Hurkyl’s Recall – Antiquities
Date Reviewed: Nov. 3, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
If you go over and look on the databases, you’ll soon see that Hurkyl’s Recall has had several different flavor text entries. It’s had almost as many lives in tournament Magic. From quite early, people recognized that wherever people could have a lot of artifacts in play, it has an outsized effect – that originally meant Type 1, the format that later became Vintage. There’s obvious tricks like returning all your opponent’s Moxes to their hand during their upkeep, and later people learned to return their own Moxes to their hand after tapping them for mana to increase their storm count. Affinity and Workshop decks came later, and basically guaranteed that Hurkyl’s Recall will always have a role in Legacy and Vintage, and perhaps even Modern occasionally.
I’d be very surprised if it got to return, or even be referenced, in The Brothers’ War, just because Standard isn’t really built to handle the major swings it causes (either targeting an opponent or targeting yourself). But that set is going to give us a more direct look at Hurkyl herself, as well as many other characters we only saw in flavor text for the past thirty years. Even in the face of other recent events that I’m less enthused about, I have to pause and appreciate that that’s pretty cool.
Limited: 2.5 (I’m not sure Antiquities is really draftable in practice, but it was in Tenth Edition which wasn’t artifact heavy. You could still use it against Platinum Angel and Loxodon Warhammer there)
Commander [EDH]: 3
Hurkyl’s Recall is one of the most emblematic examples of a “sideboard card” you can get, a powerful but narrow effect for a good rate of return. Paying 2 mana to pull all artifacts off the board has long been an effective way to kneecap decks reliant on artifact plays, either as part of their combos or just as a means to smash a face or two in. While it does one thing very well, it just does that one thing, which means it’s a hard sell when artifacts aren’t the order of the day.
Hurkyl’s Recall is a powerful silver bullet that sees play to this day, albeit as a sideboard piece. And while it’s probably not returning to Standard, it’s an iconic card for all the right reasons, pairing a powerful effect with some lovely flavor (and gorgeous art in its Antiquities printing).
Limited: 2 (it’s very narrow outside of an artifact set, and Antiquities was not drafted; it’s been in reprint sets aplenty, none of which were ideal for its talents)
Multiplayer: 3.75 (odds are good this will hose someone)
Commander [EDH]: 3.75 (artifacts are a backbone of Commander to a degree, and sometimes you just need to eliminate those for a turn)
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