I don’t have a lot of time to write an article today so I decided to take a quick look at this little blighter from today’s booster pack:

Blightbeetle

Blightbeetle is a 1 Generic ManaBlack 1/1 insect creature with two static abilities:

  • Protection from green
  • Creatures your opponents control can’t have +1/+1 counters put on them

As you’ll likely know if you read my Core Set 2020 Primer, protection is a returning mechanic that stops something from being damaged or interacted with by a specific colour, in this case green1. In practice this means that you can block something like Carnage Tyrant and it won’t die2. This is really the best use of the mechanic as green doesn’t really have any spells that want to interact with a specific creature beyond fight mechanics3 which wouldn’t do anything even if they were able to resolve. It will stop a counter piece like Frilled Mystic but it is still easily bounced or countered by blue unless you happen to have a Gods Willing available to you.

The really interesting piece is the second ability preventing opponents from gaining +1/+1 counters. That is incredibly good in a number of situations:

  • Simic decks that rely heavily on the adapt mechanic
  • Nissa, Who Shakes the World decks as the +1 mechanic puts counters on a land; those wouldn’t be allowed so it would become a 0/0 creature and die immediately (and they need that to get to that ultimate ability which makes lands invincible)
  • Any deck that is making use of proliferate on creatures
  • Decks that use Simic Ascendancy as a win condition (such as my Ruse of an Ooze deck)

As there are entire decks built around the +1/+1 combo, especially in the Ravnica block, this little beetle is gonna get a pretty big target on his back so you’re going to need to use some tricks to keep him on the battlefield. Fortunately he’s in the dominant colour of graveyard shenanigans so you can likely bring him back a number of times but in reality this is a sideboard piece waiting until you’re up against one of the decks I’ve outlined above.

On a sidenote, there are now 11 insects available in Standard so it might be possible to build some super niche insect deck using Icon of Ancestry as an anthem effect. It might be a bit buggy but it’s worth a try…

  1. Remember that a card is “green” if it contains Green in the casting cost, green in the hybrid cost (i.e. Black/Green), or if the card says otherwise (i.e. Sphinx of the Guildpact which is specifically “all colours”). ↩︎

  2. I reconcile this in my mind as the dinosaur just stomping around trying to kill the beetle whilst it skilfully evades. ↩︎

  3. For example, Rabid Bite↩︎

This post is part of a weekday series where I open up a booster pack and pick a card to discuss. Whilst these are often the best cards from the set, I'll often pick one that is a bit niche or one that has cool artwork or flavour text. If there's a particular card you want me to take a look at, get in touch or join my Discord community.