Labyrinth of Skophos
– Theros Beyond Death
January 22, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 2.50
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Although the Greek myths originally had just the one Labyrinth and just the one Minotaur, it’s worth remembering that the labyrinth is not just a place. It’s a state of mind; an image and a metaphor for how we must all find our way through life without knowing exactly what lies around the next corner. Theseus, of course, had his magic ball of string, which obviously helped.
Labyrinth of Skophos is the second modern-era riff on Maze of Ith, and it can be surprisingly disruptive in the right circumstances. As long as you have enough mana, your opponent’s best creature will never get through to you; and if you fear getting blindsided by Nightpack Ambusher or Brineborn Cutthroat, it actually covers you there too. It’s definitely not for every deck, as anything with a lot of creatures will usually prefer to just play more of its own and keep attacking, but I expect some decks will be eager to adopt it. For some threats, it could actually turn out to be the most efficient answer for control decks.
Another land best described as “amazing” in a more literal sense, Labyrinth of Skophos is a slightly different take on an effect we’ve seen before: screw with combat by taking their best creature out of the equation. It deserves mention that Skophos Maze-Warden has deliberate removal synergy with this card, but besides that, this card functions along a similar axis to cards like the classic Maze of Ith and Kor Haven, albeit without untapping the creature it pulls from combat if it’s tapped…and also working on blocking creatures, which matters a lot more than is immediately apparent if they’re blocking with something problematic or you’re attacking with a trample creature.
Effectively five mana is a steep ask, and it’s a combat trick that does telegraph itself, but being able to do it every turn is nice, and it will be especially legit if some manner of “Draw-Go” resurfaces (always possible in a format with Leyline of Anticipation). I’m not sold that the Labyrinth will make it in Constructed (it’s not going to make it in Modern or older formats), but controlling decks in Pioneer and Modern might be the home for this card.
Hello and welcome back to Pojo’s Card of the Day!
Todays’ card of the Day is Labyrinth of Skophos, a reference to the story of Theseus and the Minotaur that even if you’re not familiar with Greek Mythology you probably know the story. But let me tell you about another story of ancient lore.
There was a Goblin, a fairly fast goblin who would rush headfirst in to things so quickly that he’d reveal lands off the top of his library for his opponents, but in his haste he’d often run into an ancient Maze of Ith, get turned around, and start off where he came from!
I really like Maze of Ith if you couldn’t tell! This card evokes a similar memory but for such a huge mana cost you get a decent upside that the original Maze didn’t provide. Activating this card when a creature attacks will keep it tapped, preventing it as acting from a blocker. This is actually a pretty potent effect in the limited environment where you can battle cruiser big devotion creatures or escaped monsters with high power and heavier mana costs.
I recently played against this during the Theros Pre-Release and it was quite adept at preventing me from making a successful alpha strike while my opponent had a decent ground force and needled me with a 3/4 flier. The main solution to this situation was simply making more creatures and while this card is great for stopping an arrogantly devoted Erebos, it is a punishing feel-bad to see this card have to decide between a suite of 3/3 land creatures that have been animated by a 2/3 enchantress.
This might actually prove to be decent in Standard where after a board wipe you still need some way to handle the board and 5 mana is pretty common in that format. I wouldn’t go all in and do a buyout of the extended full art version, but I also wouldn’t toss this to the bin if it’s the only one you opened in your case of Theros packs.
In Commander? There’s too many better options, specifically Maze of Ith if you’re looking for that line of play.
Cube… Same thing. 5 mana is simply too much for this effect that doesn’t remove the creature from the board, screw it, 5 mana should be removing multiple creatures from the board!
Standard 2/5 – Possible in control decks. Keep an eye out and make sure you board field of ruin.
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