A classic combo gets an update with Mind Bend


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The letter A! long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…there was a card called Sleight of Mind. This card (lovingly known as ‘the brain’ to some) found a home in many rogue decks for years. Its close cousin, Magical Hack, also found a home in many of these decks. Between the two, people were changing their Circles of Protection and Karmas to whatever they happened to need at the moment. Sure, these two card combos were not that great, but they did certainly annoy lots of people – especially those who just happened to be playing the colors that the hoser cards were actually supposed to be good against. Imagine bringing your Necro deck to the table and watching your opponent play out a maindeck Karma.


Then, after some time, the Sleight decks disappeared. Gone were the days of White Knights changed into Blue Knights or Green Knights. Lost were the hours spent with Mahamoti Djinns trying to bust through a Circle of Protection: Blue (formerly red). A new card was printed to encourage such antics called Mind Bend – it was the love child of Sleight of Mind and Magical Hack – every color-changing, land-swapping player's dream. And yet – the Bend was slightly less powerful than both since it couldn’t change the wording of spells like Blue Elemental Blast. Also, at the time, there was this thing called an "interrupt" and Mind Bend was only an instant…but forget all about that unless you want to be severely confused.

However, now Mind Bend is back is 8th Edition and players can once again do all the little tricks that were performed back in the old days…all of the old usual suspects were even reprinted along with it – Circles of Protection, Karma, and White Knight.

Building on a Budget: Sleight-Knight

Main Deck

60 cards

15  Plains

23 lands

Coast Watcher
Silver Knight
Spiketail Hatchling
White Knight

16 creatures

Mana Leak
Mask of Memory
Mind Bend

21 other spells

Sleight Knight in general is an aggro-control deck similar to a Merfolk deck. It plays out White Knights, Silver Knights, and Coast Watchers, then Mind Bends them to have protection from the most useful color. At that point it can attack with one protection creature and leave another one back to block if need be. Mask of Memory is great in this deck since your opponents are often unable to block your creatures. I chose not to include the annoying Circles of Protection in the deck because I thought they did not really add enough power – sure, the Circles are an annoyance to most decks, but they almost all have ways of getting around it. Instead of the slow and boring Circles of Protections, I decided to go with the fast-killing Karma. In order to have some sort of protection against the beatdown decks, I included Worship – a much better card considering your creatures are going to have protection from your opponent’s colors.

The deck starts out by playing an early protection-from-color creature and then (ideally) Mind Bending it to the appropriate color. You can also bust through with the help of Bonesplitter. Mask of Memory will help greatly when you put it on one of your fliers or a pro-color guy. When you get this going you will draw into more defenses, Mind Bends, and eventually Karma or Worship. Against the beatdown decks this is a fairly straightforward deck to play, but against control it gets trickier.

Often, against control, your Mind Bends will not be of much use – sure, you could give your Silver Knight Protection form White or Blue, but that is not going to stop their Wrath of God. Your plan against control is to play out some beaters and then protect them with your countermagic – eventually winning by Bending a Karma. You might be forced to change the Karma to Plains or Islands, but since you will get some early beats in (and they take the first damage from it) it should work out fine.

Tips on Playing the Deck:

  • Save your Mind Bends until your opponent forces you to use them; they will act like a Razor Barrier that gives a permanent change. In this way you will gain card parity out changing your protection.
  • Sacrifice your Spiketail Hatchlings when they are able to counter a decent spell – this applies unless you have a Mask of Memory in play and no other evasion creatures to use it on.
  • Often you will be faced with the choice of changing the Protections of the Coast Watcher or one of your Knights; it is generally better to change the color of the Coast Watcher because you will now be able to block with it, where the Knights have first strike and could probably block well in the first place (especially with Bonesplitter).
  • It will not happen too often, but keep in mind that Mind Bend works on your opponent's permanents as well. You never know when they will play some card that can be turned against them with a Mind Bend.

Adding More Money to the deck:

Wrath of Marit Lage is probably the coolest of the remaining color hosers that makes a good addition to the deck. Wrath of God is always a solid addition to aggro-control decks that use White. A Decree of Justice or two could help combat the opposing Decrees in the Control matchup. While you might need to change the mana base slightly to support more Blue, Voidmage Prodigy would also help the Control Matchup, turning their Wrath into a 4 mana Terror. Other fun things to do with this concept would be to add other colors and new color hosers (like Choke or the Black Paladins for instance) – but you have to be careful not to start playing hosers that affect your own deck.

Overall you can have a good time with this concept – it isn’t the nastiest of decks, but it is a cool idea that is easy to expand on – have fun!

Until next time, counter target spell if it is red.

-Nate Heiss
Team CMU
NateHeiss on Magic Online

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