– Urza’s Saga
May 7, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’ll be honest: I often forget this card exists. I probably shouldn’t, though, because it’s like Blood Moon on steroids. It’s one of the few effects of this type that can affect basic lands, and its drawback is steep on paper but not too hard for black decks to meet and even build around. It’s worth noting that unlike Blood Moon, it lets your opponents’ lands keep their abilities – though with only black mana, they may have trouble with activated abilities. It’s hard to rate for casual scenarios, because I find it unlikely that there are many casual metagames that need to get hosed this hard, but it’s hard to argue against its effectiveness.
Contamination is black’s equivalent to Back to Basics or Blood Moon, only potentially crueler than the other two in that it hits everything and not just nonbasic lands. Unlike the others, it does come at a cost (one creature a turn), but the effect is magnitudes more brutal. It hoses a lot of decks across many different colors if it resolves (and even takes out decks like Tron, since mana abilities only produce a single black mana while it’s out), and it even can make for a lock if you have a way to generate tokens (Bitterblossom comes to mind) or recur creatures (hi, Reassembling Skeleton).
The price of Contamination is that it needs to go in a mono-black shell or pair with artifact mana that can get multiple colors, since this hits every land regardless of what it is. It’s not flexible, but mono-black has few lockdown tools more oppressive than this if you can support it.
Constructed: 3.25 (mono-black isn’t really a thing in Legacy, but it is brutal if you can ever get it set up)
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