You forgot about Brought Back didn't you?
I didn't! I named it one of my Top Ten cards from Core Set 2020. But you haven't played and enjoyed this card like you should have.
Today I want to reexamine the power of this forgotten Standard bulk rare.
Let's follow a fun card, Academy Researchers, to demonstrate the power of Brought Back. You drop this, and you have a nice, thick aura to drop - like Eldrazi Conscription. Awesome! You are now swinging with a 12/12 trampling, annihilating Eldrazi death maker for a humble thee mana total. But someone was mean and used any form of targeted removal, like Terror, to take out your dork and it's aura. Sad. You can Brought Back to, well, bring them back.
Note that unlike many limited White cards that recur something from the graveyard to the battlefield, (like Sun Titan) this one is not limited by size or cost. Anything is recurrable.
Anything! If it died, it can come on back. But it will be tapped.
Let's look at some cool combos for you for this forgotten card!
Honorable Mention - Sunforger
Grabbing a Brought Back from your deck as a surprise can be pretty cool. If your foe planned on killing two or more key permanents that you control, you can just send a White and Red mana and search for Brought Back and cast it for free. You can perfectly time it for the best result without needing it in your hand.
Note that Brought Back doesn't have a "nonland" clause, so you could just recur two fetches. On one turn early, sacrifice both of these and then spend the mana to bring them back and crack again. Folks, that's a lot of lands!
Super-Secret Combo 10.1 - Lotus Vale and Lotus Field
- Tap two lands for .
- Sacrifice those land for Lotus Field.
- Use the for Brought Back
- Recur those lands
Net result? Free Lotus Field! Now the Lotus Vale can be used for that as well, however, in this case you need to use the Vale on untapped lands, so it'll slow you down a turn, but the combo is still working.
9. Sakura-Tribe Elder and Other Self-Sacrificers
Some things won't need to tap to do anything. You could sacrifice a Sakura-Tribe Elder after bringing it back. You could recur the Elder and another dork each iteration and grab another basic land each time. You could also sacrifice the Alchemist's Apprentice each time to draw some cards. There are many of these self-sacrificers.
STE is probably the most easily abused as you can rack up the lands from it, much like the Fetchlands mentioned above, but you can also draw cards, get Fogs, and much more. Also note that although the cards pictured above are dorks, you could easily add in something like Commander's Sphere and Font of Fertility that will also sacrifice for the cause.
8. Saffi Eriksdotter and Lieutenant Kirtar
This is a special Commander combo. There are only 10 legal Commanders with White that can sacrifice...something. Sometimes they can't sacrifice themselves (Brion Stoutarm), and others it won't do anything should they do so (Atogatog). These two are cheap and have useful early and mid-game sacrifice engines. As your Commander tax rises, so does their replay cost, so you can get them again for free should that begin to become an issue.
Super-Secret Combo 8.1 - Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
However Ayli is built around Black and White sacrificing things for the cause with her double sacrificing slate of options. If you have an Ayli deck, then you can sacrifice two dorks to her and then recur them with Brought Back. A few others that use White, such as Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter and Ghave, Guru of Spores would also have a nice fit in the right circumstances based on the build of that deck.
7. Untappers that Arrive and Untap Key Stuff
Brought Back brings back your stuff tapped as they clearly tired from the trip. I get it. The flexibility of cards like Pestermite is that you can untap either themselves on arrival and thus be used as a creature for attacking or blocking. Or they can be used to untap a key card that was tapped to sacrifice them.
Take this bulk Standard rare as a good example of a sacrifice machine:
Super-Secret Combo 7.1 - Priest of Forgotten Gods
She is an absolute solid rare who's pretty good. It's tap effect to sacrifice two dorks doesn't suck up mana. It makes and draws you a card. It also forces your foes to sacrifice a dork and lose life. With Brought Back you can bring the sacrificed dorks back. Was one an Izzet Chronarch or something similar that will recur the Brought Back? Was another a Corridor Monitor or similar card? Hmmm... I think you may win that game!
Consider the value of adding in the layer of untapping a mana rock or land each time as well and making loads of mana in your cycle of Brought Back'ing.
Super-Secret Combo 7.2 - Village Bell-Ringer
If you recur this then you can untap the entire team. You can untap the two returned cards if they were dorks, as well as any other tapped creatures you used.
