Persistent Petitioners | Secret Lair
6, Jul, 23

MTG Players Want More Bizarre One-Card Decks!

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Article at a Glance

In Magic: the Gathering, regardless of which format you’re playing, decks typically contain a lot of cards. True both in the sense of number, and variety, MTG’s rules force players to be creative. This is especially true in singleton formats such as Commander. By mandating MTG players only use one of each card in their decks, this format is a creativity goldmine.

As much as MTG’s deckbuilding constraints are set in stone, somewhat surprisingly, it’s rather easy to break them. This is partly thanks to the ever-useful Rule Zero, which allows players to alter and invent rules around a Commander table. Alongside this, several MTG cards deliberately flaunt the rules of deck construction.

Thanks to these cards, MTG players can build a deck featuring just one single card. Considering that creative freedom is such a boon of MTG, you may think this is an unpopular strategy. Somewhat surprisingly, however, these unusual cards are rather beloved by players. So much so, in fact, that recently, MTG players have been wanting more and more of them! 

The Beginnings of a Supercycle

Relentless Rats & Shadowborn Apostle

First printed in Fifth Dawn, Relentless Rats has long been allowing MTG players to flaunt the rules of deck construction. Somewhat surprisingly, this wasn’t actually a bad tactic, as each copy of Relentless Rats scaled with one another. In an ideal world, this ability could create a rat-tastic board of ninety-seven 97/97s! 

Unfortunately, as much as it is fun to theorize, actually getting all 97 Relentless Rats from your Commander Deck in play is nigh impossible. After all, it would require you to find all three land and then survive untouched for 97 turns. Sadly, that’s a rather hard thing to do in Commander, as while it is slower than Standard, it’s not that slow. It’s also technically illegal unless you have Rule Zeroed having a Relentless Rats as your Commander.

As a result of Commander’s speed and the prevalence of board wipes, Relentless Rats-themed MTG decks need a lot of draw and synergies. Thankfully, this is possible to do using cards such as The One Ring, Marrow-Gnawer, and Karumonix, the Rat King. In fact, MTG has quite a lot of rats that deeply synergize with one to great effect! 

While the Relentless Rat-themed MTG decks can be an interesting novelty, at the end of the day, they’re just that: a novelty. Thankfully, however, this wasn’t the death of the mechanic as, in 2013, Wizards printed Shadowborn Apostle. Deliberately synergizing with Demons, Shadowborn Apostle quickly became another niche favorite of the MTG community. 

Beyond just being a novel deck idea, copies of Shadowborn Apostle quickly proved to be incredibly collectible since they’re so beloved. Capitalizing on this demand, Wizards recently printed a number of Secret Lair Shadowborn Apostles. Each featuring unique and striking art, this line of bonus cards further cemented the beloved status of Shadowborn Apostle. 

Relentlessly Collectible Relentless Cards

Seven Dwarves & Nazgûl

Beyond Relentless Rats and Shadowborn Apostle, Wizards has recently been printing this mechanic fairly frequently. Cropping up in Dominaria, Ravnica Allegiance, and Strixhaven, Wizards has definitely been steadily exploring this mechanic. In fact, they’ve already been testing the boundaries of what’s possible with cards like Seven Dwarves

Released in Throne of Eldraine, this card again warped deck construction rules, allowing seven copies to be played. Following this, in the recent The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth, Wizards created Nazgûl. Able to be played nine times in a deck, building a deck around Nazgûl is a surprisingly effective strategy. 

Thanks to being actually quite good, demand for Tales of Middle-earth’s Nazgûl has been incredibly high. So much so, in fact, that the price of the card has been skyrocketing, with price listings reaching $40 for foil variants! Thankfully, not every copy of Nazgûl is that expensive, as to thematically celebrate the set, Wizards released nine unique artworks for Nazgûl all at once! For many MTG players, this made the set that much more collectible, which may set the precedent for the future.

Alongside potentially increasing the collectibility of these rule-changing cards, it seems there’s a chance they could become more common. This was the assumption, and hope, at least, following a recent article from MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater. Speaking about the development of Nazgûl in this article, Rosewater revealed this mechanic works in any color. Provided, that is, that the card getting this effect works within MTG’s color pie in the first place. 

In theory, this could mean that future sets are more likely to feature this effect going forward. It could even become known as the keyword mechanic Relentless! That is what it’s currently being called in Wizards R&D, at least.

Relentless Rats for Everybody

Persistent Petitioners & Dragon's Approach

Technically, while this recent reveal is definitely intriguing, there’s no guarantee it means anything for the future. After all, Rosewater is likely just revealing conversations had by the Council of Colors rather than explicit plans. Saying that, however, thanks to a flurry of support on Blogatog, there’s a non-zero chance that more Relentless-themed MTG decks become a real thing! 

Across the past few days, following Rosewater’s recent article, several MTG players have been asking for Wolves, Goblins, and even Artifacts to get the Relentless treatment. Considering players have successfully demanded Typal cards in the past, there’s a real chance these questions could create actual cards! 

Unfortunately, even if these hypothetical new Relentless cards are put into development right away, it’ll be a while until we see them. After all, currently, each MTG set takes roughly two years to develop. Subsequently, unless more Relentless cards are in the works already, MTG players may have a long wait ahead. Thankfully, in the meantime, there are still plenty of exciting sets to look forward to!

Read More: MTG Lord of the Rings Limited Has Massive Balancing Problems!

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