Elspeth's Nightmare
Elspeth’s Nightmare

Elspeth’s Nightmare
– Theros Beyond Death

Date Reviewed:
February 19, 2020

Constructed: 2.67
Casual: 3.25
Limited: 3.58
Multiplayer: 3.00
Commander [EDH]: 2.07

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average.  5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


Elspeth’s nightmare scares me, if I’m quite honest. It also kind of intrigues me, as it shows that there is at least one plane other than Mirrodin that’s currently under Phyrexian control. I wonder if we’ll ever get to find out how that happened, and what plane it is. Also, it’s probably good for everyone that the Phyrexians currently have no way to communicate between planes.

The value of this card’s various effects will be a little different in different contexts, but they’re all strong enough to make it worth playing in general. The first effect, that mimics Smother, is maybe less impressive in Commander but will help significantly in any format with White Weenie or Sligh. The second is slower than Duress, but is faster than many ramp decks and a good follow-up to removing an early threat, helping you stay ahead. The third is contextual, but then again we’re in an era when graveyard interactions are very popular in basically every format. It’s a good card all around, and well worth considering in a wide range of deck types.

Constructed: 3/5
Casual: 3/5
Limited: 3/5
Multiplayer: 3/5
EDH/Commander: 3/5

 James H. 


Phyrexians make for compelling nightmares, I suppose. Elspeth’s Nightmare is a nice little value uncommon: a kill spell on a weak creature, Duress, and Bojuka Bog for three mana. They all synergize well with one another, meaning that you can pretty readily take advantage of all parts to this on curve, and each effect is pretty good. The kill effect is the most-valuable bit, and you can use power-reducing effects to get it off better, but everything else is still pretty legit, especially since graveyard shenanigans are a Thing in this set. It’s a solid value card, even if it won’t win you games on its own, and a flexible mana cost gives this a lot of legs.

Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 3.75
Multiplayer: 3
Commander: 3.25


Hello everyone and welcome back to Pojo’s Card of the Day!

Sagas have returned and they’re in the exact right set for them, an enchantment based block like Theros is great on a flavor level and for mechanic reasons. So let’s take a look at the Saga that’s giving our beloved Elspeth some bad dreams.

At first glance this Saga seems underwhelming but this card has a lot going for it that makes it great against Midrange decks.

The first ability destroys a creature with Power 2 or less, now one thing I have to note is a lot of removal spells seem to be going with an ‘opponent controls’ clause which kind of sucks for the flexibility of a spell, but that being said it’s okay.. Smother-esque effects usually have ‘3’ as their qualifier but this is a multi purpose spell so it can’t be too good!

The second ability is Duress, which doesn’t usually matter much against a wide variety of decks, especially when they know it’s coming but it can still be a ‘getcha’ if the opponent has a bomby spell in hand.

The final ability is to exile an opponent’s graveyard and with how strong escape is, this can prove to be a great way to at least stall your opponent’s graveyard based plans.

So who is this card for?

Well the first two abilities are very slow, the mana cost for this card is 3, so I don’t expect a lot of control decks to run this namely because of how limited the targets are for removal. Aggressive decks don’t normally play a lot of spells so this could end up being a 3 mana dud.

With that said I think that this might be a great card for Midrange Decks as their modus operandi revolves around gaining incremental advantage through hand and creature destruction and this is a great way to 2 for 1 an opponent, and that’d be for Standard only. Pioneer has too many options that are simply better *Cough*Kolaghan’sCommand*Cough*

In Commander I don’t foresee this card making many waves, especially when Phyrexian Scriptures exists and doesn’t target.. and hits all opponents! Also having to target an opponent with either ability, even though they’re particularly weak for the mana cost, can make you a target!

Where this card is going to really shine is the Theros Draft Environment because of how decks are usually constructed they tend to follow a consensus construction of 16 creatures and 7 spells, meaning that there’s a chance to 2 for 1 your opponent with this, also escape is one of the most powerful effects in the environment and nuking a graveyard of escape-creatures can really crimp your opponents gameplan while leaving yours intact.

In Cube, this is a decent card as well, it’s not amazing but it is decent for similar reasons it will be good in Theros Draft. The main factor is where the power level lies in your cube, I wouldn’t recommend this in a Powered Cube, but it could exist in a Legacy Cube if you want a way to mess with reanimator.


Constructed 2/5 – If it had been 2 mana, or the destroy target unconditional, I think it would have been good enough to see Standard Play. As it stands, it’s just a little off the mark.

Limited 4/5 – Following BREAD this lands at the weaker scale of ‘Removal’ but removal and hand disruption in the same package means that you can cut a little slack on it.

Commander 1/5 – There’s much better options here, unless you are super dedicated to a Black Enchantment deck with Aphemia as your General …or some other nonsense like that.

Cube 3/5 – A little bit higher here, but only in super low power environments.

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