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Pojo's Magic The Gathering Card of the Day

Image from Wizards.com

Phyrexian Etchings
Cold Snap

Reviewed August 22, 2006

Constructed: 2.8
Casual: 3
Limited: 2.3

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 

Jeff Zandi

 5 Time Pro Tour

Phyrexian Etchings

I love this card. There used to be this card, from Ice Age, that was PRETTY GOOD called Necropotence. Necropotence turned out to be so powerful a card drawing tool that decks using it dominated constructed formats for years. In the time since it has revolved out of the card pools of Standard and Extended constructed environments, there have been several attempts to make a (non blue) card drawing device as useful as Necropotence. Phyrexian Etchings is the closest thing to Necropotence yet. In Coldsnap booster drafts, nothing is in more short supply than ways to gain card advantage, and Phyrexian Etchings can give you a great deal of card advantage in just a few turns. No more popular than black is in Coldsnap draft, you might even get a chance to draft Etchings with something besides your first pick. While it is true that Etchings ties up your mana with its cumulative upkeep, and while it is also true that you will lose some life when Etchings eventually goes to the graveyard, the card advantage and power that you will gain from the extra cards is worth all the trouble. Actually, I have only played Etchings in booster drafts, so far, but I think this card is capable of being VERY important in constructed for the next couple of years.



* Game Store Owner

Phyrexian Etchings

This card seems a little dangerous, but it could be used in Extended and Legacy play potentially. It's really a matter of managing your resources and deciding if and/or when the gamble is worth it. I'm likely going to stay away from this card, because I'm generally not a fan of the decks that would play something like this.

Constructed: 2
Casual: 1
Limited: 1.5


Phyrexian Etchings

This is a huge double edged sword. You have to pay a cumulative upkeep of B each turn, and if Etchings ever hits your graveyard, it will do 2 damage to you for each counter on it. Conversely, you get to draw like mad. But even if you were able to keep up on the upkeep, you could get to the point where you could actually deck yourself. There are just too many negative scenarios here. So unless you're able to remove it from the game to keep it out of your graveyard, it's just not worth whatever price you end up paying in the end.

Constructed - 1.5
Casual - 2
Limited - 1.5


Phyrexian Etchings

First of all, do NOT compare this card to Necropotence. If you insist on letting a 11-year-old card that broke every format it was ever legal in color your perspective of a new card that you can actually play with in Constructed events, then it might be time for a little hiatus from Magic, my friend.
Anyway, this card is absolutely savage card advantage. It's quite possible you'll win the game on the back of all those extra cards drawn before it dies, but playing those extra cards requires mana, and yours will be tied up in the Etchings' cumulative upkeep cost. In constructed, I can sort of see this going into a U/B control deck that can protect the Etchings and bounce it when the upkeep cost gets out of hand (note the Etchings' life payment takes effect when the Etchings is put into a GRAVEYARD). In Limited, I see this working very well in the deck of the guy who got all 6 Feasts of Flesh and the Soul Spike.

Constructed- 4
Casual- 4
Limited- 3.5

The Antman

Phyrexian Etchings- Rare- Coldsnap

Probably one of my top 5 favorite cards from coldsnap is todays card, phyrexian etchings.

This card BEGS to be broken in some way shape or form, the only thing restricting it is the black cumulative upkeep. I am currently testing this card in a Black (splashing blue) deck that utalizes a early beat or two and then it plays this card, for usually the rest of the game. with etchings out the deck gains enough card advantage to use a total of 10 pitch spells (4 soul spike, 4 sickening shoal, and 2 commandeer) without worrying about getting behind. So far the deck loses to some of the faster decks, but vs a control deck as long as I can resolve a etchings it is usually GG. Also the deck gets around etchings life loss if I cant keep it in play by playing 4 repeals to return it to the hand so I don't have to pay the insane amount of life.

constructed- 3/5 again this card begs to be broken, and the fact that you can just bounce or RFG the card instead of lose life is promising
limited- 2/5 the heavy black cost and the lack of common/uncommon pitchspells make this card less desireable, even if it does draw tons of cards
casual- 4/5 very fun and not too broken for the format final thought- while this card is no necropotence, it does have the potential to be amazing

Aburame Shino

Phyrexian Etchings

As powerful as card drawing is in every format, I just don't see this being used. Don't get me wrong, it's a cool card that deserves to be noticed. There's just too many reasons not to run this card.

First off, this thing has a triple black casting cost. That makes it pretty difficult to cast for most multi-colored decks. Second, alongside the triple black that you're required to cast this thing, you also have to pay a cumulative upkeep of one black, which has a tendency to get out of control the longer it stays in play. This makes it harder and harder for you to cast spells. And finally, you lose life for every age counter on it when it hits the graveyard. That means you'll get smacked for quite a bit once you can't pay the upkeep anymore, or if the opponent uses something like Naturalize on it.

In a format where you can run Phyrexian Arena and Dark Confidant, it's just not worth it to use this card. The Etchings are harder to use in every way, and is more painful than both of the cards I mentioned.

Constructed: 1 - Like I said, you've got Arena and Confidant to use.
Casual: 2 - You can use tricks to bounce this so you don't take damage.
Limited: 1 - It'll be hard for you to pay the upkeep cost.
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