Lion’s Eye Diamond – Mirage
Date Reviewed: June 24, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There’s something hilarious about how a card intended as a “bad Black Lotus” winds up being a hugely powerful weapon in its own right. Let’s start from the top, though: Lion’s Eye Diamond comes with the downside that you dump your hand to draw mana, and the timing limitation means that you do not get to use this to cast a card in your hand (which most mana sources allow you to do).
The “obvious” play, ever since Dissension, was to chain this to Infernal Tutor, allowing you for a “free” Demonic Tutor while also having mana to spend on things. This also doesn’t stop you from spending mana on activated abilities on-board…and because this isn’t a legendary permanent, you can dump four Diamonds on board, pop them all, and use the mana for incredibly rude things. It’s been a particularly peculiar card over the years because of its weird functionality; while it’s not quite a Black Lotus, a smart deck can make this play the same way as the Power Nine card, and there are occasions where this allows you to do even ruder things.
Constructed: 5 (in the deck that makes this pop; it’s not for every deck, but it’s irreplaceable in those decks)
Limited: 1.5 (Mirage was light on things this card could play well with)
Commander: 4 (turns out Commanders are a valid use of the Diamond)
Mirage and Tempest have some of the coolest flavor text I’ve seen on a Magic card. Many of the cards sound mysterious and engaging, and some are actually kind of deep (cf. Sacred Ground). Of course, some are funny and some are just for decoration, but Lion’s Eye Diamond has flavor text that fits surprisingly well with how it plays. The knowledge of timing rules you need to find just the right moment of crisis to activate it will pay off, despite its high cost (unless you have no cards in hand already). But much like its famous predecessor, chances are you’ll win the game (either literally or effectively) if you can make a play with it. Now that we have abilities like madness and threshold, and other cards that really want to be discarded, I’m not sure it always has a downside any more!
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Magic the Gathering Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