– Double Masters
July 31, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Despite Innistrad being the set explicitly based on horror tropes, I think the cards that actually convey the horror of the vampire most effectively are from Zendikar. You have cards like today’s subject, a very human-looking vampire doing something bizarre and even, to some, unnatural. Even people who aren’t afraid of cockroaches don’t generally do this with them.
The Hexmage is probably best known for her interaction with Dark Depths, but there are actually dimensions to her gameplay beyond that. She is good at fighting planeswalkers, which was a big help back when Jace the Mind Sculptor was ruling Standard and perhaps even more so now. Any combo or interaction involving counters has to be more careful when she’s around – she can kill an enormous Ajani’s Pridemate if you save the sacrifice effect until after first strike damage. And there are certain things that black has trouble fighting any other way. Black has a couple of edict effects for enchantments now, but no standout ones for artifacts – between her and Duress, you’ll have a fighting chance against Darksteel Reactor.
Until next week, master old sets, and be careful who you invite in.
Vampire Hexmage is a surprisingly versatile card, because it turns out there are a lot of counters running around Magic. The most potent use of the Hexmage has always been in conjunction with the previously-bad Dark Depths from Coldsnap, turning a potential three-card investment into a 20/20 tentacled abomination, but there’s a lot of game to her beyond that. One-shotting planeswalkers is lovely, the addition of ability counters in Ikoria means she has another thing to suck counters off of, and there’s also the Quest enchantments and charge counter-based artifacts running around. For two mana, she can take out all of them…and she’s not half-bad in combat either, thanks to first strike and 2 power.
While the Hexmage never became a multi-format all-star, that’s not to say she’s bad…she’s very much a “silver bullet” card to take out specifically troubling things, and the Vampire typeline gives her potential synergies with the tribe. But she’s definitely more of a card meant to be an answer than something to be answered, though any black deck that has issues with counter-bearing things will love her unique skillset.
Constructed: 3.75 (the very definition of a sideboard card, but a good one)
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