Primal Amulet / Primal Wellspring – – Ixalan
Date Reviewed: September 20, 2019
Constructed: 2.25 Casual: 3.75 Limited: 2.38 Multiplayer: 3 Commander [EDH]: 3.5
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Primal Amulet and Primal Wellspring are the “Izzet” or spellslinger entry in Ixalan‘s cycle of double-faced cards, giving you a pair of very strong and very straightforward effects related to spells. I can’t criticize their power level, but my concern might be the amount of time it takes: absent a whole deck made up of one-mana cantrips like Opt and Samut’s Sprint, you’re unlikely to flip it in one turn, and if that is your deck, you might have trouble with some kind of end game. It’s a little slow for spell-based decks in eternal formats (Storm and the like), but it’s a very tempting build-around card for slower casual settings.
Let’s start with the flipped version, Primal Wellspring…which is really good! Mana that makes a copy of whatever instant or sorcery spell you cast with it is quite powerful, and you’re certainly well-positioned if you can get this to flip and, say, copy a massive Banefire aimed at a face.
The problem is getting there. Primal Amulet is a four-mana artifact that sits there and passively makes your instants and sorceries cheaper, flipping after you’ve cast four instants and sorceries. Getting this to flip quickly will take a lot of effort and render it fairly unusable until your next turn, which telegraphs a play that can’t end well for your opponents. Making spells cheaper is nice, but the main attraction is in trying to flip Primal Amulet as quickly as possible to start duplicating your spells.
This makes for a potentially-powerful card without a real home. Four mana is enough to ask for some more-immediate impact on resolution in Constructed, it takes effort to flip, and the payoff requires even more deck-building constraints. It’s a very real payoff, yes, but it’s one that is more of a casual star than a Constructed powerhouse.
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