Throat Slitter – Crimson Vow
Date Reviewed: January 20, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.50
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There are certain moments that always happens when you’re playing a ninja deck – it doesn’t really matter whether or the opponent knows what your deck is, as it seems to come anyway. The first time you activate a ninjutsu ability, the opponent almost freezes a little, because they’re not sure what’s coming. That’s especially true now, since Commander decks and Modern Horizons brought a lot of new, viable ninjas to the tribe (and Kamigawa Neon Dynasty looks certain to bring a bunch more). And that leads us to the second moment, when you throw down a ninja that the opponent hadn’t thought of. Throat Slitter is, power-wise, probably one of the first ones people should be thinking of. Even if she only connects once, it can swing the momentum of a game – and it’s obviously compounded if you can make her harder to block. It’s surprisingly easy to make her harder to block. Sure, you could remove everything with instants, but that won’t damage the opponent at the same time; and finding a way to use her more than once, either via the aforementioned blocker avoidance or via bouncing her, lets you play mind tricks worthy of a ninja master.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t once again take the opportunity to point out that Throat Slitter is a big part of the reason why Rats are a favorite tribe in casual play. You’ve got her for repeatable removal; you’ve got cards like Marrow-Gnawer and Piper of the Swarm for evasion, Burglar Rat and Nezumi Bone-Reader for disruption, Sinuous Vermin and Rat Colony to go midrange on people’s faces, and Ink-Eyes and Patron of the Nezumi as finishers. If kitchen table play had tiers, Rat tribal would be a Deck To Beat in any year.
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
One of the few mechanics that wound up leaving a mark in the original Kamigawa block was ninjutsu, confined to a tranche of eight ninjas in Betrayers of Kamigawa. Throat Slitter, the uncommon black ninja, is one of the more beloved ones out of that original group, and it’s not hard to see why: Doom Blade stapled to a combat damage trigger never gets particularly old.
Let’s first talk about ninjutsu: it’s an activated ability that lets you swap an unblocked attacker for a ninjutsu-bearing card in hand, and it doesn’t hurt that most Ninjas have abilities that trigger on combat damage. It just takes one attacker to get in, and Throat Slitter is in one of the colors that’s quite good about evasion. So it’s not too hard to trick in Throat Slitter and start picking off creatures. She’s only a 2/2 on her own, but three mana for a near-uncounterable Doom Blade is pretty nice, especially with the cost of a creature being manageable. It was quite a threat back in its era of Standard, thanks to being able to pick off a fair number of creatures out of nowhere, especially with the Dimir shell offering enough evasion to get the blood spilling.
As is, Throat Slitter is one of the better of the original Ninjas, even if she’s maybe a bit weak in today’s game. Five mana is a bit high to want to hard cast, and Doom Blade’s limitations can sometimes be a bit of a drag…but Doom Blade is still pretty good, and both her low power and auspicious tribal affiliations mean she can benefit from things to let her ninjary go unfettered. There’s a reason she’s a $10 uncommon as I write this, and has always been one of the set’s more popular uncommons.
Constructed: 3 (Ninjas have yet to really pan out in Modern, but nobody would ever see Throat Slitter coming, at least that first time)
Limited: 4.25 (with the caveat that Kamigawa Limited is weird, this is actually a threat if you can support her)
Commander [EDH]: 4 (I’d be remiss to not mention that Throat Slitter is a Rat, and Marrow-Gnawer is not a commander people take lightly…)
The Good Morning Magic Youtube channel recently came out with a video about ways Ninjustu can be used that most people did not realize. Throat Slitter is a perfect card for those types of strategies because it’ll quickly get rid of pesky blockers or problem creatures. It’s not the greatest card outside of a Ninjutsu deck but that’s not why you play this card. Three mana value for Ninjutsu is a good cost for the value it gives you when you deal combat damage to a player. There are plenty of shenanigans that can be done to make this unblockable and your opponent will have to keep their guard up!
Commander [EDH]: 2.5/5 (Ninja Tribal)
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