Should Tybalt's Trickery be Banned?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Jan. 31, 2021, 8:44 p.m. by Mtg_Mega_Nerds

Tibalt's Trickery from Kaldheim has caused much excitement in the MTG community for two reasons. One, giving red a counterspell, not only to be used in Commander/EDH but in Standard as well. Two, a combo that will allow you to cast any non land card for free. The combo goes as follows: cast a card with converted mana cost 0, (Tormod's Crypt or Ugin's Conjurant for example) then counter it with Tybalt's Trickery. Tybalt's Trickery will then exile cards from the top of your library until you reveal a nonland card that is not the countered card, and then you can cast that card for free. You can use this to play very powerful cards. Here is my original deck: The New Treasure Hunt? My budget deck will not link for some reason, so you will have to go to our account and then to decks to see it. Merchant and Mtg Jeff were the first to play this combo. Go check out there videos on YouTube to see how good this combo is. So what do you think? Should this card be banned or not? (Sorry I made a mistake and posted this in Commander Forum. I will reposted it.)

Ruffigan says... #2

No, it is not even close to ban worthy. It will often save your hide but still give your opponent value, and there are much better combos.

January 31, 2021 9:36 p.m.

CrimsonChaos says... #3

There's lots of ways to cheat big things onto the battlefield, especially in edh. This is kind of a cute trick, but takes a fair bit of setup to work, and may still not work reliably. If you have access to green, there's bound to be better options. And as far as countering your opponent's things goes, it's nice if you lack blue but otherwise you have far better options without the potential drawback of your opponent possibly getting more value. It doesn't perform either of these potential functions with the efficiency of their counterparts in those colors, but outside of those colors this is a novel utility. Basically, tl;dr I don't think this is crazy enough to ban, even if there are potentially ways to break it I don't expect it will cause widespread problems.

February 1, 2021 8:19 a.m.

Not even close to ban worthy. You have to play a deck thats not only horribly mangled to capitolize on the card, but also successfully get both pieces in hand.

Its a mediocre counterspell that can backfire similarly to Chaos Warp.

Compare Dockside Extortionist to Tibalts Trickery. Same exact casting cost, massively better, still not ban worthy.

February 1, 2021 10:31 a.m.

griffstick says... #5

No but I wouldnt mind seeing both Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire and Tergrid, God of Fright  Flip getting banned.

February 1, 2021 11:59 a.m.

TriusMalarky says... #6

In Modern? Maybe. You can turn 1 an Emrakul using cascade spells and simian spirit guide.

In commander? lol, in commander I wouldn't ever be scared of most big things. Even Ugin or 7 Karn are maybes. That, and if it's a creature it's much easier to Rograkh Transmogrify into it, without having to run very many bad cards outside of, well, transmogrify.

Really, it's going to see play in blueless cEDH lists as a "you know, Sol Ring is less scary than Ad Naus or Thoracle" card.

Now, griffstick, I'm not worried about Varragoth, but Tergrid looks like a doozy in more casual gameplay. I would not have fun staring her down. What with my casual deck being Tevesh Kodama and all that.

February 1, 2021 1:19 p.m.

Yes please ban. Its a turn 2 ultimatum + ugin + whatever else. Pretty much turn 2 win.

Cant hate more.

February 3, 2021 8:43 a.m.

TriusMalarky says... #8

MTGCasualPlayer turn 2 Ugin, OR Ultimatum, OR something else.

And that's if you nut draw. Like, that's an 8% chance to have an opening hand with Trickery in it. And it's not counting the probability of having a 0-mana spell, which you probably have very few of. Of course, I'm also assuming you have 95ish lands because otherwise the math isn't happening.

If you can get an eldrazi or whatnot out t2 with Trickery, then you deserved it, because you've probably played 15-20 games at least without it happening.

February 3, 2021 4:36 p.m.

Yes I admit THAT is a bit far fetched ... But the probability of having turn 2 genesis ultimatum or prismatic bridge (which then bring ugin and the rest of big gun) is not that low either.

At least having tiblat combo on turn 2.  The chance is not low at all!

Here's the calculation, assuming 60 cards, 4 tibalt trickery, 4 tormod crypt, the rest are land and the big guns. 


  1. Chance of having at least 1 tibalt in hand is 39.9%

  2. Chance of having at least 1 tormod crypt is 30ish percent

  3. Therefore, chance of having both at opening hand is about 13-14%


  1. Chance of having at least 1 tibalt in hand is 35%

  2. Chance of having at least 1 tormod crypt is 30ish percent

  3. Therefore chance of having both at opening hand is about 12%

  4. Therefore, chance of havinf at least one combo ready on your 2nd mulligan is about 25%.  Not bad right?

In case we still dont get both at the same time:


  1. Chance of having at least 1 tibalt is 30%

  2. Chance of having at least 1 tormod is about 20%

  3. Therefore, chance of having both is 6%

  4. Therefore, chance of having at least the combo ready on hand after 2 mulligan is 31%.

So 3 out of 10 games.  Not heaven defying, but actually still feasible. 

