oday's preview card has layers.
How deep do you want to go? Do you want to stick on the surface and do the obvious? Perhaps go a little further off the beaten path? Maybe even plunge straight into the comboriffic bizarre?
Well, then I have the card for you.
Art by Mike Sass
Definition: a performer of miracles.
A performer of miracles? Yes, I'd say so indeed...
But that's not why this card is awesome.
It's all about the cost-reduction ability. Anything that targets multiple creatures costs less. Like, say, strive cards.
With a card like Launch the Fleet, the Thaumaturge lets you Launch the Fleet targeting all of your creatures for only a single mana! Not only will you get the strive card's effect... but all of your heroic triggers will go off to boot! One mana to improve your entire team plus heroic everybody? Sign me up.
The Thaumaturge also has some pretty crazy interactions with... well, actually, let's save that for later. Let's kick it off with what we just talked about. Get ready to go through an intensive course of thaumaturgy school.
Thaumaturgy 101: Strive
The best way to use engine cards like this is to, well, take advantage of the engine as much as you can! Casting a spell for one less mana is nice, but where this Thaumaturge really shines is when you're getting a gigantic mana discount; engine cards have to reduce the cost far enough to make playing them worth it.
And what better way than to double up on uses? Targeting all of your own creatures plus setting off all your heroic triggers at a steep discount is definitely quite the deal. Since it's a natural two-mana 2/1 and you want a lot of creatures, something more aggressive is a pretty natural place to go, anyway.
Imagine the following draw.
Turn one, Favored Hoplite. Turn two, Phalanx Leader. Turn three, Fabled Hero. That's not an overwhelming amount of pressure... until the next turn hits. Cast Thaumaturge, then Launch the Fleet on everybody. Suddenly, Fabled Hero is a 4/4, Favored Hoplite is a 3/4, and Phalanx Leader is a 2/2, plus you have three Soldier tokens attacking along with you.
And hey, if you have another single-mana spell that targets all of your creatures, then you will easily cause lethal. Especially if you could tap all of your opponent's creatures. That'd be 26 damage! (6/6 Hero, 5/6 Hoplite, 3/3 Leader, and three 2/2 Soldiers.)
Too bad there's no spell that taps all of their creatures and heroics all of yours for a single mana, right? That would be crazy.
Well, (re)introducing a little card we planted back in Born of the Gods: Glimpse the Sun God!
For each mana you spend, you tap a creature. Except... each creature you target makes it cost one less! So, for a single mana, you can target and tap any number of creatures. And thanks to the declare attackers step, you can cast it after you attack but before your opponent can block—meaning all of your heroic triggers trigger again (you can target tapped creatures just fine and they will still be attacking) and all of your opponent's creatures will become tapped.
Yes, it's true: a real power of the Thaumaturge lies in X spells like Glimpse the Sun God and (I never expected to say this) Gridlock. Now that you know the X spell trick with this card, it sounds like it's time for you to graduate onto Thaumaturgy 102.
Gavin Verhey's Thaumaturgy 101 Class Project
Thaumaturgy 102: X Marks the Spot
So the secret is out. It's time for some X-spell shenanigans.
You probably still want to have a somewhat aggressive shell—but you have a lot more wiggle room now. There are so many possibilities!
So, what can you do besides Glimpse the Sun God? Well, how about Curse of the Swine? For , you can turn any number of creatures into 2/2s. You could target your opponent's creatures, perhaps, and downgrade them all—maybe even comboing it with Illness in the Ranks to devastate the board—but I'm sure we can do far more sinister things. What about reasons to target your own creatures and your opponent's creatures?
Master Biomancer and Zameck Guildmage give you a pretty good reason to want to upgrade everything else you have into Boars—they'll be huge! Cast a Master of Waves and it looks like your opponent's going to kill it? How about you turn them all into Boars!
We'll have plenty of mana Elves to turn into Boars—so how about something to ramp into? Well, what if that something killed off all of your opponent's creatures?
It's time for a couple Dismiss into Dream!
