Demonic Bargain – Crimson Vow
Date Reviewed: November 19, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 2.58
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Demonic Bargain is easily one of the craziest twists on tutors I’ve ever seen – and there have been a lot of twists on tutors over the years. On the one hand, losing the top thirteen cards of your deck may not be a bad price for the same reason that losing cards to mill is not always a bad thing (they weren’t in your active zones, and thus being used, anyway). But thirteen is a large part of your deck, and the chance of losing the card you wanted is not statistically insignificant. Traditionally, many decks that lean on tutors have only one or two of their targets, but that feels a lot worse when you happen to lose one to Demonic Bargain . . . but if you’re running multiples, it reduces the need for tutors in the first place. I’m not sure this is the most powerful or most effective tutor for general use, but I should point out that it goes well with the old constructed and casual favorite Laboratory Maniac; and you could pair it with cards like Alrund, God of the Cosmos or Dreadlight Monstrosity as an easy way to get random things into the exile zone.
Limited: 1/5 (it’s the ultimate moon shot – what cards are worth half your deck?)
Out of all of Crimson Vow‘s cards, Demonic Bargain is one of the hardest to evaluate. Coming in cheaper than a regular tutoring spell (unconditional tutors usually cost 4 or more in Standard), Demonic Bargain exacts a steep price in the form of 13 cards off the top of your library. I’m reminded somewhat of the infamous Ice Age uncommon, Demonic Consultation, though the upshot here is that you needn’t deck yourself. Still, 13 cards is a steep price to pay all the same, especially if you lose the card(s) you wanted out of those 13.
That said, I can see a scenario where this card is useful: in particular, the decks that aim to use Thassa’s Oracle or Laboratory Maniac as their win conditions won’t mind a tutor that finds them a piece they need (even if the cost is steep). And all the same, even if you lose the exact card you might have sought, there can be value in finding something else that’ll do the job. Demonic Bargain is narrow, but there are places where it might shine, and I imagine that someone will find a way to break this in half at some point.
Constructed: 3.25 (it’s a hard card to pull off, but the decks that may want this will really want it)
Limited: 1 (with 40 card decks, this becomes a massive gamble, especially without alternative win conditions running around)
Commander: 2.75 (99 cards makes this less of a risk, but there’s a surfeit of tutors already, so this probably only makes the cut if you need another or need this particular one)
When I saw this card I instantly thought Dredge decks would love this. I’m not a dredge player, I tried and was bad at it, I’m not going to begin to critique whether or not this is a good dredge card or not but it came to my mind right away. That said, I don’t like it because there is way too much risk involved with this card. If it was B or even 1B, I might be singing a different tune but it costs 2B for a possibility that I might put the card I really want into the graveyard. Sure I can get that card back but do I really want to use another resource as a “just in case”? I believe the intentions of this card being printed have to do with graveyard based strategies. You want cards in your graveyard to do XYZ and this card helps you do that. Sure in those strategies it is fine but I’m writing my review simply on average use and I’m just not a fan. In commander same thing, less odds but there are commanders that care heavily about the graveyard so if that is what you’re running then throw this bad boy in there but if you’re just playing black and think this is a cheap tutor…you’re sadly mistaken my friend. Limited, hard pass, I could be 100% wrong and this could be a part of some amazing combo but I just don’t see it and the risk of losing thirteen cards to the graveyard is just too high in my opinion. I like to play aggressive in magic, but not risky.
*Under the right circumstances
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