Sometimes I forget how underrated a particular card can be, that is, until I get an opportunity to create an epic play. Quick story. I was playing Purphoros in a three player pod. My opponents were Angry Omanath and an Animar combo deck that is downright fast and disgusting. Turn four or five and we are getting smacked down by Animar’s Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. On my turn, I cast Heat Shimmer putting a copy of Ulamog on the board and crack back. The Animar player mills twenty, including the combo pieces he was looking for.
Before we talk about combo potential, synergy, or tell the tale of another EDH battle, let’s take a look at what makes this red sorcery the winning candidate for this month’s Spotlight article. First we turn our attention to the wording “target creature”. We are presented the opportunity to copy an opponent’s creature or one of our own guys, well, with the exception of some dudes with hexproof or shroud. Those are usually a no-go for being a Heat Shimmer target.
The token gains haste. Without haste this card would best serve as a coaster protecting my playing table from the condensation of a cold beer can. Haste is extremely relevant in situations where we need to copy a guy that needs to “tap” to use an ability or if we just want to swing with big beefy Eldrazi with annihalator. Finally, and most important, putting a token copy of a creature into play gets us that juicy enters the battlefield trigger.
PreHeat Shimmer to 350
In aggressive decks, Heat Shimmer would benefit an alpha strike by copying a Craterhoof Behemoth for a gazillion damage or an Avacyn, Angel of Hope to rise the morale of our troops heading into battle. For utility, we could blow up permanents by casting Heat Shimmer to copy an Acidic Slime or draw some cards by temporarily giving us our own Prime Speaker Zegana.
Synergy. Another favorite story involving my Purphoros deck includes Precursor Golem. If Precursor and two Golem tokens are on the battlefield, then Heat Shimmer will copy the Precursor Golem AND the two existing Golem tokens (all of which are exiled at end of turn). We will also receive two more Golem tokens from the token copy of Precursor (these will stick around after the end of our turn).
Do you want to impress your friends? Check out Zada, Hedron Grinder and Mirrorwing Dragon. If we target one of these two creatures with Heat Shimmer, then we get to copy Heat Shimmer for every other creature we control. Depending on our current board state, this could be the tide turning event that develops into a bonkers stack of ETB effects or doubles our entire strike force. With so many copies of Heat Shimmer being cast on our creatures we can take advantage of the “Storm Count” by following this up with Empty the Warrens or Mind’s Desire.
Cooking up Shimmer Combo Recipes
Here’s a two card combo you probably have not seen before. Let me introduce you to Dualcaster Mage. First step, cast Heat Shimmer. Second step, in response flash in Dualcaster Mage. Dualcaster Mage resolves and his enter the battlefield triggers. Copy Heat Shimmer. The copy of Heat Shimmer created by Dualcaster resolves, copying Dualcaster Mage, who enters the battlefield and copies Heat Shimmer, which resolves copying Dualcaster Mage… Check it out, we have an infinite loop that we cannot stop! If there are no other creatures on the battlefield, then the game will end in a draw. Otherwise, let that final copy of Heat Shimmer resolve copying a different creature other than Dualcaster Mage and prepare to go to combat with 3,765 token copies of Dualcaster Mage, with Haste.
Heat Shimmer can also combo in Izzet decks with Omniscience and Nucklavee on the battlefield. With Omniscience on the battlefield we can cast Heat Shimmer an infinite amount of times targeting Nucklavee and have a bunch of hasty 4/4 dudes. I believe a similar combo can occur replacing Omniscience with Turnabout.
Ah, one more of Izzet synergy before I go. How about casting Heat Shimmer on an opponent’s creature with Willbreaker on the battlefield? Groovy!
Heat Shimmer is a budget sorcery that can provide slight advantages or epic wins. Do you play Heat Shimmer in any of your Commander decks? Is this a budget synergy or combo option you may try in the future? Let’s discuss in the comments below!
On to the next!
More Articles on Heat Shimmer
- Bennie Smith’s 2008 Standard article on StarCityGames.com: Heat-la-vee Deck
- Andrew Wilson’s Casual Deck article on Gathering Magic: InfinityCaster Mage
GLARING SPOTLIGHT is a Magic the Gathering™ column featuring a card that may have gone over-looked during the the building of your EDH Commander deck. If you would like to submit a guest article and talk about a card YOU feel needs some of the Glaring Spotlight, please contact us asap: nick@MTGCasualPlay.com.