casualty a little respect
22, Aug, 23

MTG: What is Casualty

Article at a Glance

Magic: The Gathering’s new crime-family inspired set, Streets of New Capenna will be bringing us new cards, combos and most importantly, new mechanics like Casualty.

We’ve already taken you through what Hideaway is as a returning keyword but Casualty is a brand new mechanic so it may take some getting used to!

Here’s everything you need to know to prevent yourself from being caught out in the midst of battle!

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What is Casualty in Magic: The Gathering?

cut your losses casualty mechanic

Casualty is a brand new mechanic that has been introduced alongside the Streets of New Capenna set. Having never appeared in Magic: The Gathering before, it’s well worth understanding how it works so you’re ready to come up against it in a match!

The new keyword requires you to sacrifice a creature of equal or greater value than the Casualty cost. If you choose to do this, the spell you played is copied. As with the above card, Cut Your Losses, its cost is set at two. This means you must sacrifice a creature of two power or greater to copy the spell.

You do not pay the Casualty cost to cast the spell, only to duplicate it. So each spell still has some use even if you have no creatures available to activate the Casualty effect.

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We can see this mechanic playing a fairly big role in the meta that Streets of New Capenna brings to MTG. It will be frustrating to play against especially if an opponent is finding a way to produce tokens that are capable of paying the Casualty cost.

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Casualty in Constructed

Ob Nixilis, the Adversary

It’s one of the most interesting mechanics added to MTG in recent sets and we can easily see this being part of future sets. There’s also a handful of strong Casualty cards for Constructed. One of the most popular decks in Pioneer is Rakdos Sacrifice, and it makes great use of Ob Nixilis, the Adversary out of the sideboard. Ob Nixilis is very strong if you have something to sacrifice.

Against control decks, you can keep ticking up both copies, forcing your opponent to either keep discarding cards or simply risk dying before they can get rid of both. Against aggressive decks like mono-red aggro, you can make a Devil token as a blocker with one copy and use the other to gain life, leaving behind two threatening Planeswalkers.

While Ob Nixilis is at its best in decks like Rakdos Sacrifice that can reliably produce expendable Creatures to use for its Casualty ability, there are other cards that are decent even without taking Casualty into account. For example, Make Disappear is strong in Standard in tempo, midrange, and control decks alike.

The floor of countering a spell unless the controller pays two is already relatively high, and the option to sacrifice a Creature to help counter cards later in the game when the opponent has more mana is a nice bonus. Casualty is a neat ability overall and provides unique decision points in gameplay.

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