Actually Slightly more because you can draw cards too. And turn 3 combo isnt that bad either.

Standard speaking, On the combo side there is genesis ultimatum and prismatic bridge.  8 possible killers.  If your oppnent get turn 2 / 3 combo? Just resign. 

Whether that 3 out of 10 warrant ban, I dont know.  If you ask me, I'd say ban. Can't hate more.

February 4, 2021 1:45 p.m.

Oh wait this is EDH forum not Standard. I land on this page from google so I don't realize it.

Well maybe not so much in Commander? But I would certainly want it banned on Standard.

February 4, 2021 2:04 p.m.

griffstick says... #11

The card is not ban worthy it's just strong it's no oko

February 4, 2021 2:49 p.m.

TriusMalarky says... #12

MTGCasualPlayer Understandable mistake. But in Standard, let's look at this math:

4 Trickery, 4 Crypt, 1 Ugin. Everything else is a land, probably snow Mountains with Faceless Haven.

With a quick Hypergeometric Calculation, you'd have about 20% to have the combo in your opening 7. That's not including the hands with Ugin in it(maybe run 2x Ugin to remove that problem), and that math is 8 successes need 2, rather than the 4 need 1 times 4 need 1, or 35% * 35%, which would be ~12%. Averaging approximately, you'd have a ~15% chance to have the combo in your 7.

Now, doing math on the mulligans: first mulligan is failure in first hand times success in second, so 85% * 15%, which is 12.8%.

Quick mathing so you don't have to read:

  • No Mull: 15%

  • First Mull: 12.8%

  • Second Mull: 10%

  • Third Mull: 9%

At that point, you'd have about a 47% total chance to get an opening hand including the 4 cards you need: two lands, trickery and crypt.

So, that's pretty high . . . except that it means that you win exactly 50% of your games. Not counting the games in which your opponent has Duress , Spell Pierce , Negate , etc, in which case you lose.

So you win half your first games, and then all your opponent needs to do is be black or blue and mulligan to a one mana spell. I mean, they can mulligan to a hand consisting of Swamp , Duress and win. That's assuming they don't draw horrendously. Basically, there's no way you're resolving Ugin past turn 2/3.

Is that worth it? No. It's gimmicky and fun, but the chances just don't work. Your win condition is 100% a glass cannon that has a couple turn window to go off(if you don't get Ugin out by turn 5, there's no way you're going to be able to catch up).

So it's a 50% game 1 win to a wildly variant 50% to 5% in games 2 and 3. . .

In Pioneer, it's much less likely to be good because they have TS maindeck. In Modern, it gets weird: They have TS and IoK, but also you can play it turn one and also you get Emrakul. And also you don't need two spells, you just need a 3-mana cascade spell. Which you cast on turn one, to get Emrakul. In Standard and Pioneer, it's not a threat. Minotaur Bellow thing is more of a threat. But in Modern . . . hooo boy, it's either unplayable or it's a t1 win deck.

February 4, 2021 4:32 p.m.

Yes, as soon as possible. I don't know what game others have been playing, but the idea that you have to "mangle your deck" or "it's not consistent" is absurd. It's a two-card, turn-2 wincon. Half the time, you beat your opponent before they even take their second turn

All you need is a 4-card hand. 2 lands, Tibalt's Trickery, and a zero-cost spell. (Pick your favorite, the one I've seen most is Stonecoil Serpent)

So with mulligans you have 4 chances to draw that hand, and your win is virtually guaranteed. Turn 2 Ugin. Turn 2 Emergent or Genesis Ultimatum. Yes, your deck looks weird, with nothing in the middle of the curve, but it doesn't matter. You can filter cards so perfectly that the vast majority of the time, you get the combo on turn two and after that... who cares? Even blue has trouble with it. You gotta hold open 2 mana for a counterspell, and half the time that won't even happen because your opponent went first and they combo before your second turn. I'm usually willing forgive WotC for a LOT, but this one is too far. This card is stupidly powerful, and even if it weren't- it's game-warping. If Smuggler's Copter was bannable because it altered gameplay too consistently, Trickery is bannable on the same grounds.

February 4, 2021 6:02 p.m.

Blistercoil Weird + Paradise Mantle is a more consistent deck. Check Trius's breakdown of the probability of getting the combo in hand.

Yes, you have to mangle your deck. You cannot do anything other than your one trick pony maneuvre, which can be countered, or can be ineffectual in a deck that isnt mangled (as you could hit a card you don't want to).

