The Daily Shot: My Smoedipus Complex

When I get my first box of Onslaught and I open this card, I’m going to put on some Teddy P or Barry White, turn off the lights, light a candle, and – when I’m sure no one is looking – Smother and I are going to knock the proverbial boots. I know the card is a little underage, but that’s no problem: I’ll just go to a Kentucky prerelease.

I was reading the beginnings of the Onslaught spoiler over at MtgNews and it dawned on me that I’m suffering from a sort of psychosis that is, really, not unlike an Oedipus complex.

I really love my Smother.

It’s not just platonic, handshaking love either – I want to take this card, throw it down on the futon, and get my freak on. When I get my first box of Onslaught and I open this card, I’m going to put on some Teddy P or Barry White, turn off the lights, light a candle (don’t hurt me, Teddy P!), and – when I’m sure no one is looking – Smother and I are going to knock the proverbial boots. I know the card is a little underage, but that’s no problem: I’ll just go to a Kentucky prerelease.

People will walk in to draft or something and they’ll wonder why guitar music is going”Bwah-chicka-bwah-bwah!” And where did those pink lava lamps come from? Whose Usher CD is this?

I’ll tell you right now – if the place where I’m building my deck is a-rockin’, don’t come a-knockin’.

“So, don’t you think your mana curve is a little hi—!!!!! YIGH! Put your @#$%ing pants on!”



Check out my Smother in the Black section. It’s more than a month before the release, or even the pre-release, but I can already tell you that this fun little instant is going to be one of my favorites. Too bad it wasn’t printed in Odyssey Block… Maybe then you wouldn’t have to play twelve pieces of untargeted removal just to have a chance at killing a Wild Mongrel in a timely fashion.

I’ve been experimenting with U/B Upheaval/Infestation for a while now, as I’ve mentioned before, and you wouldn’t believe the crap I have to play to get rid of Wild Mongrel and his buddies. Innocent Blood and Chainer’s Edict are good – but not that good, especially with people firing out Rootwallas whenever they damn well please. Some people have suggested Stupefying Touch, Lost In Thought… Patriarch’s Desire.

I hate Wild Mongrel. I also hate Roar tokens.

Here’s Smother, for those too lazy to follow the link (and really, who isn’t?)




Destroy target creature with converted mana cost 3 or less. It can’t be regenerated.

The sweetness of this piece of plain-looking cardboard knows no bounds. Finally, a targeted black spell that kills Wild Mongrel at instant speed. It’s like Terminate, except without the having to play Red – the color that, you know, sucks. That’s a big bonus. The unfortunate part is that Wild Mongrel isn’t nearly as important in Standard as it is in Block, where we need Smother most.

Hey, you can’t have everything.

Did I mention that Smother also kills Psychatog? Nightscape Familiar? Nantuko Shade? Any token? Well, now I did. Necessity is the Smother of invention. For you T1 or Extended players, it also kills Ophidian, Phyrexian Negator, Hypnotic Spectre, and Serendib Efreet. It kills Mishra’s Factory. It kills every creature in Suicide Black, Stompy, and Sligh (with the possible exception of something like Vine Dryad…though I don’t think anyone is playing those).

It even kills the Dwarven Miner. Surely, nothing could be finer.

Gorilla Shaman? Dead.

Werebear? Dead.

Quirion Dryad? Dead.

Goblin Welder? Dead.

When Mr. Babycakes comes out, Smother will kill that, too. Bwaw-chicka-bwaw-bwah!

Die, Wild Mongrel, you environment-defining piece of crap! And Nantuko Shade, you are owned.

Jeez… You pump a guy to 21/20 and he thinks he owns the place.

Oh – and yes, that’s a good point. Smother does kill Merfolk Looter. How silly of me for forgetting.

Seriously though, here are two things that have been really screwing the game of late, and Smother turns us back in the right direction on both counts.

#1: Untargetability and Protection From Black are both completely useless

The sad fact is that Chainer’s Edict, Mutilate and Innocent Blood are going to be stinking up environments near you until the year whatever. Check out this made-up-but-still-telling stat:

If White Knight, that bastion of goodness and untouchability, were printed today, guess how many times it would die, per day, to Black kill spells if you tried to run it in Block? Probably about two to three trillion. How sad is that? Black decks used to fear White Knight… And now they couldn’t give a rat’s ass whether or not he hits the board or not. Did you know that I played a deck with four Nantuko Blightcutters, four Mystic Enforcers, and four Phantom Centaurs at a PTQ, and I lost to Monoblack control anyhow? Could the ability be any more useless?

How good is Nimble Mongoose against Monoblack Control? If you answered”not very,” score yourself a point. With Smother, I hope we make the transition back to effective targeted black kill, so that things like Protection from Black and untargetability actually matter, instead of being tiny bonuses on creatures that are chosen for their power/toughness numbers.

The better Smother and other targeted Black removal cards become, the more useful those abilities become.

#2:”Little” Creatures Getting Too Big

Psychatog, Wild Mongrel, Nantuko Shade, Werebear, and Quirion Dryad are the biggest offenders here – and Roar tokens aren’t completely innocent either. Why play fatties when you can play a game-winner for three mana? Why play something like Sengir Vampire when your second-turn play is swinging for ten? Why play Red when you need two cards just to knock the guy’s second-turn play out of the way to make room for your Mad Dog?

Man, Red rucks.

Smother and other cards like it (I hope there are some!) will serve as in easy answer to these quick but deadly threats, cards that used to fall only to (you guessed it) Chainer’s Edict (groan) or, in Extended, stuff like Swords to Plowshares, a card we’ll never see again. I say if you want a 5/5, or a 4/4 flyer, you pay your four mana like everyone else. Phyrexian Scuta? Who? The Scuta gets its ass kicked by Nantuko Shade all day. Roar tokens own it. Wild Mongrel just shrugs and throws out a Wonder and comes flies over it, or throws out four cards (probably Deep Analysis, Arrogant Wurm, Basking Rootwalla, and the aforementioned Wonder) and knocks it around a little.

That being said, how useless is flying now that Wonder has been printed? Sigh. And how useless is a massive fatty now that black decks can run a hundred copies of”Target player sacrifices a creature”? I guess that’s a topic for another day.

Bottom line: I hate any 2CC creature that grows too large to be stopped by more noble, old-school type creatures. I can’t wait to start killing Wild Mongrels with Smother.


This goes out to second-turn Mongrels everywhere.

Before I forget, here are some creatures that will be good in a Smother-heavy environment. They’re the same type of creatures that are good against Powder Keg – ones that come out fast, hit hard, but have high casting costs.

Arrogant Wurm comes out on turn 3 but ignores Smother. But will your Madness outlet survive the Smother? I think not. Then there’s Phantom Centaur, probably hitting on Turn 3 in Standard and immune to Smother, sending for five on turn 4. Faceless Butcher, a tough card for Black to get rid of, won’t be Smothered anytime soon.

There are more, but I’m sure you can think of them. See you tomorrow.


Geordie Tait

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