Sword of Feast and Famine
– Double Masters
September 1, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The Sword mega-cycle is remarkable for so many reasons, not least the sheer number of years it’s stretched over (particularly if you count the two new ones from Modern Horizons that give protection from allied-color pairs – where are their brethren?). It’s also a fact that none of them are significantly weaker than the others – Body and Mind perhaps has the least tempo-swinging effect, but even it helps you go wide and helps ensure you’ll always have someone to carry it.
(By the way, I still maintain that the red-white sword should have been “Sword of Heart and Soul”. But that could also fit green-white, so we have a second chance – get on it, Rosewater!)
If there’s no clear worst one, Sword of Feast and Famine can be the best one under the right circumstances. We all know that protection from black makes it impossible for some decks to kill the wielder, and that control decks hate having their hand attacked. But it’s also a combo card in a strange way, as effects that double mana (even if only once a turn) tend to get out of control. Sure, that doubling comes during the end of your combat step, but that just means you need to look through your collection of instants with big effects!
All of the members of the Mirrodin Swords Megacycle tend to be cards with a healthy, format-warping amount of power to them. Sword of Feast and Famine is arguably the strongest out of the second batch of swords in the Scars of Mirrodin block and has an argument for being the strongest of them all, though it has had competition in the form of Sword of Fire and Ice over the years.
Protection from black and green is a nice pairing to have, as those tend to be the primary deathtouch colors that might keep the creature from hitting (as well as the “creature with big number” colors), but the main draw is the combat damage to a player trigger: a one-card discard and the active player half of Nature’s Will. Untapping all of your lands basically doubles the amount of rude things you can do in a turn, and it’s not too hard to find a way through. Black is also one of the main instant-speed removal colors, and while the Sword itself is vulnerable to Naturalize, black-heavy decks might have trouble breaking through a timely Sword.
It’s seen loads of play at Commander tables and in Constructed formats, usually as part of the Stoneforge Mystic package. It’s one of the best stabulous implements to tutor out with the Mystic, and a single successful swing can crack a game wide open, wider than for the other swords in the cycle. It’s a bit of an investment to get online, but it tends to pay for itself almost immediately.
Constructed: 3.75 (not quite a staple, but it’s very good at its job)
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