Hostage Taker

Legality

Format Legality
Pre-release Legal
Tiny Leaders Legal
Custom Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Arena Legal
Standard Legal
Leviathan Legal
Legacy Legal
Brawl Legal
Frontier Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Ixalan (XLN) Rare

Combos Browse all

Hostage Taker

Creature — Human Pirate

When Hostage Taker enters the battlefield, exile target artifact or creature until Hostage Taker leaves the battlefield. You may cast that card for as long as it remains exiled, and you may spend mana as though it were mana of any type to cast that spell.

Hostage Taker Discussion

Tzefick on New Alara

3 hours ago

Again I have to emphasize that without something tangible to compare to, I don't know what makes your Soulbond idea work better than the idea of Caretaker. Please provide some tangible ideas of how you would make this mechanic and put it on some creatures.


"First-off, it’s too similar to old Naya."

  • Well... you do actually want to make it feel like it came from Naya, don't you?

"But more importantly, it doubles down on what made Naya the least popular shard- that is, that “power 5 or greater” is really tough to secure because most creatures in that range cost four or more mana, which basically disqualifies it from most competitive environments. It’s just too slow to be functional."

  • Are you seriously saying that 4+ CMC is non competitive? In what format? Modern, Vintage and Legacy? Sure in most settings hard casting a 4 CMC dumb Beast is likely not something you want to do in those formats, but are we really designing cards for the sole purpose that they should appear in competitive eternal formats? In Standard? No way is that too slow.

I strolled through War of the Spark standard decks on MTGtop8.com. We have a group of Esper Midrange who utilizes fringe amount of Hostage Taker , a bit more uses Elite Guardmage and all uses Teferi, Hero of Dominaria . That's a midrange deck with no efficient ramp access.

We have Gruul Aggro, featuring cards like Nullhide Ferox , Rekindling Phoenix and Skarrgan Hellkite . They also have a selection of ramp creatures.

Even Red Deck Wins have 4 CMC cards, although for a slightly different reason, Chandra, Fire Artisan and Experimental Frenzy .

And these are just the most present aggro decks and only one of whom utilizes mana ramp. If I go to UR aggro (next in line) they have Arclight Phoenix (although they may not actually cast it) and Crackling Drake

So I think it's wrong to say that 4 CMC cards are non-competitive.

It's also quite possible to make cards with the Caretaker idea that is definitely going to see play in eternal formats. It's just a matter of pushing the cards far enough.


Additionally the border for Naya's threshold doesn't necessarily need to be at 5. It could be at 4 instead to push the mechanic as a baseline a bit more.

But as you said yourself; "Not only that, but both the power # and whether it’s “greater than X” or “less than X” makes it very broad design space, and gives me a lot of good knobs to work with. It’s also the furthest thing I can think of from a parasitic mechanic (which one could argue old Naya’s “power 5 or greater was, given nearly all of the decent power 5+ creatures below 4-5 mana were from Naya at the time, and kinda still today- most are either flip cards or have a serious downside)."

The Power X or greater/lesser than X does grant a certain amount of design space.


I also fail to see how a shifted Soulbond that forces a particular pairing (you said yourself you wanted it to be restrictive pairing) is a better transcending mechanic outside block than a mechanic that have you play lower CMC creatures that can bounce themselves to gain a powerful effect when you play a higher CMC creature.

Thematically, Caretaker plays into the same space as Exploit, except it's the other way around where you first play the mechanic and THEN the enabler, and you only lose tempo and not resources like you do with Exploit - which was a liked mechanic on the Storm Scale.

Based on MTGTop8.com's historic data, the only Soulbond cards who ever made it to competitive eternal formats (here Modern, Legacy, Vintage) are: Deadeye Navigator and Silverblade Paladin . Deadeye is used in 1 Legacy deck back in 2013, and ended up in rank 5-8 out of 8. Silverblade has occurred a few more time, 4 in Modern (3 of whom back in 2012 - 1 year after Modern launch) and 4 in Legacy (mostly in Death & Taxes decks).

Now these data are all taken from one source, granted, but Soulbond as a mechanic doesn't seem like it has shown much competitive potential or at least result. One of the present cards is a combo component. The other is a Double Strike enabler on a body. Double Strike is an incredibly powerful keyword, especially when you can grant it to any creature. The best alternative is Battle Mastery for a permanent Double Strike ability.

I don't think I'm stretching the truth when I say that Deadeye Navigator and especially Silverblade Paladin were both pushed cards.

Actually looking at it, Spellbreaker Behemoth has 5 entries in Modern but it dies there for him. Woolly Thoctar had 4 in Modern and 2 in Standard. So either the data is just not there for Alara Standard or they made more splashes in Modern than in Standard. Ah and Woolly made 41 entries in Extended (yeah, it was back in those days). I think Naya was kinda overshadowed by the Naya zoo archetype featuring Wild Nacatl .


As for Soulbond's entrance on the Storm scale, MaRo states that the mechanic is very popular but the design space is medium. The template for Soulbond is mostly in P/T upgrades, Evergreen Keywords and occassionally other abilities. Another hindrance is that both paired creatures gets the same effect.

