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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Nessian Asp
Image from Wizards.com

Nessian Asp
- Theros

Reviewed April 21, 2014

Constructed: 2.00
Casual: 2.20
Limited: 4.30
Multiplayer: 2.60

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

Click here to see all of our 
Card of the Day Reviews 


Nessian Asp

I'm surprised it took us this long to get around to reviewing this one. In Limited, Nessian Asp IS green decks. If you don't get an Asp, you're not really running Green. Why is that? What makes the Asp so great? Well, first of all, it's a common. In Limited, commons are the backbone of everybody's deck. They're the only cards you can rely on seeing, and the only ones you can realistically hope to get multiples of. Second, the Asp is big for the format. A 4/5 is significantly bigger than most things in Theros or Born of the Gods, since the block is all about Bestowing onto smaller creatures. There just aren't many ways to deal five damage to a creature without spending multiple cards. Third, it has reach. Not usually such a big deal, but flying is actually fairly rare in Theros block. If you can nab a few solid flyers, you can win with them alone and many opponents simply won't have an answer. Having an Asp on the board means you can block flyers, and usually kill them-- like I said, a 4/5 is hard to cope with for most creatures in Theros block without help. The Monstrosity ability helps keep the Asp ahead of the game-- a Bestowal or a combat trick might get an opposing creature up to dealing with a 4/5, but an 8/9?

Sadly, none of this holds up in Constructed formats. Even in the very last set, there's enough removal to make a non-evasive 4/5 for five a joke, and there's creatures with more impressive abilities to be cast for 4G. Nessian Asp may be king of the green commons, but any format that lets you run as many uncommons and rares as you want will find plenty of answers and more
impressive threats.

Constructed- 1.5
Casual- 1.5
Limited- 4.5
Multiplayer- 1.5

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Nessian Asp
In real-life Europe, not many snakes live in trees. In European mythology, the trees are full of snakes for some reason - the garden of the Hesperides had one, Jason had to get the Golden Fleece from a tree guarded by a snake-like dragon, and there were some in Norse mythology too. Theros was almost as full of anti-air cards with monstrosity; while Nessian Asp is not quite as powerful as Arbor Colossus, I actually like it better. I mean, come on - a giant snake in a tree.
Constructed: 2/5
Casual: 3/5
Limited: 4/5
Multiplayer: 3/5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Nessian Asp which is a five mana Green 4/5 with Reach and Monstrosity 4 for seven mana.  This isn't a card that is likely to see serious competitive play in any Constructed format as Green has many large creatures with Trample or other offensive effects for a similar mana cost.  Reach is primarily defensive and even with Monstrosity this doesn't offer enough to be a popular addition to any particular theme.
For Limited this is a major threat, particularly as a common, and both the casting and Monstrosity costs are manageable for any deck with even a splash of Green mana.  It can stop or trade with almost anything that isn't Indestructible and easily growing into an 8/9 provides a difficult to remove bulldozer offensively.  A strong second or third pick in Booster even if not already drafting Green and a very compelling reason to splash or run Green in Sealed.
Constructed: 2.5
Casual: 2.5
Limited: 4.5
Multiplayer: 2.5


Deck Garage

Nessian Asp

First off, I jumped in last week without introducing myself. I've been playing Magic off and on since about 1996. With my off years, I've probably compiled about 10 years experience in the game. My favorite part of the game is creative deck-building, so in addition to doing card of the day, I also am taking your deck submissions in my deck garage. Click the link on the left to learn more about that.

Now to the card at hand.

There's a lot to like about this asp. A 4/5 with reach will stop all but the biggest threats coming your way. 5 mana is a bit high for most constructed decks, because there are so many big threats at 5 mana, and unless your deck is built around it, you're rarely going to have 7 mana to make this guy monstrous.

In casual, you're more likely to be able to afford the 5 mana casting cost and the 7 mana to make him an enormous 8/9 snake, but beyond being huge, there's nothing particularly splashy to make him a big part of your fun deck.

Limited is where this guy really shines. There are very few creatures that can get past him, and while reach makes you think of him as a defensive creature, he can be a dominating force on offense as well.

In multiplayer it's more important to have a strong defensive presence so people will find an easier target elsewhere. I wouldn't be ashamed to have Nessian Asp scaring attackers away. Then, once he's helped you stall the game, you can make him monstrous and go on the attack!

Constructed: 2
Casual: 3
Limited: 5
Multiplayer: 3

Michael Sokolowski

This card just really doesn't do a lot to get me excited. In its base form, it's a 4/5 for 5 mana. That's a little below that green is used to, though just barely. It must make up for it with some pretty neat abilities though, right? Well, let's take a look.


Reach is an ability that really never resonated with me. It's technically better than nothing, but it 1) relies on your opponent having creatures with flying in the first place, and 2) requires you to not attack with your big green creature if you want to block with your fancy blocking ability.

So let's take a look at the other ability. Maybe we'll like that one better. Well, for 7 more mana, you can give it four +1/+1 counters. I shouldn't need to tell you that 7 mana is a lot of mana. Cruel Ultimatum costs 7 mana. All is Dust costs 7 mana. Platinum Angel costs 7 mana. 7 mana can do some pretty impressive and powerful things. What it does here, essentially, is give you an 8/9 for a total of 12 mana. With Reach, of course.

The thing is though, this isn't a TERRIBLE card. It's just not an optimal card. It doesn't have a lot interesting going for it, but that doesn't mean it's entirely unplayable. In limited, a 4/5 for 5 isn't the worst. And games can reach the point where you might have 7 mana laying around with not much to use it on, especially if you're running green which is THE colour of mana accel. Casual players also might like it for Snake-themed tribal decks, and I'll be honest, that double-headed snake art is pretty cool. Imagine a giant, monstrous one of those things coming at you! You will never ever see this card in older, faster formats though. It's just not efficient enough.

In the end, Nessian Asp will almost always be a 4/5 for 5 with Reach. Which is fine in limited, but is overshadowed by other, more efficient creatures - or at least ones with more interesting abilities - in most other formats.

Constructed: 2
Casual: 3
Limited: 3.5
Multiplayer: 3

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