Syphon Life

Syphon Life


Target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.

Retrace (You may cast this card from your graveyard by discarding a land card in addition to paying its other costs.)

Browse Alters View at Gatherer

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Set Rarity
Modern Masters (MMA) Common
Eventide (EVE) Uncommon

Combos Browse all


Format Legality
Tiny Leaders Legal
Noble Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Highlander Legal
2019-10-04 Legal
Block Constructed Legal
Pauper Legal
Pauper EDH Legal
Leviathan Legal
Legacy Legal
1v1 Commander Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Syphon Life Discussion

PwniesFTW on advice from 8 rack players ...

3 weeks ago

Maybe be a bit late on this but. Going over the comments and being the only 8 rack player in my area. i personally think Nether Spirit is a better option , you just get it back , it can block and you can use the land for retrace. Along with that I run Syphon Life for another retrace option.

for Phoenix decks and anything with any graveyard or just good cards in general I main deck Surgical Extraction, it may take a card or 2 out their hand after countering something you have or if you have milled something spicy with Vicious Rumors. If i see anyone use Serum Visions or a card of the like, hit them with a rumor. Ive gotten turn 2 scoops after a rumor then an extraction.

Tzefick on Abzan Treefolk Planswalker

5 months ago

"Sacrifice a nontoken Treefolk creature you control; Creatures opponents control get -X/-X and you gain X life where X is the toughness of the sacrificed creature, Then Add any combination of to your mana pool equal to that creatures toughness."

That's pretty busted. Maybe not as much as I initially thought, but it is definitely too powerful with a one-sided board wipe that dodges all protective measures (indestructible, protection, shroud, hexproof and regeneration), some token life gain and then a burst of mana that on most Treefolks would be 6+.

Drop an Indomitable Ancients and watch the color fade from your opponent's face as all their shit gets -10/-10, and you add 10 mana while gaining 10 life. This ability is a bit too far IMO.

I would not go around making +0/+1 counters with the second ability. WotC have more or less removed odd counters from the game. There's no issue making it +1/+1 counters. It makes the PW more powerful in general but as soon as you go for your Doran, the Siege Tower set power = toughness, it doesn't matter, but the +1/+1 counters matters before you get to that point. Also with only a +1, the -X seems very underwhelming unless you have many nontoken treefolk - at which point, it classifies as win-more.

Also to clean up the first ultimate suggestion:

"Sacrifice up to three Treefolk creatures you control. For each creature sacrificed this way, target opponent loses 2 life, you gain 2 life and add ."

The way you have it worded now, the Syphon Life is a one time thing regardless of what happens and is not copied for each sacrificed creature. Unless that's a typo on the capital "Then".

As for the ultimate itself (the first variant), it's actually quite poor. You sacrifice 3 Treefolk to syphon an opponent of 6 life and gain 9 mana in WWWBBBGGG.

That seems like a major tempo loss, unless you're sac'ing tokens. But then again there are not that many token generators for Treefolk that are cheap.

Also it's kinda unclear what this ability is meant to do. It's not really a finisher (up to 6 life is not much reach) and neither really life gain. It's more like mana gain, which seems odd for an ultimate ability. Is the point to sacrifice small tokens and Treefolks to get a ton of mana to cast more Treefolks or flashy spells?

I get that it's a Treefolk tribal Planeswalker, but so far WotC have attempted to steer clear of making an exclusive tribal Planeswalker - with exception of Nissa Revane which they have also received a fair bit of negative feedback on as well as the positive. I would attempt to craft the abilities a bit broader, but with bonuses for Treefolk or abilities that are typically better applicable for Treefolks.

I would do something like this:

+2 Create a 0/3 Green Treefolk creature token.

-1 Put a +1/+1 counter on up to two target creatures. Put an additional +1/+1 counter on each Treefolk targeted this way.

-4 You may sacrifice a creature you control. Target opponent loses X life and you gain X life, where X is that creature's toughness.


First ability is reduced to an 0/3 token but grants 2 loyalty to easier feed into the other two negatives.

Second ability is less wide and more focused, with additional benefit for Treefolks.

Ultimate is reduced from a flashy but kinda all over the place ability to a straight finisher ability.

First ability is a very white/green nature. Second is primarily white. Ultimate is black in nature. So the palette is covered but with more focused abilities that doesn't require a build around theme, but definitely benefits from playing with Treefolk.

Icbrgr on Nether Spirit in modern, just for fun

10 months ago

Spellweaver Helix is something I am playing with due to it's fun factor with Raven's Crime / Syphon Life and whatever other sorcery you fancy like Smallpox / Dead of Winter ... Dakmor Salvage might be worth considering too.

raefgall on Nice Rack

11 months ago

I love the inclusion of Blackmail for 8-Rack. It's so much better than Thoughtseize in the late game.

I've personally never found the need to run all 4 copies of Raven's Crime . Maybe swap one for a copy of Syphon Life or look at a few copies of Funeral Charm (instant speed discard is great when you get them into top-deck mode).

I've been playing around with whether Defile is better than Fatal Push and/or Dismember , especially in mono-black.

I'm wondering if Force of Despair may be a good inclusion, even as a sideboard card. It seems like it would be good against fast decks like Affinity.

My big quandary right now is whether it's worth tossing snow-lands in to run some copies of Dead of Winter to clear the board.

Finally, I'm personally a big fan of Shadow of Doubt , even as a sideboard card.

