Center Stage: Sire of Stagnation

You thought I was going to talk about a common today? Think again!

I hate this card in Commander. I have trouble articulating why when this hits the table I seethe, but I have less of a problem with the extremely similar Consecrated Sphinx. I think a not so small part of it is that I loathe having cards exiled from my library (probably because I love graveyard shenanigans). But I think what gets me is that this card tries to punish players for advancing their own game state by playing lands. This just doesn’t sit right with me, and the fact that it doesn’t sit right gives me pause.

Let’s be real: this card is fragile. It’s a six drop creature that can be handled easily. Running any interaction at all can render this permanent null and void.

And there are plenty of other cards I don’t have a problem with that are far more oppressive on game states. Like this one:

Another six drop creature with a massive impact on the game. But it affects everyone – not just opponents. The same can be said for cards like Winter Orb (which I don’t currently play) and Smokestack (one of my favorite cards). But Sire of Stagnation only impacts opponents. Is that what offends me?

Probably not since I adore Grave Pact.

The cards I’ve talked about actively encourage you to play out resources to counteract their effects. Winter Orb? You can get around that with more mana rocks and lands. Smokestack? Well, you can play more permanents. Grave Pact? I’ve been on the receiving end of Edgar Markov greatest hits with Pact on the board before.

When punisher effects are asymmetrical they create a game state I don’t enjoy. But that’s me. I may hate Sire of Stagnation and may never play it in my decks, but if you play it, I’m just going to make you my enemy until it’s gone.

Published by Alex Ullman

Alex Ullman has been playing Magic since 1994 (he thinks). Since 2005, he's spent most of his time playing and exploring Pauper. One of his proudest accomplishments was being on the winnings side of the 2009 Community Cup. He makes his home in Brooklyn, New York, where he was born and raised.

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