Pithing Needle


Format Legality
Noble Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Casual Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Unformat Legal
Pauper Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Masterpiece Series: Kaladesh Inventions (MPS) Mythic Rare
Return to Ravnica (RTR) Rare
2010 Core Set (M10) Rare
Tenth Edition (10E) Rare
Saviors of Kamigawa (SOK) Rare

Combos Browse all

Pithing Needle


As Pithing Needle enters the battlefield, name a card.

Activated abilities of sources with the chosen name can't be activated unless they're mana abilities.

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Pithing Needle Discussion

FireStorm4056 on [PRIMER] Death & Staxes: Competitive Meren EDH

5 days ago


Not to worry! There are a lot of ways to speed things up. Looking at your list, here are a few things that I recommend:

  1. 1-drop mana dorks. Enough to be consistent with them in the early game. This is the surest way to speed up your clock and put you ahead of the table. Note that cards like Farhaven Elf are repeatable... but how often do you find yourself actually doing so? In my experience the tempo off a T1 Llanowar Elves is so much better than potentially getting a second land off Farhaven Elf. Most of the 1-drop dorks are quite cheap ($$), with Birds of Paradise topping things out at $4-ish. These will not only provide you with acceleration, but also can potentially replace higher-costed slots currently in your decklist (such as Into the Wilds, which has good long-term potential, but often you've already lost by that time). Even better, on later turns, dorks are cheap enough that you can still play them AND do something else useful - whereas if you play a Farhaven Elf, chances are that's all you're doing for the turn.
  2. Carefully evaluate engines that don't give you immediate return on investment. Black Market has big payoff potential but it doesn't do anything the turn it hits... there might be some other ways to build the deck that give you similar ramp but play out much quicker. Be creative, as it doesn't need to be a direct replacement. For example, Earthcraft and Cryptolith Rite are alternatives you might consider. They each cost 3 cmc less (so can be played earlier and don't take up a full mid-game turn) and make all your creatures IMMEDIATELY tap for mana (so no buildup required). With Meren + one non-dork on the board an Earthcraft is effectively free since they can immediately tap to generate two more mana. Again, the payout potential might not be as high as Black Market, but they hit a lot faster and (initially) harder.
  3. Don't rely on creatures for all of your removal. In my experience, Acidic Slime was almost always just a Nature's Claim for 5x the price... and it's a dead card for quite a long time due to its high cost. You should definitely still pack creatures with removal on them, but it's worth considering the best noncreature removal too (Abrupt Decay, etc). This is especially important when you are facing combo decks - often a single well-placed removal spell throws a wrench in all of their plans.
  4. How do the combo decks in your group win? Most of the mill combos I'm aware of rely heavily on artifacts, not only for the combo, but for ramping and card advantage. These types of combo decks are really, really weak to silver bullets like Null Rod, Damping Matrix, Pithing Needle, and Phyrexian Revoker. Paired with a few tutors you can land them reliably and often save the game without even having to think about much else. You already run some of the best tutors too so no real issues there! If decks are consistently winning on T3-4, then in most cases their plan is fragile to targeted removal or silver bullets. If you are running both then you will have a lot more ways to deal with these issues!
  5. Answering tron is tough if you restrict yourself to engine-based creature removal. My list has actually shifted away from most of the popular "kill" engines - note that I don't have The Abyss, Magus of the Abyss, Dictate of Erebos, etc. For the most part I pack a lot of targeted removal and Fleshbag Marauder effects to solve these problems... For example, I find the efficiency of a one-time Dismember is usually far better than hassling around with getting an Attrition engine setup - you might try a similar approach! My best reasoning is the following - you'll already have enough to do with creatures and Meren (it's not like you're lacking targets), so playing spell-based removal means you can do more per turn rather than have to decide on a single choice for your Meren trigger.
  6. Since we're playing stax/control, you have to take a long, hard look at every card that doesn't provide a strong boardstate advantage (card advantage, tempo, resource generation, etc) or hinder our opponents somehow. Verdurous Gearhulk stands out to me as something that doesn't really fit a "niche" - it is "good" but doesn't really play towards any plan of ours. So I question whether it is worth including. Compare him to something like Creakwood Liege, who can offer a similar boost to P/T on the board, but costs less and can generate a strong 3/3 critter each turn (to be used for combat, finisher, or sacrifice fodder).
  7. I'm not a huge fan of Death Cloud personally, it's just so expensive a price to pay for a symmetric effect. Pox and Smallpox are already in your list and very cost-effective - Death Cloud has always seemed to me like it cost just too much for what it offers.
  8. Clearly you are running Bitter Ordeal for a reason, and I would guess it's to answer the combos you've been facing :) I tend to prefer silver bullets like Null Rod (since they are widely useful regardless of opponent)... but if exiling combo pieces is the goal, might I suggest Sadistic Sacrament instead (sorry, card tags aren't working on this one for some reason)? It may not be the most efficient spell... but it is wicked fun to land against a combo player at the right time and a little more consistent than Bitter Ordeal :)


This is something I plan to address, but haven't had the time to write up quite yet. Some of the answers you're looking for are in the replies I've made in the comments - I will add a section like this soon enough.

kamarupa on Stuffy Culling Pariah Nodes

6 days ago

Nice deck! +1. It looks like you've put some bright thinking into it!

