Hello and welcome back to the Single Card Discussion series! After my pieces on Amonkhet’s Mouth // Feed and Commander gem Ezuri’s Predation, it’s time to take a look at yet another multiplayer gem that I feel has been sadly overlooked.
Today’s card is one that I’ve thought was highly useful since it was first spoiled, and though it does see play, I’m shocked that more players haven’t looked at it for EDH. Today’s card is the Hour of Devastation land, Scavenger Grounds.
Let’s take a deeper look at this innocuous but useful Desert!
Thus far in my Single Card series, I’ve looked at some great multiplayer gems.
• I started the series with Utter End, my favorite spot removal spell from Khans, here.
• I looked at a red card, Outpost Siege, my overall favorite card from Fate Reforged, here.
• Another red card, Greater Gargadon, a fantastic sacrifice outlet, here.
• I looked at the first monowhite card, the tricksy Seht’s Tiger here.
• The first blue card of the series, Gilded Drake, a potent thievery effect, here.
• I went over white control card World Queller and how to use its powerful effect here.
• I looked at the once-restricted blue recursion card Recall, the only blue card that can recur dead planeswalkers (plus any other type of card), here.
• I went over the first black card of this series, Commander 2014’s Flesh Carver, an excellent sacrifice outlet here.
• As part of my week-long look at Modern Masters 2015 cards, I looked at Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder, and his token-making prowess here.
• We went over the red sweeper Magmaquake, which hits all planeswalkers at once, here.
• I looked at Shrouded Lore, a strange black recursion spell, here.
• We discussed the power of tapping down opposing creatures with a trio of white cards: Glare of Subdual, Sandsower, and Diversionary Tactics, here.
• I took a look at two green recursion creatures, Hua Tuo, Honored Physician, and Loaming Shaman from Ravnica, here.
• I looked at an Innistrad favourite, Reaper from the Abyss, an excellent card for killing off opposing creatures, here.
• I looked at the powerful Magic Origins card Chandra’s Ignition, a mighty Wrath effect/player killer, here.
• I spotlighted Vorinclex’s potent new win condition and mana-ramp spell, From Beyond, and the possibilities of an Eldrazi sideboard here.
• I looked at my favourite modal spell from Commander 2014, the deceptively useful Wretched Confluence here.
• I looked at new Ally tribal leader General Tazri and how she would interact with the Allies here.
• I looked at the Mana Reflection/Soul of the Harvest love child, Zendikar Resurgent here.
• I looked at the super Purify slash big dude, Kalemne’s Captain, here.
• I went over one of my favorite lands from Shadows Over Innistrad block, Westvale Abbey (and its flip side, Ormendahl) here.
• I took a look at Amonkhet’s new powerhouse card drawing spell, Pull from Tomorrow, which is deceptively good, here.
• I went over the aftermath all-star, Commit // Memory, a powerful and flexible bounce spell and draw 7, here.
• I looked at a third Amonkhet card, as I looked at a second aftermath card, Dusk // Dawn here.
• I took a look at a fourth Amonkhet card, Mouth // Feed, which was the third aftermath card that I really liked, here.
• Finally, I shared my thoughts on the simple-but-powerful Commander 2013 land, Opal Palace here.
Today’s card is a very cool utility land: the Hour of Devastation land, Scavenger Grounds. This card was introduced as part of a large cycle of useful lands with the Desert subtype, something that is quite relevant to this card and things like Hour of Promise.
This card does something that previously, EDH players only really had access to with Bojuka Bog; we get graveyard removal, that is attached to a land. This is actually a pretty big deal, so let’s take a look.
EDH is a format full of huge creatures and gigantic spells, but more often than not, it is also a format full of graveyard recursion. As games go long, being able to recur and reuse these huge creatures and gigantic spells from your graveyard can spell the difference between winning and losing, so you often see decks being built with this in mind for the late game.
It is no surprise, then, that the EDH generals that are printed with abusing graveyard recursion have proven to be extremely strong in multiplayer games. Generals like The Mimeoplasm, Karador, Ghost Chieftain, and most recently, Meren of Clan Nel Toth, generals like these will almost always win a longer game of EDH, because they can recur and reuse their resources better than anyone else, and basically grind their opponents out of their own threats and resources.
Hence, it can often be quite important to have at least something in your EDH deck to hose an opponent’s graveyard.
Historically, I have been known to use a lot of graveyard hosing in my decks. All of my black decks have Bojuka Bog as part of their manabase, and apart from that, I’ve also been known to use Scavenging Ooze, Loaming Shaman, Reito Lantern, Angel of Finality, Agent of Erebos, and so on. Though no one in my playgroup uses any of the truly powerful graveyard-based generals like Meren, having these ways to hose graveyards has been quite useful over the years as I’ve played EDH.
Of all these options, however, I’ve always preferred Bojuka Bog, since it just fits into your manabase if you’re playing black. I’ve always lamented the fact that my non-black decks do not have an option like Bog to run… but no longer!
Scavenging Grounds is the colorless Bog that I didn’t even realize I wanted for EDH until it was printed. For every non-black deck, this is an amazing option to run, letting me have graveyard hosing even in colors that can’t normally do so (red and blue are particularly bad at hosing the graveyard, so this land is quite nice).
It doesn’t come into play tapped (this was my real complaint about Bog, but it was a minor one). It taps for colorless mana. Best of all, this is a Desert (wait for it, it is relevant!)
As part of the ‘Deserts matter’ subsection of cards from Amonkhet block, having the Desert subtype and sacrificing other Deserts is actually very relevant. There are a number of very playable Deserts now to choose from, including a cycle of cycling Deserts.
Running any of these Deserts, plus Scavenger Grounds gives you a great way to hose the graveyard multiple times in one game! Against the powerful graveyard-based generals, this is a huge way to hose them, and can be extremely useful.
It’s also worth mentioning that this can be searched for by Hour of Devastation’s Hour of Promise, giving you a Desert that works with that card’s “Deserts matter” clause, as well as graveyard hosing when you need it.
The only real knock that I’ve heard against this card is the fact that it hoses all graveyards, not just your opponents (so it doesn’t play well with cards like Life from the Loam or other recursion of your own). I would say this is definitely balanced by the fact that exiling everyone else’s graveyard at once is extremely useful and powerful, and definitely makes up for the fact that it hoses yours too.
So that’s a quick look at Scavenger Grounds from Hour of Devastation. If your EDH group is infested with decks that constantly reuse and abuse the graveyard, I would urge you to give this card a try, it’s quite good.