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Avarice Totem 
Fifth Dawn Uncommon

Reviewed June 21, 2004


Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating

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Card of the Day Reviews 


* game store owner in CA, ShuffleAndCut

Uh... hmm.  My first thought when I saw this was "Interesting ability, too expensive."  I'm sure that eliminates it completely from the constructed scene.  In casual, it would seem there would be a place for something so odd.  It would be fun, if you could figure out it's purpose.  I suppose you could use it to steal something, then Shatter the Totem when your opponent has it and before he can reclaim something.

In limited, again it seemed a bit high costed.  But I did see it used as a game finisher, stealing an opponent's blocker at end of turn and then using it tip the scales in a final attack.  Kinda funky. 

Constructed: 3
Casual: 3
Limited: 3.5
   Current Price:
Avarice Totem - Fifth Dawn - $0.96

   Combos Well With:
Shatter - Mirrodin - $0.19

Judge Bill

*Level 2
MTG Judge

*game store employee

Avarice Totem
Another permanent swapper. Not much to be said about this in competitive constructed, as its ability costs 5 mana, and they can swap it once they get it.
In casual, I'm sure this will get played with the stack trick. (First, target something you control with the Totem that you would rather they have instead of the Totem. Then target what you want. If they don't have 5 mana, they will get what you targeted with the first ability, and you will have both the Totem and what you wanted.)
In limited, the fact that this is symmetrical also makes it unplayable.
Constructed: 1
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 1

2 Grand Prix Top 8's

Multiple Pro Tour appearances

Avarice Totem


The word ďnonlandĒ can do so much to make a card lose value; in this case, itís pretty dramatic in my opinion.  This card is definitely extremely slow, to the point where itís crippling.  I can see it, however, as a source of pseudo-removal in control decks against problematic permanents, possibly in a Tooth and Nail sort of strategy.


This is the kind of card that makes group games fun, on the other hand.  Anything that involves you spending thirty minutes after a game figuring out whose cards you have is either a barrel of laughs or something thatís going to get banned at the dinner table.  This is potentially usable in Mental, but only in a last-resort kind of situation.


Again, the presence of this in a draft deck should be regarded as an act of desperation.  Something like Furnace Dragon or Broodstar might spur you to bring this in if you have zero alternatives, but thatís really about it.


Constructed:  2.0

Casual:  4.0

Limited:  1.5


Jeff Zandi

5 Time Pro Tour

Avarice Totem
This card should be very good, particularly in limited, but if it is good, I
haven't figured it out yet. There is a kind of card that, even when it seems
powerful, should be avoided in limited play. This is that kind of card, the
kind that gives your opponent almost as powerful an effect as you receive.
Avarice Totem steals a permanent from your opponent, but gives them the
opportunity to do the same thing to you. This effect is better the first
time it's played (like from your hand the same turn you activate it) because
of the surprise value. This may be the reason that this is a good card for
limited. With an activation cost of five, I don't expect two players will
bounce permanents back and forth every turn, but it is entirely possible.
This could be a very interesting constructed card I suppose, but I don't
have any ideas for it, maybe it's a control deck card?
CASUAL:              3.0
LIMITED:              3.5

Ray "Monk"
* Level 3 DCI Judge
*DCI Tournament Organizer

Avarice Totem:


This card just oozes flavor. Itís got the potential to be good against bad players. It has an element of bluffing to it, to see who will blink first in not leaving five mana open. And, well, its just plain horrible.


Ok its not horrible, but since the opponent can simply spend five mana to trade right back, it definitely is not that amazing. I could see it having some interesting uses though. It may work well in Land Destruction, basically becoming a poor manís confiscate, or yet another land destruction spellÖ


Constructed:                 2

Casual:                         4

Limited:                        2



* game store owner (The Game Closet - Waco,TX)

Avarice Totem
I have spent some time trying to figure out what to do with this card.  Unfortunately, I haven't come up with anything special.  The cost to activate it is a little expensive and prohibitive.  Also, your opponent can just as well send it back to you and take something else.  If there is a use out there, I'm not sure what it is.
Constructed: 1.5
Casual: 1.5
Limited: 1.5

Avarice Totem is a card that I'm really not excited about. On the one hand, the Totem provides a very powerful ability - to gain control of any permanent. On the other hand, the card has a high activation cost which your opponent will probably be willing and able to pay when he gains the Totem. The only way I see this card becoming real useful is if decks can be built that can activate the Totem twice in a single turn (10 mana). Then you can keep the Totem and gain any of your opponent's non-land cards (You target a card you control first then, in response, activate the Totem again targeting a something your opponent controls).  Still, at a 10 mana to 1 card ratio I still don't think this is a winner.

Constructed - Decks can be made to abuse this card, and it may be decent in some control builds but I just don't think it is worth the effort - 2.5

Casual - Really great in Multiplayer where there could be a lot of interesting permanents to steal - 3.5

Limited - I haven't drafted it but many games could hit the 10 mana mark and then you can trade a 1/1 for their bomb - 3.0

PEZ - Hmm. . . too few real bombs to steal and too slow - 2.0

Andy VanZandt Avarice Totem
I'm not sure what you do with this.  It is one mana to cast, so it can be
searched out and recovered consistently,  but aside from the double-switch
trick, which takes ten mana,  this card seems to be a one-creature fog at
best in most situations.
constructed 1.5
casual 2
limited 2

Secret Squirrel on the

Avarice Totem
Umm, no.  6 mana for a permanent exchange of something (that is if you destroy this card)?  Memnarch does it cheaper, if you even wanted the effect.  I just donít see a use for this in constructed.  What would you want to steal that would win a game that you werenít winning already?  You could annoy them sure, but itís not worth it.  Memnarch is also better for this in casual play as well.
In limited, no real point either.
Constructed: 1.5
Casual: 2
Limited: 2 

Avarice Totem -
Constructed - No deck has the need, or mana (6 mana investment) to use this in serious constructed. The formats are all too fast, and just not enough permanents worth pestering even with this, as the best it will usually do is just make you pay 5 mana a turn to stop an opponent from using a card. Too high of cost, and too bad of an ability.

Casual - Here, it is possible for it to even have a deck built around it. If you shut down opponent's mana with Early Frost, or Mana short, then for a 10 mana, you get a permanent switch of a Spellbook, with your opponents bomb (To do this, target your permanent first, than the one you want in response). It will work perfect combined with other steal cards like Bribery and Acquire, nothings better than winning with your opponent's spells.
Limited - I tried this one in multiple decks. If you draft a sunburst deck, your cards are more likely to be better (and better steal targets for oppo.) than your opponents. In the Mono red/Mono red splash, which is extremely viable in 555, usually you don't get the mana, or take the game before you can take advantage of the totem. Sealed play may use it as a board option, for bombs you have trouble getting rid of such as Platinum Angel.
Constructed - 1.5
Casual 2.5
Limited - 2.0

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