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Format Legality
Archenemy Legal
Casual Legal
Commander: Rule 0 Legal
Custom Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Highlander Legal
Leviathan Legal
Limited Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Planechase Legal
Quest Magic Legal
Tiny Leaders Legal
Vanguard Legal



Remove Darkpact from your deck before playing if you're not playing for ante.

You own target card in the ante. Exchange that card with the top of your library.

Caerwyn on Cube idea, good or bad? …

6 months ago

Only from analysis, but I feel fairly confident in that analysis. Consider:

  • The average ante card is likely to hit a land 42.5% of the time (17/40 - a fairly standard land base in Limited). Of those, you’re very likely to hit a basic land - which you could have gotten out of the basic box anyway.

  • Even in a colourless heavy meta, your odds of hitting a colourless are going to be pretty low. The odds you hit a colourless card which also improves your strategy or also debilitates your opponent’s deck are pretty low (and the odds of debilitating your opponents deck being worthwhile for you - meaning you hit the card in game one or two - are even lower).

The odds just are not on the side of Ante being fun, and that’s before we look at the cards themselves:

  • Amulet of Quoz either turns the game into a literal coin flip or is just exiling a single card from the top of an opponent’s library. Either it is a troll card if it resolves which can cause issues with folks twiddling their thumbs waiting for rounds to end or it is a mediocre mill card someone spent 6 mana for.

  • Bronze Tablet - maybe playable. Maybe. It is a ten mana theft piece that allows your opponents to take something back from you. That means for it to be playable, you must be in the position where you can play a 6-mana artifact, and activate it (either that turn or by surviving a turn), have something on your opponent’s side worth taking, have nothing on your side better than what you would take, and be in a position where your opponent won’t just take back what you stole. There’s a lot of things that must go right to make the card playable.

  • Contract from Below - Arguably the most powerful card ever printed in the entire game, this has no place in your cube. It’s just too good, especially in 40 card decks. Every time it is played, it is likely to be the game decider all by itself.

  • Darkpact - interacts badly with the math above. Odds are nothing will be worth claiming from ante, making this a three mana card just sitting about doing nothing in your hand.

  • Demonic Attorney - Really bad card with the above math. You’re spending 3 mana to very likely get something completely useless to you into ante.

  • Jeweled Bird - One mana for something that can only recover a card you likely can afford to lose. It would feel great if you got unlucky with what you ante, but otherwise it is almost always going to be a dead card.

  • Rebirth - Awful, awful card for limited. This stretches out games and can interfere with the timing of rounds.

  • Tempest Efreet - Again, the math is bad for this card, particularly since you’re going into an unknown zone and your opponent goes into the choice with perfect knowledge of their risk.

  • Timmerian Fiends - In an artifacts matters cube where there is heavy artifact recursion, this might be playable. Still, it requires a very specific set of circumstances for someone to draft into and make it worthwhile.

I should probably add the caveat that some players might find it fun, even if the math makes it very, very clear that the Ante cards are all traps (excepting Contract, which, again, is just too darn good).

legendofa on Cube idea, good or bad? …

6 months ago

I've had this thought for a while now, and I haven't done anything with it, so now I'm making it everyone else's thought.

Ante cards like Darkpact are banned in every sanctioned format, because they come dangerously close to breaking gambling advertising laws, and have a high risk of feel-bad moments in general. In a cube, though, all the cards go back to the same box at the end, and "ownership" only lasts as long as game night, so there's no stakes or permanent loss of cards.

To add to the ante antics, and use more cards that can't reasonably be used anywhere else, the Conspiracy cards and Draft matters cards like Backup Plan, Smuggler Captain, and Cogwork Spy could fit well into a cube, since the whole purpose of a cube is to be drafted.

The final element of this cube idea is to sprinkle in some two-card "you win" combos, like Sunbird's Invocation + Approach of the Second Sun, Plunge into Darkness + Near-Death Experience, Biovisionary + Rite of Replication, or Chance Encounter + Frenetic Efreet. These should provide a little treasure hunt for the draft. I would like to keep these all 2+ colors and 6+ total mana value, to avoid making them too easy to reach (numbers are arbitrary and open to consideration).

Would this be an interesting cube to draft, or would it just be too complicated? My goal is to get some mind games going for those who want them, while still allowing for a more straightforward draft. My concern is that using too many of these gimmicks will end up in decks that are flashy, but lack fundamentals.

Caerwyn on Land Destruction: A social conversation

4 years ago

I am a bit late to the party here, and have only skimmed the replies, so I'll probably be a bit repetitive. Still, this is a topic I've put a bit of thought into, so wanted to share my own points.

First, I don't have a problem with land destruction. In fact, in a very sadistic way, I enjoy playing against it. Land destruction, like any resource denial deck, is somewhat terrifying to play against--you're on a clock, and each turn, your enemy is slowly building up their resources, while you're increasingly stagnating. As the person against land destruction, I love how it forces me to think about my resources, carefully planning ahead, terrified those resources might suddenly vanish.

However, I understand the dislike others have for land destruction, and, in the interest of playing devils advocate to myself, am about to ramble a lot about why players see MLD as different from other control methods.

Speaking really generally, Magic has several different resources. In most games, there's the library, your life total, your graveyard, cards in your hand, cards on the stack, the command zone, nonland permanents on the battlefield, and lands (they're both on the battlefield, but fill very different roles, so I think it's fair to treat them as different resources). Some cards allow you to use cards in exile (ex. Squee, the Immortal) as a resource, and two (Darkpact and Jeweled Bird) allow you to use cards in the now-defunct Ante zone as a resource.

There exists denial of most all of these resources.

