When it comes to damage over time, the Death element is no stranger. For only 1 or 2 quanta, players can cast (Deadly) Poison onto the opponent, causing the enemy to lose 2-3 HP each turn.
- (Deadly) Poison inflicts 2 (3 upped) damage per turn once applied to the enemy player.
- All poison applications and effects stack.
- A player’s poison status can only be completely removed by Purify.
- Cannot be reflected by shields.
Poison is a subtle tactic. While the majority of decks use a variety of creatures to eliminate the enemy, some players include this spell as a form of supplemental damage to whittle the health bar. A single application of the Poison (or Deadly Poison) spell only amounts to 2 (3) HP lost per turn. While this may not seem like much, if a player manages to include and use all of their Poison spells on the opponent, the enemy will take up to 12 (18) damage per turn, which heightens the pressure for the foe to finish the poison-wielder first. All poison damage is cumulative, thus all creature, spell, and permanent cards capable of applying poison can synergize together to make poison the main offensive strategy.
While useful as a form of support damage, Poison does a few hard and soft counters. Purify not only removes all the poison off the user, but also applies a healing-over-time effect that will help further suppress the poison damage (if it’s reapplied). Other healing cards, such as Shard of Gratitude, Empathic Bond, and Sanctuary can also mitigate much of the damage caused by poison. However, permanent control cards can easily destroy those healing-over-time effects. Another bonus is that both of the spells have one major benefit over all direct-damage spells - they cannot be reflected by shields such as Emerald Shield.
For a more reliable source of repetitive poison application, Arsenic | Arsenic is the go to card for various decks. Many mono-Death decks that include Poison often have Arsenic in there as well to help increase the poison counter (as both are cheap in terms of quanta and are easy to play within the first few turns). They can also help counter enemy tactics - Poison ignores all shields (including reflective ones), while Arsenic can overcome Purify-users by reapplying the poison and racking up the poison count well above 18 damage per turn.
Chrysaora | Physalia is well known for its ability to slowly cripple opponents, and paired up with the spell, a variety of ‘Speed-Poison’ decks is born. The jellyfish is not only cheap (only 1 for either version), but also surprisingly effective against opponents without hard creature control to kill or lobotomize it. While it only applies one poison counter at a time, multiple Chrysaora or Physalia can rack up poison damage faster than most would expect if left unchecked. In some cases, using the unupped version can benefit users who are weary of damage-inducing shields ( Fire Buckler).
Naturally, those who use poison often need a reliable defense for the poison to take effect appropriately. While various shields can block damage completely, Sundial | Sundial is an underestimated card in regards to defense. Although creatures are unable to attack for either user while a Sundial is in play, weapons and poison damage still go through. In this case, using Arsenic and Deadly Poison spells together alongside several Sundials can stop various creature rush decks for a few turns while the poison ticks away. The upped Sundial can also encourage a Death-Light duo deck that focuses primarily on poison damage, stalling via Sundials (while drawing more cards using its Hasten ability), and various Light healing cards to offset any damage.
Other Cards With Synergy
Many creatures with venom-like abilities can help apply more poison along the way, including the Scorpions ( Dune and Deathstalker come in mind) and the Puffer Fish. Bone Wall and Phase Shield often act as major damage-blocking shields in conjunction with Poison, especially in conjunction with Sundial. Lastly, because of its ridiculously cheap cost, Poison can sometimes be found in a rainbow deck that uses Nova to fuel the necessary quanta.
Although its main use is for support damage, Poison and Deadly Poison are a set of spells that can cause more harm than most non-attentive players would give credit for. Players who are poisoned usually have only two choices: out-heal the toxin or kill the player first.
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