Grummite Magus is part of The Elder Scrolls Legends story expansion Isle of Madness. The red 5/5 Grummite comes at a fairly high magicka cost of 7 equipped with the Guard keyword. He is situated among other red 7-costs like Belligerent Giant, Savage Ogre or Wildfire Dragon.
In other colors, there are some 7-cost guards, that you can use for comparison.
- The unique purple Nahagliiv comes with Guard but has better stats of 7/7. In addition, he cannot be targeted with actions by your opponent.
- The Neutral attribute offers Dark Harvester, who has Prophecy, as well as Guard and gains 4 health when summoned.
- In addition, there is the 5/6 Beast Wilds Incarnate from the FrostSpark Collection. The Moose, as he is called by many fans, allows you to draw a card is you have four runes, and another card, if you still have five runes. The Moose works in Aggro or Midrange decks to protect other creatures and allows you to gain card advantage.
Controversy Over Grummite Magus Summon-Ability
Grummite Magus has been the target of some heated discussion on card design quality. The reason is his special attribute. When Grummite Magus is summoned, your opponent discards the highest cost action in their hand. This makes him the first card in Legends to gain card advantage by forcing your opponent to discard a card. But it’s not only a card that needs discarding. Your opponent needs to discard a powerful card, namely the highest cost action in their hand. This certainly endangers so many fun decks that heavily rely on actions as their win condition. In particular, if your opponent was playing Singleton, and you were to hit his Siege of Stros M’Kai, this card can really be un-fun.
On the other hand, the Grummite also comes at a risk. What if your opponent does not have an action in hand? Well, in this case, nothing is discarded and you just spent 7 magicka for a card that usually costs 5.
Grummite Mage hits the highest cost action in your opponent’s hand. Obviously, you want them to discard something high-value. Examples are Ice Storm, Arrest, Journey to Sovngarde, Mighty Conjuring, Ulfric’s Uprising, Dawn’s Wrath, Unstoppable Rage, Chodala’s Treachery, Divath’s Experiment, Siege of Stros M’Kai, The Red Year or Tullius’ Conscription. Basically, the Who-is-Who of any action-based win condition.
Grummite Mage requires your magicka to get to 7. By this time your opponent will have drawn 3 cards for the Mulligan and 6 or 7 cards, depending on who has the ring of magicka. Let’s assume, your opponent is running three copies of their action-based win condition in a 50 card deck. They will have a chance of between 45% to 50% to have at least one copy their win condition in hand. If your opponent is running a lot of card draw or deck cycling cards, this probability will even be higher. With a Cornerclub Gambler, a Merchant’s Camel or/ and (!) an Indoril Mastermind, these chances will be north of 50%.
Evaluating Grummite Magus using Quadrant Theory
Grummite Magus during Opening
Grummite Magus has very limited benefits during Opening. His high magicka cost really make it impossible to play him during your first 6 or 7 turns. Let’s assume your deck is running 3 copies of Grummite Magus. With the ring of magicka, you have a chance of about 45% chance of drawing one copy of the Magus by turn 6. Without the ring of magicka you have a 50%-chance of drawing one copy of the Magus by turn 7. When you get to play him on curve, you get a 45% – 50% chance of hitting one of the target actions that might be a win condition for your opponent.
At Parity, when both players solely rely on their top deck card, the Magus is really only a 5/5 Guard. Most likely, this is reasonable protection for any other creatures you might still have on board. However, you will most likely not get any benefits from his destructive ability. Equally, any 7-cost that your opponent is drawing will likely have better stats than the Grummite, allowing them to trade 2-for-1. Hence, at Parity, the Magus is ok, but really not great.
In Quadrant theory, you are winning when you can reduce your opponent’s health points to zero in two to three turns. In this case, you will usually have a dominant board presence. Your board is usually very vulnerable to mass removal actions, such as Ice Storm, Dawn’s Wrath or Unstoppable Rage. In this scenario, Grummite Magus can help to play around that removal action. This might make him a reasonable destructive tool to protect your final one or two turns.
When you are losing, you are in need of a turnaround card. In this scenario, the Magus is just a somewhat over-costed guard, that provides a special effect. Most likely, that special effect is not going to make much of an impact, because your opponent already has a strong board presence.
