SOM EDH General Review – Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon

I dare you to say his name three times fast

With the release of Scars of Mirrodin about a month away, it’s about that time to start seeing previews of this new (hopefully) exciting set. Like always, I don’t talk about a card on here unless it’s been officially previewed or is on the DailyMTG.com visual spoiler (at the time of this printing, that wasn’t up).

Today, Mark Rosewater decided to show us a really awesome General. As you can see it’s a Dragon, the first Dragon General that’s been released since the start of this blog. There was some question if Poison was going to be relevant in EDH and today I think we go our answer. Plus, even if he didn’t deal with Poison, I’d still think he’d be great. Maybe not that Mythic rarity, but still a pretty good dragon.

Oh, and I’m not writing Skithiryx a hundred times; I’m calling him Blighty.

As with everything, if you don’t want to actually spoil anything for the set, I would recommend not to read past here, though again, I’m only talking about cards that have been officially previewed.

So, let’s meet Blighty.

I’m going to let my inner Evan Erwin out when I say: A Dragon Skeleton! That’s so awesome. Never before has there been a Dragon Skeleton (A Zombie Dragon, yes (Bladewing the Risen), so you can now add him to your undead Dragon theme deck of two).

Oh, you haven’t see Blighty yet?

Yeah? Yeah.

Four abilities, each one of them relevant to EDH.

Flying

Duh, it’s flying. He’s a Dragon, so Blighty’s gonna fly. Gonna fly now. Getting strong now.

Infect

Alright, for you younger players who haven’t played with Poison before (no, not the green Yuck-face “I’m poisonous” stickers), here’s how it works: Whenever you get 10 or more Poison counters, you lose the game. Yes, it’s like General damage in that it’s a special version of damage. With Infect being a new keyword, Poison is going to be slightly different; it used to be either one or two Poison counters would get added to a player whenever they got damaged, but now it’s instead of damage. Blighty here has 4 power, so instead of dealing 4 damage he doesn’t make the defending player lose 4 life but get 4 poison counters instead. Remember: once you have 10 Poison counters, you lose the game.

Yeah, really powerful.

So, if you play Howl from Beyond as an instant to give him +6/+0 to make Blighty a 10/4, the defending player just lost the game (10 Poison counters).

Again, really powerful. If you have 6 Swamps, have a Nightmare Lash in play (+1/+1 for each swamp in play, eqip – pay 3 life) and cast Blighty, you can make a player lose right there. Wait, Blighty costs 5 to cast and it’s free to equip, what’s up with that extra Black mana and why can he attack?

B: Blighty gains haste until end of turn.

Yeah. Very few Generals have haste (about 20 or so). While this is conditional Haste, it is a little odd; not many creatures can give themselves haste. So why even have it at all? I like to think of it as kind of like a kicker variant: if you have the extra mana, go ahead and pay it, if not, you still get a 4/4 flyer for 5. This works great during the late game where he’s been put into the Command Zone a few times and you want to attack now. I semi-joked that now may be the time to pick up Carnival of Souls since that will give you free haste when you cast Blighty. Maybe you need 2 mana open and don’t want to give him haste. Why would you want to keep 2 mana open?

BB: Regenerate Blighty

Being a Skeleton has it’s benefits, such as regeneration. While few Generals have haste, even fewer have Regeneration. Only one other General has both (Eron the Restless). Except for some of the ways mentioned earlier about how to get rid of a General, you’re not going to destroy him easily. You might not need to use Blighty’s Haste ability too often since you can protect him and keep him on the battlefield.

Put all of these together, you’ve got one powerful Dragon.

What can you do with this awesome, suddenly your new favorite Legend?

Let’s ignore all the Dragon themed stuff for a moment (though you can play Bladewing’s Thrull since you’re now in Black instead of Red). How about a look at Skeletons? What can we find useful for that creature type?

Death Baron‘s it?

Deathtouch and Infect are redundant (kind of), but hey, two hits with Blighty and an opponent loses (he now has 5 power and deal 5 poison counters). How about Poison since we’re going that route?

Snake Cult Initiation‘s pretty much it.

