Single Card Strat: Sinestra

A while ago we were going to try and run a segment on the podcast that focused on specific cards. Basically take a card and try and work through how it could be utilized. The focus was going to be on brainstorming ideas about how the card in question could be used or what sort of shells could be built to house it and make it successful. We actually got some responses when we spoke about the treasure pack version of Chromie. The bronze dragon gave you the ability to possibly take infinite turns which sounds awesome right? It only takes like 95 other cards to make it happen! Obviously not that many, but it ultimately is a fragile combo that takes some time to get going. You need Chromie (obviously) a way to repeatedly fetch her such as Summoning Portal or uh…Portal, or Murozond (a suggestion from Pat Eshgy), then you need a way to give her ferocity. Maybe Scimitar of the Sirocco, Lust for Battle, or a variety of other janky options. Then throw in some ways to clear a path and protect the dragonkin, and and and…

Well the deck quickly fills up and you may or may not be left with something feasible (spoiler alert: my attempts didn’t work). Why bring this up? Well first it is a cool idea so it is fun to repeat. There is the possibility someone out there can make it work. The real reason is the single card strategy segment is one that is worth revisiting. Back in Worldbreaker block I remember getting prepped for DMF: Philadelphia. It actually was going to be one I could attend without absurd travel requirements! The downside is I wasn’t really enthusiastic about the format. Worldbreaker block constructed left much to be desired. I could go on and on about my issues with the block as a whole but let’s try not to digress (for once), in the end I did not get to play as I had to work at the last second. I sometimes wonder what I would’ve ended up playing, but probably something that would’ve seen me 0-2 drop, let’s be real. I really was trying to make Suncaller Haruh work…well so much for not digressing. Back on topic, Worldbreaker block while not my favorite format in isolation does provide a number of cards that are near and dear to me. Gispax the Mixologist is one that I am frequently tinkering with. However, sticking to the general dragon theme from earlier I present Sinestra:

6cc Ally Black Dragonkin Consort Sinestra(1)
4 atk (fire) / 3 health
On your turn: Destroy another non-token ability, ally, or equipment you control -> Put two 1 atk (shadow) / 1 health Twilight Dragonkin ally tokens into play with Ferocity.

The Slow and Not So Slow Death

At first glance the prime consort of Deathwing is very flashy. She offers the chance to end a game immediately if you can make a few sacrifices to achieve total victory. Well more than a few. Really all the sacrifices need to be made to ensure you close the game out. That being said you can rapidly generate a very angry swarm of itty-bitty bitey dragonkin that will overwhelm your opponent like those hornets you stumbled on as a kid. She doesn’t have to be so all in though.

Let’s paint this picture. You are warrior and on turn 1 you planted a Guardian’s Plate Bracer like the lucky sword-swinging plate class you are. Great start! Except when you drew the other 3. That part wasn’t so great. The “tankman” archtype can frequently encounter these sort of issues. There are ways to alleviate the strain by spreading your armor out across different slots but that only solves one issue. The other common problem is just simply drawing a ton of hardware when you just need something a little sharper to try and finish a game. I’ll be honest here, I am not sure what a dragonkin’s diet normally consists of, but apparently somehow chowing down on bracers, and spaulders, and helmets is exactly what a mommy dragon needs to create a murderous batch of twilight dragonkin! Here’s the bonus, as the kids would put it:

She protec
but she also attac

Or something like that I dunno. Point is that each additional redundant armor you draw is no longer dead. In matchups where you want to close the game out, feel free to make your raging swarm and go face. However if you need to tidy up a bit then all those little beasties can instead cascade over your opponent’s side of the board. Honestly I kinda want a shout based warrior with Finishing Shout, Raging Shout, that sort of thing to give the little winged monsters slightly larger teeth. Oh an if you want you can always munch those ongoing abilities as well. Sinestra is on what my dad used to call the “see food diet”. See food and eat it.

Granted you could just as easily run Jin’rohk and then you get to use things like Girdle of Razuvious and Keys to the Armory and Reconstruct but that just is as cool as a gigantic horde of dragons now is it?

Is it?

The segment header mentions the slow death. Keep in mind that while there is the temptation to go all-in that isn’t necessarily the best play. A clock of 6-8 will close out the game pretty quick on its own. Even if Sinestra is just turning sideways for 4 a turn while you keep her belly full and use the other dragons to clear the path, your opponent has to honor the fact that you could at a moments notice raise a swarm of tiny dragons to chew their face off. You do have the option to slow roll things a bit, a few jabs then close with a haymaker.

What else can Sinestra do? Well let me tell you about affliction warlocks. You can throw in disease death knights as well. While I’d love to include Blood Lord Vorath here as well he unfortunately doesn’t want to play nice with neutral allies. One of the issues with these archtypes is that they too can struggle to close games out. You are poking your opponent in the eye for what seems like forever. In the end they narrowly escape your clutches and promptly lay down the law. They get a win and you wonder why you spent so many turns durdling. Durdle No Longer!

Of course you could always go with other options. There are plenty of finisher type allies and that’s before you consider master heroes or other wacky things such as Bloodsurge, Kel’thuzad’s Blade of Agony. Being able to pop some Unstable Afflictions to close a game out in conjunction with ferocious dragons seems like fun though! Let those curses and diseases do their work then funnel them to Sinestra and presto-instant army. Hopefully instant win as well! This addresses a common issue that plagues both these decks as well as tankman. You’ll push and strain, but in the end fall just shy of getting enough damage. Or you’ll end up drawing a bunch of things that are the slowest burn spells in the world when you really want to clear the board. Sinestra allows all those extra ongoing abilities that are lying around to be born again. Just this time as twilight dragonkin. Don’t forget that just like tankman you can always run Etched Dragonbone Girdle if you go the deathknight route. The value generated by the girdle can turn a lot of decks around assuming you can dodge the swath of answers that classic offers to the waist armor.

Some Strings Attached

Unfortunately Sinestra does have some baggage. She fails the Hesriana test as she states other non-token allies. This means while she could theoretically save another ally from being RFG’d, she can’t devour herself. That potential liability is one to bear in mind when facing down certain matchups. If your opponent is aggressive, they’d love to take your 6 drop, give their succubus ferocity, as well as fling their entire board at you all over again through the sacrifice effect.

Secondly, as was repeated a few times previously there are alternatives. Likely even better alternatives to Sinestra if you are looking to simply end a game. They could be sturdier, she does have a mere 3 health. They could be angrier, her 4 attack on a 6 drop is not thrilling. They could be more easily protected as she does not have an innate way to dodge opposing removal. Synergy is great until something that is just more powerful presents itself.

Third, the tokens that are made are merely 1/1. That might get the job done clearing the board of werewolves. It won’t be as effective against powered up demons.

Dinner Is Calling

In the end Sinestra, like Gispax and a number of other Worldbreaker block cards, are ones that I am always looking to find homes for. Although the block was regarding as a weaker one on a few different fronts, it definitely has some interesting cards and some genuinely powerful ones. Anyone out there using her? Any other cards you’d like to see highlighted as an article or on the show? Feel free to reach out to us, and check in next time for more random thoughts!


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