Feel free to play it. It sucks the 53% of the time it doesn't do the only thing it does.

February 5, 2021 11:01 a.m.

MagicalHacker says... #15

In commander? No way. Even though I built a gimmick deck with it (I think a better descriptor is a "Shedinja deck": check it out here), I don't think it's a problem at all in Commander.

In 60-card formats? Oh, most definitely.

They are either going to ban it in 3-4 formats while the set is in print (something WotC hates doing because $$$) or they are going to errata it to be "target spell you don't control" (or something similar).

February 6, 2021 10:35 a.m.

DuTogira says... #16

Trickery is self-defeating. Say you try to combo it with Tormod's Crypt . Trickery exiles till it hits a card that isn’t crypt. Trickery is a card that isn’t crypt. You free-roll a trickery instead of the ugin or emrakul or whatever you wanted. Now 2/4 copies of your combo enabler are out of your deck which presumably has no cantrips or filtering or any other kind of spell because you just wanted that turn 2 combo. So you scoop.

Very well designed card, yes it has the POTENTIAL to roll something busted from your own deck, but it will never do that reliably enough to build a competitive combo around.

February 7, 2021 12:29 p.m.

MagicalHacker says... #17

Don't forget about playing 4 3-CMC cascade spells and 1 Trickery. You can mulligan down until you get the cascade spell, cast it turn 3, counter the cascade spell, reveal a enormous spell.

February 8, 2021 12:14 a.m.

DuTogira says... #18

Oh now that’s actually big brain... Although it takes the combo up to turn 3 and folds to counter magic. Slightly more competitive but I still don’t see it being busted

February 8, 2021 10:24 a.m.

TriusMalarky says... #19

Cascade is why Trickery is good in Modern. That mechanic is solely responsible for several weird gameplans.

Actually, DuTogira, if you hit Trickery off Trickery, you then target your own Trickery and continue the loop. MagicAids and MerynMTG both made videos covering the deck, and the absolutely worst thing you can hit off Trickery in Modern is Simian and that's if you run it in your deck, which you probably shouldn't be. t3 Chancellor of the Tangle is a pretty good floor.

But hugsandambitions: no offense, but I don't think you know what 'mangle your deck' or 'is not consistent' means.

'mangle your deck' refers to the fact that, due to Trickery's wording, you have to build your deck in a very specific way -- one that will probably have 80ish lands in EDH. While it's not necessarily bad, it does mean that your entire gameplan revolves around Trickery -- you cannot use anything else.

Additionally, if you want to counter the consistency claim, you should probably pull up some math of your own. In my experience, people who discount the "isn't consistent enough" argument without providing any reasoning, or those who discount by saying '

Also, 'blue has a hard time' is a bad argument. Swan Song, Spell Pierce, Miscast, Dispel . . . Look at those cEDH playable 1cmc counterspells that hit Trickery. Oh, look, there's also 3 0cmc counterspells and also several red redirect effects that cost 1-0 mana that can screw Trickery over.

Also, what are you hitting? Craterhoof doesn't win cos you don't have enough creatures. Ugin's big, but can't ever win in EDH -- it just allows you to control the board really well, for a couple turns because it immediately dies. Even Emrakul can't win you the game on its own in EDH, and she's banned.

February 8, 2021 4:20 p.m.

DuTogira says... #20

TriusMalarky the first trickery has to resolve before its effects are actioned. I’m not a judge, but I’d be extremely surprised if a resolved trickery was a legal target for a second trickery revealed by the first trickery’s resolution. That’s like countering Lightning Bolt after the 3 damage is dealt.
If for some ungodly reason that interaction does work though, then yes cascade -> trickery -> the nuts would be a reasonably competitive line of play. If that interaction doesn’t work... I maintain that trickery is self defeating and I’m not that worried about it.

February 9, 2021 7:22 p.m. Edited.

couchcolt says... #21

I honestly don't care if it's consistent or not or can be answered. Never should my opponent take 5 mulligans and still win cause they got to play ugin for free turn 2. Cards have a cmc for a reason.

February 24, 2021 7:16 p.m.

couchcolt says... #22

Should be target spell you don't control.

February 24, 2021 7:18 p.m.

Delstar says... #23

In league or even just in real life, that card doesn't matter. On MTGA where idiots will mully and quit until they get what they want, it's annoying, especially when all you want to do is enjoy a good match. It may not be statistically viable or threatening, but it's unsportsmanlike and boring. Boring to play (opponent quits on T2 or you quit after 5 mollies) and boring/not worth playing against.

My two cents.

March 10, 2021 2:31 p.m.

TriusMalarky says... #24

Wow, blast from the past. Nice take tho.

March 10, 2021 4:31 p.m.

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