– Magic 2010
February 27, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 2.42
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I understand why Standard exists. I understand why it’s important, and I have nothing against it (though I do wonder how they managed to have to ban such innocuous cards as they did this past year). But cards like Burning Inquiry are why I love more open formats. When it first came out, it looked pretty difficult to use and seemed to be carrying pretty unfavorable odds, and many would have guessed that it was destined to appear exclusively in EDH decks themed around the word “random”. And then we discovered that on the other side of the multiverse, Nicol Bolas ruled a plane that looked curiously like our ancient Egypt, and there was a way to use it to get three 4/4 creatures in play on the first turn. This is what makes Magic the greatest trading card game of all time: if there’s a card that you can’t figure out how to use, sometimes all you have to do is wait.
One mana? That’s good. Random discard? That’s bad. Drawing three cards? That’s good. It affects all players? can I go home now?
In a vacuum Burning Inquiry is terrible. I try to avoid cards that hurt me while potentially helping my opponent. Yet sure enough, Johnny’s and Jenny’s have found a way to make this card work. The most popular combo is with Hollow One, assuming you don’t discard it. This card can do some silly things in Rakdos Madness, the dream being discarding three Demigods of Revenge while simultaneous triggering Waste Not thrice. Run this with Liliana’s Caress and Underworld Dreams and all your opponents will take 9 damage off of a single mana.
Burning Inquiry is another card that found a home in an unexpected place. That said, it was home in a rogue (and kinda bad) deck before that relied on Liliana’s Caress and similar effects to blast an opponent hard through heavy amounts of discard; drawing and discarding three cards means six damage off of the likes of the Caress, and random discard means you can get lucky and leave an opponent with nothing to play. And it’s one mana. Even more fun.
Well, it’s on the review slate after showing up in a new and exciting deck that involves Hollow One from Hour of Devastation; Hollow One is a 5-mana 4/4 that costs 2 less for each card you discarded in the turn. So…in conjunction with Burning Inquiry and Goblin Lore (a similar spell, where you draw four cards and discard three at random), Hollow One falls to the bargain price of zero mana for the rest of that turn! Playing a 4/4 for zero mana on turn 1 is a decent deal. Playing multiple 4/4 creatures for zero mana on the same turn is even better.
Burning Inquiry is a gamble, yes. You’re hoping that the random discard doesn’t take the Hollow Ones out of your hand. But it’s the most nakedly efficient way to power the deck, and it’s a delightful combo children of all ages can appreciate. Disrupting your opponent is also a nice bonus.
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