Witchbane Orb


Format Legality
Pre-release Legal
Noble Legal
Leviathan Legal
Magic Duels Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Vintage Legal
Modern Legal
Vanguard Legal
Legacy Legal
Archenemy Legal
Planechase Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Unformat Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal

Printings View all

Set Rarity
Innistrad (ISD) Rare

Combos Browse all

Witchbane Orb


When Witchbane Orb enters the battlefield, destroy all Curses attached to you.

You have hexproof. (You can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control, including Aura spells.)

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Witchbane Orb Discussion

JohnnyBoyG on Off-the Wall Tron

1 month ago

I'd definitely go up a few more lands-19 is way too few. I'd also add more interactive spells for the early game, like Chalice of the Void and Dismember.

I think you have a few to many huge drops. Remember, you're not going to be getting tron every game. It's more of a happy coincidence when it happens. And even if you do, you need 4-5 tron pieces to cast most of the titans. I'd probably cut all of them except for one ulamog. I'd also cut Torpor Orb and Witchbane Orb. Both of them are only good against very specific decks, and are dead cards in most matchups.

soliced on i need a second opinion

1 month ago

yah Witchbane Orb and Leyline of Sanctity are why i need a way to ever remove them or to go around them with tokens. again thanks everyone your being a great help. i do have Void Snare in my side board maybe if i got a 2 mana version of it i could just search for it and abuse it with Isochron Scepter infinite return to hand

ParadoxicalSlacker on i need a second opinion

1 month ago

Witchbane Orb would be another way of giving yourself hexproof.

RingweMakil on Damned Devotion

1 month ago

APPLE01DOJ - I don't know. Yesterday, I could have written you an essay; today, I'm facing down Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I know nothing until further testing. I have rushed to bring back two copies of Liliana of the Veil to the list since the unbans, a card I had eschewed very quickly in my original construction of the deck, since it hardly favours the player drawing an extra card a turn; however, with the advent of Bloodbraid Elf and Jace TMS, opponents are now likely to be able to keep up with the CA of Phyrexian Arena, and as such, Liliana of the Veil is likely to be good again (even if the format is being overrun by lots of Bloodghast, Hollow One, and Faithless Looting).

However, I can offer a breakdown of how the creatures function in non-blue matchups:

a. Pack Rat:

The deck started with the set of Pack Rat. But that all in-strategy was soon found to be suboptimal - drawing multiple Pack Rats was unnecessary and rarely served any purpose; not to mention the speed of Modern means turn 2 Pack Rat is often too slow. As sweepers, Detention Sphere, and Maelstrom Pulse became common, and as Hollow One and Death's Shadow and Tasigur, the Golden Fang started to surface, Pack Rat lost some of its luster.

The natural question, then, if Pack Rat is slow and vulnerable, why play him at all? The answer: Pack Rat is ten cards in one card. Backed up with any kind of disruption and removal, he takes over the board and ends the game, quickly and unstoppably. Two activations are more than enough to put away games, and trading spot removal for Rats is a losing proposition. So in this list, he's gone from being a windmill early slam, to a lategame engine that turns dead land drops and discard spells into an army of creatures. Barring Path to Exile before a single activation is possible, Liliana, the Last Hope can always buy him back - one copy of the Rat, therefore, is ample.

Fringe case: Pack Rat allows for arbitrarily large amounts of devotion for Gray Merchant of Asphodel in boardstalls/against Lantern.

b. Desecration Demon

I've covered the virtues of this card in a post above - essentially, he's my Tarmogoyf, but he flies. Whether he functions as The Abyss or as a 6/6 unblockable, he ends games very quickly, and many a game against combo/Tron has been put away by disruption into disruption into Demon. Of the quick clocks available to black, he's one of the better ones. I believe the added utility to be well worth the extra two mana over Goyf (besides, far be it from me to argue against 6 6 fliers for four - speaking of which, Demon is almost always a strictly superior option to Abyssal Persecutor, since Persecutor requiring us to find an additional kill spell for our own demon while Phyrexian Arena ticks down/the burn opponent is topdecking is not a good feeling).

c. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet

I cannot praise this card enough in any mono black midrange list. He exiles creatures, he gains life consistently, and he makes every removal spell in our deck a 2 for 1. Traditionally, efficient mono black removal has been weak to graveyard recursion such as Flamewake Phoenix, Bloodghast, Geralf's Messenger, Kitchen Finks, and so forth, since all these cards must be killed more than once, at no additional expense to the opponent. Thoughtseize and Phyrexian Arena is a painful combination, especially in a world of Lightning Bolt and Kolaghan's Command. Kalitas solves all of these issues beautifully, and with any removal spell stalls the board incredibly easily and well.

d. Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief

Okay, have you seen the art? If Drana were real, she'd totally be my Valentine.