They also say their data may be skewed toward more enfranchised players who are more likely to be competitive. In Standard Soulbond was used quite a lot, especially Wolfir Silverheart , beating Silverblade Paladin but sharing a lot of decks too under Aggro. However Wolfir shows up nowhere in competitive eternal formats.

They haven't made a Storm Scale article about Shards of Alara (or they have hidden it beyond the reach of Google) so where do you get your data on Naya's Power 5 being unpopular with the players? I'm genuinely curious.

The Storm Scale is also a strange way to measure popularity TBH. It kinda pitches the block's mechanics against each other, so if there's a mechanic that overshadows the rest, then you may get a skewed picture compared to considering the mechanics individually. Food for thought I guess.


In conclusion, I don't think a restrictive Soulbond is that much better of a mechanic than what you could do with Caretaker and "Gargantuan". I do however think there's a flavor break on using Soulbond - I don't see the soulbonding between a massive beast and their worshippers. Unless the beasts somehow got way more sentient and actually starts having empathy for their worshippers.

I think you yourself have a dislike of the Naya Power-5 mechanic, so a mechanic that goes somewhat close to what it was is something you dislike. Unless you provide some sauce on the unpopularity of Naya's Power-5, I don't think it's right to say it is disliked as a mechanic. It may not have been a competitively pushed mechanic, but that doesn't mean the mechanic is disliked.

Optimator on Nikki Borgees

1 day ago

"One-card wincons" to consider: Insurrection , Expropriate , Painful Quandary , Rise of the Dark Realms , Revel in Riches , Cut / Ribbons . Perhaps Clone Legion , Rite of Replication , Mogis, God of Slaughter , Hour of Promise , Blatant Thievery , Grave Betrayal , or Mind's Dilation .

The Chain Veil , Inexorable Tide , Contagion Clasp , and Contagion Engine maybe?

One thing to think about is getting Nicol Bolas flipped and maybe joined by the other planeswalkers and casting Obliterate , Jokulhaups , Devastation , or Decree of Annihilation . Almost guaranteed ultimates. Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God would be the best--proxy for now and include in first build?

Possible upgrades:

Boardwipes: Toxic Deluge , Black Sun's Zenith , Hour of Devastation , Decree of Pain , Curse of the Swine , In Garruk's Wake , Deadly Tempest , Evacuation , Nevinyrral's Disk , Last One Standing , Perilous Vault , Oblivion Stone , Kindred Dominance , Necromantic Selection , Subterranean Tremors

Removal: Capsize , Bedevil , Hero's Downfall , Chaos Warp , Kolaghan's Command , Reality Shift , Pongify , Rapid Hybridization , Vraska's Contempt , Rakdos Charm , Price of Fame , In Bolas's Clutches , Plaguecrafter , Merciless Executioner , Fleshbag Marauder , Unstable Obelisk , Vandalblast , By Force , Shatterstorm , Hostage Taker , Yawgmoth's Vile Offering , Settle the Score , Dark Impostor , Hour of Glory , Sever the Bloodline , Silence the Believers , Spread the Sickness , Slave of Bolas , Electrodominance

Draw: (I would add Erebos once you're home) Patient Rebuilding , Phyrexian Arena , Greed , Arguel's Blood Fast  Flip, Notion Thief , Windfall , Mystical Tutor , Blue Sun's Zenith , Pull from Tomorrow , Stroke of Genius , Braingeyser , Mind Spring , Expansion / Explosion , Invoke the Firemind , Deliver Unto Evil , Augur of Bolas , Painful Truths , Fevered Visions , Search for Azcanta  Flip, Fact or Fiction , Dig Through Time , Treasure Cruise , Tidings , Thassa, God of the Sea , Day's Undoing , Reforge the Soul , Standstill , Deep Analysis , Necrologia , Steady Progress , Tezzeret's Gambit , Oath of Jace

Random utility: Ophiomancer , Metallurgic Summonings , As Fortold, Pendrell Mists , No Mercy , Stranglehold , Fated Return , Dark Intimations , Spellseeker , Sire Of Insanity , Thief of Sanity , Spark Double , Primal Amulet  Flip, Dragon's Hoard , Mystic Retrieval , Shreds of Sanity , Spelltwine , Ashiok, Dream Render , Torpor Orb , Baleful Strix , Darksteel Myr , Solemn Simulacrum , Wayfarer's Bauble , Vedalken Orrery , Saheeli, Sublime Artificer , Will Kenrith , Mana Geyser , Gem of Becoming , Thran Dynamo , Narset, Parter of Veils , Keranos, God of Storms , Thrilling Encore , Star Compass , Coldsteel Heart , Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs , Ensnaring Bridge , Crawlspace , Expedition Map , Burnished Hart , Torment of Scarabs , Cruel Reality , Mnemonic Betrayal , Yawgmoth's Will , Bloodchief Ascension , Nightscape Familiar , Gonti, Lord of Luxury , Thaumatic Compass  Flip, Dreadhorde Invasion , Fraying Omnipotence , Thrummingbird , Viral Drake , Past in Flames , Mizzix's Mastery , Omniscience , Tainted AEther , Aid the Fallen , Deepglow Skate , Flux Channeler , Rings of Brighthearth , Silent Arbiter , Meekstone , Mudslide , Astral Cornucopia , Everflowing Chalice , Lethal Vapors , Sunbird's Invocation , Stolen Strategy , Maze of Ith , Spreading Plague , Merchant Scroll , Polluted Bonds , Black Market , Grave Upheaval , Memory Plunder , Pain Magnification

