– Time Spiral
November 16, 2017
Commander [EDH]: 3.83
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Before there were double-faced cards, there were a number of attempts to make cards that changed between different possible states. In addition to threshold, there was Kamigawa’s flip mechanic; both are now out of favor as far as new designs go, with flip cards considered problematic because the art is difficult to make out and threshold requiring continuous tracking of the contents of various graveyards. In spite of that, there is still reason to look at some of those cards; not all are impressive in either their default or their threshold state, but Mystic Enforcer is quite the opposite. He’s very undercosted for the number of abilities he has at threshold, and despite the ubiquity of Path to Exile and Oblivion Ring, there are plenty of decks that simply can’t deal with him. Tarmogoyf and, recently, Heritage Druid may get a lot of attention in tempo-obsessed formats like Modern, but Mystic Enforcer is never a bad choice.
High variance cards are always exciting and appeal to Timmys, Johnnys, and Spikes. White and Green are possibly the most difficult colors to trigger Threshold given their high toughness and low amount of spells. To get around this you can this with fetch lands or Satyr Wayfinder.
A 6/6 Flier for 4 mana is a pretty good deal. Chameleon Colossus just how strong Protection from Black is. The only things that can effectively stop this card are blue and white control cards. In most decks Mystic Enforcer is good, but in the right deck it can be scary.
He may not be a transform card, but Mystic Enforcer’s threshold mechanic makes him one in spirit if nothing else. And he has an interesting distinction: he’s the only Modern-legal card with the Odyssey block’s notorious mechanic.
Let’s recap why threshold is notorious: like with Jace yesterday, it’s deceptively easy to load up a graveyard with cards to get to where you turn on the threshold condition, which is seven or more cards. Onslaught, the block that followed Odyssey, gave us fetch lands (sounds familiar), and Odyssey block had a number of mill-enabling cards and rewards for putting cards into your graveyard. So, seven was certainly doable; while white and green aren’t the best at self-mill, they could do a serviceable job of it, between cantrips and cheap spells (and fetch lands).
So, what’s the reward? Without threshold, Mysic Enforcer (originally from Judgment, the set that hated black and loved white and green) was a 3/3 with protection from black, for four mana. This isn’t an incredible rate of return; it stomps black decks, yes, but it’s fairly below-average. With threshold, though, Mystic Enforcer is a 6/6 flier with protection from black, which is frankly absurd. 6/6 flying is very hard to deal with…and black couldn’t deal with it at all, thanks to protection! It’s a powerful, hard-to-remove creature once you get threshold on.
Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing; graveyard hate is prolific, and the preponderance of ways to remove cards from graveyards has constrained Mystic Enforcer’s influence on Modern and other formats. I can see potential, though, as the upside of a 6/6 flier with protection from one of the best removal colors is pretty legit.
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