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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Brain Maggot
Image from Wizards.com

Brain Maggot
- Journey into Nyx

Reviewed May 15, 2014

Constructed: 3.0
Casual: 2.60
Limited: 3.10
Multiplayer: 2.60

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

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Card of the Day Reviews 


Brain Maggot

It's like a cross between Banisher Priest and Thoughtseize! Except the best thing about Thoughtseize was that you could cast it on turn one, before your opponent ever has a chance to cast the thing you want to get out of their hand. There's also the issue that with Brain Maggot, unlike the 'seize, they get their card back if they can achieve the lofty goal of... killing a 1/1. A 1/1 that is a valid target for Disenchant, no less. Hand disruption is cool and all, and getting to see what your opponent has in store can be a valid play, but I imagine this will end up in shoeboxes next to Black Cat and Drainpipe Vermin.

Constructed- 2
Casual- 2
Limited- 2.5
Multiplayer- 1.5

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Brain Maggot

Wait a minute, didn't we already have this creature in Innistrad? Well, I suppose a weevil is legitimately a very different type of thing than a maggot. Mechanics-wise, this is an instant eye-catching card for anyone who remembers Torment's Mesmeric Fiend or Alara's Tidehollow Sculler; if you don't remember those, consider the kinds of things you can do with a Thoughtseize variant that also attacks and blocks. The fact that it can die is not always as relevant as the fact that it's stolen something your opponent needed and can't get back until it does die (and sometimes it will steal something they could have used to block or kill it).

I'd also like to say that aesthetically, the fact that this creature is also an enchantment feels very right - look at how similar its mechanic is to Journey to Nowhere et al.

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

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Brain Maggot which is a two mana Black 1/1 enchantment creature that allows you to see an opponent's hand and exile a non-land card from it until Brain Maggot leaves play. This is a decent effect that gives you knowledge of an opponent's options and stalls one of them for a while, though being attached to a weak creature is a drawback in gaining more of an advantage. Unlike more permanent hand destruction options this can attack open fields, chump block, draw out removal, somewhat support mono-Black enchantment or Devotion which gives it potential slots in a variety of designs. Overall it is an okay card that may see play, but at two mana with minimal type benefits just isn't far enough above the curve to be a frontrunner.

In Limited there's no real drawback to playing this whenever running Black in Sealed as at worst it scouts out your opponent's hand while at best it locks out a serious threat. A reasonable middle of the pack choice in Booster that can support several other cards and is a low cost early game creature when in your opening cards.

Constructed: 3.0
Casual: 3.0
Limited: 3.5
Multiplayer: 3.0


Deck Garage

Brain Maggot

Brain Maggot is an interesting card. There are a lot of things to think about with this little insect:

He exiles a nonland card that YOU CHOOSE from an opponent's hand. Whatever the scariest, most troublesome card is that they have, you can get rid of it - for only 2 mana...

- BUT -

...that card can come back when you least expect it. Killing a 1/1 creature is not difficult for most decks. Exiling a card from your opponent's hand should be thought of as more of a delay for them instead of completely getting rid of a threat. The fact that he's also an enchantment makes him even easier to get rid of...

- BUT -

...it also triggers constellation. In a deck built around triggering constellation a lot, sometimes the temporary card exile might even be an afterthought to triggering other effects.

So where does this leave us? Opinions are still mixed about this little guy. In some situations he's hugely powerful for his 2 mana cost and 1/1 body. Other times, he's not going to do anything at all for you, except maybe be a chump blocker for some big monster. His potential is there, but be judicious about when you use him.

His biggest strength might be in limited play where you can build your deck around constellation, and the opponent might not have as many ways to get rid of him and get their card back.

Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 3
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 2

Michael Sokolowski

Brain Maggot is an interesting card. You really need to think about how to utilize it the most effectively, and it's certainly not for everyone.

It's 2 mana for a 1/1 with no combat abilities, so it doesn't really affect the state of the board when it comes into play. You could think of it as an Oblivion Ring/Banishing Light for the hand, and that comparison would be more or less apt. Actually there have already been creatures like this, Mesmeric Fiend and Tidehollow Sculler. But one of the things that made Oblivion Ring/Banishing Light great is that as pure enchantments, they're not so easy to get rid of. In fact, some decks might have NO way to get rid of them. Brain Maggot is a 1/1 enchantment creature, which is quite possibly one of the EASIEST things to get rid of in all of Magic.

So let's look at the worst-case scenario. You cast this card on turn 2, see your opponent's hand, pick something big and threatening (say a God or a Titan) and make it go away. Then, on your opponent's turn, they do something and kill your Brain Maggot and get their card back. Assuming they used a kill spell or removal of some kind, that's a 1-for-1 trade that didn't do much. If they have some kind of repeatable damage they used, you're even further behind now. Something that ends up being a 1-for-1 trade is the bare minimum of playable, and getting to see your opponent's hand is good for information warfare. But really nothing that's blowing me away about this card so far.

But after thinking about it for a bit, I realized there was one way to very effectively use this card. If you play this on turn 2, and look at their opponent's hand, what is the best thing you could possibly exile from it?

Why, the next card they were about to play, of course. You'd exile THEIR 2 (or 3) drop.

All of the sudden, unless they have multiples in their hand or topdeck something, they are an entire turn behind you. Brain Maggot is best used as a tempo disrupter. Sure, they might get their card back in a turn or two. But that's way after they wanted to play it! A Fleecemane Lion on turn 2 or a Leatherback Baloth on turn 3 can be a pretty strong opening. But on turn 6? Or 7? Brain Maggot may or may not keep their card forever, but it'll keep it from when they want it most. You can even play it late-game, after they used much of their removal, to get rid of that Nessian Wilds Ravager or Polukranos, World Eater they were just about to play.

Brain Maggot isn't, in my mind, true removal. It's a disruption affect, slowing your opponent down so you can follow up with your true plan of attack while they're trying to get their threat back. But again, be warned. Sometimes they WILL get it back, and you'll have one less card to deal with it. Slowing them down won't always be enough, it depends what else they already have, be it on the field or in their hand. And it depends on how fast and competitive your deck is at capitalizing on their misfortune.

It's a tricky, risky card. It can pay off very nicely in the early game, it can save you from a God in the late game. Or it can wiff entirely, hiding something away only for it to be found slightly later on, not even missed by your opponent. Like I said, risky. But then so was putting a maggot into someone's head in the first place.

Seriously, that artwork is terrifying.

Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 2
Limited: 2.5
Multiplayer: 3.5

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