Jokes aside, one of the issues I was frequently running into with the deck was the amount of time it took me to close out once I had stabilised. While all of my creature threats (Gray Merchant of Asphodel is basically a Corrupt, he doesn't count) end the game quite quickly, I just wasn't drawing them fast enough - my opponent would get the opportunity to find that Cryptic Command or Sphinx's Revelation, or get those last 2 Boros Charm. There is a delicate balance between disruption and pressure that must be maintained in all decks that are not pure control, and maintaining that balance required me to find another fast game-ending threat.

I considered running the fourth Desecration Demon, but the idea of another big dumb beater was not appealing. I wanted a powerful threat with intrinsic value attached to its kit, that could help deal with the board even when I was not drawing multiple cards a turn, and hopefully one that was either resilient, or dodged some of the common removal in the format (Lightning Bolt, Abrupt Decay, Fatal Push - although I was open to playing four drops, since consistently having revolt to deal with a whole myriad of four drop threats is difficult). While black has plenty of value three drops, none of them offered this game ending power, or were too easily killed - Nightveil Specter and Lifebane Zombie, for instance, offer great card advantage in specific situations, but don't really pack the same punch as something like a Desecration Demon or Pack Rat army.

Finally, I settled on Drana. There are a lot of powerful five drops in black with value built in (Bloodgift Demon, for instance), but Drana does something none of the others do - she kills things, turn after turn, while being able to attack in the air for huge chunks. In a meta with Lingering Souls, Dark Confidant and Young Pyromancer, Drana seemed like an elegant solution, and so far, she has far exceeded my expectations. I do not think I should consider running multiples of her, since she is quite expensive and can be killed for no value the turn she comes into play, but untapping with her can feel a bit like untapping after a Supreme Verdict to an empty board.

e. Gray Merchant of Asphodel

No Geralf's Messenger, no Phyrexian Obliterator; only 2 Gray Merchant. I do not believe the all in devotion plan is likely to ever become Modern competitive, for sheer want of interactive capability and card advantage - if you are playing a midrange list in Modern, you need lots of early interaction in the form of hand disruption and removal, a proactive plan to end the game with efficient threats, and ways to pull ahead on cards after both players have been stripped down to limited resources. Gray Merchant is an extremely powerful card, as good as or better than Siege Rhino if it drains for upwards of five; it swings races, it ends games, it doesn't care about board stalls, and for all intents and purposes is basically a Modern legal Tendrils of Corruption (not my quote - blame LSV. Then again, that man also calls Disciple of Phenax Mind Twist, so take these statements with several grains of salt).

But despite his inherent power level, Gray Merchant of Asphodel is a very high variance card, and can sometimes be Highway Robber. Removal in Modern is aplenty, and curving out into enough devotion for Gray Merchant to be good is not a reliable plan. Even when the traditional mono black lists do manage to implement their plan - Geralf's Messenger into Gray Merchant, for instance, after having gotten two or more of their creatures removed, despite being an overall drain for seven to nine, just lacks the power/speed to push through opposing Tarmogoyf, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Grim Flayer, Death's Shadow - not to mention blue decks with their Cryptic Command and board sweepers and Sphinx's Revelation.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel in my list is therefore a card I'll often be discarding to the various discard outlets in the early game; using either the second copy or Liliana, the Last Hope's minus two to drain the opponent out if necessary later on. His being a zombie means he can be sacrificed to Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet either to simply grow the great vampire, or to be recursed with Liliana, as the situation calls.

