Discard Pile Creature Tutors – An In-Depth Look

Your opponent has just removed a creature that was pretty valuable for your game plan? Whether it’s an important combo piece being hit by their Territorial Viper, or whether it’s your Apex Wolf, Torval Extortionist, Therana, or Odahviing: you really need them back pretty badly? There is hope for you, because Discard Pile Creature Tutors can do exactly this trick for you. 

With Discard Pile Creature Tutors you can bring back your “most-valuable-player” at a point when you need him or her the most. But Discard Pile Creature Tutors not only let you fetch back your MVP, they can also be a flexible tutoring tool to get removal, reach or life gain back if you need them desperately. In this sense, Discard Pile Creature Tutors are less usable during the game opening, but more for the mid- or late-game when you are fighting for board control and you need your MVP back to close out the game, or you need a tool to stay in the game when you are at the brink of losing.

Discard Pile Creature Tutors

This article provides an in-depth look at discard pile tutors in The Elder Scrolls Legends. To learn more about the other different types of tutors, please refer to the list of related articles at the bottom. Note, if you are looking to find a discard pile tutor for a support, action or item card, please refer to the relevant articles, also listed at the bottom. Here, we will only discuss discard pile creature tutors:

  • Discard Pile Creature Tutors: You draw a creature from your discard pile. This tutor basically fetches a creature that you played at least once (or managed to get into the discard pile via other means). As of this writing, TESL offers discard pile creature tutors in Endurance, in Orc Warrior and in the Neutral attribute.


Flexibility Makes a Difference

For discard pile creature tutors to work, you only need a creature in your discard pile. Usually, during the early game, you will have a few lower cost (and hence lower value) creatures in your discard pile. Getting these back can be awesome in the appropriate moment, to help protect some more powerful creatures or facilitate some favorable trades. Here are some examples (non-exhaustive, of course):

  • 2-cost Wardcrafter will allow you to protect a creature with a Ward to trade more favourably.
  • The 2-cost Shrieking Harpy will Shackle a bigger creature threatening to swing big time to your face.
  • 3-cost Black Hand Messenger deals 2 damages to a creature. Most likely, you can remove an early-game threat or a bigger target that took a bit of damage but just didn’t get killed yet. In addition, you drain two life and get another two upon removal of BHM. In total, that’s 4 life when you play him the first time and another 4 when you fetch him back from discard pile. An enormous amount of value.
  • 4-cost Territorial Viper is a lethal charge creature. Use it to remove any creature that’s not hidden in the shadows nor protected from a guard in the same lane.

These are a few examples of the flexibility that a discard pile creature tutor can provide. This can be key if your hand doesn’t provide an immediate answer to a bigger threat on the board.

Soul Tear

Soul Tear

The Shout Soul Tear allows you to draw a a creature from your discard pile back to hand. As Shouts improve in strength as you play multiple copies, the second creature you fetch back gets +2/ +2, the third and all additional ones get +5/ +5. With Word Wall (oftentimes in combination with A Night to Remember), Soul Tear can be leveled up very quickly and get you even three +5/+5 fetches. For a long time, Shout Scout decks have been using Soul Tear, Giant Bats with Charge to generate large amounts of Reach to control the board and finish the opponent. The 12-cost Paarthunax can be another source to generate more Soul Tears. They are one of the best shouts in the game.

Falkreath Defiler

Falkreath Defiler

The Imperial Falkreath Defiler is a 4-cost 3/3 with a wonderful Slay ability – he summons a creature of your choice from your discard pile. He is probably one of the best discard pile creature tutors in the game. With him in hand, you want to retain some of your opponents’ creatures with 1 or 2 power in the Shadow Lane. This way, you can use his discard pile tutoring effect multiple times. He also combos very nicely with items such as the Sword of the Inferno from the FrostSpark Collection, or with the Quicksilver Crossbow, that let’s the wielder deal one damage. Use the Crossbow to remove a 1-health creature and the Sword to remove a 2-health creature, ideally from the Field Lane.

Falkreath Defiler Trickery – Summon your MVP in turn 5

Some Discard Pile Creature Tutors, like Falkreath Defiler or Blackworm Necromancer allow you to summon a creature directly to the board. You can use these Discard Pile Tutors to do an amazing, jaw-dropping trick:

  1. Use a low-cost card to discard a big powerhouse to your discard pile. Some examples of deck-cycling cards that allow you to do this, are:
    1. Intelligence (Blue): Palace Conspirator, Studiosus Greybead
    2. Agility (Green): Dres Spy, Cornerclub Gambler
    3. Endurance (Purple): Indoril Mastermind
    4. Scout (Green/ Purple): Scout’s Report
    5. Neutral: Dwemer Puzzle Box, Merchant’s Camel.
  2. Use Falkreath Defiler to summon that powerhouse card from your discard pile. You can get a 12-cost creature like Odahviing, Paarthunax, Iron Atronach or even something cheaper already on turn 5, which is just crazy value.

