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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Stone-Tongue Basilisk
Image from Wizards.com

 Stone-Tongue Basilisk
- Odyssey

Reviewed January 20, 2014

Constructed: 1.88
Casual: 2.50
Limited: 3.13
Multiplayer: 2.10

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

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Stone-Tongue Basilisk

I haven't been playing for quite as long as my co-contributors. I was first introduced to Magic in high school by a friend of mine, who gave me the Odyssey "Trounce-O-Matic" preconstructed deck as a birthday gift, then offered to teach me the game over several afternoons at her house. Years later, she abandoned the game, but she and Magic have both stayed with me ever since. And that original deck stayed with me for quite some years as well. Long after Odyssey had rotated out of Standard, after Eighth Edition modernized the card frames, after I graduated high school and found a new circle of Magic players at college who would become my friends over infinite mana loops and responses to responses to responses, after the cardboard "Trounce-O-Matic" box was weathered almost to destruction and had to be wrapped in duct tape, I still played a tweaked form of that deck, and to this day it informs my approach to the game. Blue and green is still my favorite color pair. I still love granting flying or evasion to massive creatures, and I still love creatures that can start small and be played early, but can be enlarged or otherwise upgraded to retain their relevance in the late game. And despite my contempt for lockdown control, I still love cheap cantrip spells like Predict or Opt that let you fish through the top of your deck and pick the card you want-- this is likely why I enjoy Scry so much!

Despite my nostalgia, I must acknowledge that the years have most certainly not been kind to Stone-Tongue Basilisk, who was once the headliner of my deck and the thing that struck fear into my opponents. As much as I admit that the M10 Rules Changes were beneficial to the game at large, they effectively ripped out Stone-Tongue's teeth. The institution of deathtouch was controversial, mainly because there had been many versions of "basilisk's gaze" or "kills-on-contact" abilities over the years, and their decision to standardize the ability into a keyword led to the creation of an ability that no existing creature actually had. But it was the "order the blockers" rule that cast the final stone at the Stone-Tongued one. Before M10, this guy could kill as many creatures as he had power by assigning one damage to each blocker and letting his ability kill them after combat. Now, you can't do that unless you have deathtouch, so the Basilisk's once-feared attack will kill at most one creature more than its power would otherwise let it. I once comboed this with a simple Muscle Burst to kill off large swaths of my opponents' field. Now you'd need a card like Withstand Death or Serpent Skin just to kill one or two creatures and live to do it again next turn. Never mind the fact that at 4GGG, far better options now exist.
The Lure effect is still as useful as ever, drawing away creatures from the attackers you actually want to push through. But the Basilisk needs Threshold to do that, and is so expensive that your opponent will no doubt have enough power to block and kill the Basilisk, making this a one-time trick that Taunting Elf and several others throughout the years can do much better. It hurts to rate this one as low as I know I have to, and I'll always cherish the time I had with Stone-Tongue, but that time is over, and it isn't coming back.

Constructed- 1.5
Casual- 1.5
Limited- 2.5
Multiplayer- 1.25

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Stone-Tongue Basilisk

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Of course, since Magic's past is full of memorable characters, inspiring settings, fantastic creatures, and awesome events, repeating it might not be such a bad thing. In 2008, Wizards of the Coast announced, via Mark Rosewater and others, an emphasis on acquisition - literally trying to get lots and lots of new customers. Unfortunately this has, at times, come at the expense of acknowledgment and celebration of Magic's history, and of things targeted at long-time players. Perhaps we'll see this week that Magic's history is about more than a "muddled" color pie (Aaron Forsythe's words, not mine) and the Power Nine.

I remember Stone-Tongue Basilisk fondly. The first time I saw one was on Wizards of the Coast's website, shortly after Odyssey came out - it was a rare in a theme deck called "Troune-O-Matic". That alone was pretty eye-catching. Add in the obvious reference to the old-school combo of Lure plus Thicket Basilisk or Venom, all on one card so that you can just cast him and go to town, and what's not to like about him? And while it's the case that your opponent's creatures may all be dead or irrelevant by the time he comes online, that's not always a given - remember our discussion last week about control decks hiding behind walls, or my frustration with Doubling Season decks?

Later on, of course, I learned that a lot of the players whose decks were showcased on Wizards of the Coast's website didn't care about "cool" or about the way people like me played. I studied those decks, I learned what tournament decks were like, I jumped into Standard around 2005, became a regular at an FNM scene, and came to regret it very much; but that's a story for another time.

Speaking of Doubling Season, note this guy's "old-school" or "unfixed" version of deathtouch. Considering how they had to revise the rules about deathtouch for M10 and then immediately after, and how new deathtouch creatures can't smash through vast herds of Saprolings while enchanted with Gaseous Form, and how they still have to put reminder text for it even in sets like Theros, maybe they should have left well enough alone.

Constructed: 2/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 4/5
Multiplayer: 3/5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Stone-Tongue Basilisk which is a seven mana Green 4/5 from Odyssey that destroys creatures at the end of combat after it deals combat damage to them and with Threshold all creatures able to block it must do so. This is a card that has not aged well as current rulings require it to deal lethal damage to one creature before assigning any damage to a second creature, which works differently than Deathtouch as each point of damage would be lethal. With that change, the relatively low power and toughness for the mana cost, and requiring Threshold for the Lure effect this just doesn't have much to offer any decks being constructed currently.

In a Limited setting this has decent toughness and aggressive effects that can clear a path for an alpha strike or open up options for later turns. The mana cost is high, but manageable in the format, and can still justify a first pick in Booster in a weak pack or after already choosing Green as there are many strong uncommons to choose from. For Booster it depends on your pool, but Green is very powerful in the set and this can be the top end of the mana curve. The triple Green in the cost does prevent splashing and requires at least half of the deck to be Green to reliably cast.

Constructed: 1.5
Casual: 1.5
Limited: 2.5
Multiplayer: 1.5

Skid Rambo

Stone-Tongue Basilisk is a card that was obviously given a high mana cost because the makers of the card thought that it was a powerful card. As it turns out, Stone-Tongue Basilisk is only powerful if you are playing a casual group game and nobody is paying attention. Let’s be real, nobody wants a 4/5 for seven mana. The only situation where I would want this card would be in a Limited event and even then it is a stretch. By the time that you play Stone-Tongue Basilisk you should have Threshhold, but it is probably too late.

Constructed: 2.5
Casual: 3
Limited: 3.5
Multiplayer: 2.5

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