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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Gnarled Scarhide
Image from Wizards.com

 Gnarled Scarhide
- Journey into Nyx

Reviewed May 2, 2014

Constructed: 3.38
Casual: 3.13
Limited: 3.50
Multiplayer: 3.13

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

Click here to see all of our 
Card of the Day Reviews 

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Gnarled Scarhide
The first thing I thought of when I read this card was the fact that you can put it on your opponent's creature and make it unable to block, and how that has usually been part of white's domain. I don't have a problem with that at all, but it is kind of funny. As regular readers will know, I enjoy and appreciate any kind of card that does double duty, and this one goes into the realm of triple duty, performing pretty decently in all three of its clear uses.
Constructed: 3/5
Casual: 3/5
Limited: 3/5
Multiplayer: 3/5
Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Gnarled Scarhide which is a one mana Black
2/1 enchantment creature that can't block and has a Bestow cost of four for +2/+1 and enchanted creature can't block.  This is a very playable one mana drop for Black that supports both minotaur and enchantment themes.  In the later game it has the added benefit of being able to shut down a defensive creature, though primarily it will be used as an Unholy Strength with a penalty or just an added offensive body.  It will see play competitively in several builds and will help make mono-Black enchantment a viable design.
In Limited this is a great card to have in your pool for Sealed or as an early to middle of the pack choice in Booster.  A one mana 2/1 can come into play early and just swing almost every turn as with no concern of leaving it to block only creatures with First Strike or higher than two toughness should stop it from attacking, barring combat tricks.  The Bestow option may come into play as a boost for an evasive creature you always want to attack with or to stop a defender to help with other attackers or an alpha strike.
Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 4.0
Multiplayer: 3.5


Deck Garage

Gnarled Scarhide

I must confess that I didn't think much of this card at first. Most of the bestow cards are much better when you play them as an aura on your own creature, so that's how I looked at it. Gnarled Scarhide, however, is designed to go into aggressive decks that want to play it first turn. If you can get it out on the first turn, you can swing for two very quickly and get ahead. If that's where the card stopped, it would still be played, though it wouldn't get a lot of special attention.

But that's not where it stops. A normal 2/1 for 1 is nearly useless after the first few turns - especially since it can't even be a chump blocker. That's where the bestow comes in. This bestow has the unique quality that it will sometimes be good to bestow it on your creatures, and sometimes on your opponent's. Later in the game, maybe that extra 2 power on your flying creature is what you need to finish off your opponent, so you use it on yourself. The real tech is when you put it on your opponent's creature so they can't block your attacker. You have to do this with caution, of course, because buffing an opposing creature can have it's drawbacks, but in the right type of deck, you're racing your opponent and it will often benefit you more than it hurts. All that matters is that you get your opponent to zero before you get there, right?

Casual, multiplayer, and limited are less likely to have the aggressive decks where this shines, so -1 in those formats.

Constructed: 4
Casual: 3
Limited: 3
Multiplayer: 3

Michael Sokolowski

You know, at first glance this card didn't blow me away or anything, but it's actually starting to grow on me another bit. It does actually have some versatility in the ways that you can use it, and while sometimes this means that each mode is sub-par, in this case they all do a pretty decent job.
The first way to use it is simply a 2/1 for 1. And you know what? That's not bad. It's nothing that blows my mind or anything, but it can help you build a very nice aggressive start, which shouldn't be underestimated. Sure it can't block, but in the aggressive-style deck you'd want to use this in blocking isn't all that important anyway. Ideally you wouldn't even NEED to block, because your opponent is so scared of your attackers that they're holding back their own creatures to block.
The traditional weakness of a low-cost creature like this is that they're useless later in the game. A 2/1 sounds great on turn 1 or 2, but is it really the card you want to draw on turn 8 when there are maybe 6/6's and such out? Fortunately this guy also has bestow, so instead of tossing out another low-level attack you can instead power up one of your more dangerous and threatening creatures, maybe something with trample or flying. Again the not blocking thing can maybe be slightly annoying, especially if your opponent has some decent threats out. But ideally you're doing more attacking than blocking in the first place.
And then there's the 3rd way. The quasi-removal quasi-combat trick. Enchanted creature can't block, you say? Why not bestow this onto an opponent then! Of course it'd have to be the right situation, say a turn when you had enough power to end the game but your opponent has blockers. You don't want to give your opponent a chance to actually USE the increased power and toughness you're giving him. But in the right moment, it can do its part to help you win the game.
That's really pretty much it. It's not mindblowing or game breaking in what it does, and personally I've never really been a big fan of any attacking creature that can be killed by a simple 1/1 without a fun trick up its sleeve like Bloodghast. But it certainly does have its uses.
Constructed: 3
Casual: 3
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 3

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