Dro-m’Athra Reaper – Uses and Synergies
Consume a creature. When a creature leaves your discard pile, Dro-m’Athra Reaper gains +0/+1 and you gain 1 health.
The Khajiit spirit is the first creature that gets buffed and heals you whenever a creature is consumed, banished, or tutored back from the discard pile.
Let’s evaluate the card using quadrant theory before we look at further synergies.
Dro-m’Athra Reaper during Opening
As a 2-cost, the reaper has an attack value that protects it from Execute and Fell the Mighty. However, it can still be removed easily by Firebolt, Sorcerer’s Negation, Reverberating Strike, Crushing Blow, Ice Storm, etc. The reaper’s special ability allows you to get it out of range of many of the damage based removal actions. Certainly, Sorcerer’s Negation removes the buffs and kills it, but with only two creatures leaving your discard pile, you can move the reaper out of range of Ice Storm, for example.
When played on curve, you will actually need a creature in your discard pile to buff the reaper into a 3/3 body. This is not trivial, but can be achieved by summoning a 1-cost creature during your first turn that trades into an opponent’s threat, or by using cards like Scout’s Report, Studious Greybeard or Palace Conspirator.
But even when Dro-m’Athra Reaper is played a few turns into the game, her ability to heal you can be of great utility. Granted, your deck will need to be designed to have lots of discard pile interactions, but there are definitely a few cards that you might find interesting for this purpose, as discussed below.
Dro-m’Athra Reaper at Parity
At parity, when both players rely on their top deck, you will be able to reliably trigger the reaper’s consume effect. This gives you a 3/3 body plus one additional point of health. A 3/3 body at parity is not entirely useless, but also not really great. Dro-m’Athra Reaper can provide additional utility in a highly synergistic deck, where your next draw allows you to have another discard pile interaction. In this case, you might be able to trade the Khajiit spirit favorably into 2 smaller creatures (if your opponent top decks accordingly) and heal a little extra. Overall, the reaper is not the best card to swing the odds in your favor when at parity.
Dro-m’Athra Reaper when Winning
When you are winning the game a 2-cost that gains health buffs and gets life back is not a strong addition to your assault, unfortunately. The 3 attack being added to your board state can make a bit of a difference, so the reaper is not entirely useless, but certainly not an Ancano or Belligerent Giant at this stage of the game.
Dro-m’Athra Reaper as a Turnaround
A slightly improved situation might occur when you need a turnaround. Dro-m’Athra Reaper’s healing capabilities are certainly of use, but you need a large number of consume effects or other discard pile interactions taking place to get a meaningful amount of life back. There actually are a few synergistic cards that might help with that, and more cards with the consume mechanic will certainly be revealed over the next days. It’s probably a good achievement to get 3 health back, and a dream to get 5 or more back. So let’s look at how dreams can come true in a Journey to Sovngarde deck…
Card Evaluation – Summary
To put some numbers behind this – here is our card evaluation by quadrant theory squeezed into a 5-point scale.
Rating Scale: 1 – Very Weak. 2- Weak. 3- OK. 4- Strong. 5- Very Strong.
Discard Pile Tutors
Legends already has a substantial number of discard pile tutors, some of which we discussed on tesl.blog in an earlier article (see Discard Pile Tutors). Since each use will net you 1 health and buff the reaper’s health by 1, the reaper definitely has stickiness and helps with favorable trades. Creatures like Falkreath Defiler, Blackworm Necromancer, Yagrum Bagarn, Skeletal Dragon and actions like Soul Tear provide one-off interaction with your discard pile.
More value can be gained from Gravesinger or Alduin as they provide a recurring mechanic to consistently summon creatures from your graveyard across multiple turns. Dro-m’Athra Reaper and Gravesinger can be a fun combo in control decks as it heals and consistently summons new threats to the board, so long as either creature survives your opponent’s turn.
The greatest buff, however, can be given to Dro-m’Athra Reaper when you play Journey to Sovngarde. This shuffles all creatures in your discard pile back into your deck. For proactive control decks, this might be a two digit-number of creatures and getting back that much life with a 9-cost combo is pretty amazing.
Fans of memes might even want to try this with Ring of Namira in play to enjoy an interesting one-turn-kill. Alternatively, use Steeled-Eye Visionary or Ring of Imaginary Might to turn the reaper into a huge threat.
The Consume Mechanic
Dro-m’Athra Reaper can accrue value through the newly introduced consume mechanic. A few cards with consume have already been revealed and there will certainly be more coming. It’s still too early to tell how strong this mechanic will play out, but it’s definitely something to try.
- Alfiq Conjurer can consume a creature to summon a 5/3 Flame Atronach (or better if you consumed an Atronach). With a guarded Dro-m’Athra Reaper (e.g. by Skinned Hound), you can create some protection for the Atronach.
- Black Worm Neophyte consumes a creatures to summon a 1/1 Skeleton token.
- Ruin Shambler allows you to discard the top three cards of your deck (hopefully 3 small-power creatures) to consume all creatures that entered your discard pile this turn. With Dro-m’Athra Reaper in play, this will buff both of them and heal a little. Best done, when you trading in a lot of tokens.
- More to be revealed over the next days…
Conjurer’s Spirit and Necromancer’s Amulet
The two support cards Conjurer’s Spirit and Necromancer’s Amulet create a combo which summons a 2/2 at end of turn when health is gained and gains health when a creature dies. The reaper and creatures with consume can also trigger Conjurer’s Spirit more consistently and demand answers from your opponent. In addition, the Familiars created by Conjurer’s Spirit can be consumed by other creatures without impacting any graveyard recursion you might actually still want.
Punishing your Opponent’s Banishers
Some of your opponent’s banishing cards, like Piercing Twilight and Memory Wraith also interact with your discard pile. While Dro-m’Athra Reaper does not prevent these cards from being played, it still punishes their use by giving you additional health and buffing your reaper a little. If you rely on a combo piece in your discard pile, the reaper might force your opponent to first deal with the Khajiit spirit before playing Memory Wraith. Not strong insurance indeed, but at least a grasp of hope…
Tutoring Dro-m’Athra Reaper
Since Dro-m’Athra Reaper is also a spirit, it can be tutored by Wake the Dead. This makes it interesting for combo decks, as it considerably increases the probability of drawing the reaper or a copy of the action that tutors it. Wake the Dead also provides access to a number of other interesting spirits and skeletons, allowing you to include a versatile mini-toolbox into your deck.
Dro-m’Athra Reaper is best during opening and to a much lesser degree when you need a turnaround. At parity or when you are winning, you are getting a reasonably powerful 2-cost creature, so the card has minor benefit during those phases as well. The Khajiit appears to be designed pre-dominantly for synergistic or even combo decks as it requires specific cards in your deck to support its special ability.
In general, it appears as if Sparkypants is releasing more synergistic cards with Moons of Elsweyr, probably in an attempt to push dual color decks and/ or combo decks a little bit further. Dro-m’Athra Reaper will definitely be a great and fun card to encounter and play on the ladder, as the Consume mechanic is explored. Let’s get some good memes going with it as well… *twinkle*