Today’s Random Magic the Gathering Card of the Day is Psychic Surgery, a rare Enchantment from New Phyrexia.
Psychic Surgery did not appear to be very good at its release in New Phyrexia. However, new cards expanding the mill archetype are appearing all the time now: Jace, Memory Adept from Magic 2012 and 2013, the Dimir cards from Gatecrash, Auriok, Nightmare Weaver from Theros, and Phenax, God of Deception from Born of the Gods, to name a few. With the growing likelihood that mill could once again blossom into a major archetype, this card could end up becoming quite handy.
It’s a decent little Enchantment that’s 1U (one colorless and one blue) to cast. Whenever an opponent shuffles his or her library, you can look at the top two cards of their deck. You may exile one of those cards and put the other (or both) back on top of the deck. The best part about this effect is that you get a choice of what to remove or put back. It is a sort of “fate sealer,” as well. If you’re milling your opponent, then chances are they are running out of their key cards that they can beat you with. This gives you an opportunity, albeit only when your opponent shuffles, to remove a key card from the game. It also allows you to know what card or cards they may draw next.
Ordinarily, this card would not be that great, and a bit under-powered for a rare. At the time, it was argued that this card was more deserving of an uncommon slot. But that ability to choose what cards get exiled or go back on top is what makes this good. Obviously, if you have two or three of these in play you can repeat the process for as many triggers as you get to truly muck up your opponent’s game. It does need a deck that is primarily focused on being a blue-black control deck that relies on mill as a win condition; otherwise, it’s just taking up space. Still, Wizards seems to be doing all that they can to make mill a serious Modern contender for competitive game-play. With all of the shuffling from fetch-lands that goes on in that format, Psychic Surgery could prove to be a part of that strategy, even if only as a sideboard option.
~ Elspeth for the Win
Phyrexian Obliterator was a feared card when New Phyrexia was being announced, yet it hasn’t seen a single top at any Standard event (and only saw limited success in a few top decks in Legacy for a week or so after New Phyrexia’s release) despite what this card should’ve been able to do in Constructed. ElspethFTW praised it before the set was released.
However, as was discussed on the Magic Show, it’s obvious what happened to it. Dismember.
Dismember is being hailed as both a great card and a horrific mistake by R&D and Design; Dismember destroyed the color pie and will haunt the game unless it’s banned or outclassed; and this isn’t a card I want to see outclassed. Personally, Dismember has made the game worse as it makes a lot of creative decks (like Phyrexian Obliterator or Geth, Lord of the Vault, and anything with 5/5 or lower) meaning that things like Primeval Titan, Sun Titan, and Consecrated Sphinx rule the format of large creatures, while the rest of the format is things like Squadron Hawk, too little to be a lot of a threat, but ends up used on them regardless.
2 life and a mana to pump out a creature whose converted mana cost is the sacrificed creature’s converted mana cost +1. Just… wow. Birthing Pod didn’t see much play when Jace and Stoneforge were running around ruining the format, but now with a bit more creativity in the format (alright, so Cawblade is still winning a large percentage of the format) Birthing Pod is seeing play, and a bit of success, at least at FNM’s and Local tournaments. However, this -is- Commanding Opinion, and I have to say, it’s a damn good card in Commander as well, albeit one copy being difficult to hit in a 99 card deck. Voltaic Key lets you pod twice in both Commander and Legacy (but I have a feeling you won’t play Pod in Legacy), letting your Birds of Paradise horrifically mutate into a Blade Splicer or whatever CMC 3 card fits your fancy.
All in all, I believe that Birthing Pod is a great card, and I think it’ll see a good amount of play in Standard after the rotation and downfall of Cawblade; though Venser may take the reins as the Blue/White Control Deck in the format.