Beaters: Dragonlord Silumgar , The Scorpion God , The Locust God , The Scarab God , God-Eternal Kefnet , God-Eternal Bontu , Darksteel Colossus , Colossus of Akros , Visara the Dreadful , Tsabo Tavoc , Avatar of Woe , Balefire Dragon , Nicol Bolas , Hellkite Tyrant , Bladewing the Risen , Grave Titan , Inferno Titan , Steel Hellkite , Vampire Nighthawk , Torrential Gearhulk , Noxious Gearhulk , Combustible Gearhulk , Dominus of Fealty , Roil Elemental , Tidespout Tyrant , Kokusho, the Evening Star , Keiga, the Tide Star , Ryusei, the Falling Star , Wrexial, the Risen Deep , Etali, Primal Storm , Nezahal, Primal Tide , Tetzimoc, Primal Death , Dread , The Haunt of Hightower , Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind , Razaketh, the Foulblooded , Enigma Drake , Crackling Drake , Archfiend of Depravity , Sheoldred, Whispering One , Thing in the Ice  Flip, Niv-Mizzet, Parun , Sepulchral Primordial , Molten Primordial , Diluvian Primordial , Ob Nixilis, Unshackled , Sire of Stagnation , Utvara Hellkite

Demarge on God-Eternal Oketra Trigger

2 days ago

Liliana, Untouched By Death -3 will let you cast zombies from your graveyard.

Vivien, Champion of the Wilds -2 creatures can trigger it at instant speed.

Chandra, Fire Artisan you can trigger oketra from her abilities, Experimental Frenzy you can trigger from creatures off the top of your deck.

Thief of Sanity creatures stolen from that will do it, as does Release to the Wind and Hostage Taker

iNinjy on I am speed because I want to km/s

2 weeks ago

This looks like a really interesting deck!

I’m not sure if you’re looking for suggestions but if you are: You don’t have many artifact/creature etb effects, but have you considered Panharmonicon to trigger Jeleva twice, and along with that, Gonti, Lord of Luxury and Hostage Taker if you’re looking at using other players’ cards.

Chaos Wand and Isochron Scepter are fun too.

Boroswins on Sultai Flash

4 weeks ago

I love the deck. I playtested some, and came up with the following:

  1. The deck needs a way to protect Wilderness reclamation from enchantment removal. +3 Negate and -1 Status / Statue -1 Forced Landing -1 Vraska's Contempt in SB to account for it.
  2. The Vraska's Contempt is really important though, so I'd move the 1 copy to Main and maybe drop an Incubation / Incongruity .
  3. The Callous Dismissal played very well, and while I wasn't thrilled with it when I initially reviewed the decklist, I really like it after playing. The bounce is nice on the ooze if nothing else or to recharge a Vivien, and of course helps a lot before an attack.
  4. Frilled Mystic is great in any Wilderness Reclamation deck, since it Flashes even without Vivien and protects the Reclamation while still being a body. I'm not sure what to drop for it, maybe -1 Thief of Sanity and -1 Hostage Taker to get at least 2 of them in and see what you think of them. They have been a 4-of in every Bant Flash deck I have tested.

Overall I really like your theme on it. This is the first Sultai mix I've seen, and the removal is something the Bant mix really misses. Nice work.

abby315 on H: Mono-U Merfolk W: Standard ...

1 month ago

TheAnnihilator How about adding Hostage Taker ? If it works for you, go ahead and initiate! :)

dehli on Tezzeret, Master of the Brawl

1 month ago

I've been having a lot of fun with him! He's really powerful once he gets going. Mishra's Self-Replicator and Sai, Master Thopterist make him amazing. I think Hostage Taker is a great idea! I could exile an artifact or creature for two mana (as long as Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge is out). I think I'll also put in Tetzimoc, Primal Death for more creature based removal.

That's a good point about One with the Machine . So far, I've cast it for 5 with Gilded Lotus and 4 with Traxos, Scourge of Kroog , and the third time I kept it in my hand because I didn't have a good artifact on the field. I might swap it out for Jace, Ingenious Mind-Mage .

I'm still experimenting with it. Let me know if you decide to build it! I think focusing on creatures, artifacts, and planeswalkers is the way to go because of Tezzeret's affinity.

Cheers!

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Hostage Taker occurrence in decks from the last year

Commander / EDH:

All decks: 0.02%

Standard:

All decks: 0.3%