HalbrechtHalbrecht on Black Plague

1 year ago

Hey there! Sorry for the delay. I looked through a ton of black cards, and then have done a bit of playtesting myself. Below is the list I have been refining towards all night.

I agree with your assessment of Bloodline Keeper — awesome card! but not as good in this deck.

In my playtests, I found that I actually didn't need very much card draw. The Priest gave me a little, which was enough. So I completely removed Mask of Memory for more synergistic effects.

This list generally "goes off" turn 6 - 8 and wins straight away.


Creature (16)

4x Blood Artist
3x Geralf's Messenger
4x Priest of Forgotten Gods
3x Qarsi Sadist
2x Undercity Informer

Enchantment (11)

4x Bitterblossom
4x Bloodchief Ascension
3x Grave Pact

Sorcery (9)

4x Beseech the Queen
4x Collective Brutality
1x Torment of Hailfire

Land (24)

24x Swamp


Ruthless Ripper
Syphon Life
Smothering Abomination

Card analysis

Torment of Hailfire is an amazing finisher if you have lots of mana but are stalled out otherwise. You don't want more than 1x of it, especially since you can tutor for it if need be.

Collective Brutality proved to be one of the best additions to the deck. Early on, you can activate its third mode to help get Ascension counters. Once Ascension is activated, then its discard mode gets the Ascension trigger. It also can kill a creature, triggering all of your death synergy. It's just so flexible!

I cut Grave Pact down to 3 copies, just because it has a higher CMC and you really don't need more than 1 in play (maybe 2 if going against a deck that "goes wide"). Considering you have 4 tutors, this means you basically have 7 copies of it, so you're nearly guaranteed to be able to get it.

I like the addition of Undercity Informer , but he has no stacking effect and doesn't have to tap, so having more than one in play isn't helpful. He also feels like a mid- to late-game play, when you have the extra mana and creatures to sac them all and finish off an opponent.

Geralf's Messenger did some major work in this deck. Absolutely loved getting him. I considered even upping him to 4x. I'm not as in love with Qarsi Sadist , but I was also never disappointed to draw him, as the Exploit sac outlet provided another means to put a counter on Ascension, as well as trigger any Artists or Grave Pacts I may have in play.

Maybeboard thoughts

I was looking at Ruthless Ripper because I think it's very important to get Ascension online as quickly as possible, which means being able to make the opponent lose 2+ life during his turn, not just during yours. Currently, the only instant-speed option is Priest of Forgotten Gods (or an Undercity Informer if you have a Geralf's Messenger with no counter on it or 2+ Artists out). The Ripper provides another instant-speed option that doesn't rely on having another card out. But other than that, there's not any other synergy with the deck. I haven't playtested it, though.

I was considering Syphon Life just for its Retrace ability, which can help in mana flood situations, late game if things are stalling, etc. I haven't playtested it, but again, other than its repeatability (which gives you card advantage), it doesn't do multiple things like Collective Brutality or Qarsi Sadist does.

I would try out a 1x of Smothering Abomination just to give the deck reach if the game goes long. I like the idea of card draw that doesn't drain you life. Since many of your creature deaths will be due to sacrifice, it's almost as effective as Dark Prophecy . And while it costs 1 mana more, it also gives you another creature. Even its downside of forced sacrifice isn't that bad, since you can turn it off at any time by sac-ing itself to its own ability.

dalkuldar on Classical Discard v2

1 year ago

I guess you should start by choosing either The Rack and Shrieking Affliction as a WinCon, or rather Liliana's Caress and Waste Not, that'll give the focus you need.

I'd like to suggest replacing Phyrexian Arena with cards like Skeletal Scrying or Sign in Blood, that'll give you the option to choose when you're low on health. With the Arena you have no way of ridding yourself of it. Creature's like Tombstalker and Gurmag Angler are pretty good since you'll be filling your GY pretty fast.

Here some cards you might want to try: Funeral Charm, Raven's Crime, Unmask, Tasigur's Cruelty, Mindwarper, Bottomless Pit, Necrogen Mists, Syphon Life, Nezumi Shortfang

Brolamog_the_Infinite_Higher on Glare Lock

1 year ago

Orion_121 Black isn’t a color I have tested much with, but I have considered adding a Black splash before. I decided against it early because I found the win conditions to be a bit unreliable, and overall I think the deck performs slower wife succumbing to the same weaknesses. Syphon Life is aggreeably a great win condition for the deck, but after that Stab Wound type effects become our next viable option which similarly folds to non-creature decks. Pestilence is a card that looks good at first in this deck, but I have reservations on dealing damage to our own creatures as that potentially makes us prone to targeted removal. Black luckily does give us the best removal Pauper has to offer, but keep in mind that removing creatures potentially slows down the speed of the lock. As far as Gods Willing is concerned, I find the Scry to be more valuable than hedging against certain match ups and thus feel that Stave Off would be better suited for the sideboard for those particular match ups you mentioned!

Orion_121 on Glare Lock

1 year ago

You mentioned in another thread you had tried /R /U /G variants to moderate success, is the same true for /B? My local meta is pretty high in control / mill / burn and being able add 4 Scoured Barrens and swap out Soltari Trooper and Cenn's Enlistment for cards like Syphon Life, Castigate, Raven's Crime or Devour Flesh would be an asset in those matchups.

I'm also pretty curious about Gods Willing over Stave Off. I can see how in a deck with no card manipulation scrying is valuable but losing the soft-counter for Inside Out or Rancor seems questionable.

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