Looking at a Random Card: Multani’s Decree

(What am I doing here? Read here!)

Multani’s Decree: It’s not black, and it’s not a creature! What a change!

Unfortunately, there’s not much to say here. This is a Tranquility costing 1 mana more and gaining you some random life. That is, of course, a bad deal – the difference between 3 mana and 4 mana is huge, and if you really gain an impressive amount of life, this spell most likely is such a blowout that the life’s still not important. Yes, it is a tad more interesting in multiplayer (which I don’t care about), but even there you’ll probably prefer Tranquility (well, actually, Back to Nature, but that’s a much newer card). And yes, there is the faintest possibility that you might intend to use it to destroy your own enchantments and gain a lot of life in the process – don’t ask me how, but stuff like Hatching Plans or Rancor-effects might provoke so-called Johnnies to do such a thing IF they care about the lifegain in addition to planning on blowing their own stuff up.

Let’s get real, though: This is a blank in constructed, and most likely in casual, too – even casual players like their basic utility cheaper (or, preferrably, made more attractive by being tacked on a creature like Indrik Stomphowler or something) So, the only interesting question is: Is that a good tool for building limited environments? Actually, it’s okay – an enchantment sweeper costing 4 mana will find its uses. The random lifegain is still random here, though, probably even if the environment specifically cares about lifegain, since a 4 mana sorcery is quite clumsy, and the card quite situational. (Molder, for example, is a better choice for such environments, as are Terashi’s Grasp or Solemn Offering in White.) Because of this, I prefer the cleaner, more basic and classic effect of Tranquility, which isn’t overpowered at all (unless an environment is all about enchantments, but in that case you wouldn’t want to use Multani’s Decree either). Back to Nature, however, is too strong – partly because two mana is really cheap for such an effect, but mostly because instant speed makes it way too easy to wreak havoc against an opponent relying on enchantments in combat.

So, Tranquility is the perfect choice for this very basic and important, but not always needed function, and the Decree is just a little less elegant and a little more unwieldy. The flavor of this card is not helping, connecting a very basic effect to quite a specific context (and I also don’t really get how a decree destroys enchantments and gives you life in the process).  This Tranquility variant only has a right to exist if it actually achieves something with its lifegiving ability, which it doesn’t. (Making the lifegain unconditional by giving you a fixed amount of – say – 6 life would have been a solution, encouraging players to maindeck this card, and maybe even care most for its lifegiving ability.) Overall, the card is useful (in limited only), but not needed or wanted at all, and causes no problems – a poster child for a solid D.

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3 Comments on “Looking at a Random Card: Multani’s Decree”

  1. arcanion Says:

    Ah, Multanis Decree. The memories You write that even casual groups don’t like that (apart from maybe multiplayer). Yeah that’s true but there are still the noobs ;-) (I mean I know that shouldn’t be a big argument but it happened to me)
    Let me tell you, I started playing magic with Ice Age/4th Edition (I was 10 years old) and stayed on a very noobish level until Invasion! Only then I joined a locacal community, found an expert store to play and becoming much better. Yeah that’s a long “n00b” time but I have some fond memories here nevertheless.
    I sometimes played with a friend and often with my brother, but both were on the same level as me back then. Since most of the time I just built decks but having nobody to play with my decks were all “3-, 4- or 5- color good stuff decks that could handle everything” As soon as I got my hands on Multanis Decree it replaced my Tranquilities. Because whats better than destroying all enchantments? Destroying all enchantments with a benefit. What you say, it costs more? Who cares it’s just one mana…yes that’s the way I thought all the time back then and my deck got more and more expensive (mana wise).
    I think the curve of my decks were…well..curve?? :-) It had all the strongest versions and could handle every permanent. Multanis Decree, Wrath, Catastrophe, Geddon, Shatterstorm, Desert Twister and big (flying) creatures. What you gonna do about that? I can handle everything!
    Later I switched Decree for Tranquil Grove. Just adding good expensive cards to my deck without ever playing with it. Then I lost against a mostly common rebels deck asgainst my brother that we stitched together…and my real magic time started.
    Well, all that doesn’t have THAT much to do with Multanis Decree, but I seriously thought it was almost all upside from Tranquility and gladly put it in my deck when in reality the life gain doesn’t outwight the cost increase at all. And Tranquility is never a maindeck card to begin with.

    An interesting fact is that this card could be white and nobody would say anything. A fact that two colors are too similar/overlapping? Probably.

    • Well, the card IS white now (or close) – it’s called Paraselene frim Innistrad…

      Yup, newbs play with anything – but that’s not a great argument for a card, because they play with anything! Of course, some cards are better at drawing people into the gane than others, but honestly, Multani’s Decree is NOT such a card – stuff like Shivan Dragon, or Fireball, or maybe Terror or even Giant Growth is: Some easy to “grok” concept with strong flavor, typically.

      But being drawn into a game is not worth much unless you find you have fun playing it (well, or unless you replace your social life with gaming, not enjoying the game itself but the rare opportunity to be with other people – sad, but happens all too often), and the Decree is just not fun once you actually try to use it.

      I rate cards for elegance and flavor. I concentrate on their play value, not their initial appeal, though. I know some candy sells simply because it LOOKS tasty, without actually being tasty, but I don’t rate the showcase, but the actual product. That’s why I have become so dissatisfied with Magic during the last years, because it is more and more about the marketing, and less and less about the quality of the game itself.

      • arcanion Says:

        Yeah I like your rating and it looks spot on. Just thought I can add a little story that came to my mind when seeing this card being featured here.

        Yeah forgot about Paralescene. But green still gets Back to Nature effects and probably could see a green Decree/Paralescne card again…cause life gain is still in greens pie too.

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