The Problem With Hatecards in MtG

We got Grafdigger’s Cage back. Is it enough? Not really.

Command the Dreadhorde is a very popular card in Standard currently. I get why. It’s a combo finish with a miniscule deckbuilding cost. You just play your midrangish or controlling deck with black and you can just add it into your deck.

Now, we finally got a decent answer to it in the form of the aforementioned Grafdigger’s Cage. It’s just not enough.

Suppose you lose the first game to Command the Dreadhorde and you bring the Cage in. You get lucky and play it on turn one. Now what? In order for this to be beneficial to you, your opponent actually needs to draw the Command, but it’s not like their deck is actually dependent on it. It’s just one way to get a quick win. Even without it, they can still just beat you down.

Since these decks often run the Explore package, they might even not need to draw it. They can just put it into their graveyard, or if they play the big Vivien, they can get rid of your Cage.

So, there’s a strong chance that Cage will not be very good for you. It might actually be actively bad. Hence, we need better sideboard options.

Let’s take a look at two great graveyard hate cards from the past.

Scavenging OozeAnafenza, the Foremost

What do these two have in common? They are good proactive cards, even if you are not specifically looking to hate out graveyard-based combos. They are not autoincludes in decks by any means. You often see the singular Scavenging Ooze in various decks, which can find it or make the game go long enough to reach it, but it isn’t something that will actually just dominate games in most cases.

Why can’t we get similar tools in Standard? In some ways Narset, Parter of Veils is this kind of a card, but on the other hand, it’s just too strong. You can see how it has become a staple in various older formats as well.

What we should get is cards that can punish certain strategies, can be proactive and which you can easily play in the maindeck. The balance is not going to be easy, but it’s possible. More cards are clearly being designed with flexibility in mind. Why doesn’t this flexibility extend to being actually good against things like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria or [card]Mass Manipulation(/card]?

Clearly, there is a problem here and I don’t get why don’t see it. I know it takes them a while to get a card into a set, but clearly decks like Dredge have been too strong for longer than a couple of years. Where are the answers? I mean, at the last paper Mythic Championship, the most played card was Cranial Extraction. Why can’t they see things are not right, when clearly the players can?

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