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Animal Boneyard 
Odyssey Uncommon

Reviewed July 6, 2004

Constructed: 1.6
Casual: 2.4
Limited: 2.2

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating

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Card of the Day Reviews 


* game store owner in CA, ShuffleAndCut

Animal Boneyard is one of those cards with the every popular/ever bad lifegain ability.  You will almost never see lifegain as a basis for a deck in tournament constructed, although it was a strong side-note in many control decks that ran Exalted Angel.  Control depends on time as its ally, and the lifegain from the extremely strong Exalted Angel creature bought it just enough to take over the game and accomplish its dirty deed.  But otherwise, lifegain cannot win you a can only put you out of reach.  If you have 3 billion life, and your opponent has 20, you still don't "win".  "Infinite" life is always beat by "infinite damage".  There really isn't such a thing as Infinite life.  When using a combo to gain life, you must declare how many "cycles" you are using of your combo.  Once that is established, your opponent can use his damage cycle to declare whatever you said, plus one, and beat you.  So lifegain, as a BASIS for a deck, isn't solid. You also need to destroy your opponent in the meantime.

That being said, lifegain is an extremely fun and rewarding basis for a Casual style deck.  And lifegain in "infinite" form is even better.  Due to the huge array of sets and cards available,  there are many more ways in Casual to cleverly kill your opponent while you pull off a crazy lifegain combo.  Below, Chase goes into an interesting "infinite" lifegain combo...

"Get out Lightning Greaves and Daru Spiritualist and get infinite life."

(Target the Spiritualist (and another creature) with the Lightning Greaves over an over, until its toughness is huge, then use Boneyard to sac it)

Kind of a fun idea!

In limited, it's not really a great idea, unless you have a way to gain huge amounts of it, like Clearwater Goblet.  Just set this to the side, unless you have a horrible deck and really just need some filler.  Stick to Casual with this one.

Constructed: 1.5
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 1.5

   Current Price:
Animal Boneyard - Odyssey - $0.59

   Combos Well With:
Daru Spiritualist - Scourge - $0.12
Lightning Greaves - Mirrodin - $4.57
Riptide Replicator - Onslaught - $1.93

Judge Bill

*Level 2
MTG Judge

*game store employee

Animal Boneyard

This is a white enchantment that lets you sacrifice a creature to gain life
equal to its toughness. Great with yesterday's card, and good as a way to
convert chump blockers into extra life, but the concept of needing creatures
to sacrifice makes it unplayable in constructed, and a borderline 23rd card
in limited. I'd probably pass most times in limited unless I was desperate.

Constructed: 1
Casual: 1.5
Limited: 2

2 Grand Prix Top 8's

Multiple Pro Tour appearances

Animal Boneyard


The other half of the combo with Chamber of Manipulation, this was the card that you only really played when you had the other half of the combo first.  In constructed, if you got this to happen, that’s not so bad.  Building a competitive deck around this was a bad idea, on the whole


Building a fun deck, on the other hand, was no problem.  You can be the guy at the table that says, “Yep, I’ll take your guy for a bit.  If you’re nice, I won’t kill him.”  Another fun combo with Serra Avatar, I might add.  Mediocre to bad for Mental.


Like I said before, you only really played this when you already had some number of Chambers to play with it.  By itself, since it really doesn’t serve to do anything to the board, it’s not going to give you any substantial results; it only serves to prolong the inevitable, if you’re in a losing situation.


Constructed:  1.5

Casual:  2.5

Limited:  2.0


Jeff Zandi

5 Time Pro Tour

Animal Boneyard
Not recognized when it first came out, this card was actually quite powerful
in limited. While it does have the drawback of tying up one of your lands,
the life gain potential of this card was quite remarkable in booster draft
and sealed decks. Once damage is on the stack, and you have already resigned
yourself to the loss of some creature on your side, simply tap the land
enchanted with Animal Boneyard and redeem your creature for some life
points. Additionally, you might WANT a creature of yours in the graveyard
for some other purpose, and Animal Boneyard is all to happy to help you with
that task.
CASUAL:              2.0
LIMITED:              3.5

Ray "Monk"
* Level 3 DCI Judge
*DCI Tournament Organizer

Animal Boneyard


While this card combo’s well with yesterday’s card of the day, overall this card is just not good enough to be worth playing. Life gain in general is not always worth playing, and while this card gives an extra ability to each of your creatures, being able to be sacked in response to damage on the stack, or being targeted with a lethal spell, the cost of a card and the requirement of leaving the land untapped to make it worth playing.