Here is a recent Ramp Rebirth Warrior decklist originally from Warriors7 RAMP, RAGE, REBIRTH (FALKREATHDEFILER+NIGHTTALON) that leverages this idea with Night Talon Lord or Blood Magic Lords as finishers. Check out this great Deck Tech article of Ramp Warrior on Team Rankstar’s blog, and Chandller Howlands’ Deck Spotlight on NumotGaming’s blog.

Black Worm Necromancer

Black Worm Necromancer

4/4 Black Worm Necromancer is another discard pile creature tutor who summons a creature. In contrast to Falkreath Defiler, though, his tutoring effect is random, so you cannot pick the creature to be fetched. However, the ability is not a Slay effect, but a summon-ability. This does get you immediate value and great tempo as you get to play a 6-cost and another random creature from discard.

Black Worm Necromancer can help you regain control of the Field Lane, if your opponent has been pressuring you a lot. Equally, you can use it in the Shadow Lane to build a lot of pressure in an Aggro Beatdown deck. As a tutoring condition you will need to have more health than your opponent to trigger the effect. This also weighs towards using him in Aggro decks to put further pressure on the board and keep trading favorably. Many use him as the 6-drop in Aggro Warrior builds for this purpose.

Odirniran Necromancer

Discard Pile Tutors
Odirniran Necormancer

As you must have noticed, Odirniran Necromancer is probably one of the most diffcult to pronounce card titles in TESL. Odirniran is a dungeon in The Elder Scrolls Morrowind (for more details refer to UESP Wiki). The 6-cost dark elf is among the best cards in the game, because it provides huge value. While the 3/3 stats are not great, the Necromancer summons a creature from your discard pile with less power than himself. Basically, this can be any 2-power card, unless you get to buff his power (usually this is done in Redoran decks with Praetorian Commander, Divine Fervor or less often with Caius’ Machinations).

Note, that a buffed Odirniran Necromancer can also fetch a Praetorian Commander from the discard pile, which would give all your remaining draw deck creatures a +2/+2 buff. This strategy can be employed as a win conditon in Control, Midrange and particularly in Conscription decks.

Skeletal Dragon

Discard Pile Tutors

The 8-cost Skeletal Dragon is both a Dragon and a Skeleton. This gives him tribal synergy to both Dragons as well as Skeletons. For his cost, his stats are rather heavily discounted. This is due to his special abilities. For one, he buffs all creatures in your discard pile by +2/ +2. His discard pile tutor effect comes with his Last Last Gasp ability. When the dragon dies, you may draw a random creature from your discard pile. Since the dragon buffs all creatures in your discard pile, you almost want to get them all back.
This can be achieved by involving other discard pile creature tutors, like Gravesinger, who summon more than one creature from discard pile, across multiple turns.

Journey to Sovngarde

Note, that the +2/+2 buff goes against Odirniran Necromancer, making it very difficult for him to get value. Instead, you ought to use Soul Tear, Black Worm Necromancer or Falkreath Defiler.

Additionally, Skeletal Dragon provides great synergy with Journey to Sovngarde: this unique legendary 7-cost action shuffles all creatures from your discard pile back into your draw deck and adds another buff of +5/+5 to all affected creatures.

The rather high magicka cost of Skeletal Dragon, as well as fact that you need multiple turns to get value out of him he is only an option in long-running Control decks.


Discard Pile Tutors

The 10-cost 6/6 Imperial Gravesinger comes with a recurring discard pile tutoring effect: At the start of your turn, he summons the highest cost creature from your discard pile and gives it Charge. Similarly to Falkreath Defiler, you can use him to summon a very powerful creature. I am always smiling when I get an Aspect of Hircine, an Odahviing or an Iron Atronach with Charge. The card is then put back to the bottom of your deck.

If your opponent cannot remove him, you will get enormous long-time value from him. He does not have an immediate tempo effect when played, but can be used for some fun one-turn-kill combos. For example, in Eyrie Ramp Warrior decks (using World Eater’s Eyrie to double power and health of all creatures that cost 7 or more), you get a 12/12 Gravesinger, who will summon another powerful creature at the start of your next turn (e.g. an Aspect of Hircine with 24/24) – two powerful swings where you hope to not hit a prophecy. A meme-ish, but hugely fun deck.

