Ertai, the Corrupted – Planeshift
Date Reviewed: September 8, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.63
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
In the companion novel for Apocalypse, Squee tricks Ertai into stepping in front of a laser weapon, which fries the traitorous wizard to a crisp. We’ll see shortly that that wasn’t quite the end of the story. Back when he first re-emerged as a Phyrexian, he didn’t make a major impact in constructed. Repeatable counterspells are a major threat, especially to midrange decks, but Ertai operates quite slowly and requires additional resources. This can be mitigated in more casual settings – his colors have some capacity to protect him and procure lots of things to throw at the opponent/s’ spells, and some can even take advantage of the constant sacrifices. I wouldn’t recommend him in more cutthroat contexts, but he makes for an interesting puzzle for deckbuilders to solve (and is probably the most casual-friendly way to introduce pseudo-prison decks to a format, if such a way exists!).
Commander [EDH]: 3.5 (this format was a godsend for legends from the early 2000s – they may not be the most powerful there, but it gives them a place to do their things)
Let’s start from the top: this was the second Ertai card printed, after his less-malevolent Exodus outing. It’s also the first time any Ertai has been reviewed on Pojo…which isn’t a surprise, as none of them have been reprinted or particularly relevant in deeper formats. While his original outing was a fragile body with a powerful, expensive counterspell effect, this one makes the body bigger, the mana cost of the counterspell cheaper, but also demands sacrifice each time you want to say “no”. So like Abjure, though agnostic about color.
Ertai, the Corrupted is an interesting creature able to sort of grind out a game, so long as you can spare something to sa “no” with. Three colors is awkward…but being able to bin black’s slightly lethal enchantments is a nice out for the color, and being able to turn white’s endless cannon fodder into “no” doesn’t hurt, either. You usually only get to say it once per turn cycle, but that can be a good way to push through a game, and a cheap counterspell is always better than one that demands more of your mana. He can even bin himself in a pinch, which seems a bit out of character for Ertai, but eh. He’s way too slow to do anything in Legacy (and I don’t know if he ever had a foothold in Invasion-era Standard), but he can make for a fun time at casual tables.
Constructed:1.5 (three colors, five mana, and needing to tap all add up to a massive “no”)
Limited: 3.5 (hampered a bit by limited resources and Invasion‘s mediocre color fixing, but there are worse cards)
Commander [EDH]: 3.75 (not the best Esper commander, but sometimes fun trumps efficacy)
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