When it comes to enchanting creatures, there are plenty of ridiculous cards that we can use. The plethora of awesome Auras that are out there means some might get overlooked. Let’s talk about a really cool overlooked Aura that will surely spice up your next game night: Mark of Sakiko.
For the simple cost of one generic and one green, you can have a creature producing mana equal to its power, assuming you can connect in combat with it. That mana also doesn’t empty from your mana pool this turn, and funnily enough, doesn’t cause mana burn! For those of you confused by mana burn, here’s some extra reading material for you. Talk about a powerhouse of a card.
This card has some very obvious synergies right off the bat. Cards with the Raid keyword become much cheaper when you’re able to deal combat damage with the enchanted creature. This is even more fun if the card you are going to cast gets a reduction thanks to Raid, like Siren Reaver. Just imagine enchanting a Grizzly Bears, attacking, then paying a single red mana for Howl of the Horde. A single red to copy your next instant or sorcery twice? Wort, the Raidmother approves.
Another keyword that this helps out is Bloodthirst. This ability isn’t very mono-green friendly and has most recently been used in the Vampire tribe with Bloodlord of Vaasgoth being reprinted in Commander 2017 (which makes plenty of sense). The only card I’d really suggest would be Petrified Wood-Kin as it has Bloodthirst X, meaning whatever damage you deal with your enchanted creature, the better it gets.
Going Beyond the Surface
So how can we make the most of this? I feel there are a few different ways. First, I was surprised that this card wasn’t even listed on EDHREC for Omnath, Locus of Mana. They are begging to be used together. You are doubling Omnath’s power every time he connects (assuming you don’t spend your green mana) and are overwriting the Mark’s rules that the mana will disappear at the end of turn.
In a similar vein, most Voltron strategies would enjoy this card as it starts paying for different cards. I’d love to have Uril, the Miststalker enchanted with Mark of Sakiko to start gaining myself some mana. Pair the Mark with Rancor and you’ve solved the problem of needing to connect during combat, unless your opponent has enough blocking power. Or just slap it on Ghalta, Primal Hunger and laugh all the way to the winner’s circle.
One of the questions we always want to at least try and answer in Gemstone Mining is whether or not a card can go infinite. Depending on the number of hoops you need to jump through, that can give a sort of viability test to the card at hand. Aggravated Assault is a card we’ve seen before, and since Mark of Sakiko revolves around attacking it’s no surprise to see it again. The problem we’ve run into is that we don’t create any red mana with the Mark. How can we get infinite attacks?
The easiest way is most likely with Bear Umbra or Sword of Feast and Famine and two red producing lands. Every attack we untap all of our lands. If we deal at least three damage in combat to an opponent with our Marked creature, we can pay two red on top of it to gain another attack step. This does feel like a redundant effect though, as Bear Umbra and Sword of Feast and Famine with Aggravated Assault basically go infinite without a need for a third piece, so let’s try and see what else we can come up with.
If we are going down the Voltron rabbit hole, we could pair Fireshrieker with Prying Blade as Double strike allows the blade to trigger twice to create two Treasure tokens. This would give us our two red mana needed for Aggravated Assault and if our creature has at least three power then we can infinitely pay for the Assault. The story is mostly the same for similar cards like Hellkite Charger who has the added issues of also needing to attack, needing to survive, and needing seven total mana to activate.
Waves of Aggression is the last card I want to discuss that we could potentially abuse, and it requires even more hoops to jump through. On top of needing two hybrid white/red, you need to be able to consistently discard a land after each successful combat. That means you either need a huge hand full of lands or need to be able to draw cards after dealing combat damage. With double strike this gets a bit easier, but this strategy revolves around Edric, Spymaster of Trest alongside some other card. First, you could use Abundance so you can just keep naming Land and drawing them. You could make sure you’re overproducing mana with the Mark and pair Edric with Life from the Loam to be able to return the land you keep discarding. Or maybe you could have Library of Leng so you can discard the land for Retrace to the top of your deck.
Big Mana, No Whammy
Ultimately, Mark of Sakiko is a very unique card. It definitely isn’t a busted card by any stretch of the imagination. In the right shell, it can be deadly. In others, you need to have the proper setup to beat down your opponents. I still think it’s a better card than most people seem to think given how unused it appears to be. I hope it sparked some creativity in you, and as always: happy brewing!