threatens to act as a finishing blow against an opponent, or to create a big life swing after a board wipe. The option to hit a player is a game-changer, and you're hoping that you can save Corrupt and get to use it for more than 6 damage. Corrupt with 10 swamps out still only costs 5B, but hits for 10. It's slow, but I used to use it alongside Drain Life and hold onto it for a while, which put my opponents in a bad spot. I might have an inferior board of creatures, but I hit you in the face with Drain Life, so I'm healed and you're hurt. You can attack me to bring me back down, but if I can survive it, then I can attack you back and finish you off with Corrupt. If you don't attack me, I can save Corrupt for later, while you hold your army back and let me buy time. Tendrils of Corruption doesn't allow for this kind of interaction.
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    When I was in high school, I had a deck that I called "Fun With Swamps." I took it apart. I cannot fathom why, because the deck was awesome. It might be the case that I needed some parts from it to reassemble my Pestilence deck or something. I don't think I cared too much either way at the time because I was too busy killing everyone with a Tolarian Academy combo deck. I'm a jerk, remember? It's kind of a theme with these threads. Fun With Swamps wasn't especially fast or remarkably good in some other way, so I probably just abandoned it. But it was cool and it was my own entirely original concoction. Of course, I never saved a list from it, but going based on my foggy recollection of a deck I used to play about 15 years ago...

    It was basically a multiplayer-focused tribal Thrulls deck. I forget which thrulls I used, other than Thrull Champion. But the real heart of the deck was Hecatomb. I'd play at multiplayer politics like...

    "Oh, you're attacking me? Go ahead. I block with some puny thrulls. They die. End of turn I burn away all of your blockers with Hecatomb. Now anyone can attack you with no consequences. Idiot."

    Exactly like that. OK, probably not. But close enough. Of course, part of the deck was aiming to get lots of swamps out for Hecatomb, so Corrupt was a perfect fit for that "big CMC spot" in the deck. Eventually, I'd have either Ebon Praetor or Minion of Leshrac to act as big threats, with Hecatomb and Corrupt finishing opponents off.

    Huh. Memory is a weird thing. When I started typing this post, I couldn't remember anything about the fate of my Fun With Swamps deck, but now I'm pretty sure I took it apart because I needed the playset of Sengir Autocrat for a new deck, which I called "Chain of Souls." It was a deck I built with the goal of rushing out a first-turn Delraich...
    Now that I think about it, I probably used Corrupt in that deck too! Um, I'd better stop because I might turn this into "Magic Memories: Sengir Autocrat."

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