Cursed Totem – Modern Horizons 2
Date Reviewed: July 1, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Much like Void Mirror from the other day, Cursed Totem is cheap, simple, and absolutely merciless. It doesn’t necessarily read as strong now as it did in Mirage‘s day, because we associate a lot of creature power with enters-the-battlefield abilities rather than activated abilities, but this is deceptive. The average number of cards per deck affected by it is higher than you might think, and it even shuts down mana generation – mana elf decks don’t always do well when they have to attack with 1/1s and 2/1s. (And nowadays, it has one of the most interesting corner cases I’ve seen of late – Gideon Blackblade can’t use his abilities during his controller’s turn when one’s in play!)
Making a long-overdue return, Cursed Totem is effectively Null Rod/Stony Silence/Collector Ouphe for creatures instead of for artifacts, and there will be plenty of targets for this to tell “no”. It only stymies activated abilities, but it stops all of them, and I’m sure there will be plenty of people who decide that, yes, they want to animate everyone’s lands and use Cursed Totem to make sure nobody can do anything with those lands besides attack. Like Void Mirror, Cursed Totem is a sort of “silver bullet” card…but there are plenty more decks that this will hose, such as Urza-based builds in Modern (owing to Urza’s abilities all being baked into him), and the lack of an “except for mana abilities” rider makes this a potent weapon against things like Elf-based abominations.
Limited: 2.75 (only bring this in if you see something that absolutely cannot be allowed to go off)
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