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Pojo's Magic The Gathering Card of the Day
Daily Since November 2001!

Painful Quandary
Image from Wizards.com

Painful Quandary
Scars of Mirrodin

Reviewed December 27, 2010

Constructed: 3.00
Casual: 3.40
Limited: 2.60
Multiplayer: 3.50

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 


Painful Quandary

It's worth noting that, once this card hits the board, even if your opponent has a Naturalize ready to point at it he still needs to pay 5 life or a card for casting the Naturalize. Only through counterspells can a player get out of having to pay the toll. And the toll must be paid with every spell cast. Unless your opponent already has complete board control, he or she will have to keep bleeding cards or life while you can keep firing spells off with no problem. And if the enemy already HAS board control, well, how long can they hold it without casting spells while you continue to fire away?  And forget about an occasional spell here and there to maintain that control, because casting even one spell will cost them an extra card, or 5 life.

I would definitely recommend this card for any black deck that expects the game to go fairly long. And remember to pay attention to which they choose to lose-- cards or life. Their choice implies which they value more and can give you insight on their plan.

Constructed- 3.5
Casual- 3.75
Limited- 3.75
Multiplayer- 4

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Painful Quandary
There's a reason effects like this cost so much nowadays - they're crazy powerful once they come online. Of course, by the time the Quandary becomes active, your opponent may not have any spells left to cast, and it is also slower at ending the game than something like Corrupt or Skithiryx. In multiplayer, the increased number of potential victims is a big plus, and it also puts the brakes on anyone who thinks they're very clever for using Mind Over Matter.
Constructed: 2/5
Casual: 2/5
Limited: 2/5
Multiplayer: 3/5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Painful Quandary which is a five mana enchantment that causes an opponent to choose to lose five life whenever they cast a spell or discard a card.  Combined with a discard deck working with Liliana's Caress this is actually a fairly viable strategy for an otherwise weaker archetype.  A truly dedicated design is needed and it is a bit expensive to run, but it is worth giving it a try to bring a much needed threat to the hand destruction style of play.
For Limited the lack of support keeps this from being a bigger threat and the opponent can keep another card in hand once this is in play.  It does apply pressure though and is worth playing in a Black sealed pool while in Booster it can be a playable first pick if Psychic Miasma is aggressively drafted as support.  The strategy is a little risky, but can be fun and worthwhile if no other big threats are in the pack.
Constructed: 3.0
Casual: 3.0
Limited: 2.5
Multiplayer: 3.0


    Welcome back to Pojo’s card of the day column. I hope everyone has had a Happy Holiday thus far, and a safe new year to come.
   Today’s Card of the Day is Painful Quandary from Scars of Mirrodin. I personally love this card, especially in vintage. For three generic and two black mana, when an opponent casts a spell, they must either discard a card, or pay five life.
     In standard formats, this card could be greatly limited, as there are not a lot of things to punish for tossing card. But it still makes it tough when you are either discarding something you may need, or giving up life to keep it. As said, limited in limited and standard, but still very useful.
     However, this cards greatest potential is in extended and larger formats. In extended Excruciator Demon can really start things swinging with this card, not to mention Liliana’s Caress. But ultimately, this is built to be a multi-player and vintage deck staple. Megrim and Liliana’s Caress, Leyline of the Void, all these things just scream pain, no matter what you choose. Discard the card and lose life, and watch as it vanishes? Take five damage and risk Dash Hopes? Worse, combo it up even further with Wound Reflection and then they will really feel the pain.
Constructed: 3/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 2/5
Multiplayer: 4/5

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