A few tweaks might make it slightly more versatile: 1xBuried Ruin seems like it could be really useful. I like to run 1xGhost Quarter to slow down Tron decks, too. 1xReliquary Tower if Swans of Bryn Argoll draws tons of cards. Or since you're running lots of artifacts, maybe 1xSpellbook would be useful. Depending on how many artifacts you can maintain, Dispatch might be good enough to consider.

Might as well add some artifacts to the sideboard, too, no? Perhaps, Ratchet Bomb, Pithing Needle, or Elixir of Immortality. Everlasting Torment might be useful, too in some matchups.

PickleNutz on Deathbow

1 week ago

Maelstrom Pulse, Treasured Find, Tormod's Crypt, Pithing Needle, Damnation, Naturalize, Putrefy, Golgari Charm, Dismember, and Noxious Revival are all great sideboard cards for Golgari decks. I would stay away from Grafdigger's Cage because it prevents Glissa from pulling artifacts back from the graveyard. Tormod's Crypt can erase an opponents graveyard and still give you access to yours. Also, a few Ghost Quarter is probably needed to stop Tron decks.

xyr0s on This Card is Not Modern ...

1 week ago

Weakness of the triassic egg-deck is taht it needs 10 mana just for the egg to hatch, as well as tapping the egg 2 times. You can't really play the egg until turn 3 in modern, but you could make it turn 2 (manadork turn 1, Simian Spirit Guide turn 2. No mana to spare at any point here, and you've spent 5 cards out of your opening hand just playing the d*mn thing. That means very little defense - no protection against discard (in modern...), no protection against "destroy target egg", no way to get out of Pithing Needle-effects. Oh, and any counterspell, anywhere along the way, and it will take much longer.

But if it succeeds: Turn 3, tap. turn 4, tap, crack. Somewhere along the way, a creature tutor of some sort is needed. And you'd still need to not be disrupted by all of the above. Then you get your creature, and then you have this one turn for winning. Griselbrand? Not a good creature when you are low on life (which you would be). eldrazi titan? Not optimal either, leave the graveyard as soon as they get there, they lack haste and their abilities are triggered on casting, not on ETB. Darksteel Colossus seems better. But that can still be handled in a pile of ways, and it still lacks haste. So, all in all, if you go for as fast an egg as possible, you'll end up giving your opponent 4 or 5 turns to hit you as hard as they can, and you get to pretend being a goldfish trying to hatch a dinosaur egg while they do so. Good luck, goldfish, both with the egg and your survival.

Of course you could go with a longer-running plan - like building a control-shell and using the egg to hurry up your win condition. That would put the egg in comparison to Nahiri, the Harbinger. Also at a mana cost of 4. Also taking a couple of turns to work. But doesn't eat your mana while doing so. Also, and this is important for combofinishing, finding a threat in your library and giving it haste.

And then there is modern, where discard spells are almost as common as Force of Will in legacy, and sideboards always have good hatecards against artifacts (because affinity and lantern control) and graveyards (because grishoalbrand and dredge) and sometimes just randomly against combo. Plenty of good removal, and plenty of removal that circumvents the simple keyword protections.

There has to be a really good reason for playing this egg, rather than any other way of cheating creatures in.

Pygmyrhino990 on Ixalan Mill

1 week ago

Pithing Needle is the card you are thinking of if I'm correct. Not sure there is a standard version but I could be wrong. If playing a combo centered deck feature 4 copies of each card in that combo! That is a staple for all combo decks. Keep that fourth fish you need it. I agree, since you are playing defensively navigators ruin does need to come out, and perhaps in it's place some more removal, protection and control.Also your maths is way off. Compelling argument puts 5 in. Winds of rebuke puts 2 in.


Fraying sanity 1: 7*2=14

Fraying sanity 2: 14*2=28

Fraying sanity does not count card put into your graveyard to the count.

guardianhunter19 on Inalla Steals ALL the Things!

2 weeks ago

Hello, let me start by saying I really appreciate the feedback from all of you!

gdm1989 Thank you for the switch suggestions, it really helps to know what you think should be taken out. Some of these cards I've never even seen before so it's cool that their is more utility out there. Supreme Inquisitor, Voidmage Prodigy, Animate Dead, and maybe Aura Thief look especially good! Especially since they specifically deal with weaknesses I think this deck has. So thank you!

TearsInRain23 Perhaps Deadeye Navigator then?

TheWallinator74 Thank you for the suggestion, Pithing Needle especially seems like an auto include.

Peisistratos on Competitive Modern Mill

2 weeks ago

Devinmlake As I wrote in the notes about my list, bluffing a third color is unrealistic since you would bluff Path to Exile which not only is bad in Mill but also made obsolete by Field of Ruin (actually forcing them to search, and a land to boot). On the other hand, Lantern has some games where it names your fetchlands out of Pithing Needle: we can make their second one useless this way.

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