Constructed:                 1

Casual:                         1

Limited:                        1



* game store owner (The Game Closet - Waco,TX)

Sacrificing creatures with this to gain life is neat, because you never end up with a creature going to waste.  Casual players seem to really enjoy this card.  It's even better if you are trying to combo it with something that involves some life gain element to it.  If it were to come up in limited, I would take to gain some life throughout the game to keep you ahead.  You can combine it with yesterday's card, Chamber of Manipulation to get some neat effects.
Constructed: 2
Casual: 3
Limited: 2.5

Animal Boneyard is just a subpar card. The ability isn't all that strong in a color dominated by weenie creatures or by larger creatures that are run in low numbers as a win condition. Add to this the fact that Animal Boneyard is an enchantment and you have a recipe for a wasted card. Only defensive creature based decks will find this card worthy of deck space.

Constructed - Never seen it in a constructed deck and I never expect to - 1.5

Casual - A stronger pick for longer games and creature battles but still not great - 2.5

Limited - Not so bad since it allows chumps to provide extra benefit in the late game - 2.5

PEZ - Not at all worth it with loads of weenies and better life gain/damage prevention - 1.5

 Van Zandt

 Animal Boneyard
Diamond Valley-esque,  and notable as one of few cards in this block that
will potentially gain you a lot of life in the long run at no particularly
high extra cost (assuming you only sac creatures that were scheduled to die
anyways).  Becomes much better with a way to steal your opponent's
creatures, or to pump the toughness consistently before sac'ing.  Not
amazing,  but with more potential than first glance might afford.
constructed 2
casual 3
limited 3

Secret Squirrel on the

Where have I seen this again?  In onslaught.  Oh yeah, Starlit Sanctum.  Almost the same thing, except Sanctum is a land and only applies to Clerics.  Both aren’t particularly terrible.  Get out Lightning Greaves and Daru Spiritualist and get infinite life.  Other than that, I never thought that this card was really good by itself.  It can be disenchanted, and takes up the mana from a land... mana that could be spent winning the game.  It’s just a stall card; life gain has never been particularly useful.  Alright in casual, pretty pointless in limited. 
Constructed: 2.5
Casual: 3
Limited: 1.5
Animal Boneyard --
Honestly, I am not a huge fan of Animal Boneyard in any format.  When it was in Type II, it really never made an impact on the metagame, and I seriously doubt it can make an impact in Extended or Type I, where the format requires you to play only the best of the best cards. 
When I ran Animal Boneyard in limited decks, it usually meant I was short on good cards.  I can give it credit for being able to keep you in the game for a short time while you struggle to find a bomb card that may be hiding in your limited deck, but whenever you are being forced to sacrifice creatures to stay in the game, you are fighting a losing battle.
The casual environment is where cards like Animal Boneyard really shine.  Think of decks where you play yesterdays CotD, Chamber of Manipulation, and Animal Boneyard.  "OK, I'll steal your creature with Chamber of Manipulation, do whatever with it, and before the end of the turn, I'll sacrifice it to Animal Boneyard.  Thanks!"
Constructed Rating: 1.5
Limited Rating: 2.0
Casual Rating: 2.0


Animal Boneyard
Constructed - No deck can real build a competitive deck around this, or use its ability to gain a few life for creatures. Doesn't cut it.
Casual - This card was mentioned yesterday, as it is great to help out Chamber of Manipulation. It can also be used just to gain life off of your creatures, soon to die at the blade of combat. Maybe in a mass token producing deck, with centaur glades, or Riptide Replicators, to gain life, when life is needed more than beef. A few uses, some great, some not so great.
Limited - Not an incredibly early pick in OTJ Draft, though certainly has its uses. In draft, it will probably pick you up about 8 life each game for no cost (saccing critters who will die to combat), plus if really needed, can pick you up a few more for your precious ones. This ability CAN be useful but lifegain just isn't the first thing your looking for in a draft. In sealed, its a similar situation, but if your UW and have chamber as well... You better run them!
Constructed - 1.5
Casual - 2.5
Limited - 2.0

Copyright 2001


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