Hex Parasite – New Phyrexia
Date Reviewed: May 4, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.63
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It may sound strange to hear if you’re used to the way things are now, but at one point, it was quite hard to destroy planeswalkers by pointing just a single card at them. And it was controversial as to whether you should even be able to do that, with one of the counterarguments being that every color can deal with planeswalkers by attacking them. Technically, that was true then and is still true now, but there are cards you really need to get off the table without worrying about blockers or control cards (Mind Sculptor, ahem).
Hex Parasite, then, has a lot of historical significance as our first step in that direction. You’ll notice they still couldn’t quite bring themselves to mention planeswalkers by name, but that is actually to the card’s advantage, because it works with anything else that uses any kind of counter. I remember people making casual decks involving artifacts with charge counters where the plan B (and sometimes the plan A) was boosting the Parasite’s power and attacking. If you need to hose something, there are more purely powerful options now, but this card remains more than good enough for many decks and tables. And note that it now works with battles, too . . .
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
Back in New Phyrexia, there were thoughts that this little parasite might be enough of a constraint on the infamous Jace, the Mind Sculptor that the blue planeswalker wouldn’t need to be banned. This was not the case, but Hex Parasite has sort of lived on as a functionally colorless way to suck away counters from permanents. Battles joining the pool of card types has helped Hex Parasite even more, since it can freely pull off the defense counters and get your battles to flip far faster. All of this is to say that the little artifact insect has had legs as a decent silver bullet against (and with) certain strategies; it’s not as efficient as Vampire Hexmage, but this is both reusable and functionally colorless in the vast majority of cases.
The downsides of this being a 1/1 for one mana are clear, and pulling counters off will only make the Hex Parasite’s power go up, which hardly helps when it dies to a stiff breeze. But as long as you’re not playing this with no other available mana, you should be able to do the succ enough to make this count, and Hex Parasite will likely keep being a fine silver bullet at all sorts of tables.
Constructed: 3.5 (t’s legal in Modern and deeper formats, where it sees play as a sideboard tech; it’s narrow, but there are times where this may win you the game entirely)
Limited: 3.75 (this was in the Scars of Mrrodin Limited, which had a lot of -1/-1 counters running around as prospective targets)
Multiplayer: 3.25 (slow, but reusable)
Commander [EDH]: 3.75 (it’s technically in black, so it’s less splashable than it is in Constructed, but there are plenty of things for this to get and plenty of ways to get it out)
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