With the release of the Amonkhet set, many Magic: the Gathering players were excited about the number of “-1/-1 counters matters” cards in the set. This excitement caused a chain reaction of cards centered around the -1/-1 counter mechanic being bought out all over the internet. Most notably, this includes cards from the Shadowmoor and Eventide sets, such as Dusk Urchins and Crumbling Ashes.
But, one card that didn’t show significant growth is perhaps one of the best cards in the Shadowmoor/Eventide block -1/-1 counter strategy. That’s a creature known as Necroskitter. This 3-mana 1 / 4 creature may look unassuming at first. Even while he deals damage to creatures as -1/-1 counters, this doesn’t seem too exciting. The key to Necroskitter’s power is his second ability:
Whenever a creature an opponent controls with a -1/-1 counter on it is put into a graveyard, you may return that card to play under your control.
This is a particularly powerful effect. Wither was a pretty powerful mechanic back in the day. Nowadays, creatures with the Infect mechanic also offer the ability to deal combat damage in the form of -1/-1 counters. So it’s actually a bit of a surprise that Necroskitter doesn’t see much play now… or does he?
Before being reprinted in Modern Masters 2015, Necroskitter was a $5 card, mainly due to casual interest and Commander play. After the reprint, the price dove, hitting an all-time low of under $2 in March of 2017. The Modern Masters reprint version was less than a dollar for a long time, before seeing an uptick towards $1 after the release of Amonkhet. It took time and had to get a lot of love from buylists before eventually rising back to around $4 in 2018. That’s most likely not a coincidence.
There are creatures in Amonkhet such as Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, who throw a lot of -1/-1 counters around. Plus whenever you put a -1/-1 counter on any creature, you get a -1/-1 Snake token. Along with several other creatures that throw around a lot of -1/-1 counters, it looks like you have the basis of a pretty solid Modern deck. Necroskitter would seem to be a natural fit for being included in that sort of deck. There seems to be a powerful Modern strategy that could be brewed here, but it just hasn’t emerged just yet.
In Commander, Necroskitter still sees plenty of attention, especially with -1/-1 counter happy Commanders like The Scorpion God, Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, and the aforementioned Hapatra. Infect-themed Commander decks like Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon are happy to have a copy of Necroskitter, too.
What do you think of Necroskitter? Is it being overlooked because of its unexciting stats? Will it take other -1/-1 counter synergy cards to finally find a home in one of the more competitive formats in Magic the Gathering?
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