Torrent Sculptor/Flamethrower Sonata – Strixhaven
Date Reviewed: April 13, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
As I was talking about yesterday, I love fair cards. I know that tournament strategies are all about doing unfair things, but I personally don’t find that as much fun as a matchup decided by the choices made by people playing evenly matched decks. As such, the ward keyword is my favorite new thing of late. It provides a downside to removal spells that can prove telling but is not complete, and which can be both built around by the controller and played around by the opponent.
On Torrent Sculptor, it creates a creature that presents a major threat to an opponent: the Sculptor could well be coming in as a 6/6 or higher for four mana, depending on what else is in your deck. Since the Sculptor lacks an evasive ability, opponents do have a range of options for dealing with him, but you might be forcing their hand.
It’s interesting that many of Strixhaven‘s double-sided cards play well with their other side. Flamethrower Sonata is well-used when setting up a future Torrent Sculptor, though each face is definitely playable without the other. It’s not as though there aren’t other ways to put cards in your graveyard, or as though there aren’t other reasons to play lots of instants and sorceries, but using one to set up the other is pleasingly symmetrical.
Torrent Sculptor has what appears to be the new idea for a keyword protective ability: ward, which counters attempts to target it and helps to provide some shielding against kill spells and annoying abilities. It itself is decent; while it’s just a potentially big body (probably a 4/4 or a 5/5), one that’s hard to kill is a good sell all the same.
Flamethrower Sonata, for when Torrent Sculptor won’t help (or you need the filtering), is decently functional removal in a pinch. If you discard a big card, this will take something out in a reasonable time frame. As the sole card in your hand, you can cast this side (since the discard is not a cost), but blue usually has enough card draw to make this far less necessary.
In all, this card makes for a functional, interesting part to a deck type that sometimes can struggle to generate board presence. A removal-resistant body, or removal for another body…you’re only getting one at a time, but both sides offer enough to make the whole worth consideration.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Magic the Gathering Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