One little Merfolk, one big impact.
In all the hubbub around new gods, splashy equipments, Verduran Enchantress variants and new Bestow mechanics, a small Merfolk has been swimming under the sonar. Not the biggest of bodies or the most threatening in combat, Dakra Mystic may soon find itself in a variety of EDH decks for its disruptive and enabling capacities. Before we delve into the potential, let’s look at the actual:
There’s a lot going on here behind the fairly symmetrical effect, so let’s start with the obvious:
Miracles! End of turn Vampiric Tutor or Mystical Tutor for a Terminus is quite prevalent in EDH. Which side of the board are you on at the moment? If you’re willing to sacrifice your Mystic then U for Mystical and U to draw at end of turn can get rid of all those aggressive beaters. However, maybe you want to be the one keeping the board filled. In that case, they’ll need a Sensei’s Divining Top or draw effect open to counter your Dakra Mystic‘s activated ability. Let’s review: You play Mystical Tutor or set up your Miracle via Top. On your draw (or Top activation for a draw), they reveal both cards and “bin” your Miracle. Bad times. Of course, the above scenario is fairly narrow, so let’s explore a few others.
Group play: You have a Dakra Mystic active, sitting across from Karador, Ghost Chieftain, Rafiq of the Many and Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind. You’re playing Grand Arbiter Augustin because you hate life and feel others should as well. On activating your mystic, you see Iona, Shield of Emeria (Karador), Savannah (Rafiq), Spell Crumple (Niv-Mizzet) and Tundra (Grand Arbiter). What’s the correct play? If Karador can play Iona you probably want the draw. But if Niv-Mizzet’s draw enables it to kill the Mystic (assuming he hasn’t already for some reason) then you’ll want to bin everything. Of course, you might need that Tundra to cast Supreme Verdict. Decisions, decisions. The great part about Dakra Mystic in this situation is that it enables you a little advance scouting, never a bad thing.
Attrition: Let’s face it, mana screw happens, even more so in multi-colour decks that are greedy with dual lands and other varied sources. If you can spare a blue and make sure they never get that needed land, you’re slowly choking them from resources needed for gameplay. Against a mono-coloured opponent you can simply use this as a pinpoint resource denier. It’s just an extra little kick from this great merfolk.
Greed! If it’s late game and you’re on a hand full of counter-magic, removal or just have the game locked, giving an opponent that extra draw might not even matter, so just keep digging. Remember that if you use this ability at end of turn they, of course, cannot use any non-instant spells they draw.
Bluffing to a victory: Maybe you reveal a Wrath of God only to send it to the graveyard, sighing in frustration. Of course you’re holding Supreme Verdict or Final Judgment or any other sweeper. But you’d rather get that land you know is coming up. Or maybe you’re almost decked and suddenly play a Laboratory Maniac and draw your way to a win. Or you let them have their Mind Twist, since the Force Spike or Flusterstorm in your hand is more useful than the double-blue counter-magic you just revealed. The possibilities are endless.
Multi-card Applications: We’ve seen Dakra Mystic be quite disruptive on its own, but what about combining it with other abilities? We’ve talked plenty about Sensei’s Divining Top so we won’t belabor the point that setting up an extra draw per turn is...kinda good. What if you’re running Lazav, Dimir Mastermind? Filling the graveyard is pure awesome. Same with The Mimeoplasm or any deck that might actually want Threshold (anyone out there?) or a very full graveyard. It’s a finisher with Lab Maniac. It’s an extra few points of damage with Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind. It’s kinda good with Prophet of Kruphix out, when you can use it on your own turn (perhaps as a scouting look) and then on their turn . In the rare event someone Hinders to the top of your library, or you get hit with a Memory Lapse, you can recover the tucked card or simply send it away if unneeded.
Did we mention it can also attack and block? It’s not unlikely that you’ll get a few quick points in before it just turns into a stopgap blocker and draw manipulator.
So, is Dakra Mystic worth a spot in your deck? Well, that depends. It is, when all is said and done, a 1/1. There isn’t a lot of room for 1/1s unless they have fairly extraordinary abilities (Serra Ascendant’s turning into a 6/6 flying lifelink, Mother of Runes protecting your family, elves and their mana acceleration) but Dakra Mystic is skill-testing enough and ponderous enough to see at least a little experimental play. After all, who doesn’t love a little more control in the colour dedicated to its function?