October 17, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 2
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Bitterblossom was released during an era when Phyrexian Arena had been reprinted into Standard. The Arena was, at that time, most people’s go-to example of a card where you basically always win if you can keep it in play – and it soon turned out that Bitterblossom is even better. Phyrexian Arena gives you access to more cards and options, but Bitterblossom actively constrains your opponents. The Faerie tokens are not major threats in themselves, but when they multiply every turn for zero mana, the opponent has to do something before they’re overwhelmed. And this, in turn, plays right into a Faerie deck’s other answers like Thoughtseize and Spellstutter Sprite. Bitterblossom may have been borderline oppressive in its original Standard run, but modern designs and modern decks owe a lot to it for showing the peaks a proactive control strategy could reach.
While it itself did not get reprinted, the return of Faeries to prominence in Standard called to mind one of the most infamous Faerie cards of yesteryear, Morningtide‘s Bitterblossom. A card obnoxious enough to receive a preemptive ban when Modern became a format, though it has since been unleashed upon the format without obliterating it utterly.
For 2 mana, you get a 1/1 with flying each turn for the low cost of 1 life. It’s an extra attacker or blocker each turn, which has a knack for hemorrhaging away an opponent’s life total rapidly. It also plays well with the Lorwyn-era Faerie support, such as Spellstutter Sprite and Scion of Oona: remember that Bitterblossom itself is a Faerie, thanks to the presence of Tribal, and it benefits from all of the support Faeries in general get.
Bitterblossom is a card that would demolish Standard if it would be reprinted, more than likely; a steady flood of flying creatures is really hard to cut off, especially when it can come down as early as turn 2, and it gets better as Faeries get better. I suppose we should be thankful that the Tribal type makes it harder to get a reprint.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Magic the Gathering Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Visit the Magic Card of the Day Archive! Click here to read over 4,000 more MTG Cards of the Day! Daily Since 2001.