January 15, 2020
Limited: N/A Really
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The Abyss and Moat kicked off a “creatureless” age in early Magic. I’ve often been fascinated by why this happened. The Abyss, as you’ll note from reading it above, is most effective against decks that deploy one midrange-ish threat at a time; it can struggle against white rush decks and Sligh decks, but the invention of Sligh was still a year or two away. It’s most effective when backed up by other control elements, and this was what people did, but those lists weren’t as tight either; and today’s 93/94 players have proven that you can make Sligh-style decks with those older cards.
Regardless, The Abyss has had an incredible influence on Magic’s history; yet this hasn’t translated into recent popularity in eternal formats. It only has an effect against creature-based decks, leaving you open to attack by combos and lands, and artifact creatures are surprisingly prevalent in Legacy and Vintage (think of Affinity or Mishra’s Workshop). If you’re lucky enough to have one, you should probably make a 93/94 deck for it – that’s the environment it belongs to and belongs in.
Another Legends card with a secondhand price about as high as my hairline ($600 this time!), and a more brutal effect to go with it. While there are some decks that don’t mind The Abyss’s effect (artifact creature decks, decks bereft of creatures, and the “weenie rush” decks of yore), losing a creature each turn puts some decks on a very strict timer. It being a World Enchantment does present another answer to it, though; World Enchantments are a fairly old and mostly forgotten set of enchantments with the proviso that only one of them can be in play at a time, and playing your own will take out the extant one. So other World Enchantments will handle The Abyss rather cleanly, though probably not without taking a creature with it.
Like Moat, The Abyss has a creature version that approximates the effect, albeit killing itself as the only creature you have left. So most decks won’t need to track this down, but it is a very impressive and weird curio from Magic’s past that can brick a lot of decks fairly randomly.
Constructed: 2.25 (sees no play in Vintage or Legacy presently)
Hello and welcome back to Pojo’s Card of the Day! In honor of Theros being an Enchantment based block we’re going to take a look at some of the most powerful enchantments that have ever been printed in Magic.
Today’s card is an oldy that is fondly remembered by players that have been hanging out around this game since the days when Moxen were an expensive $50 card and will surely be reprinted in 5th edition!
The Abyss, updated for modern rules text it states that at the beginning of each player’s upkeep, destroy target non-artifact creature that player controls of his or her choice. It can’t be regenerated.
Now obviously this is the last card you want to play in a deck where you’re running creatures so this is belongs to a control deck for the most part and there’s nothing wrong with that. Being able to slowly chew through your opponents creatures each turn is something the control deck wants to do and simply snagging one off the field can start sending your opponent into a downward spiral of card advantage where eventually they flood out into lands, or there’s an open board, there’s also the chance that you’re simply dead before then but we’re going to play in the happy land of where you’re controlling the board and have a few removal spells in hand as well!
This card isn’t as strong in multiplayer or Commander but it’s definitely more ‘fair’ on a political field, each player being forced to sacrifice a creature as part of the tribute to the gigantic black hole you’ve placed in the middle of the field. Sure a player might have the enchantment removal in hand to take care of it but you might also be helping them out from a gigantic creature that the fourth player has committed to and must now sac!
There is one place where I’m exceptionally happy for this card, and you may have guessed it by now, and that is Powered Vintage Cube! I’m going to be changing up the next season of my Vintage Cube League for a more creature focused atmosphere, an emphasis on ‘fair decks’ so I’m also going to ramp up the strength on creature removal and I don’t think there’s a better card to eat through creatures than this guy! Sure it’s still vulnerable to high aggro strategies, but I’m willing to take that chance!
Constructed 1/5 – Super Powerful in its era, would be amazing now, had similar effects in Standard with Doom Foretold, but The Abyss no longer does the job in constructed Vintage Formats.
Commander 3/5 – If you want to do a bit of flexing with your deck, this is fine, it affects all the players equally so it has that aspect going for it.
Draft 5/5 – if you ever draft Legends this is practically an ‘I Win Button’ just make sure you have an artifact creature win-con!
Cube 5/5 – This is amazing in Cube environments that have a heavy creature aspect, in more combo heavy cubes this is still a high-pick but won’t do as much damage.
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