Disciple of the Vault – Mirrodin
Date Reviewed: October 19, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Affinity had a reputation as a straightforward, mindless kind of deck, which was not really fair. Once it really hit its stride with the release of Darksteel, which brought Arcbound Ravager, it had a number of different paths to victory. The most obvious was to drop its entire hand and swarm, including Myr Enforcer for between two and zero mana (and you thought Charging Monstrosaur was efficient). The Ravager could also go huge and stomp people with its sacrifice ability, particularly on other modular creatures – and then there was Disciple of the Vault.
As if all of the above wasn’t hard enough to deal with, technically the Affinity deck didn’t even have to attack to win the game. And any time you destroyed one of its threats, if you didn’t kill the Disciple first, you lost one life. And you also had to watch out what you did, because he doesn’t care whose artifacts trigger him. For that last reason in particular, I’m a little surprised we don’t hear about him as much in modern casual formats, but I think he still has some of the stigma of Affinity’s reign of terror attached to him. That’s not entirely fair – outside of those Standard formats, there are more answers to all of the dimensions on which he operates.
I really hope the Phyrexians promoted this guy when they took over, because he absolutely deserves it after all of that. Disciple of the Vault is a sometimes-overlooked but key part of one of Magic’s most notorious decks, and thus an icon of the early years of Magic’s second card face.
Disciple of the Vault is an innocuous-looking common that wound up doing a number on its Standard format, enough of one to get banned alongside the Mirrodin artifact lands back in the chaos that was the Mirrodin-Darksteel dominated format. Not bad for a one-mana common.
Disciple of the Vault’s effect is simple: something bleeds if an artifact blows up. Doesn’t matter how it happens, just that it happens. The main value that Disciple got was alongside another card that was banned alongside it, Arcbound Ravager. Ravager let you chew up your own artifacts to power itself up, so you could effectively double dip on effects, and heaven forbid if you had multiple Disciples. Affinity was a “Tier 0” deck back in its era, and Disciple was a large part of what contributed to the format.
In theory, Disciple of the Vault isn’t useless in modern Magic, and there have definitely been some changes that it is quite fond of; the additions of common artifact tokens (Clues, Food, and Treasure) means there are lots of random things this can turn into bleed, and note that it tracks globally (which made the Affinity mirror match an adventure). That said, it’s mostly wrought its havoc since in Pauper; it’s powerful, but lacking Vault of Whispers has constrained its Modern prospects, and it winds up a step too slow in deeper card pools. It can be devastating if you give it the environment to shine, though.
Constructed: 4 (I think it’s a bit too wonky for Modern, but you can make it work if you believe in yourself, and it might have room as a tech option against some decks)
Limited: 4.25 (subtly powerful in both of its outings, since they were artifact-heavy sets)
Multiplayer: 4 (it tracks everyone’s artifacts, and token artifacts are especially fun)
Disciple of the Vault
I remember losing to this card in standard to Arcbound Ravager/Skullclamp combo and it was frustrating…but not if you were the one playing it! A constructed darling in Onslaught/Mirrodin era block, it definitely should not be slept on especially with artifact strategies coming up time and time again in Magic’s history. This is just so easy to throw into combos with artifact manipulation, think about the time period…there was no food, treasure, or clue tokens!! How easy are they generated by cards like Dockside Extortionist in commander, or Goldspan Dragon in standard…too easy and you could just do a Mirrodin/Throne of Eldraine draft for some really fun and interesting shenanigans! This card is often slept on and passed over now in modern and legacy but I think the right home is out there and just hasn’t been discovered quite yet. This can easily be thrown into a commander deck that is artifact heavy for some extra damage to your opponent as an alternate win condition. It’s just so good and in my opinion one of the best commons ever printed. Just think about how easy it is to put a treasure token into the graveyard…
- Constructed: 5/5
- Casual: 5/5
- Limited: 4/5
- Multiplayer: 4/5
- Commander: 4/5
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