Super-Secret Combo 7.3 - Intruder Alarm
Now if you really want to run that combo and idea, Intruder Alarm maybe for you. It'll lock down all of the dorks, and your Brought Back will trigger twice if you are bringing back two dorks, and you'll get two full sets of untaps to use. Just resolve one trigger, and then tap your stuff and resolve the other.
6. Wasteland and Strip Mine
I think you could create a nasty modern take on Mono-White Prison decks around these two cards. Normally, if you wanted to recur a Strip Mine or similar effect repeatedly, you'd use something like Crucible of Worlds. But that basically works for one land a turn. With Brought Back, you get two free Wastes and Strips for your consideration.
Here, let me give you one example of a Mono-White Prison Build:
Mono-White Prison | Casual | Abe Sargent
- Creatures (21)
- 2 Kataki, War's Wage
- 2 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
- 2 Windborn Muse
- 3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
- 4 Leonin Arbiter
- 4 Ethersworn Canonist
- 4 Sprit of the Labyrinth
- Sorceries (4)
- 4 Armageddon
- Artifacts (2)
- 2 Crucible of Worlds
Note the use of Hate Bears to twin with Armageddon and the Strip/Waste. In this build, not only will Brought Back recur cool lands or just dead lands from your Armageddon, but it will also be useful to recur two key dorks if your foe just Lightning Bolted them or killed them via other means.
5. Phyrexian Dreadnaught
Do you see it? I bet you do! You can cast this, and then let it hit the graveyard. Then you can bring it back with Brought Back. Why would you want to do that?
Reasons. You could deal 24 damage to someone with Pandemonium and similar effects or gain 24 life instead with Angelic Chorus or Proper Burial. And if you think these are the only ones out there that play into these game-winning theme, then you don't know how this Magic thing works. There are tons of ways to punish folks for a game winning amount of damage. A one turn Pandemonium, Dreadnought, take 12, are you dead, if not, here's Brought Back is likely to end a single player's life.
4. Free Sacrifice Engines
We'll explore this space more below at #1 but getting the ability to sacrifice two cool cards to recur can really push the tide toward your inevitable win. Note that there are typically two sorts of sacrifice engines. The first are like Arcbound Ravager. They have the ability to have a minor sacrifice effect and will typically be useful in synergy with other effects. For example, if you control a Solemn Simulacrum and want to include it in your Brought Back, you can sacrifice it to Ravager, draw a card from its death trigger, and then Brought Back and include it. These minor effects will help sculpt your situation to best manipulate a Brought Back (or similar strategies).
The latter type are nasty, game-winning combos that the sacrifice of which can propel you to a fast victory. These include effects like Ashnod's Altar or Goblin Bombardment. Note that these are going to rack up enough stuff to win the game with alacrity.
3. Lion's Eye Diamond, Black Lotus, and Friends
I know! What cards don't work with Black Lotus? But I think you'll see how this one can work particularly well, right? Since LED is also legal as a four of in most formats, you can cast it and bring back two LEDs. Cast Brought Back. While on the stack, use one or two LEDs, discard your hand, and then return those. Note that unlike Lotus Bloom (and Black Lotus) LED doesn't need to tap to sacrifice and make that mana, so you can make up to 12 mana if you have two LEDs. That's a lot of mana. I'm sure your deck can win from there!
2. Amulet of Vigor
The only restriction on Brought Back is that the cards come back tapped, thus often preventing their immediate use. But what if they didn't? What if you could get recurred cards back untapped. Lands or artifacts ready for tapping? Creatures ready for swinging (with haste) or blocking? It likely won't matter for planeswalkers, but for some (Most Gideons and some Sarkhans) it'll be nice.
This is a key and powerful way to break this card!
1. Isochron Scepter
Consider it with the stick. As you can use it to recur, tapped, two things over and over again reliably. This is going to be sick.
What if you have Viscera Seer and Priest of Gix? You spend two colorless mana to use the Stick and bring them back if they died this turn. Then make three mana and sacrifice both for two scrys should you want to. You made a mana each time.
Something like Blasting Station can provide a sacrifice/kill while something like Deceiver Exarch can untap your Stick.
Stick with Brought Back, Exarch, Station, and Priest of Gix will both make countless mana and two points of direct damage each iteration, so you have two angles to attack them in case they have a way to prevent the damage. Like Worship with an indestructible dork or hexproof from you.
And there you go! Anything in here that you enjoyed seeing? Just let me know!