Some Thoughts on Consecrated Sphinx

Consecrated Sphinx

My general dislike of certain Sphinxes (Sphinx of Jwar Isle) and approval of other Sphinxes (Sphinx of Lost Truths) is fairly well known to readers of this blog.

With Consecrated Sphinx we have yet another Sphinx that I like better than Sphinx of Jwar Isle.

What is so cool about Consecrated Sphinx?

Its size isn’t remarkable for a modern Magical creature / fantastic beast / &c. A 4/6 is about as good as a 5/5… A turn off in terms of racing, but 5/5s and 4/6s bounce off of each other like superballs… We certainly can’t say that a 5/5 is strictly better than a 4/6 or vice versa. Mahamoti Djinn — once a premiere Big Blue flyer — was 5/6 for six, a bit better than Consecrated Sphinx’s 4/6… but then against Mahamoti Djinn lacked Consecrated Sphinx’s text box.

So how about that text box?

You tap out for Consecrated Sphinx; ka-boom… you draw two cards. (Pretty much.) You play a high toughness creature that probably isn’t going anywhere; your opponent untaps and draws the next turn: there are your two.

I mean if your opponent gets another draw, that’s going to be fantastic!

The first super cool thing I thought of when considering this card was Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I was like “how cool will it be to draw six cards?” Then I realized no one in his right mind would ever Brainstorm with Consecrated Sphinx in play. One card for six? That only happens in the movies.

Where can I see Consecrated Sphinx fitting in?

Obviously some kind of Blue control in Standard… Pretty much the only option. The issue here is that the six is extraordinarily competitive right now; there are Titans aplenty depending on whether the deck in question wants Frost Titan or one of the other Titans. Plus, there is Wurmcoil Engine, which seems like it will pick up in Standard popularity on the coattails of Treasure Mage. Drawing cards is super cool and all… I just don’t know if it will be good enough given the level of competition at the six.

The question is ultimately going to be about cards in hand v. battlefield, based on the metagame. When we were innovating tap-out in 2005, our desire was 100% driven by battlefield considerations. Keiga was a nightmare to get through, Meloku impregnable. Meloku in particular could close out games like lightning. I don’t get that read from Consecrated Sphinx… Even its 4/6 stats (already addressed) speak to a bit of a disconnect RE: this value.

However, it is possible that, given the grinding Planeswalkers and two-for-one-tastic cards, from Lead the Stampede to Treasure Mage, we are going to find ourselves in a Standard dominated by card advantage. If that is the case, by all means Consecrated Sphinx might be a hell of a grinder.

But it’s like Tsuyoshi used to say – “Depends on the metagame.”

Snap judgment rating – Role Player


Update!

This came in via beloved Unstoppable Twitter Army:

Great idea from Nico! Jace Beleren actually makes Consecrated Sphinx a good deal better than I originally thought. Provided you have battlefield control for the creatures that are too big for it to battle straight up, I think this may end up a premiere six.

Still sub-Staple IMO, but we’ll see.

LOVE
MIKE

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6 comments ↓

#1 Alfrebaut on 01.20.11 at 11:56 pm

Well, I think you pretty much hit the nail on the head. If, like pre-MBS Standard, post-MBS Standard is all about various Jaces and grinding your opponent down to nubs, it might be good. Still, if you’re going to tap down or out, will it be better than the various sixes the blue control decks already play? The stats don’t really matter that much in this metagame, as it still can’t fight the other sixes, but I’m sure there is a place for this somewhere. At the very least, in the blue-on-blue sideboard.

#2 MTGBattlefield on 01.21.11 at 9:28 pm

Some Thoughts on Consecrated Sphinx…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#3 Five With Flores » Week-style TeeVee Update on 01.22.11 at 6:24 pm

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