February 8, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 2.67
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I love how the wording on some of the older cards was a little looser than on more recent ones. For example, the modern versions of Shatter phrase the effect like an instruction, telling you what to destroy. The Alpha version, however, destroys the artifact itself, calling itself out by name in the text box. Cards were sometimes very proactive in those days – check out Floral Spuzzem for the ultimate example, which perhaps prefigures the way some versions of Liliana, Sarkhan, Gideon, and others refer to “himself” or “herself”.
After all these years, Shatter is still among the most elegant, most usable, and sometimes most essential cards in Magic. I am genuinely surprised when cards like this end up out of Standard, not least because if it had been in Kaladesh, the past ban-heavy Standard season may have turned out rather different. In more open formats, there are so many variants that you won’t always end up using the baseline, but it’s good to keep in mind that without Shatter, fan favorites like Smash to Smithereens, Natural End, and Bumbling Pangolin wouldn’t exist.
It’s always fascinating to see how different cards are affected by power creep. As I mentioned yesterday some cards are too powerful like Rampant Growth other times the pendulum swings in the opposite direction. With cards that are strictly better such as “Abrade” and “Smash to Smithereens” Shatter has been rendered obsolete.
This card is hard to numerically score for a few reasons. First, is it fair to give a card a 1 because its outclassed in Constructed despite it still being useful? Secondly, this card’s Limited rating is nebulous. In Scars of Mirrodin Limited I’d give this card a 4, but there isn’t a whole lot of powerful artifacts in Ixalan. Commander multiplies the likelihood of seeing artifacts and limits the amount of “Crush”es you can play.
An oldie, but…not sure if “goodie” works here anymore, but it’s certainly an iconic effect. Shatter was red’s artifact-answering equivalent to black’s Terror, the simplest expression of its hatred of artifacts. And with the exception of Mirrodin, it’s always been worse than Terror when the two were printed together.
Shatter is the quintessential sideboard card against artifacts…or it was, at least. The issue with Shatter anymore is that it’s largely been rendered obsolete in the passing years. Smash to Smithereens is Shatter with upside, Smelt is a cheaper Shatter, and Ancient Grudge lets you cast it twice as a consequence of flashback. It’s mostly Limited fodder or a relic of a bygone era, since other cards simply do its job much better.
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