Tangle Wire – Nemesis
Date Reviewed: September 29, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.63
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It’s a little surprising that we’ve never reviewed Tangle Wire before. It has historically been a top-tier disruptive card for aggressive decks and some prison decks. In fact, it was often among the first cards people reached for when they needed to slow down opposing decks, alongside the likes of Armageddon. When you play it with the right timing, it can create very difficult situations for the opponent, like having to tap all their lands and cast no spells, or at least make hard choices about what they’re going to do that turn and probably cut out at least one thing they want. There are numerous ways to break the symmetry, with the simplest traditionally being to have a bunch of cheap threats as fodder for tapping, and perhaps even more ways to get it back from your graveyard and prolong the pain. While its use has fallen off somewhat in recent years, it’s still a potent card, and there’s probably a very troublesome deck to be built around effects that remove fade counters when it suits you and proliferates them at different times.
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
Never before reviewed on Pojo, Tangle Wire is a card that sums up the Mercadian Masques block beautifully: it excels at doing Nothing. Or, that is, making your opponents do Nothing. It’s a deceptively annoying little bauble that can really muck up an opponent, so let’s get into it.
In effect, Tangle Wire lasts for four turns, snarling up the board each turn. It’s strongest the turn it drops, of course, but it sticks around for a bit. While it appears symmetrical, there are two things that stack the deck in your favor: you can stack the fading and tap triggers so that you tap after removing the fade counter from Tangle Wire, and it is an eligible target to be tapped down. So, in effect, you’re locking up four of your opponent’s permanents on their next turn (and through your next turn) at the cost of two of yours. The returns do fall off, but this can definitely knock an opponent off-kilter if they’re not ready to play through it, and you can always build in a way that inconveniences you less.
Tangle Wire is a strange ssort of card in that it’s a particular answer, but not always for the questions being asked. That said, it can be used to buy you time in a pinch, and while it is most effective early, never underestimate its efficacy when your opponents have a “tall” board instead of a “wide” one. Its heyday has long since passed, but it does see some fringe Legacy play here and there; it’s a cheap, effective piece that can stall opposing decks in a pinch, and that’s all you can ask for.
Limited: 4 (does what it sets out to do very well, but it won’t help you win on its own)
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
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