December 12, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Almost 17 years after Mirrodin‘s original release, I’m still not sure what is being reflected in the Mox’s surface. I can’t help but wonder if it’s something related to Karn or Phyrexia. There was at least one hint at the future in media related to the Mirrodin block – the opening lines of the novel The Moons of Mirrodin are a reference to glistening oil.
Chrome Mox has a pretty high cost associated with its function, and superficially, this marks it as something just for the fastest aggro and maybe combo decks. In practice, there have been many situations where being just one turn faster is worth losing a whole card from your hand. I remember an Extended season where Urzatron decks were using it to play Exalted Angel face-down on their second turn. Even just in Mirrodin‘s own environment, it powered a lot of early Molten Rain castings. Obviously it feels bad when someone Shatters it (or worse, Boomerangs it), but the speed and flexibility you gain when it pays off is worth the risk. Depending on the deck, it can even be a multicolored Mox, which is something even its legendary forebears can’t do.
When Mirrodin hit, Chrome Mox was the first Standard-legal card with “Mox” in its name since Stronghold‘s Mox Diamond, and it had a lot to live up to. It turns out, though, that most Moxen tend to be on the “really powerful” end of the spectrum, even if they may not immediately look the part, and Chrome Mox overcame a fairly shaky initial reputation (and being a bit overshadowed by all of the even more broken artifacts in the same environment) to appear in World Championship decks in consecutive years, earn a spot on Modern’s Banned List, and have a role as a strong card in Legacy. Not bad at all.
Chrome Mox asks for you to exile another card from your hand as it comes in, and the payoff is that it can tap for any color of mana tied to the card you exiled with it. It’s similar to Mox Diamond in that it’s a two-card investment to get one extra mana, though it’s less flexible at first. But it requires minimal set-up to come online (if you have a card to exile with it, it comes online immediately), it’s not legendary (unlike Mox Amber and Mox Opal), and it’s still one more mana and an artifact to help turn on effects that care about artifacts. Combo decks appreciate the extra spurt of speed to them, and even “fair” decks like having their plays accelerated.
Chrome Mox is an absurdly powerful card; it’s not a great top deck, which hurts it somewhat, but it has a lot going for it and has done a lot of damage since 2003. Being able to jump-start your more powerful plays gives this card a powerful niche, and it has seen plenty of Legacy play as a result.
[While it’s not the most common interaction, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the most hilarious ways to cripple Chrome Mox (and other imprint cards), Pull from Eternity.]
Hey Everyone and welcome back to Pojo’s Card of the Day. It’s throwback Thursday and we’re looking at Chrome Mox!
So the way they looked at ‘fixing’ moxen back in the day was by applying a pitch effect, Mox Diamond made you pitch a land and tapped for any color, Chrome Mox used the new Mirrodin Ability ‘imprint’ to highlight the colors of mana gained.
Even with this caveat it proved to be exceptionally powerful during it’s time in Standard and found itself banned in Modern for simply allowing for speed in decks that could function off of a smaller number of cards.
Like the children of the mox that would come after in various iterations it proved to be a powerful asset to almost any deck that wanted the bonus acceleration at the cost of a card.
In Multiplayer and Commander it’s not as strong as two cards for what amounts to essentially a land drop in these formats is not powerful enough and you want to maximize your card ammunition when dealing with multiple opponents.
In Cube it’s still a powerful but usually picked for Storm and Aggro decks, it’s a solid pick no matter what but it’s a little lower on the priority pole depending on what deck you draft.
Constructed 5/5 – It’s a Mox. It’s banned in Modern. It’s good.
Commander 1/5 – If you’re really hungry for a mox you can play it here but it’s not going to go very far.
Limited 4/5 – Stronger here, definitely first pickable.
Cube 3/5 – Not as strong as where you have a focused linear deck with a more efficient gameplan but a solid rock.
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