With a regular game of two-player Magic, you have a lot to focus on. You have your hand, what you currently have in play, available mana for your spells, colors of mana for said spells, life total, possible cards in your graveyard, maybe some poison counters if you’re so unlucky, etc. etc.
Oh, and then all of that stuff on your opponent’s side of the board as well.
Magic has a lot of working pieces that factor in to the decisions that you make, and when you expand that out to multiplayer games – Commander or otherwise – the table state can get very complicated very quickly. Even if you are meticulous, it will happen to you that things get forgotten about. One type of permanent this happens to more than any of the others are lands. Normally, your opponents won’t really need to track how many Mountains you have or if a particular land tapping for dual colors is being used properly. Lands that do things other than add mana though…well, sometimes they just sit unnoticed in plain sight, waiting for the right opportunity.
Today we have: Mystifying Maze
Name: Mystifying Maze
Edition: Magic 2011
Focus: Combat Control / Creature Removal
Highlights: Mystifying Maze is a fantastic sleeper card in Commander, as it has the luxury of being a utility land that players often forget about. On the surface, it is merely an homage/callback card to its progenitor, Maze of Ith. However, it has three main distinctions over Ith:
1. It is significantly easier to find, and Maze of Ith is on average about 25-30 times more expensive to purchase.
2. While Ith’s ability doesn’t cost mana, Ith also it can’t be tapped for mana. Mystifying Maze can.
3. Mystifying Maze’s ability doesn’t simply unwind the creature’s attack – it flat out removes it from play via it’s own ‘flicker’ ability. This can be highly advantageous as it can remove a threat from the board for the turn rather than just combat, negating potential post-combat tricks. Moreover it can clear the creature of pesky things such as +1/+1 counters or Auras.
Mystifying Maze is rarely seen in 1-on-1 games because most folks don’t want to invest five mana to temporarily stave off a single creature attacking. In multiplayer games, this is less of an issue. In Commander specifically, generally a player will be sitting with half a dozen big scary creatures to worry about, or a swarm of small ones. The Maze can’t help with the latter, but having five mana around at times to ensure you don’t get hit from someone’s 30/30 Commander (and thereby losing) is worth it.
Especially if they don’t remember it’s been staring them in the face most of the game.
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.
Do you have a particular Commander card to suggest for us to shine a future Spotlight on? You can send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org