With every new Magic: The Gathering set that comes out, we get a couple of new mechanics, some of them reworked from the past and some completely new. Not all of these mechanics can be winners. Some become staples of the game, while others become that one mechanic that only got printed on ten cards and was never to be seen again.
The Casualty mechanic is an interesting one. It states that every time you cast a spell, you may sacrifice a creature with power equal to or greater than a specified number. After you've done this, you get to cast that particular spell again with new targets. Let's take a look at some of the best cards that use this shiny mechanic.
10 A Little Chat
This instant costs one generic mana and one blue and it has Casualty 1, meaning that you will have to sacrifice a creature with a minimum power of one. The actual effect of the card states that you will look at the top two cards of your library, put one into your hand and the other on the bottom of your library.
A rather lackluster card that won't attract a lot of attention, given that there are plenty of cards that do a better job of drawing you cards. Maybe it could find a niche in Limited formats, but even there with a bit of luck, you might find a better option.
9 Dig Up the Body
Another instant card, this time costing two generic and one black with a Casualty requirement of one. After casting it you will get to mill two cards and then return a creature card from your graveyard to your hand. Sort of like a poor man's reanimator that doesn't really reanimate anything.
As far as Constructed formats go this card is pretty lackluster, even if you use the Casualty mechanic. It could prove useful though in Limited formats, since it can enable a deck that wants to make use of graveyard mechanics.
8 Make Disappear
A counterspell with a twist, Make Disappear costs one generic and one blue mana and is an instant spell with Casualty 1. It counters a target spell unless its controller pays two generic mana.
While on paper this looks like it could be a decent counterspell with the added Casualty mechanic, most decks that want to use counterspells don't have a lot of early game creatures that they can sacrifice. Maybe it could fit in some sort of tempo-focused aggro deck, but other than that there are far better counterspells for a control deck.
7 Join the Maestros
This black sorcery costs four generic and one black, with a Casualty mechanic that requires you to sacrifice a creature with power two or greater. The main effect is quite simple, you create a 4/3 black Ogre Warrior creature token. If you make use of Casualty, you get two of them.
In a Constructed format you can clearly do a lot better when you reach five mana rather than casting this spell. In Limited though it's a decent play, especially if you use Casualty as well. Two 4/3's are nothing to laugh at, especially for an opponent that is lacking removal.
6 Light 'Em Up
The only burn spell on this list, Light 'Em Up is a sorcery that costs one generic and one red that has Casualty 2. It deals two damage to a creature or a planeswalker.
Even though it gives you the option of doubling the damage dealt, losing a 2/2 just to deal two more damage isn't the best trade in most circumstances. It could help you take out a nasty planeswalker in a pinch, but overall it is a mediocre burn spell at best.
5 Illicit Shipment
A black tutor with a twist, Illicit Shipment costs three generic and two black mana and has Casualty 3. It states that you get to search your library for any card, put it into your hand, and then shuffle.
It is a relatively expensive card that could prove useful in a control deck. Getting two specific cards into your hand could change the outlook of any game, but it is relatively slow. Any decent aggro deck will make quick work of you before you even get close to casting this spell.
4 Rob the Archives
A red tempo card that has some potential, Rob the Archives is a red sorcery that costs one generic and one red and has Casualty 1. After playing it you get to exile the top two cards of your library and play them this turn.
This card could find its niche in a burn deck that has plenty of cheap spells. Activating the Casualty mechanic though could end up losing you some cards, since you would need a lot of mana in order to cast four cards from the top of your library.
3 Cut Your Losses
The first entry to make it to the podium, this blue sorcery spell costs four generic and two blue mana and has Casualty 2. It mills half the library of a target player, rounded down.
Quite a scary card in the hands of a mill deck, even though it is pretty expensive. If you do manage to cast it while also activating the Casualty mechanic, your opponent's library is in for a bad time. Losing three-quarters of your deck due to a single spell is never fun.
2 Cut of the Profits
This black sorcery spell costs X generic and two black mana and has Casualty 3. Its effect allows you to draw X cards while also losing X life.
A card that would probably feel right at home in plenty of control decks, Cut of the Profits has the potential of getting you six cards for five mana, six life, and a creature with a minimum power of three. That is not the worst exchange for a black deck, so keep an eye out for this one as it is already seeing some Standard play.
1 Ob Nixilis, the Adversary
Clearly the best card that uses the casualty mechanic, and the only planeswalker on this list, we have Ob Nixilis, the Adversary. He costs one generic plus one red and one black mana and has Casualty X. It also states that the copy that you create will have loyalty X when coming into play and is not legendary.
If you can use the Casualty mechanic, you definitely should, even if you only have a 1/1 creature. If you get two of these planeswalkers, you can create a Devil with the normal one for -2 loyalty while the copy can do the +1, allowing you also to gain two life.
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