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The best part about Dark Frontier's spoilers being on the community store is that it can reward people who might be off DWD's immediate radar, but who have made endless contributions to the community. And since Pusillanimous kindly gave me a spoiler to write a post about, I want to introduce the Eternal community to a champion of the Eternal Wiki. Pusillanimous joined the wiki around a year ago, and has since made 14,622 edits. That averages to 31 edits every day, which is a massive feat. If you play Eternal and have ever used the wiki, odds are that Pusillanimous has made your life better.

With that aside, I present to you Death Ripple:

Community Spoiler - Dark Frontier - Death Ripple

This is a fairly unassuming card at first. Sure, three-cost removal tends to be better than higher end counterparts, but only being able to target units with cost 4 or less seems like a major drawback. However, that category includes cards like Vara and Sandstorm Titan. It might be powerless about higher-cost units, but there's still potential here. Even so, the first instinct is that Death Ripple is a discount version of Banish and Slay. (In this case the discount is literal, you can play it in any Shadow deck.)

The second ability seems even less powerful. While buffing units is good, Death Ripple is best at curbing the opponent's tempo plays. And it can achieve that goal the best at around turn 4. Most constructed decks just don't have the time to play Shifted units before that point, as the opponent will already be advancing their gameplan. But this is a powerful ability in limited. While Shift is often too slow for constructed, limited is a far slower format. Furthermore, limited does not have the same concern with board wipes that constructed does, so Shift is more reliable there too. Death Ripple's second ability is very relevant in limited formats. What's even more relevant is how Death Ripple is an uncommon. It will show up in a ton of drafts, and could even be a reliable pick over a lot of rares in the format.

Going even deeper, Shift has a benefit in limited that it does not really have in constructed, which is giving Unblockable. In constructed, most games end up being won or lost on the basis of card advantage, board control, or grinding out value, unless an aggressive deck just wins by turn 5 while the other player can't do anything. Unblockable does not really accomplish the goals most constructed decks look for, unless it's combined with another powerful ability. However, giving Unblockable to units in limited can be game winning. So not only is Shift fast enough for limited, playing a large Unblockable Charge unit on turn 6 can be blisteringly fast compared to whatever the opponent is doing. Giving that unit +2 attack is incredibly relevant.

If Death Ripple can boost the stats on three different units, it will account for 6 points of burn to the opponent over the course of whenever those Shift cards emerge. Usually, it will probably only average out at 2 points of burn. But this is not where the story ends, if the unit has attacked, it might run into a board stall or the opponent might just set up a crack back in two turns. Even if that happens, the unit retains the buff to it's stats - it will attack better, block better, and be better until it dies.

In constructed, this might be a serious contender for a Market slot in aggressive Stonescar decks. While it's not really viable in the maindeck of Stonescar Aggro, it will be great in the market. First, the Stonescar smuggler might become a staple of the deck in the next expansion. Although this is probably unlikely, as getting a backup Bandit Queen with a normal Merchant is a massive upside, it would give Stonescar a Shift unit that will always be played before going to the Market. After that, playing Death Ripple would kill the most annoying enemy unit on board, and in a few more turns, the Stonescar Aggro deck would have a 5/2 Unblockable Charging unit. While this is not the most powerful play, it might just be good enough to earn Death Ripple a slot in the Stonescar Market.

Beyond all this, the card could make for an excellent budget removal option for new players who want to play control or midrange decks. The current premiere piece of removal is Desecrate. That card is a powerhouse, especially compared to the available competition. It's so good that even FJS decks have dropped Slay to run it. But it's a campaign, which a lot of newer players won't be able to afford. If they want to play a deck that relies on having good removal, but can't run Slay or Banish, Death Ripple is a more than respectable option. It's hard to make budget friendly decks that are not aggro without campaigns, so getting an uncommon that can be reliably played in budget decks is a bigger thing than it might seem at first glance.

Even the most unviable card for constructed blooms under thorough inspection. What might seem at first glance to be just another piece of removal pushed out of the meta by Desecrate can become so much more. It's a card that will be enjoyed by draft players, new players, and maybe even Stonescar Aggro players in the future. But dismissing cards that are not good in constructed might just be my own personal bad habit. Someone smarter than me could just tell at a glance that Death Ripple could find these three uses, and they might find more niches that I didn't think of. But I'm not that smart, so when I thought about the card for just a bit more, the possibilities started to open up in surprising ways. For everyone else who aren't geniuses at Eternal or have the same bad habits as I do, it's good to sometimes take a step back, and then dive deep into an otherwise unassuming piece of the game.

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