Extirpate – Time Spiral Remastered
Date Reviewed: March 17, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 2.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Back when Planar Chaos was new, this kind of effect was still very novel, and Extirpate started off as one of the set’s chase rares. Demand for it calmed down a little once people had a chance to play with it and figure out that it required a little more setup than the likes of Cranial Extraction; that’s not, however, to say that it’s not a good card. While you might already have gotten hit by a creature or spell once and not be in an ideal position, you can ensure that it’ll have to sit on the hall’s threshold and wait for the rest of the game. It also combines well with discard effects, particularly targeted ones like Duress, and noticeably hurts decks that rely on flashback spells like Think Twice and Mystical Teachings. It’s not entirely useless in singleton formats, either: maybe you really, really need to get a reanimation target out of the way without your opponent getting a say in the matter.
There’s a story that Extirpate’s art was originally commissioned for a version of Word of Command with split second. I think it fits just as well here, as it’s the usual expression someone has when you use it on a card like Reveillark or Dragonstorm!
Extirpate immediately calls to mind Surgical Extraction, even if this is the original version of the effect. The trade-off between the two is that Extirpate is harder to respond to; split second isn’t impossible to respond to, but it’s very hard to stop Extirpate once it goes onto the stack. The effect of Extirpate is very devastating to decks that rely on particular synergies and card interactions, and the upshot of gaining information of your opponent’s hand and library is potentially a massive edge.
The upshot of Surgical Extraction costing essentially zero mana usually outweighs the split second of Extirpate, leading to the former seeing far more play than the latter. But Extirpate can be an additional shot of a powerful card that sees play, with upsides of its own that merits consideration. It’s usually as part of Mill these days as a way to make sure you can get the effect off, as one shot can be enough to swing a game open.
Constructed: 3.75 (sideboard only these days, but a good sideboard piece)
Commander: 2.25 (might be good against a Relentless Rats deck, I reckon?)
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