This card was clearly the inspiration for
yesterday's, though their original releases were
separated by more than ten years. Lightning
Greaves was a powerhouse right from its first
day in action, as it deprives your opponent of
not only the time to deal with a threat, but
also, more often than not, the opportunity to do
so at all. As you've probably figured already, I
don't consider shroud to be a "downside"
mechanic, unless you mean a downside for your
Today's card of the day is Lightning Greaves
which is a two mana equipment with zero equip
cost that gives Haste and Shroud. This is
one of the top equipments in the game as once it
is in play it effectively gives Haste to a newly
played creature each turn and can protect your
most valuable creature from most forms of
removal. This is a low cost and flexible card
for nearly any deck and will remain a staple in
Commander as well as a frequent sight across
In a Limited format with this it is basically
Haste for your entire deck and high end
protection for your top threat. This
belongs in any deck in Sealed and is well worth
taking first in Booster over many rares, but
should be a second or third pick nearly every
time. There is no drawback aside from the
decision of focusing on Haste instead of Shroud
and risking removal, which is purely
psychological and in no way a negative inherent
to the card itself.
I'm not generally a fan of equipment that
doesn't give a power/toughness boost or do
something super powerful. Lightning Greaves is
probably the biggest exception to that rule. In
my opinion, it's the second best equipment out
there after last week's stupid-good Jitte. True,
it might not be as blatantly powerful as some
equipment, but it's low cost and ease of use
make it better in my book.
But what's so good about this card? It does the
two best things for your big threat that you're
about to put out onto the battlefield - gives it
haste and protects it from targeted removal. And
the best part is that once you pay the small
cost of 2 to get the equipment onto the
battlefield, it never costs you again! I like
putting it on my best creature for the shroud,
then moving it over to another creature I just
put out for the haste, then moving back to the
original creature in the second main phase.
Probably the best use for this is in some combo
deck where a creature is the main and most
important part. If your opponent can't
counterspell your key creature, once you equip
this on it, they can't touch it and your combo
is nearly home-free!
The only potential snag with this is that it
gives shroud, not hexproof, meaning that you
cannot even target the creature with your own
spells. But, with the ZERO equip cost, you can
just move the equipment elsewhere for a moment,
target your guy with the pump spell or aura,
then move it back after the spell resolves.
Equipping does come at sorcery speed, so your
opponent could target your creature in response
to you equipping, but every card has it's weak
If your deck has creatures, there's little
reason not to play this.
It's hard to do this card justice and
explain just how powerful it really is. Just how
USEFUL it really is. There are some who consider
this one of the best pieces of equipment ever
printed, and they are not wrong to think so.
The real jewel of this card is the equip cost of
0. You thought Chariot of Victory was easy to
move around? Lightning Greaves can be cast
pretty early on into the game... and then pretty
much remains useful forever. For a mere one-time
2 mana investment, practically EVERYTHING you
cast for the rest of the game will have Haste.
For free. And the most important of these things
will have Shroud. What does that mean? That
means that every time you've heard somebody
say "This dies to Doom Blade," they are
now WRONG. Your strongest or most important guy
is now untouchable by kill spells, burn,
anything that targets. For free.
Back in the day, everyone used Lightning
Greaves. Even in decks where it wasn't really
necessary, sometimes you'd still see people
playing Lightning Greaves. People would use
Oblivion Ring on Lightning Greaves when that
card came out, it was that much of a threat.
Having a Lightning Greaves on the field was like
constantly being 1 turn ahead of your opponent
in terms of attacking, and also your opponent
couldn't really respond and destroy your guy
because the Greaves protected him. It was
frustrating to be against such a powerful and
fast tempo card with few responses available.
After Mirrodin was over and the dust had
settled, Wizards realized that the 0 equip cost
they had unleashed was simply too powerful.
Lightning Greaves was revised years later into
the toned-down-but-still-useful-maybe Swiftfoot
Boots. The lessons had been learned, and the
addition of a mere 1 mana to the equip cost was
enough to drastically reduce its power. But many
veterans remember well the power of Lightning
Greaves. It dominated casual. It was super
useful in limited and even multiplayer. It even
found itself getting a lot of play in
constructed. It was and is so good that almost
any format and many many decks could find some
way to benefit from it.
Take a second to imagine your biggest,
strongest, coolest most favourite creature card
Now give it Haste and Shroud... but don't
increase its mana cost.