Pick the Brain


Format Legality
Modern Legal
Legacy Legal
Vintage Legal
Commander / EDH Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Tiny Leaders Legal
Standard Legal
Frontier Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Shadows over Innistrad Uncommon

Combos Browse all

Pick the Brain


Target opponent reveals his or her hand. You choose a nonland card from it and exile that card.

Delirium — If there are four or more card types among cards in your graveyard, search that player's graveyard, hand, and library for any number of cards with the same name as the exiled card, exile those cards, then that player shuffles his or her library.

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Pick the Brain Discussion

Aric_Haldan on Improvise One's Anguish

14 hours ago

probably wouldn't play Flaying Tendrils it will hurt your deck more than theirs. To the Slaughter could be good though, Pick the Brain and Lost Legacy as well but against other match-ups than aggro. Of course it will depend on the meta you play in, if you don't encounter aggro decks it will be fine as it is. however if there are decks like mardu vehicles or the more aggressive variants of delirium (t1 Gnarlwood Dryad t2 Grim Flayer kinda thing), I do think some extra cheap removal like Grasp of Darkness or Fatal Push in the sideboard could really come in handy.

n0bunga on Improvise One's Anguish

16 hours ago

Pick the Brain should be a decent sideboard answer for Delerium, especially when its delerium triggers.

But perhaps you're right. Things like To the Slaughter could help deal with a Gideon or other creatures. Lost Legacy has seen some decent SB coverage lately as well. Flaying Tendrils may also be useful.

Zaueski on Improvise One's Anguish

3 days ago

The reason I'm not a fan of Pick the Brain is because there is no matchup where its good except for maybe a combo deck or two. It won't hit early enough to stop aggro and you wont get Delirium fast enough to mess up any good control shell. That's why even B/G Delirium never ran it, its just too slow on turn 3 to only get one card and once you have Delirium its usually too late to hit anything vital.

Zaueski on Improvise One's Anguish

3 days ago

Hmm, well there are a few things I think you could do to upgrade this list.

  1. Implement of Malice or Implement of Examination is definitely worth another look, the synergy with Improvise and possible sideboarded Fatal Pushes is pretty good. And its definitely better than Pick the Brain. At least try testing before you discount.

  2. Scrap Trawler allows you to play the better control spells (like Flaying Tendrils or Yahenni's Expertise) and keep a decent board presence afterwards. I strongly recommend upping the quality of removal and this guy lets you do that.

  3. I am not a fan of Servo Schematic here, making 1/1s and being an artifact just isn't good enough especially since your only method of getting a second Servo is through Herald of Anguish. This is probably the slot where I would add the Scrap Trawlers in but failing that consider Contraband Kingpin. I like the Trawler slightly more, but Kingpin is still an amazing card that can help stave off aggro.

  4. Cut down Hope of Ghirapur to one or two or just leave it in the sideboard, its really bad against half the decks and I think only viable in a combo shell to protect you while you go off. You can try to leave a couple copies in but it feels like a cut.

Occultist on Improvise One's Anguish

4 days ago

MB :Servo Schematic should definitely be a 4x, because it comes in play fast and gives you 2x Artifacts - maybe 3x, if it dies (though I'm not sure what would you have to cut down on to make place).

SB:Collective Brutality doesn't belong here, because you usually don't have surplus to enable Escalate and it has a somewhat narrow target field anyway. I'd prefer 3x Make Obsolete to brake Servo/Thopter decks.I'd rather run 4x Pick the Brain in place of the 4x Transgress the Mind, because you consistently have Delirium and it gets really powerful in breaking combo crap and whatnot.

I've also not run the math to make sure the mana base is right...

frogkill45 on Banned and Restricted - Jan ...

1 week ago

I haven't been playing standard to long (since khans of tarkir) i always played modern but kept a standard deck for funs, nothing to expensive but least playable. After Kaladesh release I stopped all together. Standard wasn't fun with only 3 decks competitive enough to 5-0 a fnm. This is more of a case of cards being to important, or powerful. Emrakul had very few answers that deal with it. Sinister Concoction could kill her but then you most likely lost to the Mindslaver. Pick the Brain and Shamble Back being the only 2 cards I can think of that were good ways to deal with Emrakul in the hand or gy. Both of which are black. One thing I miss was actual ways to remove gy's. Delirium was almost impossible to shut off once achieved. Cranial Archive / Day's Undoing or some sort of effect like this in standard would have helped. Aetherworks Marvel including the word "cast" in the text is what made Emrakul strong in that deck. Getting controlled on the next turn made it so they could blow your sorcery removal on another target. Getting a 13/13 Flying, trample, protection from instants on turn 5 is already good enough. Same can be said for Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. I'd also be interested to see the number of decks that run Marvel but not any big fat eldrazi's.

Smuggler's Copter was just a mistake. the card was way to efficient for 2 CMC and a crew of 1. Loots on attack and blocks. Your almost always going to get a card off it.

Lack of cheap instant artifact removal was also something I didnt like. Natural State was your best answer to most artifacts but the amount of things out its range were huge, and really none outside of green.

I really think the bans were to bring people back to standard. WOC wanted us to know they care about balancing. They want standard to be diverse. I totally agree with that. It really comes down to R&D doing a better job testing future sets. Banning 3 in standard definitely proved this.

Jwillette72 on Born of Black Aether

1 week ago

I know for my black standard deck I made, I looked at cards like Transgress the Mind, Grasp of Darkness, Pick the Brain, Dead Weight, Lost Legacy, Harsh Scrutiny, and Painful Truths. There are a couple more, but I can't think of them off of the top of my head. When I get home I'll look. Hope those cards at least give you something else to look at!

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