Throughout this article series run (well over 200 at this point), you will find common threads and patterns. Like any Magic player, I come with my own degree of informed opinion on the state of the game, its various formats, its players, and the importance – or lack thereof – of any one of its extensive array of moving concepts and ideas. And, like any Magic player, I bring my own biases on where I think the game excels and where it falters. I am an enfranchised player, and those decades of experiences with the game undeniably color my impressions of anything Wizards says and does.
Part of this is being a fan of a game that has, whether I wish to admit it or not, been with me in some capacity for the vast majority of my life. It’s unlikely that I’d have written a weekly article on a topic for six years if I didn’t have a vested interest in the hobby otherwise. But part of that also stems from years of watching, observing, reading, and learning about how the ideology of Magic has grown, evolved, and changed over 25 years, from those who design the cards to those who eagerly play with them. So while I undoubtedly bring certain preferences and biases in terms of what I desire in my own Magic experience (multiplayer casual being the primary focus), I always strive to be as fair as possible within that context.
Nevertheless, there are certain go-to refrains you may notice the longer you read these musings. One of the most prevalent is the notion of having options. I am a fervent believer that the more useful options you have available in multiplayer games, the more equipped you are to handle the dozens of unexpected moments that occur every game. Whereas dueling in Magic is more of a boxing match, with each player trying to strike as tactically and opportunistically as possible – be it 20 tiny jabs or one knock-out punch – multiplayer games are a battle royale, where there are far more moving pieces to contend with. It’s a setting where resources, alliances, and windows of opportunity are constantly in flux, and lasting to the end requires a deft mix of proactive and reactive moves – though most players typically like to focus more on the proactive side of the equation.
I get it. Magic is, by its nature, one of aggression. Last player standing and all that.
Still, even on offense in EDH, the more options you avail yourself of – so long as you don’t sacrifice potency for protection – the better off you’ll be. Which is why it’s a well I return to time and again. The better prepared you are without encumbering yourself, the better off you’ll be.
While they’re hardly the only cards that serve that purpose, one of the best ways to accomplish this are modular, multipurpose cards. The trick, however, is finding the right ones. Often, Wizards has a tendency of tricking players into the assumption that modular decision-making is equivalent to power level, when in fact the opposite is often true. That is, the wider a card goes in terms of applicability, the shallower it gets in terms of power. This is by design – because options are powerful.
This is why, for instance, why so many Charms tend to be considered mixed. Whether it’s Mirage’s monocolored charms, Onslaught’s tribal charms, or Ravnica’s numerous guild charms, not every modular card is going to be brimming with widespread appeal. Some are kept deliberately de-powered as to not warp a particular set or format. Moreover, not all of them are designed with longer, more wide-arcing games in mind; some are excellent for short, focused bouts but terrible in games that take longer than 30 minutes.
Or to put it another way, some modular cards work great in Commander, whereas others are best skipped entirely.
This week, let’s take a look at an often overlooked one of the former’s category.
Today we have: Sulti Charm
Name: Sulti Charm
Edition: Khans of Tarkir
Focus: Spot Removal / Artifact Destruction / Enchantment Destruction / Card Draw
Highlights: The Sulti faction in the Khans set found itself beset with expectation problems, from faction mechanics, to the tribal misstep that the naga weren’t also snakes, to their often mixed bag of card effects. While this wedge group certainly provided its share of popular, even tournament-viable cards, the faction overall was much less successful compared to others in the set. The same can be said for Sulti Charm, in that although it has a lot to offer, it had a tendency of being overshadowed by a couple of the set’s other, marginally more potent charms.
Which is unfortunate, because Sulti Charm is hardly a poor modular card to choose from thanks to its removal option.
Like all wedge and shard charms, Sulti is a three mana instant, making it easily castable in all but the early stages of a Commander game, and it offers up its share of three (ok, 2.5) decisions to choose from.
The first is straight-up creature destruction, letting you destroy any monocolored creature on the battlefield. Contrary to what many assume, monocolored creatures are still incredibly prevalent even in decks running two or more colors, so you should be able to target the majority of creatures you come across. You won’t be able to target multicolor or artifact creatures (sure, Murder this is not), but any three mana creature removal card is worth considering adding to a Commander deck, especially in an era where Wizards is intentionally trying to move away from cheap spot removal.
The second option is effectively a multicolor Naturalize, which sounds mediocre in principle, until you realize that every other charm only lets you target an enchantment or artifact; this is the only charm that allows for you to target both. That flexibility can’t be understated.
Thus, when you put these two modes together, you essentially have a three mana removal card that lets you target nearly any nonartifact, non-planeswalker on the battlefield. Which will be helpful in almost every EDH game at some point.
The tradeoff to this is Sulti Charm’s third ability, which is admittedly a bit of a throwaway compared to the first two. Its looting ability to draw two cards and discard one is there more for use within the faction itself to feed the graveyard, but it can still be useful in a pinch in longer games here as well. It’s not that uncommon to have dead cards in your hand that you won’t really need that you could discard in order to gain two new ones, or you may be in dire need to go fishing for some other kind of response to your situation, and in both cases Sulti Charm allows you to dig a little to find it. Whether you’ll want to do cast this for that effect at the expense of removal options is not incredibly high, but it is still an option as a desperation move.
All in all, this charm has a wide range of applicability that can be utilized offensively or defensively to cheaply remove a problematic card on the board, and that alone makes it worth considering. Biases or not.
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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