With Curse of the Swine, you get to kill all of your opponent's creatures if you have a Dismiss into Dream—and with a Thaumaturge, it's for as cheap as possible!
Of course, using the Battlefield Thaumaturge and enough mana, you can also just turn several creatures into Master of Waves with Polymorphous Rush and kill your opponent with tokens out of nowhere.
If you've managed to let this all sink in, then perhaps it's time for you to move onto to Thaumaturgy 103...
Gavin Verhey's Thaumaturgy 102 Class Project
Thaumaturgy 103: Double Thaumaturgy
So we've been over striving. We've been over X spells. But now it's time to get familiar with something I haven't brought up yet at all: multiple Thaumaturges.
Okay, kid. This is where it gets complicated. It's time for some high-level thaumarithmetic.
If you have multiple Thaumaturges on the battlefield, both cost-reduction effects apply. If you have two on the battlefield, that means your spell costs two less for each creature it targets.
Now, with something like Glimpse the Sun God, that's not going to help you out much. Reducing a cost of by doesn't accomplish a lot extra.
But what if there was something that had an additional target you could sink mana into? There aren't many cards in the entire history of Magic that have X and can target any number of creatures and players. Fortunately for us, sitting in Standard right now is one of the few cards that will serve this purpose, perfectly positioned and waiting for the Thaumaturge: Aurelia's Fury.
Let's say you have two Thaumaturges on the battlefield and your opponent has three creatures. You have an Aurelia's Fury in your hand.
You choose your opponent, your opponent's three creatures, and your two Thaumaturges as the targets. Now, you lock in whatever you want X to be—let's say X is 10. Then, you reduce costs. Suddenly your 10-point Aurelia's Fury costs only ! This lets you split 5 damage among the creatures and the rest to your opponent's face.
Okay, but that leaves your Battlefield Thaumaturges dead and has only dealt five damage. That's no good.
But what if you had three Thaumaturges and your opponent had those same three creatures? Suddenly, six targets minus six mana each equals a cost reduction of eighteen—sending 12 points at your opponent's face for just . Add in another Thaumaturge to the mix, and you're dealing 21 damage to your opponent.
Now, what are the chances of that? Four Battlefield Thaumaturges, really? Well, it's time to bring everything we learned together for the Thaumaturgy final—and as we all were taught in Jurassic Park, with cloning, anything is possible...
Gavin Verhey's Thaumaturgy 103 Class Project
Thaumaturgy 104: Electives
The possibilities for thaumaturgy are incredibly deep—and now it's up to you to find them. I haven't listed everything you can do, today. And this was all just Standard—what kind of Comet Storm and Strength of the Tajuru nonsense can you do in Modern? What does Legacy hold for you to Thaumaturge?
Go out and discover. I'll be excited to see what you find!
Thaumaturgy not for you? Well, feel free to send me any new Standard deck you've made with Journey into Nyx cards for this week's challenge!
Restrictions: You must use/build around one Journey into Nyx card.
Deadline: April 22, at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.
Submit all decklists by clicking on "respond via email" below. Please submit decklists using the following template. (The specific numbers below are arbitrary, so please don't feel a need to use them—it's just how an example of how a decklist should look when laid out.)
4 Other Spell
4 Other Spell
That deadline is after the full set is in the Card Image Gallery, so feel free to wait until you've seen it to send me your decks—or just wander over there right now and see what you can come up with!
Battlefield Thaumaturge is one of the quirkier cards to come out of Journey into Nyx—and I hope you have a lot of fun with it. I'd love to hear what you come up with! Feel free to tweet me your best Thaumaturge creations (or post them in the forums), as well as any feedback you might have, and I'll be sure to look it over.
I'll be back next week when the entire set is out and it'll be time to start cranking on some decks! Until then, have fun tinkering with thaumaturgy!
When Gavin Verhey was eleven, he wanted a job making Magic cards. Ten years later, his dream was realized as his combined success as a professional player, deck builder, and writer brought him into Wizards R&D during 2011. He's been writing Magic articles since 2005 and has no plans to stop.