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Rootwater Thief 

Reviewed March 9, 2004

Constructed: 3
Casual: 3.4
Limited: 3.5

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

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* random guy who
does random reviews.

*A few Pro Tours

* Store owner in CA

*A kinda flaky reviewer.

Ah...Mike Long's Legacy.  After winning the invitational he left us with a 1/2 Merfolk.  I do find it ironic that the man that no one can trust made a card named for a profession of people not to be trusted.  I still laugh to this day on it.

I've played this a PTQ...successfully.  Back in the old combo-extended days, this thing was golden at stripping out vital combo components from a deck before they could draw into them.  It's decently useful.  Never really saw too much in the way of Type 2 play.  These days this card, like Mike Long, is simply a dead card that no one really wants any more.

Seriously, enough Long bashing for one night.  Anything flying isn't too bad in limited, especially when it can strip the 2-3 bombs your opponent might have.  If the extended environment reverts back to combo, this could potentially play spoiler if fish become popular again.

In Casual play, no one likes getting stuff stripped out.  You'll be on the bad end of the fish fry if you play this thing.

Constructed: 3
Casual: 1.5
Limited: 3.5


* game store owner in CA,

Rootwater Thief was an invitational card designed by Mike Long, one of the more infamous MTG players back in the day.  Even more unfortunately, Mike Long has lately become better known for his MTG "infomercials" hawking his "Get Rich Quick" or "Get Good Quick" schemes by email.  "I won the Junior Super Series thanks to a conference call with mega-legend-bordering-on-omnipotent Mike Long!   Just $169.95 and you, too, can be a lean, mean, jedi-mind-tricking player!"   Yeah, and if you call within the next 10 minutes, he'll throw in a free set of Ginzu knives.  Gag me.

Anyhow, Thief works by raping your opponent's library of key cards.  While it isn't effective against every deck, it can certainly put a damper, or even demolish a combo deck by removing just a few key components.  Remove those components from the game, and your opponent loses their win condition and any chances of pulling out a victory.  Thief is fairly low costed for it's ability.  It won't work against well-rounded decks, or something like Goblins or Creature beats, as they have too many components, so removing a few does almost nothing.  So the sideboard is where you will find this card most useful.  It doesn't' seem to have a home at the moment though, so look for it:

In casual, if you are running up against your friend's evil combo deck, this guy might be just the ticket. Snag a few key cards, and viola! 

In limited, if you opponent has something in his deck that you just cannot deal with, its amazing.  Slowly dismantle his deck card by card. You could also use it to send your opponent on a road to decking.  Not bad.

Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 4
Current Price: Rootwater Thief $4.15

Judge Bill

*Level 2
MTG Judge

*game store employee

 Tuesday - Rootwater Thief

The second Invitational card to be made, this has a sabateur effect of being able to take a card from your opponent's library and remove it from the game. It originally didn't have an activation cost to do this when Mike Long submitted it, but playtesting showed that was just too strong for the effect. It saw a little play back when it was type 2, and sees some rogue play these days, but by and large, this has been a card without a home.

In casual duels, this is great, being able to remove a bunch of win conditions before your opponent has time to set up, if he is playing a slow deck. I wouldn't play this in multiplayer, as it will tend to focus the player's (or players') wrath on you so the removal doesn't have a chance to happen.

In limited, this was great to play. Cheap, had an evasive ability, and removed your opponent's bombs from their deck. Play this in Masques Block Limited if you are playing blue.

Constructed: 2.5
Casual: 3
Limited: 4.5


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

* pro tour player

* Scrye writer since 2002

 Tuesday - Rootwater Thief

Personally, I think that Mike Long is an alright guy. I do remember all the jokes about this card when it first came out. "It's funny that RT is taken cards from you and it's Long's invitational card.....shady business." Regardless, the card gets limited playing time. If you see in constructed, it's in the sideboard more often than not.

In casual play, this guy is a favorite to play and a pain to play against. In limited play, this guy is a superstar.

Constructed: 3
Limited: 4.5

Ray "Monk"
* Level 3 DCI Judge
*DCI Tournament Organizer
*Game Store Owner (Gamer's Edge)

Rootwater Thief


Ahhh, Mike Long, what a deck hacker you are. You know somewhere in the ability of Rootwater Thief is an inside joke that you just can’t help but chuckle at.


But in reality, Rootwater Thief is a great card. In casual, he’s annoying while not being so annoying that he makes you a Target. In constructed, he’s great against control and combo decks, pulling out their win conditions and dismantling in their strategy. In limited, just too slow. All in all though, a great flavorful card.


Casual:                         5

Constructed:                 4

Limited:                        1


* Level 1 DCI Judge

*game store employee

* gaming for over 15 years

 Tuesday-Rootwater Thief

This card is one of my favorite invitational cards. It has a built in evasion ability to get in the damage needed to use his ability. The ability itself is why this creature is amazing. You get to not only see the contents of the opponents deck but you also get to remove a card from. I remember having this guy just tear thru my counter rebel deck. I think that if this guy was going to be reprinted he would be at least two blue mana. In limited this guy is a major threat when you consider you are playing with only forty cards and he flies. In casual play I would definitely play him in a merfolk deck. This card is one of my all time favorites.

Constructed 3.5
Casual 4
Limited 4.5


2 Grand Prix Top 8's

Multiple Pro Tour appearances

Rootwater Thief


Ah, Mike Long, how you favor us with a card that just didn’t make it out of the sideboards.  While this certainly has been a nice sideboard addition for any blue deck in order to fight combo-style strategies, it just isn’t strong enough to push into the main.  A really clever Invitational card that just doesn’t have the power it could.


I don’t know if I could really call this card “good” in limited, but it’s certainly really annoying.  I remember losing drafts after my opponent managed to take 5-6 of my most relevant spells out of my deck.  His biggest problem is being stuck with the rest of Masques-block for purposes of draft.


This guy seems like a pretty good amount of fun for group games and such.  Being able to pick on people in this way is a part of what makes group games fun, I think.  Pretty much useless in Mental Magic; you’ve got plenty else to do with U1, anyway.


Constructed:  2.5 

Limited:  2.5

Casual:  3.5

Jason Chapman Rootwater Thief is just an amazing card. It is a solid if not particularly amazing creature as a 1/2 evasion pick but the extra ability makes this card a superstar. Manipulating and controlling the opponent's deck as early as Turn 3 is simply fantastic. This is a card that can fit into both control and Fish builds and should have had more of an impact on Magic then it did.

Constructed - A solid choice for decks that can find the mana to support it - 3

Limited - Evasion and remove opponent's bombs - 4.5

Casual - Because this card is generally underplayed I think casual can make good use of it - 3.5


Secret Squirrel on the

 Rootwater Thief

Em… The card obviously hates combo decks. Removing cards from the deck is never all that useful unless you remove a restricted combo piece. How many merfolk fly though? It doesn’t really go with the merfolk theme of weenie, fast damage.

In Casual…. Merfolk decks!!! or not.

Constructed: 2
Casual: 2.5

Copyright 2001


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