Is Inquisition of Kozilek Broken?

Inquisition of Kozilek

So on the way back from the Star City Games Invitational in Baltimore, MD last week, I had an interesting conversation* with Top 8 competitor Joshua Ravitz.

Josh asked… Is Inquisition of Kozilek broken?

Well, maybe he didn’t say “broken” but “too good” or some similar (you get it).

After all, Josh had just smashed many a Legacy face with his update to Tom Martell’s Esper StoneBlade / Lingering Souls deck… Which included Inquisition of Kozilek.

Once upon a time, Duress — then Cabal Therapy — was the front line of Black disruption. Once Thoughtseize was printed, it saw mass adoption across the many formats (and up until quite recently, was a favorite in Extended for Faeries and most decks of that stripe).

… But today?

Inquisition of Kozilek.

Legacy has Inquisition of Kozilek in its leading U/W deck.

Modern Jund has Inquisition of Kozilek.

The mighty Raven’s Crime engine of the darling Seismic Assault deck? Inquisition of Kozilek.

Now obviously long ago I was a big fan of Duress, and at one point, was a fine mechanic with a Cabal Therapy** (“you name what beats you”). That said, I never at any point liked a Thoughtseize; you can read a little bit of a window why in my treatise on equivalencies at SCG.

Here’s the cool thing about Inquisition of Kozilek:

Imagine everyone only plays cheap cards… Inquisition of Kozilek is like a Duress / Cabal Therapy that never misses. It is like a Thoughtseize that never costs you two points.

That certainly seems like a good deal!

… Now all you have to do is get everyone to play exclusively cheap cards.

Here is my take:

Inquisition of Kozilek was always pretty good, but it has recently gained value because of the popularity of Delver of Secrets and Snapcaster Mage. Tournament Magic has always been about cheap instants and sorceries, but these two cards, in recent months (and across multiple formats up to and including Legacy) encourage players to do so at unprecedented levels. Ergo, a good card is more good than it ever has been before; in fact, Inquisition of Kozilek is actually a fine teammate to either Delver or Snapcaster (and, of course, they are so often played in concert together). Ergo, Inquisition of Kozilek (already good) looks better than ever.

While it rarely misses, Inquisition of Kozilek certainly isn’t a perfect Magical spell. Unlike with the typically less accurate Cabal Therapy, you can never take a breaker like Bloodbraid Elf or Jace, the Mind Sculptor. It might hit, but it doesn’t necessarily take the card that beats you…

… Unless, of course, your opponent plays all cheapies (like he is supposed to).


* A bit more than an hour of which will soon be up in podcast form for Top 8 Magic.

** I once won a game with my B/G Quirion Dryad deck missing with both Duress and Cabal Therapy in the same turn.

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#1 MTGBattlefield on 03.28.12 at 3:52 am

Is Inquisition of Kozilek Broken?…

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