So I have a deck that relies a lot on the Scavenge1 mechanic, and I was wondering if there was a good, effective way to improve the Power of creatures in the graveyard, so that I get more +1/+1 counters when I Scavenge it.

I already have Corpsejack Menace for +1/+1 multiplication, but it struck me as a neat idea to be able to pump up the Power of, e.g., Slitherhead to get more “free” +1/+1 counters. I’m playing Standard (as of writing, Return to Ravnica, M14, and Theros), but I’d be happy to hear about cards in other formats that work. I’d appreciate markings of the legal formats for any card suggestions, since I’m kind of new to Magic and am not familiar with older blocks.

1 Creature ability: pay a cost and exile the creature from the graveyard, add a number of +1/+1 counters equal to the creature’s Power to another creature.

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    I only know of Skullbriar, the Walking Grave, and it's not in Standard.
    – ikegami
    May 22, 2014 at 19:21
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    @ikegami That'd make a fine answer; I'd upvote it, and if no one came forward proving you wrong with more examples, I'd accept it in a couple days.
    – KRyan
    May 22, 2014 at 19:24
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    I'm 99% sure that no card other than Skullbriar can cause a creature card's power to differ from its printed value while in the graveyard. There are, however, +1/+1 counter multipliers other than Corpsejack Menace, such as Doubling Season and Primal Vigor.
    – Kevin
    May 22, 2014 at 20:25
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    @Kevin OK, so... are you going to put that as an answer that can actually be voted on and possibly accepted?
    – KRyan
    May 22, 2014 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


I split your question into three, because I thought it was less ambiguous that way.

Is there a way to put a creature with improved power into the graveyard?

Only one that we know of. Someone mentioned Skullbriar, the Walking Grave in the comments. Skullbriar takes his counters with him to the graveyard, where they continue to modify his power and toughness.

Is there a way to improve the power of a creature in the graveyard?

This is the question you actually asked.

The only way I can think of to actually change the power of a creature that is in the graveyard is to play with creatures like Spellheart Chimera, whose power and toughness are calculated. These are static abilities that function in any zone, including the graveyard.

If you had Spellheart in your graveyard and then you played Grisly Salvage and flipped over 5 instants, Spellheart would suddenly have 5 (plus one from the Grisly Salvage itself) more power than he had before, thereby improving his power.

Is there a way to put high power creatures in the graveyard?

Yes. You can discard a creature card like Bearer of the Heavens by having too many cards, or by being forced to discard it with something like Thoughtseize (which can target yourself). You can also mill with a card like Grisly Salvage, mentioned earlier.

The answer I think you were hoping for was a card like "Target creature in your graveyard gets +3/+3 until end of turn" (a buff) or "becomes a 10/10 until end of turn" (a static ability) or even something that affects the power of all creatures in your graveyard. No card like that exists. I doubt one ever will, because the "status" of cards in your graveyard would become unmanageable. Cards like Spellheart Chimera are exceptional in that their status is printed directly on the card, making it impossible to forget.

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    For the 'high-power creatures' section, while it's rolled out of Standard now I feel obliged to mention Death's Shadow ( gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/… ), which has actually seen some fringe competitive play in Modern for just this purpose. May 22, 2014 at 21:49
  • How is putting Worldspine Wurm in your graveyard going to help if it immediately gets shuffled back into your deck?
    – bwarner
    May 22, 2014 at 22:05
  • Nice; most likely (based on the comments and consensus that there’s nothing else out there), I’ll be accepting this, though I’m going to give it some time just in case. By the way, the sort of effect I sort of hoped to see was some really expansive form of bonus, like “all creature cards gain +1/+1,” or something that would include the cards in the graveyard.
    – KRyan
    May 22, 2014 at 22:14
  • @bwarner Wow I have probably made that mistake five times with Emrakul, and I'm sure that I will forget it again in 5 more minutes. I found another card to use as an example. Thanks for the catch.
    – Rainbolt
    May 22, 2014 at 22:23
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    And as a general suggestion, for the third question (getting big guys in the graveyard), look to reanimator decks for inspiration - they're trying to reanimate, not scavenge, but they still need the graveyard fodder just like you.
    – Cascabel
    May 22, 2014 at 22:56

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