The library is the weakest resource--it generally doesn't do anything for you until those cards are actualized and put into your hand. Mill, and library exiling effects, can be considered "library denial." These strategies tend to be weak--you're not actively interacting with a resource that matters. It's a bit silly to get upset about being the target of library denial, as your opponent is only going after a weak resource--yes, they might sometimes hit your win condition, but they are also likely to miss it entirely--after all, they have very little control over what they're actually denying.

Life denial is pretty clear--combat damage and burn spells. If your deck is not prepared for life denial, you've made a serious miscalculation. This is, after all, probably the most common type of resource denial.

Graveyard denial exists in many forms, such as Tormod's Crypt. Not everyone uses the graveyard as a resource, and, those who do, need to be sure to protect against graveyard denial. If they don't, that's on them--not the person countering their strategy.

Cards in hand - Duress. This is another one which, like MLD, many players find problematic--after all, you are denying them a resource they know about, but have not yet been able to use. This is mitigated some because you always have your draw step, so can conceivably still win or get ahead before the card is discarded.

Spells on the stack - counterspells. Again, this is such a fundamental part of Magic, it's expected, and you need to be prepared for it. That it is expected weakens the sting of this form of denial.

Nonland permanents - removal of all sorts. Same as life loss and counterspells--this is just a fact of Magic.

Now, rambling aside, on to Land Destruction.

Land destruction is resource denial that is not common, so many decks are not prepared for it. Unlike life/nonland permanent/counterspell-based denial, you don't see MLD as often, so many players have not mentally sealed themselves for this form of denial.

Second, with other forms of denial, you are likely to draw into a card that will help you--lands make up less than 50% of the deck, so you are less likely to draw one and "catch up" after some of your lands are axed.

Further, unlike counterspells or discard, which are only useful at certain times (a spell worth countering on the stack/cards in hand), land destruction can, and should, always be played, meaning a land destruction card is never a dead draw and there's no skill to using it as you can't fire one off at an inopportune time (i.e. countering the wrong spell, leaving a player open to cast a bomb).

Finally, when your spell is countered, your one turn behind, but can catch up next turn. With MLD, you are perpetually one, then two, then three turns behind, lacking the mana to even make a measly turn 2 play on turn 6.

Anyway, that's a bit ramble-y, but here is the TL:DR:

The combination of its rarity makes MLD "sting" a lot more to players. The fact it is relevant and never a dead draw or misfire makes it feel oppressive, and like the MLD-user doesn't need any real skill. Players don't like feeling as if they are perpetually playing catch-up.

Caerwyn on How does this Act of …

5 years ago

Dimir-Acolyte - As this has been open for a couple days, I've marked Boza's post as the accepted answer to this thread. In the future, if you could please hit the "Mark as Answer" button that shows up on responses once you're question has been resolved, that would be appreciated. It helps keep the Rules Q&A section organised and serves as allows future users who stumble across the same question to easily locate the answer.


"Ownership refers to who's card that deck came from."

This is a good general way to understand ownership, but is not 100% accurate--there exist two exceptions:

Ownership also includes cards that are brought in from outside of the game--such as with Glittering Wish. This seems pretty obvious, but, technically, these cards do not have a "deck they came from" so do not neatly fit in your definition.

There also exist four cards that allow ownership to change, regardless of whose deck the card started in--Bronze Tablet, Darkpact. Tempest Efreet, and Timmerian Fiends. Granted, all of these cards are banned in every format, not welcome at kitchen table, and possibly in violation of local gambling laws, but they're still worth mentioning as a historical curiosity.

ErebusX on Gatewatch format

7 years ago

1.) In this casual, multiplayer format, you start with a life total of 30 (rather than the usual 20) and choose a Planeswalker (or legendary creature that transforms into a planeswalker) to serve as your General. You then choose cards to match your Generals color identity to build your deck. A card's color identity is any mana symbol appearing on that card.

2.) The Gatewatch deck contains 65 cards: 1 General and 64 others. Your deck may contain only one of any individual card, with the exception of basic lands.

3.) The General enters play in the general zone. You may cast your General from the general zone for its normal costs, plus an additional one mana for each previous time it's been cast from the general zone this game. If your General is ever headed to the graveyard or exiled, you may return it to its general zone instead.

4.) All cards, including your General, must have a Converted Mana Cost (CMC) of 6 or less. In the case of cards with X in their mana cost, X = 0 for the purpose of calculating CMC for construction purposes.

5.) In addition to the normal Magic win conditions, you can win in this format by raising your General's Loyalty to 30 or higher. If recast from the general zone, your General's loyalty always resets to its base value.

Banned List:

Advantageous Proclamation, Amulet of Quoz, Ancestral Recall, Backup Plan, Balance, Black Lotus, Brago's Favor, Bronze Tablet, Channel, Chaos Orb, Contract from Below, Darkpact, Demonic Attorney, Double Stroke, Doubling Season, Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, Falling Star, Fastbond, Gideon, Champion of Justice, Gifts Ungiven, Immediate Action, Imprisoned in the Moon. Iterative Analysis, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Jeweled Bird, Library of Alexandria, Limited Resources, Mox Emerald, Mox Jet, Mox Pearl, Mox Ruby, Mox Sapphire, Muzzio's Preparations, Painter's Servant, Panoptic Mirror, Pithing Needle, Power Play, Primeval Titan, Prophet of Kruphix, Rebirth, Recurring Nightmare, Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, Secret Summoning, Secrets of Paradise, Sentinel Dispatch, Serra Ascendant, Shahrazad, Song of the Dryads, Tempest Efreet, Thief of Blood, Time Vault, Time Walk, Timmerian Fiends, Tinker, Tolarian Academy, Trade Secrets, Unexpected Potential, Upheaval, Vampire Hexmage, Worldknit, and Yawgmoth's Bargain