Reprieve – LOTR: TALES OF MIDDLE-EARTH
Date Reviewed: June 6, 2023
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
A lot of the less-wordy cards in this set are going to have flavor text like this, with lines from the novels. It’ll save me some trouble of digging up quotes for the reviews, though I might end up having to do so for the legendary creatures and such!
Nobody should still be pushing that meme about “white bad”, but if anyone brings it up again, just show them this card. Reprieve is a tool white has basically never gotten, and it’s one of the most powerful examples of this type of pseudo-counterspell. Working on uncounterable creatures like Carnage Tyrant is big news, as is its ability to fit into aggressive white decks. While it’s rare to have true combo decks without access to actual counterspells or discard spells, just because of what else you get in those colors to help combo, Reprieve might also be useful in decks with a midrange early strategy and a synergy or pseudo-combo late game. Think of things like Devoted Druid. I’m not expecting every card in this set to make an impact in Modern, but this particular one is very likely to do just that.
Commander [EDH]: 3
It’s interesting to see which cards in this set are seemingly the “Modern plants” of the set, as there are a fair few spells with more generic names that would be a lot easer to readily reprint tan, say, Grima Wormtongue. Reprieve is one such spell, spoiled early and turning heads from the word “go”.
In function, Reprieve is very close to just being a white version of Remand, which is a rather popular counterspell in Modern for being a cantripping tempo setter. In most cases, I would say Reprieve is the better spell, because it bounces without being contingent on successfully countering the spell. There are a couple of things that interact with countering things, like Baral, Chief of Compliance, but those are far more marginal overall, and they mean this is an upgrade in only 96% of cases. Or copies 5 through 8 of Remand, at least.
In addition to being additional copies of the effect, there is upside to this being white, because countermagic is not common in white. Coupled with this replacing itself, and you have a strong tempo play that can slot into a surprising swath of decks. I think this is going to see play, both alongside and in place of Remand.
Constructed: 4.25 (not for every deck, but it’s an excellent way to buy time)
Limited: 3.5 (stop the right thing at the right time, and you might well have won)
Commander [EDH]: 3
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