Wake the Dead – Uses and Synergies
Wake the Dead is a 2-cost action from the Isle of Madness story expansion. The action tutors a Spirit or Skeleton from your draw deck to hand and increases it’s health by 1. This makes Wake the Dead one of the cheapest creature tutors in Legends. The action provides a lot of versatility, as there are Spirits and Skeletons with very unique abilities to choose from.
Let’s look at what creatures can be fetched to evaluate uses and synergies of the card. Currently, the Spirit and Skeleton tribes exist only in the blue and purple attributes, as well as a few neutral cards.
Wake the Dead & Intelligence
Icy Shambles is a great 4-cost 2/3. It deals two damage to a creature when summoned, and shackles creatures that are damaged. To learn more about the card, please check our the in-depth review, here. When fetched with Wake the Dead, Icy Shambles can substantially slow-down an aggressive opponent who relies on few, bigger threats.
The 3-cost 5/4 Vigilant Ancestor is a strong Guard when played on curve, as he has synergies with 5-power-creature decks. While he is strong during game opening, spending 2 magicka to tutor a 3-cost 5/4 seems a little bit excessive. If your deck can make use of the Ancestor on curve, Wake the Dead gives slightly more versatility. Consider this option when your deck feels weak on cards with utility at parity or the Turnaround phase.
The 5-cost Memory Wraith allows you to banish your opponent’s discard pile. It is great counterplay against decks that rely on Journey of Sovngarde, Skeletal Dragon, Gravesinger or Alduin as win condition. Equally any deck relying on discard pile tutoring via Falkreath Defiler or Odirniran Necromancer (e.g. Slay Scout, several Telvanni decks, Graveyard Warrior and many more) can be heavily punished by the Wraith.
Wispmother summons a copy of a creature that costs 2 or less to the other lane. In combination with 2-cost charge creatures like Crazed Hunger, this can generate a good amount of burst damage for Telvanni. Alternatively, cloning Siege Catapults, Crystal Tower Crafters, Crucible Blacksmiths can provide some cool combos in Sorcerer as well.
Wait… Wasn’t there this Lich’s Ascension deck that used Wispmother and Genius Pathmage’s to duplicate Iron Atronachs to the other lane?! Oh yes, what a fun combo! Wake the Dead can make it much easier to find that Wispmother…
Nahkriin, Dragon Priest
The 9-cost Nahkriin, Dragon Priest is a reasonable Wake the Dead target when your control deck is running a lot of high-cost cards. For 9 magicka you can play a 5/5 body plus whatever Nahkriin finds on top of your draw deck. Potentially Magicka Ramp decks might consider this option, as they usually run a higher number of big creatures.
Wake the Dead & Endurance
Dragon Cult Ghost
Dragon Cult Ghost spends all your available magicka and gives the Spirit power and health equal to the magicka spent. Fetching the Ghost can be great when at Parity or to keep pressure on your opponent when winning. Many dislike the Ghost, because your opponent can easily remove him with a point removal action or a lethal creature. However, with Wake the Dead you can find the right point in time to fetch and play him. Unfortunately, if played on the same turn as Wake the Dead the Ghost stats are reduced by 2/2 already. This almost requires you to play it on a consecutive turn, which makes the combo feel a bit odd…
Low-cost Skeletons like the lethal Deadly Draugr, or the 1/1 Deathless Draugr or Ancient Lookout might not be worth the tutoring investment, as these tokens make too small of an impact.
Skinned Hound might already be worth the tutoring investment, if you have a high-power-high-health creature (like Siege Catapult) in play that you want to equip with the Guard keyword. When considering Skinned Hound, always weigh between him and Vigilant Ancestor, if your deck is running blue cards as well.
If you want to include more Prophecy cards in your Skeleton-deck, Bone Walker might be worth a look as well. Against aggressive decks, particularly token decks, he can be good counter-play and also buy you some additional tempo.
Ancestral Dead might be a tutor-target in a token deck with Night Mother or other means to summon 0/1 Targets for your opponent. Otherwise, the body is probably not worth the tutoring investment.
If you are planning to build an aggressive deck, you can consider to fetch and play Dark Guardian before you are starting to break your opponents runes. The reason is simple: the 2/5 Guard draws you a card, when you hit your opponent’s Prophecy and adds protection to your creatures leading the attack.
In a situation, where three or more creatures are going to die in one lane, Grim Champion is a potential option to fetch, if you can play him before trading in. Restless Templar is a 4-cost 5/2 with the ability to gain 5 life when his Last Gasp is triggered. He is another example of how Wake the Dead can add versatility to your deck. Including one or two copies of the Templar is potentially already enough to keep you in the game, when you are Losing.
For tribal Skeleton tribal decks, Skeleton Champion can be an interesting tutor option, when you have several Skeletons already in play, to give each of them a +1/ +1 buff. Probably best played the turn after your Bone Colossus was summoned to Shadow Lane.
Using Wake the Dead to summon Imprisoned Deathlord might not be such a great option, as the card pool contains several 6 cost creatures with 6 power and health. The lower stats of -1/ -1 are usually much better than having the Deathlord shackled whenever your opponent summons a creature.
Haunting Spirit is a very popular creature, since the 3-cost 3/3 gives a friendly creature a +3/ +3 buff when his Last Gasp ability is triggered. Oftentimes this ability is also used to boost the stats of another creature in a stacked lane with 4 if your creatures. However, if you want to run Wake the Dead just to tutor Haunting Spirit appears to be somewhat questionable, as your deck might like more creatures that can pick up the +3/ +3 buff.
