Pilfer – Dominaria United

Date Reviewed:  September 2, 2022

Constructed: 3.25
Casual: 3.13
Limited: 3.25
Multiplayer: 2.00
Commander [EDH]: 2.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


The two-mana pseudo-Thoughtseize is not actually that new in Magic – the first such card, Distress, was actually released before Thoughtseize itself, which means I might need to find a different term to use for this type of card. Historically, it has not made much of an impact in constructed tournaments; in the larger formats, the loss of the potential to rip apart the opponent’s hand on turn one is too great, and even in smaller formats, there are lots of decks for which the second turn is best spent advancing their own side of the table rather than looking at the opponent’s hand. Having said that, Pilfer has a distinct advantage in being easier to cast than Distress. It could have prospects in Standard, likely depending on what kinds of decks are around and what their gameplan is – slower control decks would probably still fear it.

On the plus side, now I kind of want to see a full-scale feud between Tinybones and the merchant from Dark Bargain.

Constructed: 3
Casual: 3
Limited: 3 (timing will be everything, as often happens with Duress effects here)
Multiplayer: 2
Commander [EDH]: 2

 James H. 


In many ways, Pilfer represents a slight upgrade to Distress, a two-mana version of the infamous Thoughtseize effect (though Distress was the original, dating back to Champions of Kamigawa) with a less black-intensive color demand. Admittedly, Distress has never been a great play: the tempo of Thoughtseize is worth more than keeping your life. But while Pilfer might not be great in deeper formats, Standard does not have Thoughtseize, and decks that want to have more information will welcome the ability to get it and get a pesky card out of hand. It won’t be great, but it will likely be a solid workhorse card with sublime art, and sometimes that’s all you can ask for.

Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 3.25
Limited: 3.5 (sometimes high variance, but you can also answer a threat before it ever has the chance to hit play)
Multiplayer: 2
Commander [EDH]: 2.5 (single player targeted discard rarely goes far here, if it’s the only thing that discard does)

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