Card Review: Wish


[[Burning Wish|]]
[[Death Wish|]]

[[Wish]] is a flexible new take on the ability to fetch cards from outside the game. Its text has a lot of subtleties that grant it some extra power. By using the word “play”,  [[Wish]] allows its caster to play lands in addition to spells from their sideboard. [[Wish]]’s wording is also odd because it does not require the card to be played or even chosen upon the resolution of [[Wish]]. This means that one could cast [[Wish]], cast other spells and then choose the card to play from outside the game, allowing for easier pivots. The drawback for all of this flexibility is that any card has to be played the same turn as [[Wish]]. [[Wish]] plays well with [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] due to it not putting the card in hand. This means that using [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] mana to cast something from [[Wish]] turns [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] into [[Black Lotus]]. Because the choice of the card to cast happens post resolution of [[Wish]], sacrificing copies of [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] can happen after [[Wish]] resolves, making counter spells not as much of a blow out. Unlike with [[Burning Wish]], casting [[Wish]] and passing the turn is not an option, so not being able to spread costs over multiple turns is a significant drawback. In the context of The EPIC Storm, having a mana value of three significantly hurts the power of [[Ad Nauseam]]. Playing cards that hurt plan A without providing a significant benefit is a high bar to clear.

Wish Targets

[[Ad Nauseam|]]
[[Cabal Pit|]]
[[Past in Flames|]]

The best part of [[Wish]] is all of the cards that it can find. Reviewing some of the cards that [[Burning Wish]] can not find is a good indicator of its power level. The most obvious target is [[Ad Nauseam]]. By putting a second copy of [[Ad Nauseam]] in the sideboard, it would create another set of eight mana lines to cast it. At first look, this appears to be a strong line. Casting the [[Ad Nauseam]] from the sideboard, however, would almost always be worse than casting the main deck copy. This is due to having the main deck copy included in the possible set of flips. Revealing [[Ad Nauseam]] to [[Ad Nauseam]] is five damage for no value and increases the variance of casting the card significantly. This is ignoring that there are copies of [[Wish]] in the deck further increasing the average mana value and decreasing the reliability of [[Ad Nauseam]]. Moving [[Ad Nauseam]] to the sideboard is not an option because drawing it tends to be very good and would make [[Wishclaw Talisman]] lose a lot of utility.

One of the more interesting options with [[Wish]] is to use it to play a land such as [[Karakas]] or [[Cabal Pit]]. [[Karakas]] has shown up in the past to combat [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]]. In current Legacy, however, [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] is not the only hate bear in the format. [[Collector Ouphe]], [[Ethersworn Canonist]], and even planeswalkers like [[Karn, the Great Creator]] all take up parts of that space in the metagame. [[Cabal Pit]] or even [[Barbarian Ring]] might be better options despite being harder to activate as they answer more things. The issue with playing a land off of a [[Wish]] is that it likely can not happen before turn three or four without burning rituals or copies of [[Lotus Petal]] to do it. If one were to play a land through [[Wish]], there must still be a land drop available. (For Modern readers, this is one of the reasons why putting a [[Lotus Field]] in the sideboard to find with [[Wish]] is not a strong deck building decision). Because of the length of time it takes to [[Wish]] for an land based answer, these likely are not fast enough, especially compared to something like [[Massacre]] or [[Pulverize]].

Removal spells like [[Abrupt Decay]] or [[Chain of Vapor]] are similarly hard to cast with [[Wish]]. If there is a [[Thalia, Guardian of Thraben]] in play, it costs six mana to bounce it with [[Chain of Vapor]] at sorcery speed. This is just too much mana to be a relevant line in most situations.

Fresh from Modern Horizons 2, [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]] would be a powerful option to be able to play through [[Wish]]. It is not a card that has a home in the main deck, especially in game one due to how it conflicts with [[Ad Nauseam]]. Further, [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] does not have to telegraph the play by being cracked for green mana before [[Wish]]. This allows for some sneaky lines such as cast [[Wish]], cast [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]], and then cast [[Aeve, Progenitor Ooze]], assuming that there are another two mana available. This line makes it harder for the opponent to pick which spell to interact with. A similar sequence with [[Burning Wish]] is casting it to find [[Empty the Warrens]] and then add more mana. If that extra mana is countered, then it bricks the [[Empty the Warrens]] line. Resolving a [[Wish]] keeps many lines open to be able to pivot based on how the opponent interacts.

[[Past in Flames]] was a card cut from The EPIC Storm due to it just being so hard to utilize through [[Burning Wish]] due to [[Burning Wish]] exiling itself. [[Wish]] goes to the graveyard once it resolves, and is able to be used to create a [[Past in Flames]] loop. There is still a lot of stress on the colors and quantity of mana available. [[Past in Flames]] normally requires a red and a black mana floating when using [[Rite of Flame]] and [[Dark Ritual]]. This means that it is a nine-mana line in TES. While this is possible, it is a slow line that requires a lot of rituals. ANT may be able to take advantage of this line better due to the quantity of mana that [[Cabal Ritual]] produces. A [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] can provide all of the red mana, which is the bottleneck for many [[Wish]] lines. In the context of ANT, [[Wish]] may be a great way to provide answers to [[Veil of Summer]] and [[Meddling Mage]] effects.

A note about Echo of Eons

[[Wish]] does not play well with this card. Because [[Wish]] does not put the card into hand, [[Lion’s Eye Diamond]] can not be used to discard it in order to flash back it. This is a serious weakness of the card as it cuts off a significant portion of lines. With [[Galvanic Relay]], this may matter less but losing access to one of the better sideboard engines through [[Wish]] can not be ignored.

Wishing for Success

[[Wish]] is not better than [[Burning Wish]] in The EPIC Storm. It will not replace it, unless something drastic changes. Other decks, such as ANT or Ruby Storm might be more interested in [[Wish]] to be able to do [[Past in Flames]] loops or as additional copies of [[Burning Wish]]. For TES, there may be times when there are a few copies in the main deck, but having a mana value of three likely means that playing it as a four of is too much as long as TES is an [[Ad Nauseam]] deck.