Arcane Investigator | Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms | Art by Bram Sels
15, May, 24

"Uncommon Power Level" Mythic Breaks Out In Multiple Formats!

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Article at a Glance

It’s been truly fascinating following the saga of Outlaws of Thunder Junction’s The Big Score sub-set. The fact that it exists in the set at all is a result of the backlash against Aftermath sets. On top of this the fact that every card within it is a Mythic Rare has led many players to wildly misevaluate most of them. One by one, these cards are being seen for the big hitters they are, and next in line is Hostile Investigator.

Upon closer inspection, Hostile Investigator may be one of the best discard support cards we’ve seen in a long time. Despite this, many brushed off this card as underwhelming during spoiler season and shortly after release. Now, following strong showings in Standard, Pioneer, and Explorer, the attitude toward this card is shifting.

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Hostile Investigator

It’s easy to see why Hostile Investigator didn’t get much love to begin with. A 4/3 for four is hardly premium stats, and making your opponent discard a card in the mid-game is typically far less effective than doing so early. The free Clue token is nice, but you can only get one a turn. At first glance, the card looks fairly middle-of-the-road, but because of the all-Mythic nature of The Big Score, it looks more underwhelming than usual in the context of its rarity.

For those unaware, The Big Score cards were originally planned to be released as their own, smaller set. Much like March of the Machine: The Aftermath. If that had been the case, they would have been distributed across different rarities as normal. As it stands, all of The Big Score cards are Mythic, which means that some Uncommons and Rares have been upshifted for the occasion.

When first previewed, many suspected Hostile Investigator was one of these cards. The phrase “Uncommon power level” was used regularly to describe it. Those who did so are eating thick slices of humble pie right now, however. As it turns out the card is, in fact, quite good. Good enough to see play across multiple formats, at least. This has resulted in a big price jump for the Investigator, going from around $2 to around $15.

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Midrange Mastery

A large part of their climbing price is undoubtedly the card’s Standard playability. Hostile Investigator is seeing play in pretty much every Midrange deck in the current MTG Standard metagame. Whether it’s Golgari, Orzhov, Esper, Dimir, or Sultai, the card is showing up in good numbers. Interestingly, this is, for the most part, due to its performance as a standalone card. When you break it down, you’re getting a 4/3, making your opponent discard, and creating a Clue for four mana here. That’s an immediate three-for-one in most situations.

Sure, Investigator isn’t quite as powerful as fellow black four-drop Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, but it isn’t legendary, and actually plays great in multiples. Just dropping it in the mid-game has proven to be good enough for Midrange builds, to say nothing of the potential synergies it enables across different builds.

On top of being good on their own, Hostile Investigator also plays very well with Liliana of the Veil. Thanks to creating a Clue Token, Liliana’s symmetrical discard effect feels a lot less punishing. Playing both these cards out on curve can be incredibly damaging to opponents and their game plan.

Much like Liliana of the Veil, Aclazotz, Deepest Betrayal is another Mono Black Midrange staple that Hostile Investigator works wonders with. Effectively providing a Clue every time Aclazotz attacks, these cards together can provide some great mid-to-late game draw.

As if you weren’t sold on their potential enough already, Hostile Investigator also synergizes with Duelist of the Mind. Provided you’ve got an engine to commit Crimes, these cards make your looting that much more potent as you get Clues too! This is thanks to Hostile Investigator not caring who’s discarding, which is important in the mirror.

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Dare To Discard

Hostile-Investigator-MTG-Mono-Black-Discard

It’s not just Standard where Hostile Investigator is plying his trade. The card has also made serious waves in Pioneer, specifically in the up-and-coming Mono-Black Discard deck. This makes a tonne of sense. After all, the deck is all about forcing your opponent to discard and reaping rewards for it, and Hostile Investigator is a brand-new way to do both of those things.

Mono-Black Discard has seen a lot of attention after the release of Outlaws of Thunder Junction. A number of different cards, including Kaervek, the Punisher and Tinybones, the Pickpocket have seen testing, and some success, in the deck. Out of all the newly tested cards, Hostile Investigator looks to be the most likely to stick around. Despite costing four mana in a speedy format, it provides enough value on entry to earn a slot. It also plays very well with Waste Not, the most important card in the deck.

Tacking a bonus Clue onto each of your cheap discard spells is huge in the late game. This lets you keep up your assault, and draw into your finishers once you’ve sapped all your opponent’s resources. The fact that Hostile Investigator provides this ability while also forcing a discard himself is more than ideal. Admittedly, its stats may not be that ideal, but they’re still good enough to put your opponent on a clock once their board, and hand, have been scrubbed clean.

Cards from The Big Score have been undervalued enough by this point that players will likely start erring on the side of caution from now on. That said, the fallout of these first-time impressions is worth studying as a prime example of player psychology.

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