29, Aug, 23

What is MTG Investigate?

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Thanks to a major case of complexity creep, a lot of older MTG mechanics are returning with renewed vigor. While Investigate is a constant keyword in competitive formats thanks to cards like Thraben Inspector and Academy Manufactor, it is reappearing once again in the new Doctor Who Universes Beyond Crossover.

If you’re interested in employing older characters from the iconic sci-fi show’s history, Investigate is one of the central keywords that help detail the Blast from the Past Commander deck’s token theme. This is a mechanic you’ll run into if you play Magic for an extended period of time, so it’s good to know what to expect.

What is MTG Investigate?

Whenever a player Investigates, that player creates a Clue Token. Clue Tokens are colorless artifacts with a mana value of zero that have an activated ability. In exchange for two mana, Clue Tokens can be sacrificed to draw a card. Sounds simple? That’s because it is!

Notably, cards can Investigate multiple times in one instance, but this just means you’ll create that many Clue Tokens.

First introduced in Shadows Over Innistrad, Clue Tokens were meant to simulate the act of Jace trying to discover what the heck was going on with Innistrad following the Eldrazi invasion on Zendikar. We finally figured out that an angry Nahiri attracted Emrakul to the plane of Innistrad in an attempt to destroy it after Sorin sealed her away in a prison for a thousand years instead of honoring his agreement with Nahiri and helping Zendikar dealing with the Eldrazi. What a standup guy.

MTG Investigate Support

While the act of Investigating in MTG simply creates a Clue Token, there are other cards that care about you Investigating. Erdwal Illuminator, for example, triggers every time you Investigate for the first time in a given turn, offering a replacement effect. Instead of Investigating however many times you were going to, you get to Investigate an additional time. This simply means that you will create an extra Clue Token.

While some cards care about the act of Investigating, most synergistic cards care about the creation, or sacrificing Clue tokens. Tireless Tracker, one of the best Investigate cards in the game, Investigates whenever you drop a land into play. Past that point, Tireless Tracker gets bigger every time you sacrifice a Clue. While the intended function of this is to sacrifice Clues to draw cards, there are other ways to sacrifice Clues.

In fact, at the time of writing, there is a competitive deck that abuses the Investigate mechanic. You can read more about that here.

Read More: What is Doctor Who MTG Paradox?

Other Ways to Use Clue Tokens

Even though the intended function of a Clue Token is to sacrifice it to draw a card, there are other things you can do with a Clue Token. Notably, you can use the token to satisfy the new Bargain cost in Wilds of Eldraine. You can turn Beseech the Mirror from an underwhelming tutor into an overpowered one by casting the card you search for as long as its mana value is four or less. There’s a reason why Beseech the Mirror is considered to be the best card in MTG’s newest set.

Thraben Inspector is commonly used thanks to it Investigating while producing a small creature, but the Clue Token it creates doesn’t always get sacrificed to draw a card. In decks like Pioneer Convoke, players can instead destroy their Clue Token with cards like Gleeful Demolition to create three Goblin Tokens. These can then be Convoked to cast a larger creature like Venerated Loxodon way ahead of curve!

While Investigate is intended to simply create Clue Tokens and draw cards, there is a much larger group of cards that can otherwise synergize and gain benefits when your Clue Tokens are sacrificed. Making a Commander theme solely based on Clue Tokens can be a tad bit challenging, but there should be enough cards out there to make it work. Instead, most players interested in Clues will use it to create a larger Token theme, just like the upcoming Blast from the Past Commander deck coming out with Doctor Who!

Read More: The Best Faeries in MTG for Commander

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