Militant Chieftain

Discard Pile Tutors Militant Chieftain
Militant Chieftain

The 5-cost multi-color Militant Chieftain is build for Orc Warrior decks. When summoned, he draws a random Orc from your discard pile. He also buffs all friendly Orcs (except him) by +1/ +1 while in play. Obviously, this is a great card to draw when you are winning, becuase the Chieftain will accelerate the beatdown. He has good synergy with Gortwog gro-Nagrom (see Creature Tutors in the Elder Scrolls Legends – An In-Depth Look). Gortwog is a 6-cost creature tutor, who fetches a random Orc from your draw deck. Together, these two usually put your opponent under very heavy pressure that will be difficult to counter-play.

Gearwork Spider

Discard Pile Tutors Gearwork Spider

The 1-cost 1/1 Gearwork Spider is a Dwemer with Prophecy and Guard. When played, it summons all Gearwork Spiders in your discard pile to the board. This can be a really effective line of protection in Dwemer decks, where Halls of the Dwemer can easily buff the Spider to become a 4/1.With Halls of the Dwemer in play, you should never concede a game when running Gearwork Spiders. A single rune break can get you 12 power onto the board, which might be a huge turnaround swing. Either to stop your opponent from getting your health to zero, or to counter-play by dealing lots of damage yourself.

Galyn the Shelterer, can shuffle an additional three 4/4 copies of the Spider into your deck. Another good synergy can be achieved with Skeletal Dragon: when he buffs your Spiders in the discard pile to become 3/3s, a Hal ls of the Dwemer will buff them to become 6/3s, for a total power of 16 from the Spiders alone.

Yagrum Bagarn

Discard Pile Tutors Yagrum Bagarn

Another Dwemer discard pile creature tutor is Yagrum Bagarn. The 3-cost 2/4 draws a Dwemer from discard pile and gives it +2/+2. This unique legendary is often seen in Dwemer decks and in certain combo decks. He is particularly amazing, if you get to play Galyn the Shelterer to shuffle a few more Yagrum’s into your deck. Yagrum can create a few very big Dwemer monstrosities. He is best combined with Halls of the Dwemer and other neutral Dwemer cards.

Assuming you will have discarded the appropriate Dwemer before, Yagrum can be very versatile and fetch any of the following effects:

  • Card Draw: Fetch Spider Worker to draw a card, when he is summoned.
  • Shackle: Fetch a Dwarven Sphere.
  • Guard: Tutor for Gearwork Spider (see above), or for Dwarven Dynamo, who can not only provide guard, but also add +3 reach to one of your neutral creatures that has not yet attacked this turn.
  • Creature Tutor: Fetch Brass Arquebus, who will summon an additional three 1-cost cards from your deck when he is killed.
  • Pseudo Creature Tutors: Tutor for Stronghold Incubator. His Last Gasp ability will put two random Dwemer to your hand. Alternatively, Steam Constructor will pseudo tutor a 1/1 Reconstructed Spider. As
    a third option, consider fetch Mechanical Ally, who can summon a Spider Worker for card draw.

Alduin – This World is Mine!

Discard Pile Tutors Alduin

Last but not least, we should mention Alduin. This 20-cost Dragon is one of the most powerful creatures in the game and enters play with one of the coolest visual effects in all of TESL. To play him, you need to reduce his cost, by having a minimum of 4 Dragons in your discard pile. Thus, he should only be included in Dragon tribal control decks that run a lot of deck cycling cards (e.g. Indoril Mastermind, Merchant’s Camel, …), that can help you to discard as many dragons as possible.

As Alduin is a neutral unique Legendary, you can include him in any Dragon deck. However, as three-color decks contain 25 additional cards, they reduce the probability of drawing him considerably. Therefore, most Alduin decks are two-color decks. When Alduin is summoned, he destroys all other creatures on board, including your own. Don’t worry, though – at least, if these are Dragons. Because, at the start of your turn, he summons a random dragon from your discard pile. Most likely, if Alduin is not immediately removed, your opponent will be in huge, huge trouble to keep or regain board control.

In addition to the deck cycling cards, which can help to draw him faster, and to discard more dragons, there are only very few cards that can help to tutor Alduin. Laaneth, for examples, would guarantee you the draw.

What’s Next?

In the next articles of our mini-series about tutors, we will be looking at creature pseudo tutors and at tutors that allow you to fetch a card of any type from your deck. Laaneth is probably the most popular example, but there are a lot more. In the meantime, please check out the other articles looking about tutors in TESL:


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