Playing Gargoyle’s Advocate
By: Erin Jade Hess (She/Her)
This is an opinion piece.
Both the calls and memes of “Ban Ergon!” can be heard resounding from every Argent Saga Facebook group, Discord channel, Untap room, and local event. The people are revolting against our Gargoyle overlord currently sweeping up wins across the meta.
I have a passing interest in Ergon, The Tragic Gargoyle in a purely mechanical sense, but I can’t say with any kind of certainty whether or not I want to build with him. What drew my eyes initially was his striking resemblance to the popular Magic: The Gathering deck Dredge.
When playing Dredge, your graveyard effectively becomes your hand, each of the cards either activating in the graveyard, filling the graveyard, or otherwise interacting with it. This allows you to drop a large body out of seemingly nowhere and win the game. If you want to read more specifically about this deck, check the Further Reading section at the bottom.
Do you notice the similarity here? Fill the grave, interact with the grave, play from the grave. Ergon is all of Dredge in one card; he’s busted. Busted in context to other card games? Hardly. Busted in context to our young, current meta and game? Absolutely.
I want to argue that Ergon does NOT need to be banned, as I am afraid that doing so would set an unhealthy precedent moving forward. Instead of coming up with answers to challenging builds, it would encourage the dismissal of anything deemed ‘too powerful’. I understand the implications of power creep in this instance, but I’d like to take this time to bring something else to the table… not printing overpowered cards to combat others or banning the ones already here, but printing cards that increase the diversity of effects in the game.
Meet these two bad boys; Macro Cosmos, and Leyline of the Void.
Their effect is simple and has an immediate influence on the game; the graveyard is officially turned off. Done. Cards get sent there? Nope. They slip into the aether. The only way to turn the graveyard back on is to deal with these cards, in Yu-Gi-Oh! with MST or similar spell/trap removal, or with enchantment removal in Magic.
What could this look like in Argent Saga? The way I see it, this effect could be approached a couple of different ways. I’ll list them from least likely to most in my own humble opinion.
1. ‘Expel all cards sent to the discard pile’ effect is printed on a legendary shard. There’s currently no way to get rid of shards, and I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one.
2. ‘Expel all cards sent to the discard pile’ effect is printed on a Champion or Spirit. There’s also no way to deal with a Champion, but it could appear as a Soulburst on a spirit, perhaps?
3. ‘Expel all cards sent to the discard pile’ effect is printed on an Augment. This would effectively be similar to Leyline of the Void. It dies to removal, but only Augment removal. Get your Acid Mongers sleeved up, Ergon players.
4. ‘Expel all cards sent to the discard pile’ effect is printed on a Unit. If we are to get an effect of this calibre, it would be the easiest to deal with in this state. Unit die to removal, simple as that. They are very fragile in the grand scheme of things and can be dealt with by Target Attack, Towers, Spells, Effects, you name it. This ability feels right at home on a Darkness or Water unit with a handful of answers ready to protect it.
The answer at this point to Ergon is to pack lots of bounce abilities into your deck, as he can’t do anything to cards that are in the deck or hand until they are recast and defeated again. In the future though, (perhaps in the Revelations expansion, pretty please?) we may just see a new brand of sideboard hate get printed.
Erin Jade Hess
“Leyline of the Void” (M11), Rob Alexander. “Leyline of the Void” (M19), Noah Bradley. “Macro Cosmos”, Kazuki Takahasi and Konami.