The Ultimate Graveyard Block – Introduction


(Editor’s note: We were originally supposed to play this format a month or two ago, but life and illnesses got in the way. Having said that, we’re finally running this format on the 22nd, so here is the introduction to the format once again! Decklists to come once I have them. Enjoy.)

One thing I am known for in my playgroup is the ability to create interesting formats for strange tournaments, and it’s been a long time since I’ve done so. The last interesting format we did was The Gold Standard Challenge, quite some time ago, and so it’s high time we did another cool tourney again.

This time, our format is going to be called The Ultimate Graveyard Block. And what a format it will be! Let’s take a look!

The Ultimate Graveyard Block is a format that I’ve been planning for some time now, and I’m really looking forward to it. Here is the email I sent out to my playgroup:

“After a long hiatus, it’s time once again for a Constructed Challenge format, and what a format I have for you all!

As a long-time MTG player, there have been many Constructed formats that I recall fondly, some more so than others. Throughout my entire time playing this game, one thing that I’ve noticed is that I love playing cards that interact with the graveyard, and Constructed formats where these cards are prevalent (hence, my love of Legacy). Throughout MTG’s history, there have been several blocks that really resonated with me because of their heavy graveyard themes; these are sets that I found super fun, which I still remember fondly to this day.

Why bring this up? I’m glad you asked.

Our next Challenge format is a Constructed Challenge, featuring a bevy of interesting sets.

-Odyssey block: Odyssey, Torment, Judgment
-from Time Spiral block: Time Spiral, Time Spiral timeshifted cards
-from Innistrad block: Innistrad, Dark Ascension
-Shadows block: Shadows Over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon
-Amonkhet block: Amonkhet, Hour of Devastation

These are the graveyard-based sets from throughout Magic’s history that were, quite simply, the best sets for producing high quality and fun graveyard-related cards. From flashback to threshold, delirium to embalm, and retrace to eternalize, these sets had great recursion mechanics and let you play with your graveyard as an entirely new sort of resource.

We are going to be playing a mashup format featuring these sets, dubbed The Ultimate Graveyard Block!

Here is our Challenge:

Build a 60-card deck, with a 15-card sideboard from amongst these sets, with these unique restrictions.

You must choose:
-One base set (so either Odyssey, Time Spiral, Innistrad, Shadows Over Innistrad, or Amonkhet)
-One small set, which cannot be from the same block as your large set
-A second small set, not from the same blocks as your other two sets

These three sets will form the building blocks of your Constructed deck, and you can only choose to use cards from these three sets. From here, build yourself a deck (with 15-card sideboard), and we will be meeting sometime in late Feb/early March to play through an epic tournament to decide who our champion of the undead will be!

-This event is 100% proxy-friendly, so build and proxy whatever you want to your heart’s content without worrying about the price of mythics or rares!
-The Time Spiral ‘timeshifted’ cards form their own separate mini-set. They do not count as part of Time Spiral itself. They do count as being part of Time Spiral block.

There are banned cards, which are honestly on a power level far and away stronger than anything in the other sets:
Liliana of the Veil
Snapcaster Mage
Delver of Secrets
Liliana the Last Hope

These cards straight up are banned, and if you do play them, I’ll replace them with a random common from Innistrad when I see them, and we all will mock you mercilessly.

This format, just from the brainstorming I’ve done, looks immensely fun and competitive. So everyone start brainstorming, I’ve given you many months to prepare!
It’s time to dig out the old fun cards, and try to win The Ultimate Graveyard Block!”

Just as The Gold Standard was a highly fun format, this is also going to be one hell of a format, I can tell that just from looking at it.

Throughout Magic’s history, there have been an awful lot of graveyard-based cards that I’ve enjoyed playing. From cards like Weatherlight’s Buried Alive, to the various flashback cards, to good old overpriced Tarmogoyf and Snapcaster Mage, there have long been cards that let you use the graveyard as another resource. This format lets us use all the fun ones, so it should be a blast!

This is without even bringing up the various engine cards that are in this graveyard format, like the combo-enabling Doomsday, the reanimator cards like Unburial Rites, all of the various burn spells, and even the mighty Mirari’s Wake. There are a lot of fun and meaty cards to work with in this format, and I really look forward to seeing what my creative group comes up with.

Just from my initial brainstorming of the format, I’ve put together two flavors of hyper-aggressive red decks, a white weenie deck, a reanimator list, two versions of blue-based counterspell control, and much more.

(That’s without even mentioning that the format will definitely support our friend Joel’s favorite Standard deck ever, mono-black control with Cabal Coffers, heh.)

So that’s a quick look at The Ultimate Graveyard Block! We’ll be putting together decks over the next while, and the plan is to play the format in late Feb/early March, so stay tuned to see how it turns out!


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