Abstruse Archaic
Abstruse Archaic

Abstruse Archaic – Commander Masters

Date Reviewed:  August 23, 2023

Constructed: 2.25
Casual: 4.25
Limited: N/A
Multiplayer: 3.88
Commander [EDH]: 4.13

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


You may have heard that there’s another set based on Strixhaven’s plane Arcavios coming up in the next couple of years. I’m very glad of that fact, because Magic should showcase diverse worlds, and until then, we can ponder a similar concept in references like this. The archaics are very effective at making you say “apparently I don’t understand the universe after all” – and manage to do so in a different way from the Eldrazi.

Speaking of Eldrazi, this card is intended to go with them (and with colorless artifacts, but nowadays people often reach for the Eldrazi first); and as such it can feel somewhat limited on a first reading. But anything that encourages you to dig through your collection and find compatible cards has a lot of potential, and I can’t think of a single one that didn’t turn out to have unexpected interactions and synergies. This will undoubtedly be the same – I mean, you remember the Mirrodin and Scars of Mirrodin blocks, right? Four mana on a creature with a tap ability might put it out of Legacy’s range, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this card leads to all new decks in casual settings.

Constructed: 2
Casual: 4.5
Limited: N/A
Multiplayer: 4
Commander [EDH]: 4

 James H. 


Abstruse Archaic has a very “conspicuous” thing it’s meant to work with: the Eldrazi. While the body itself is fairly okay, being able to spend one mana to get two of a particular cast trigger or attack trigger is pretty nasty, particularly when you’re talking about the things with many tentacles. It doesn’t need to be big to do damage, though…there are plenty of smaller artifacts and small Eldrazi this can work with, and this also can work with lands n a pinch (as lands are colorless by default). It does not copy mana abilities, so don’t get too excited about pairing this with something like Serra’s Sanctum…but there can be a lot of fun in making something go twice, and this is a decent enough enabler. If it were cheaper and smaller, it might even have a chance in Legacy…and I think it’s not completely dead there, but I’m not sold on it. Really, the sky’s the limit with Abstruse Archaic, and there are plenty of obscene things to do with it, even if your starting point is to consume even more with an Ulamog cast trigger.

Constructed: 2.5
Casual: 4
Limited: N/A (depends on the format, but could be as high as a 4 or as low as a 2)
Multiplayer: 3.75
Commander [EDH]: 4.25

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