9, Mar, 24

Forgotten 6-Cent Uncommon Suddenly Emerges in Multiple Formats!

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Article at a Glance

Magic the Gathering has been around for over 30 years and has introduced tens of thousands of unique cards to the world. Unsurprisingly, many of these cards don’t end up seeing the light of day when it comes to competitive Constructed play. There have been plenty of powerful cards throughout MTG’s history that never quite found homes.

Furthermore, when considering formats with vast card pools like Legacy, the bar for cards to see play is quite high. As power creep continues to increase in modern-day MTG, cards that were once elite may struggle to meet the mark. Take a look at Tarmogoyf, for instance. Once arguably the best Creature in Modern, the card struggles to make any significant impact in the format nowadays.

In some rare cases, though, an underutilized hidden gem that saw minimal play for years will emerge seemingly out of nowhere. Whether resulting from metagame shifts, the rise of new synergies, or simply some unique brews that gave the undervalued card a chance, it’s cool to see forgotten cards get put in the spotlight. Just recently, a card that easily fits this mold started popping up in Modern, Legacy, and even Timeless on MTG Arena. Printed back in 2018, this budget-friendly uncommon is finally making waves roughly six years later. Given the right support, this one-drop can completely pop off.

Thoughbound Phantasm Synergies

Thoughtbound Phantasm

The card we are highlighting today is none other than Thoughtbound Phantasm. Thoughtbound Phantasm is an intriguing card with an extremely high ceiling. The downside, of course, is that it isn’t a reliable attacker until it has three or more +1/+1 counters on it. In this sense, if you’re playing a tempo-style deck, you need to be Surveilling a decent amount to make the card work.

Fortunately, one card in particular makes it rather trivial to get a bunch of +1/+1 counters on Phantasm in short order: Dragon’s Rage Channeler. Dragon’s Rage Channeler has been a multi-format staple for quite some time now. Whether fueling Underworld Breach or Murktide Regent, or simply accumulating damage as a 3/3 Flier, Channeler makes all of your non-Creature spells into Surveil engines.

Alongside Phantasm, it’s easy to play Channeler and immediately follow it up with multiple cheap spells. The presence of Mishra’s Bauble in Modern and beyond means that even if you are tapped out, you may still be able to grow Phantasm a bit. In Legacy, cantrips like Brainstorm alongside “free” spells like Snuff Out and Daze can get Phantasm attacking in no time.

The Legacy decklist shown above that went 5-0 in a Magic Online Legacy League goes a bit further, too. By incorporating Consider and a couple Surveil Lands to fetch for, it’s not unreasonable to get Phantasm attacking even without Channeler in the picture. If you want, there are other cards such as Search for Azcanta available that can be strong in a more dedicated Surveil strategy. However, as this deck shows, Thoughtbound Phantasm can be quite strong without the need for immense support.

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Adding Combo Elements

Where things start to get more interesting is with the introduction of a unique Surveil combo to Phantasm shells. In Modern and Timeless, this combo has been picking up steam in the past couple weeks. The combo revolves around a few specific cards: Channeler, Bauble, Underworld Breach, and Enhanced Surveillance. With access to these four cards, you are able to completely mill your entire library!

With Channeler and Surveillance in play, start by casting Underworld Breach. This will trigger Channeler, letting you look at a total of three cards while Surveilling thanks to Enhanced Surveillance. Each time, you can choose to put all three cards into your graveyard. Next, cast Mishra’s Bauble, putting three more cards into your graveyard.

Now, you can crack Bauble and recast it via Breach by exiling the three cards you milled over. Each time you cast Bauble, you will end up milling three cards which you can exile to cast Bauble once again. Once you have milled your whole library, simply cast Thassa’s Oracle and win the game!

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A Timeless Emergence

Treasure Cruise

While Thoughbound Phantasm isn’t directly linked to this combo, it does play an important role in the decks utilizing it. Getting to attack from two completely different angles can make life tough for the opponent. Given the Underworld Breach plan, your opponent will certainly need ways to interact either with graveyard hate or counter magic. Even ignoring the combo, the immense value Breach can generate can pull you extremely far ahead.

The problem is, if your opponent spends their time and energy fighting the Breach plan, they may run the risk of simply getting run over by Phantasm and Channeler. The versatility of this archetype gives it a big edge in a lot of matchups, especially in a Timeless environment.

In fact, just yesterday, well-known content creator Aspiringspike made it to the finals of the Timeless Creator Clash with a Jeskai Surveil deck incorporating the combo described earlier. However, unlike in Modern, Aspiringspike highlighted the presence of busted cards like Treasure Cruise, Lurrus of the Dream-Den. Both cards benefit a lot from Surveilling cards into your graveyard, and Lurrus’ ability to rebuy Breach and get your engine rolling again is quite strong.

This is just the start of Thoughtbound Phantasm’s inclusion in competitive decklists, and it’s already showing its immense potential. It’s awesome to see a long forgotten uncommon emerge and show the world what it has to offer. Make sure to keep this card on your radar moving forward because if you’re not prepared, it can completely take over the game in short order.

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