Commander Spotlight: Fool’s Demise

For Magic players on a budget there is rarely something so annoying as very popular chase cards in a new set. If a set has a hallmark card that everyone (including yourself) wants, the price on that card goes up. The rarer the card, the worse the effect gets. From an economics standpoint, it works. From a casual player not looking to spend a ton of money on cardboard, it sucks. You either have to shell out the cash for it, trade for it at an inflated rate, hope that you’ll randomly get one in a pack, wait forever and then trade at more reasonable rates, or ultimately pass on the notion on having it at all.

On the other hand, it makes a lot of the other cards in the set much more attainable for those of us who’d rather have thirty $1 cards over one $30 card.

In recent years, the penultimate example of this is the Worldwake set. To illustrate: name a card in Worldwake that isn’t Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Stoneforge Mystic. I’ll wait…

…girl from Ipanema goes walking…

If you came up with one, congrats. For most people, though, it’s not all that easy. It’s not that Worldwake was bad. Rather, the set’s entire identity became wrapped up in the quest for owning Jace 2. Even Stoneforge was relatively under the radar until she found a home alongside Jace and some Mirrodin equipment in a tournament-warping deck that ultimately got them both banned. Worldwake became equated with Jace so much, in fact, that people were buying packs and boxes just in the hopes of getting one (often solely for the purpose of selling it). Boxes doubled, tripled in cost. Even individual packs started to cost upwards of 2.5 times what they should have in stores – all for the quest for one card.

The cost of those packs of it still hasn’t come down.

It’s unfortunate, because while Worldwake wasn’t a bad set, there also wasn’t enough other “valuable” stuff in the set to justify the market madness that happened. In the post-banning world, Jace is still a $100+ card (mainly due to certain institutions artificially keeping the price high). Yet the second most valuable card – Stoneforge – rarely crosses the $15 mark anymore. There’s only a handful of cards in Worldwake that command around $5, let alone $10+. This price polarity is great for people looking for inexpensive Worldwake cards, but it also gives the set a cheap feeling, as if everything else is inconsequential.

Worldwake isn’t the first time this has happened either. One other such example is Alliances – and little Blue Uncommon called Force of Will.

I was buying packs when Alliances came out, but I never got one randomly. I also never got in on the Force of Will craze that has ensued ever since, largely because I don’t play formats that require it. However, as a young teen, I was overjoyed by another Blue card from the set. And a lowly common at that. I speak of False Demise.

False Demise was fantastic. I could put it on my own creature and get it back if it died, or I could throw it on one of my opponent’s creatures and be rewarded for destroying it! It was easy to get, was cheap to cast, and it flew far under the radar of many of the more popular cards in the set. I really enjoyed False Demise. And I still do.

Today we have: Fool’s Demise

Fool's Demise

Name: Fool’s Demise

Edition: Time Spiral

Rarity: Uncommon

Focus: Creature Reanimation / Card Retrieval

Highlights: Fool’s Demise combines the aforementioned effectiveness of False Demise with the wonderful Urza block ability of destroyed Auras returning to your hand. That extra ability is certainly worth the extra two mana, especially in Commander.

Whether you use Fool’s Demise in tandem with cards that benefit from casting enchantments, manipulating enchantments, killing creatures, or creatures entering the battlefield, it finds a strange amount of synergy. It’s a very flavorful way for Blue to steal a creature, as unlike most creature-stealing effects, it doesn’t happen until the creature dies. However, it also means that you gain the creature without worrying about your Mind Control being destroyed.

Admittedly, there are times when bouncing or locking down an opponent’s meddlesome creature is more advantageous, as the caveat to Fool’s Demise is that it does nothing in a status quo situation.

And yet in longer games like Commander, Fool’s Demise can prove equally (if not more) useful since it can also be used defensively. It’s far more worthwhile to have this trigger on your creature and recast the Aura than wasting a useful bounce card just to save it.

Plus, it’s only fitting that in addition to the other traits Fool’s Demise borrowed from its predessors, this card went almost unnoticed in the heavy-hitting, nostalgia-soaked Time Spiral set. And that just seems so fitting.

Keep an eye out for us to be regularly featuring other more accessible-but-worth-it Commander cards going forward. In the meantime, we’ll keep the light on for you.

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