This complete article is dedicated to one card only – Mental Misstep. Whether you’re a blue mage for life and will play this card throughout many different formats or you hate blue (no other color provides that many players to both sides) and will be terrorized by this card throughout as many formats, you should know everything you can about Mental Misstep since it will be a force (not necessarily of will power, but maybe close) to be reckon with.
Ever since New Phyrexia got prereleased… actually, even before that thanks to certain Guillaume duet, Mental Misstep was THE CARD everyone was talking about. In a set with Karn Liberated, Sword of War and Peace, Batterskull etc. for a puny uncommon to be highlighted like that you should know there must be a solid reason behind it.
First of all, for those who were living in a barrel for the last month or so, let’s see what a Mental Misstep actually is:
So, a card which counters a spell with converted mana cost exactly 1.
That’s it? That’s all? That’s a card I should always have in my mind, you might ask?
Yep, this is it. And might I add just one other thing if you failed to notice it: it is completely free of charge! Zero mana for this beauty. Tenth of your life total shouldn’t be something you don’t want to let go off for such a powerful card.
Historically speaking, there are 2 counterspells for zero mana, and they are both well known, regarded and valued. First of which is Daze, which still gets played a lot in legacy and it’s not even a hard counterspell. You can’t use it on turn 1 when you don’t have islands in play, and later in game it loses its effectiveness because opponents have mana to pay. Second of which is, of course, almighty Force of Will. Arguably the most important card in all of Magic, glue that holds older formats in one peace and prevents them from falling apart.
Mental Misstep is already better than Daze. Comperings with Force of Will are very hard to make, it probably won’t be that good but we need to wait and see what happens.
And now, let’s review Mental Misstep through 3 most popular Magic formats: Limited, Standard and Legacy.
Limited is not the reason everyone keeps talking about this card. My evaluation of 2/10 in New Phyrexia limited set review proves that, so let’s quickly move on.
Standard is already far more interesting. Not a power house by any stretch of a thought, but still pretty playable, even just in sideboard. Counters problematic Goblin Guide on turn one (you lose 2 life for casting it but ultimately gain a lot more by avoiding getting hit with Guide multiple times), Steppe Lynx, Lightning Bolt. Against control you can counter all-present Preordain and Spell Pierce as well. But that’s about it.
Legacy is what we’re talking about. Legacy is where it really shines.
Legacy is all about speed. Turn one and two is where majority of action happens. Therefore, there are a lot of 1 converted mana cost spells. Let’s name just a few of the important ones: Aether Vial, Sensei’s Divining Top, Goblin Lackey, Brainstorm, Swords to Plowshares, Ponder, Dark Ritual, Thoughtseize, Duress, complete Zoo and elves deck, the list goes on and on. There’s of course one another spell it can counter, and which it will probably counter most of the time: opponents Mental Missteps!
There is no doubt in my, and many other minds, that Mental Misstep will be a Legacy staple for years and years to come. So order your playset now whether you’re playing blue or hate it, one way or another, you’re going to need it.
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