Lich's Mastery

Discussion in 'Single Card Strategies' started by Oversoul, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I've had my eye on this card for a while, but with Psarketos bringing it up in the Necropotence "Magic Memories" thread and posting a link to this Mike Flores article I think this one deserves a single card discussion thread. So here we are...


    Well, I really like this card. A lot. And while I'm probably more fond of the original Lich than most people, I never cared for that one as much as, say, Necropotence. This thing, though...

    It's more similar to Lich than to Necropotence. Or to anything else, really. It's very obviously inspired by the original, with Nefarious Lich thrown in there too...


    I don't think that I really need to say this, but the overall effect, the sum total of all lines of rules text, is far more powerful than either of those two older enchantments. On the other hand, it does cost six mana. So where does that leave us?

    At six mana, my first reaction is to compare it to Yawgmoth's Bargain. But that's not really fair and might not really be helpful. I mean, in practical terms I don't think that Lich's Mastery will unseat Yawgmoth's Bargain as the greatest six-mana black enchantment. But in trying to assess the new card, it'd be a misleading comparison. That's not just because Bargain is so infamously strong and a card can totally find a useful niche without being quite at that level. It's also because Bargain has always been in the position of the six-mana pricetag being an obstacle. If you're playing Bargain, you're playing combo. And what you'd like more than anything would be to have Bargain out on the first turn of the game and try to find enough mana ramp that you just win right there, before opponents get a chance to hurt you. Later in the game, when you've taken a beating, Yawgmoth's Bargain is useless because you don't have life to spend to activate it. Not so with Lich's Mastery! They can beat you almost to death and once this thing hits the board, you don't even care how much they damage they'd done in the course of the game. Your life total and everything that happened to it? Obsolete. So that's the distinction. Bargain is a six-mana black spell that you want to ramp into or cheat out right away, while your life total is still high enough for it to dig up a combo win. Lich's Mastery is a six-mana black spell that can wait as long as it takes before needing to enter the battlefield.

    So, comparing Lich's Mastery to Lich/Nefarious Lich...

    -It only requires triple-black instead of quadruple-black.
    -It costs six mana instead of four mana.
    -It has hexproof.
    -It is legendary.
    -Your life total doesn't change from the card and you can both gain and lose life under it.
    -You can't lose the game, even to things that would kill you under older Lich cards, such as poison counters and decking.
    -You can mix and match cards in your graveyard and permanents on the battlefield to satisfy the requirement.
    -Unlike the original Lich, tokens can be used as payment.

    This is huge. I want to use this card somewhere. I will use this card somewhere. This is basically the "fixed" version of Lich we've been waiting for all these years. So yeah, I'll be trying out Lich's Mastery, but when, where and how I haven't quite figured out yet...
  2. Terentius The Instigator

    Those first two lines on the card text are pretty powerful. :eek:
  3. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    Turn 0: Leyline of Sanctity
    Turn 1: Safewright Quest
    Turn 2: Runed Halo - Phyrexian Negator
    Turn 3: Nevermore - Lich's Mastery
    Turn 4: Cycle Forsake the Worldly, Cycle Renewed Faith
    Turn 5: Enchanted Evening
    Turn 6: Cast Barren Glory, respond with Patrician's Scorn

    I am beginning to think that Oversoul and I are cosmic Magic opposites, destined to eternal theoretic battle and balance.
    Oversoul likes this.
  4. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I just want to know whether I'm Darkwing Duck or I'm Negaduck in this scenario!
    Psarketos likes this.
  5. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    I am Gizmoduck, if it helps.
    Oversoul likes this.
  6. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    I don't really have a good sense for the pulse of Standard to comment much on Mike Flores' analysis of Lich's Mastery. And when it comes to formats with larger card pools, as with any new six-mana enchantment, my hopes are tempered with some appreciation for what it takes to make a six-mana enchantment strong in competition. Even when I think of some of the historically successful six-mana enchantments (Mind Over Matter, Yawgmoth's Bargain, Hive Mind, Epic Proportions, Wild Pair, and that's about it), they've mostly fallen by the wayside with how much powerful stuff is happening in the early turns in non-Standard formats. Even five mana is probably too much for a successful enchantment these days. Four is pushing it, but still promising. At six mana, it's like you could just play a planeswalker and start putting way more pressure on your opponent. So even though I like this card I'm really hopeful for it, just being realistic about this, I guess it's probably going to be strictly casual (unless it does turn out to be good in Standard). I hope I'm wrong, though.

    And hey, a new casual Lich card isn't such a bad thing to get! Still not sure how I'd use it, though. My first instinct is Nourishing Shoal and such, but the old Lich cards only cost four mana and perform the same function there, so it's not really an upgrade, although Lich's Mastery does have the upside of being much safer...
  7. Psarketos Metacompositional Theoretician

    On the plus side, Bx control schemes are very powerful in eternal formats, and Mastery seems very splashable for a long game plan heavy control theme. I have doubts that it will reshape the best tournament decks, though at the same time it could live near tournament playable strength enough to be casually-competitive, local store tournament level if you will.
  8. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Man, nothing comes to mind though. I'm a bit of a fan of Legacy Pox, which is very controlling, but it's all nonbos with Lich's Mastery. Definitely the wrong niche for this. Hm, maybe something resembling Nic Fit? Nah. Well, I'm stumped. But my problem is right now I'm thinking "Eternal" and not outside-the-box.

    Yeah, that's my hope. I'll keep brainstorming. Maybe something will come up...
  9. Spiderman CPA Man in Tights, Dopey Administrative Assistant

    Interesting backstory behind Lich's Mastery in Odds and Ends: Dominaria Part 1

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