– Guilds of Ravnica
September 18, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I didn’t read the official Wizards of the Coast preview article for Mission Briefing and just looked it up for this review, so I didn’t realize that Gavin Verhey compared it to Snapcaster Mage. I actually feel like it’s even better under certain circumstances; they’re both instants and thus equally surprising, and you don’t get a creature to end the game with as you do with Torrential Gearhulk, but the surveil is a good option for hail-Mary plays when you don’t have anything relevant in your graveyard, and that’s something that Snapcaster generally can’t do. You won’t want to count on that, but it does have that possibility, which rewards deckbuilders who put a high density of useful or generally relevant cards in their creations. (That’s also one of the deckbuilding principles of Filth Casserole – remind me to tell you more about that one day soon.)
. . . And like I said yesterday, considering how much better this becomes when there are more instants to choose from, I guess we really can’t complain that they don’t make cards for larger formats any more!
This looks pretty similar to Snapcaster Mage, albeit with a few wrinkles. The premise is similar: you cast a spell out of your graveyard. There are, of course, things that make Mission Briefing better and worse.
First, you’re casting the spell properly, not using flashback as an activated ability on the spell. You also do not target a spell to give flashback…or target a spell at all, for the record. Mission Briefing can even put the spell into the graveyard for you to cast later, thanks to surveil 2 on the card; surveil replaces scry in this set, letting you put the card in your graveyard instead of on the bottom of your library. Regardless, you still have a one-turn window to cast the spell. All of these make Mission Briefing a powerful tool in a lot of decks.
Of course, there are still advantages to Snapcaster Mage: namely, the lighter color requirement and coming with a warm body. Smapcaster Mage being a 2/1 is not irrelevant! I do not know if this will replace Snapcaster Mage, except in very specific decks where Mission Briefing works better (like in Storm decks, if necessary), but it serves as both another tool in its vein and as another potentially degenerate combo enabler. I guess it also pairs well with Isochron Scepter, which is also a thing…
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