Stinkweed Imp – Ravnica: City of Guilds
Date Reviewed: November 25, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 2.92
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There used to be a joke that playing against Dredge is like playing Magic against someone who’s playing an entirely different game. It wasn’t always that way. The super-explosive version we usually talk about needed the Time Spiral block’s Dread Return and Narcomoeba to achieve its full potential. The early Dredge decks were more like control decks, using the keyword to build up their graveyard and use it as a resource to outlast the opponent. I even saw versions that won with Mortivore, but the “old school” Dredge isn’t as famous now as the combo version.
But whichever version you play, Stinkweed Imp is a staple for it. It’s one of the most efficient ways in Magic to put a lot of cards in your graveyard at once, and much like the more spectacular Golgari Grave-Troll, it’s pretty good if you have to cast it, too. It’s obviously a more defensive card than the Grave-Troll, but if your graveyard isn’t quite lining up the way you want it and you need more time, it’s the card you want. It’ll defend well, with low enough toughness that it’s likely to die and let you take another shot at stocking your graveyard. If a card’s going to only do one thing, it should do it well – and Stinkweed Imp does what it does very well indeed.
What does an annoying imp have to do with Thanksgiving? You tell me. Stinkweed Imp actually has never been reviewed on Pojo before now, hence my picking it. Because, in spite of it being a seemingly innocuous common, it’s had long legs and quite an impact on the game over the years.
Of course, the main reason for that is dredge. The Golgari keyword from the original Ravnica set has become a byword for comically overpowered mechanics, thanks to how decks built around it can basically use the graveyard as a second hand of sorts. Stinkweed Imp comes with the second-highest dredge number printed on a card, 5; considering how Golgari Grave-Troll was banned largely for a dredge number marginally higher, this is as good as Modern gets for the effect in question. That said, Stinkweed Imp also has a niche as a supremely annoying roadblock for decks, with its pseudo-deathtouch triggered ability and flying doing a good job at deterring attackers; while the main attraction is dredge, the rest of the card has a solid niche if you need it in that role.
While Stinkweed Imp is generally the “little brother” to Golgari Grave-Troll, it’s still good enough to see play. It’s the dredge creature of choice in the Modern variation of the deck, and it often sees play alongside Golgari Grave-Troll and Golgari Thug (no.3 in the hierarchy of dredge creatures) in the Legacy and Vintage cultivars. It even has a Pauper niche as the common dredge creature of choice; for a three-mana common, not a bad pedigree at all.
Limited: 4.5 (surprisingly vicious as a recursive blocker that kills most of what needs to die)
Very popular in Dredge decks and dredge decks alone for the “Dredge 5” ability and the flying/deathtouch doesn’t hurt either. It is one of the better accelerated dredge cards since Golgari Grave-Troll was banned, twice, to make dredge a still viable strategy. Outside of a dredge deck, this is a bad card and wouldn’t be played. In all formats that we rate cards it is a bad card outside of dredge strategies, and you wouldn’t play it. It’s too hard to get a good dredge strategy going in limited because you’ll have to get really lucky that you pull the better dredge cards to make the strategy run effectively. I’m sure someone has made a dredge commander, I don’t know why you would but it could work on paper. Dredge overall was proven to be too powerful so cards had to get banned along the way. Stinkweed Imp missed that but like I mentioned earlier, it is a bad card.
Constructed: 4/5 (Dredge deck only) 1/5 all others
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