Sure, doing 7 poison damage in one swing is pretty good, but I imagine that there’s going to be much more Poison related cards in Scars (and beyond into well in this block). This one is going to be a pretty open concept at the moment. Along as you clear the skies for him to get through (Move lich, get out of the way), you can win.

But will Poison be too good in EDH? At the moment, I’m going to side with: No. The next B/R announcement will be in September, which will be before the set will be released so we don’t know how it plays. If people are losing to it a lot, I imagine a change might be announced in December. While there was some adjustment to cards earlier based on what what life needed to be since EDH has double the stating life, I doubt there’s a need to increase the Poison kill count. Don’t hold your breath, so far this is the most powerful General (and only) one to deal with poison and you can only kill one player at a time with this. In a multiplayer game, it might take too long since you’re hoping for two ways to win and you’d be spreading yourself thin. It’s another thing to keep track of (life, General damage and now Poison) and I hear of some people not even keeping track of General damage. I may have a primer on this soon.

Verdict:

I’m excited because he seems pretty fun. With the Regeneration and the different way of winning, Blighty’s pretty powerful. There are a ton of ways to pump a creature’s power in Black and something like Howl from Beyond or Hatred to win out of nowhere might be a pretty common story. Black’s got tons of ways to help you control the game until he appears.

Plus, he’s a Dragon Skeleton. How can you not like that?

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11 responses to “SOM EDH General Review – Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon

  • Owen

    “Super-General-Damage” much? He’ll never win with actual 21 point general damage which kinda makes his relationship with that rule quite stupid. That said, there’s no debate as to how potent he is, one or two hits should do the trick.

    On to the serious stuff: how to “Dragon Skeletons” stay aloft? I mean, he’s got no actual wings, right, just the bone frame the wing membrane would be attached to. I call shennanigans on his having flying!

  • Bud

    So… the skeletal remains of a mythological creature moving around is entirely believable, but the fact that this collection of reanimated bones can fly is the sticking point? 🙂

    Ah, I’m just giving you a hard time. No worries.

    As for the card itself… Seems pretty cool, although I think Infect following after Wither is a bit redundant. I guess that’s not too big a deal though.

    I really hope they don’t go too crazy with the poison cards in Scars. I fear it can get out of hand really fast.

    Sidenote FYI: No one in my local play group keeps track of General damage.

  • Tony

    @Owen,

    His wings are ethereal. I love this Dragon, and that art is incredible. I can’t wait to see the other infect creatures.

  • (Tom) MTG Radio

    another great post about a general that has me crazy excited!

  • Sid the Chicken

    I suspect that he will be the largest creature printed to naturally have infect. Infect on something too big is just too stupid.

  • Chris

    @Owen & Bud: I agree with Tony – have a closer look at the art; connecting Skithiryx’s wing-bones to his body is an eerie green-yellow glow.

    I really love the art by the way.

    I’m personally waiting for some equipment to grant Infect and other interesting poison effects.

  • Epoch

    I think he’s much more viable as a beater for poison than others are for general damage in multiplayer. Infect/poison aren’t limited to combat damage, and plus Blighty doesn’t have to carry the load himself, other infect creatures help out and heck, if proliferate catches on, your opponents could be proliferating eachother closer to doom as well. It’s much more approachable than general damage.

  • Jared

    Erm… Isn’t the zombie guy just a better general @.@ getting Stuff from everyones grave seems good

  • John

    The lack of wings is just a thing with Mirrodin dragons. See Furnace Whelp and Furnace Dragon.

  • Jesse

    Love ol’ Blighty… I think he fits great in a Karrthus EDH deck as one of the dragons that you can tutor for rather than a great mono B general, but he’s a pretty spicy.

    @pluckmyeyeout on Twitter

  • JordanXN

    Really like Blighty myself, finally got into EDH just to build him a deck, though it’s not quite finished ( need 3 more cuts). I think he works really well in a deck that makes your opponent afraid to block your creatures, thanks to infect and deathtouch. It also helps to have pinging equipment so you can drop one or two poison counters on players early before getting crazy with proliferate. My current attempt at a deck is here: http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/mono-black-poison-edh/.

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