The 4-cost 5/5 Corrupted Shade with Ward is a very powerful body as long as his Ward remains intact. If you need a big beat down creature on turn 5 or 6, you now fetch the Shade from your deck to go for face heavily next turn, requiring an answer by your opponent.
The 4-cost 2/2 Cursed Spectre allows you to silence a creature. Similar to Bone Walker, Cursed Spectre’s Prophecy ability can also allow for a tempo play. When facing Vivec- or other Gods like Almalexia or Sotha Sil, the Wake the Dead / Cursed Spectre combo might be exactly what you need to win a game. Again, maybe include only one copy of Cursed Spectre alongside some other Spirits or Skeletons, but three copies Wake the Dead in your deck to be able to deal with a multitude of situations more flexibly.
The final medium-cost Spirit is Gloom Wraith. It gains +1/ +1 for each purple creature already in play and can use it’s Breakthrough attribute to cause some face damage, while fighting for the board. In a purple-heavy token deck (Skeleton?!), this might give you a 6-cost 6/6 (or even a 7/7) body which is usually not too bad.
The 5-cost Hallowed Deathpriest can be an excellent tutor target for Wake the Dead. He is awesome counter-play, when your opponent uses a Magicka Ramp deck, or when they are otherwise relying on high-cost creatures as their win condition (e.g. oftentimes in Tribunal Control decks). The Deathpriest will elegantly turn these into 2/2 Skeletons when played at the right point in time and frustrate your opponent.
Wraith of Sithis
Wraith of Sithis increases the magicka cost of each card by one on your opponent’s next turn. With Wake the Dead, you are easily able to pull the Wraith to hand and disrupt your opponent’s plans considerably. Another one of those flex-options to consider…
The 7-cost Bone Colossus is another good target for Wake the Dead and can give great utility (particularly at Parity) or when you are already in control of one lane. In this case “Bone Daddy” will summon three fellow 1/1 Skeletons and buff all Skeletons by +1/+1, thus providing 12/12 in stats across 4 bodies. Ideally, you already have a Skeleton Champion in hand to buff them even further. If you already like playing with a Skeleton deck that leverages Bone Daddy and Skeleton Champion, Wake the Dead is surely a great inclusion to increase the consistency of that combo in your deck.
The 8-cost Skeletal Dragon is a creature of type Skeleton + Dragon and can be fetched by Wake the Dead, too. The 5/5 Guard also comes with a great effect, as it boosts all creatures in your discard pile by +2/ +2. Combined with a Gravesinger or other Discard Pile Tutors, or Journey to Sovngarde, this can also make for a powerful combo deck.
Wake the Dead & Neutral
Reflective Automaton has all creature types, thus the 2-cost 2/3 Factotum can be drawn by Wake the Dead as well. Certainly, it appears not to be the biggest body, but it can be used in a very clever way with Ring of Lordship to reduce the cost of all your cards by one. In a Sorcerer item decks with Redguards, you can use Crucible Blacksmith to tutor the Ring.
However, “Lord Automaton” can also function as a Thieves Guild Fence. In Scout or Telvanni, this can nicely increase the consistency of drawing your “card-cost-reduction”. Perhaps this can be used for a Telvanni Item or Swindler’s Market (Skeleton) cycle combo deck?! Get those creative deckbuilding juices flowing…
The 3-cost 3/3 Ghost Fanatic is also a new card from Isle of Madness (please see the in-depth card review). The Spirit’s cost are reduced for each creature that died on a turn. Thus, if you managed to get three creatures killed on your turn, you could use Wake the Dead to play Ghost Fanatic as a 0-cost. Still, not the greatest tutor-target, but maybe someone finds use in a Skeleton token deck for this?!
Morokei, the Deathless
Running one copy of Wake the Dead can slightly increase your ability to pull Morokei, the Deathless from a Singleton deck. In a Singleton deck, the versatility provided by Wake the Dead, might actually make him a good choice, alongside some of the other, more powerful Spirits and Skeletons.
The 6-cost 5/5 Illusory Mimic gains all keywords that the top 3 cards of your deck have. Some cards in Isle of Madness are adding support for keyword-rich decks, making this potentially a route for Sorcerer or House Telvanni decks in particular. Using a tutor to draw a 6-cost with a bunch of keywords might not generate a hugely impactful play for 8 magicka, unless you can almost be certain to get a Charge/ Drain combo.
Potentially, House Redoran might consider a keyword-rich deck with Apex Wolf and use Wake the Dead to tutor for Illusory Mimic just after Apex Wolf died.
Summary – Wake the Dead – Is it Good?
Wake the Dead certainly allows you to pull a multitude of creatures for various purposes. Token decks might like the ability to pull a Bone Walker Guard to shut-down a lane, or an Icy Shambles to control a big creature of their opponent. Maybe someone wants to try a Skeleton Keyword Telvanni deck with Wake the Dead in it?!
Wake the Deads versatility in itself can offer an important advantage in many situations and provide decks more consistency. It’s cost of 2 magicka is not much to pay to find Disruption exactly when you need it. Try to go for one or two copies of Wraith of Sithis, Memory Wraith, Hallowed Deathpriest, and Cursed Spectre in your deck. Also, if you need 5 life, you might want to have a Restless Templar to fetch…
Similarly, if you need more consistency to pull-off your “Bone Daddy”-finishing combo in your Skeleton deck? Wake the Dead can be your answer. Or you have a Singleton deck running purple? Check if, Wake the Dead can find a slot, because Morokei is a really strong card.
I hope you found this article insightful and it has hopefully sparked some interest to try Wake the Dead and find a good home for it. Please feel free to leave comments and feedback below!