Rhystic Study – Prophecy
Date Reviewed: August 26, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
If you’ve played any Commander games over the past few years, there’s a very good chance you’ve been at a “Do you pay the 1?” table at some point. There are numerous dimensions that make Rhystic Study so powerful and so ubiquitous in that format. On the one hand, it’s one of the most powerful taxing effects ever printed, giving you a significant material advantage each time an opponent fails to pay. On another, it scales to multiplayer better than most cards do, both because it has more opportunities to trigger and for more “meta” reasons – since it’s passive and it just sits on the table, somebody might forget it’s there. This power could even theoretically translate into tournaments, although it doesn’t operate along the axes that blue decks in Legacy usually like to use. In Commander and casual games, it’s one of the most powerful cards you could ever play with or against – be prepared to be targeted!
As far as “most annoying” cards go, Rhystic Study might be near the top of most people’s list; despite being in what some consider the worst set in the game’s history, Prophecy, the little blue common has wrought plenty of havoc over the years.
Rhystic Study is part of a little subset of nine spells from Prophecy that offered an effect unless an opponent paid mana to stop it. Study is the only “passive” card of the nine: after its investment, it sits there and accrues value unless your opponent specifically opts to stop it. And considering almost every deck wants to play spells, this manages to tax opponents or make them delay actions. For one card, not so bad.
While the Study is a blue staple in Commander, it’s failed to leave as much of a mark on constructed formats; it takes a bit too long to pay dividends, and drawing cards passively (and unreliably) is not worth the investment. It shines with many people at a table, though, because someone’s going to bite the bullet and let you have the card at some point.
Constructed: 1.75 (good Legacy color, but far too slow to be viable)
Limited: 3 (you could do worse, but you also could do better)
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