Quadrant Theory – Summary
Grummite Magus is a disruptive option for decks that build a wide board presence. Here, Grummite Magus can help as an on-curve play to reduce the likelihood of being affected by mass-removal actions, such as Ice Storm. In Mid-range decks, the first Grummite in Legends can help to protect your board or provide additional card advantage. He is particularly valuable, when you suspect your opponent is running some powerful actions as their win condition. However, the card is expensive, and if you cannot trigger the effect, you are wasting magicka and will likely be losing tempo. Your best option is to potentially slam the Grummite down, after your Telvanni opponent played Sun-In-Shadows and now definitely has an action in hand.
Let’s look at some of the synergies for the card.
Synergies – Banishing and Re-Summoning
After you have played Grummite Magus successfully once, you may use Piercing Twilight to banish the action from both your opponent’s discard pile and their deck. This is the most permanent option to get rid of a particularly undesirable action almost for good. Note, your opponent might still have copies of the card in hand.
If your deck includes many cards with a summon effect, Grummite Magus brings synergy with any card that replicates summon effects. The neutral 2-cost action A Night to Remember will let Grummite Magus appear in the other lane, discarding another action of your opponent. Similar “clone” effects can be achieved by Doppelganger, Dark Rebirth or to a lesser agree with Brilliant Experiment.
Another option to re-use the Grummite, is to use Discard Pile Tutors, such as Falkreath Defiler or Soul Tear. This is probably the most generic option, but is only option to Warrior or House Redoran decks.
Avoid Actions, “Protector-Actions”
Obvious counter-plays are to include little to no actions in your (aggro) deck. If you are using action cards like Lightning Bolt to beat down your opponent, you can consider playing them on a turn before your opponent can even play the Grummite.
If you want to protect your 4-cost Lightning Bolt, you might want to consider keeping another higher cost action in hand. Perhaps a Pseudo Action Tutor can generate a high-cost action that you do not really need, to “protect” the one you really desperately require. Of course, these are very situational options, that you shouldn’t build a deck around, but in case your deck anyway runs those RNG effects to create actions, you might be able to use this strategy on occasion.
When playing the blue Intelligence attribute, you can also consider to use Mages Guild Recruit to reduce the cost of specific actions to protect a critical one.
Another strategy involves discard pile action tutors such as Ayrenn (see Action Tutors in The Elder Scrolls Legends). She can bring back a random action from your discard pile. Ideally, you would like to have a card that allows you to bring back a specific action, but this card does not yet exist. Maybe other cards in Isle of Madness will address this.
Banishing Grummite Magus
Another option is to banish Grummite Magus, using Cast Into Time or Piercing Twilight. Cast Into Time is the most direct option, discarding all copies from draw deck. Piercing Twilight banishes the Magus from discard pile and draw deck. Memory Wraith is not particularly useful, as he would only discard the copies in the discard pile.
Both the red Strength and the purple Endurance Attribute now provide several disruptive cards. Some are changing “the rules of the game”, while others mess-up your opponent’s hand. Prominent examples are:
- Withered Hand Cultist, who increases the magicka cost of all actions.
- Wraths of Sithis, who increases the magicka cost of every card for your opponent by 1 for their next turn.
- Garnag Dark Adherent, who does not allow players to have more than 7 magicka.
- Hallowed Deathpriest turns the highest cost creature in your opponent’s hand.
Many Aggro Warrior or Aggro Redoran decks in the current meta are running Withered Hand Cultist or Dark Adherent for their long term effects. In combination with Hallowed Deathpriest, Grummite Magus or Wraths of Sithis, these decks have some additional options to disrupt the opponent. These are only situational plays, so they in general lack the continuing consistency of Withered Hand Cultist or Garnag. As a one-off they might make it into some variations of those decks.
But also mid-range Battlemage or Dagoth might like to include the Grummite Magus in an action-heavy meta.
If you have other ideas for decks to include this card in, please share this in the comments or send us a link for a decklist.
We will be discussing the Grummite more, as all the remaining cards of IoM are getting revealed. If you have other ideas for decks to include this card in, please share this in the comments or send us a link for a decklist.