I do not think running more than two of the card is likely to be feasible for Modern given the uncertainty of whether Merchant will be Corrupt or Highway Robber, and also given Merchant's relatively high mana cost; while it is possible that one is the correct number (and indeed, often in post board games, I do go down to one or no Merchant) at least in game 1, the proactive plan of discard, kill, kill, flier, smack, Merchant win is a very strong one. Having access to the second copy in case the first gets exiled and therefore cannot be returned with a future Liliana is also quite relevant against decks with Path to Exile and Pyxis of Pandemonium.

Despite Merchant's variance, I believe his power level and his ability to end the game on the spot through cards like Ensnaring Bridge and Witchbane Orb is not to be undervalued. In a deck with Phyrexian Arena and Ob Nixilis Reignited, every life point represents an extra card; while Highway Robber may be terrible, a five mana 2 4 that draws 4 cards on etb and drains the opponent for four is an absolutely phenomenal Magic card.

I would also like to point out the maindeck inclusion of incidental lifegain like Collective Brutality and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet in conjunction with Gary makes most burn and aggro matchups extremely favourable.

While the creature suite has been carefully picked, and is constantly being chosen and rechosen and tweaked, the engine that enables this deck is Phyrexian Arena. Any interactive deck with reactive spells always runs the risk of its reactive measures not lining up well against the threats being deployed on the other side; Arena churning through the deck presents the critical mass of answers and threats to overwhelm the opponent, ensures land drops are made, and essentially in every regard dots the deck's i's and crosses its t's. With discard outlets like Collective Brutality and Liliana of the Veil to trade potentially dead cards for relevant spells early on, irksome draws with too many high cmc cards can still function smoothly and well.

xraider on SHAME*Arcum*SHAME

1 month ago

Hi Homelessguy

First of all Id like to thank you for your comment. Null Rod and Witchbane Orb are indeed annoying cards. I havent encountered those cards in my playgroup or on Friday night magic yet but that doesn't mean that I cant prepare myself. I already used Spine of Ish Sah in this deck. Spine of Ish Sah is a good way to handle the problem and I use the ability of Arcum Dagsson to bring it into play. But when I draw it then this means it is a death draw because its ridicilous to pay 7 mana for it, especially if I want to win on turn 5. I was thinking more of the card Hurkyl's Recall to bounce them away and makes an opening to win during the same turn. Its only 2cmc and I can use it to bounce my opponents artifacts or bounce my own to protect them from bord whipes. However, Hurkyl's Recall only works on artifacts. They both have their ups and downs. As long as my opponent doesnt play those cards there shouldnt be a problem. I already have a Spine of Ish Sah that I can use swamp in if needed. But for now I think I'm going for Hurkyl's Recall (if i find one). You made me think about my deck and I really appreciate it!I'm always interested in other artifactlike decks so I will definitely visit your page and hopefully learn more.

Best regards ,


Homelessguy on SHAME*Arcum*SHAME

1 month ago

I've been playing a deck a lot like this for about a year now at my FNM and I suggest that you look at Spine of Ish Sah for those times you don't have counterspell but someone plays a Null Rod or throws down a Witchbane Orb.

As you can't produce Mana with your rings and your monolith with Rod on the field

And you can't Target the opponent with witchbane orb with your Ballista in this can get kind of annoying.

So it's kind of nice to have something you can go get to handle the problem.

xyr0s on The Venser Deck

1 month ago

Exchange New Benalia for Temple of Enlightenment - I think it's strictly better. Also, avoid bouncelands (like Azorius Chancery). They are really bad, unless you have a plan for them, and that plan includes Amulet of Vigor. Just try and see what happens to your mana, if you play it turn 2, and it is then destroyed.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor is a great card. It is actually so great, that it is banned in modern. For some reason, this doesn't show up as a "deck illegal" notice here, but... sry mate, it's banned.

In my opinion you have too high costed cards compared to lands. Sure, Everflowing Chalice helps, but with just 20 lands, and many of those entering the battlefield tapped, it'll take forever until you can do anything, and you don't really have the control pieces to keep going for that long. You could send cards like Meddling Mage and Witchbane Orb of to the sidboard, since playing the mage without knowing what to target isn't particularly good, and the orb is useful only in some matches.

Not a fan of Mistmeadow Witch. If you hold back mana to protectively blink a creature of yours, those 4 mana are locked up not unlike what happens to control decks that play overpriced counterspells. Have you considered playing Restoration Angel instead? It also works as a beater and a fairly decent blocker...

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