Ah, the fresh pastures of a new set release: 273 cards freshly spoiled and oozing with potential. Without any matches played yet, no metagame exists meaning no idea is too wild and nothing is too crazy. Now as you may have guessed from the title I’ve personally got my eye on one card in particular.
This card just does it all. Its good when you’re ahead, behind or at parity. It can press an advantage or help you catch up. It provides a natural two-for-one even when answered immediately and can take over an entire game if left unanswered. While what is essentially two 3/3’s for five mana doesn’t look that exciting, it’s not like Crested Herdcaller has been tearing up Standard, the difference is that the “real” Ooze demands an answer. If you get to untap and create another ooze you now have two 4/4s and a 3/3 for nine mana and a single card. There is simply nothing in the format that creates that many bodies or stats. For example, comparing it to March of the Multitudes, which has seen some Standard play, you could get six 1/1 creatures for nine mana. Of course Ooze is across two turns and March is both an instant and has Convoke. Either way you can see the obvious power from a pure stats perspective the card is fantastic.
The next thing to consider is how the card matches up with cards competing for the same slots. Carnage Tyrant is currently the clear best green top-end creature. With Ooze being a mana cheaper it will always come down first, and immediately has just as much power as tyrant with no extra work. Tyrant has the additional Hexproof upside and it can’t be countered , but counters can be played around and the Ooze’s power being split up mitigates the lack of Hexproof. In addition, if we play Ooze and our opponent responds by casting Tyrant without answering Ooze you might as well just sign the match slip. Nullhide Ferox is another threat filling a similar role, but once again, while it can be slightly annoying to deal it’s only really just a vanilla 6/6. In Golgari even something like Ravenous Chupacabra which usually is a pretty good trump in creature combat will leave our opponent with a 2/2 versus our 3/3. Not a bad spot to be.
Now what do we play with this card? The first thing to obviously check are if there are any ooze’s in Standard. Before doing the search I’d figured I’d be willing to try nearly any Ooze that came up. However the only two are Corrosive Ooze and Prime Speaker Vannifar. Somewhat disappointing, especially considering Oozes are a mainstay of the Simic combine, but I’ll take this to mean that the Play Design team was well aware of the Ooze’s power.
First let’s consider a Simic beatdown deck with a light +1/+1 counter theme powering-out Zegana, Utopian Speaker. Zegana is another card I’ve got my eye on, if we can play enough reasonable creatures with +1/+1 counters cards to consistently make her draw us cards she should be fantastic. This list is a pure creature list with the idea being to present a quick clock to put our opponent off balance and drain their removal before dropping an Ooze to lock up the game.
Simic Ooze – Morgan McLaughlin
While this list has minimal interaction and no removal, our sideboard should be able to solve some of those weaknesses. Negate and Frilled Mystic should help against control while Titanic brawl and Kraul Harpooner provide some removal options.
Another place I’d consider Ooze being a powerhouse is in a true midrange deck, the most likely home being in Golgari. Midrange decks can change drastically to adapt to a meta, so while I don’t expect this list to be even close to optimized, it should be good as a rough start. I’ve decided to cut the old Wildgrowth Walker explore package choosing to try out Growth-Chamber Guardian and Incubation Druid instead, though if aggro has a strong presence in the new meta I’d likely switch back. Regardless of what the meta looks like however, I know I want to be Ooze-ing in Golgari.
Sultai Ooze – Morgan McLaughlin
I’m sure there is a lot of iteration to be done on both of these lists, but we’ve got to start somewhere. For now we’re in the exciting time as we get the freedom to play with all of our new toys. Regardless of how each list shakes out I fully expect to see many Oozes on the battlefield in the coming year.