Mortify is a instant that lets you destroy a creature or enchantment. Simple.
There is little discussion to be had around how to utilise the card but it is interesting to see how it improves upon several similar cards. Consider, for example, Murder which has the same CMC and rarity level yet only lets you destroy a creature. There are also Legion’s Judgment ( to destroy creature with power 4 or greater) and it’s sibling Vanquish the Weak ( to destroy creature with power 3 or less) which are again at the same CMC but only destroy creatures that match a specific power condition. On the more expensive end of the scale we have Contract Killing, Lich’s Caress, and Consign to the Pit all of which cost far more to do not much extra. All of these cards pale in comparison to Mortify which gives you a no strings attached “destroy target creature” whilst also giving you the option to destroy an enchantment instead. I’m always keen on cards that give you a choice in MTG as it makes it so much easier to deal with whatever is thrown at you. I’m often guilty of not having enough (or any) enchantment removal in my decks1 so this gives me an easy way to slip one in without having it take up a whole card slot.
In most cases, choice comes at a cost. Consider, for example, that most split cards are not a good investment in terms of mana spent but you are paying extra for the choice inherent. Here we are actually getting two good abilities for less than the going rate.
Whilst I’ve compared this one to cards from previous sets, there is one card in Ravnica Allegience which is related to this; Final Payment () which lets you destroy a creature so long as you either pay 5 life, sacrifice a creature, or sacrifice an enchantment. It’s a fine card if you have plenty of disposable 1/1 tokens but for the extra you’d spend on Mortify you are getting that ability with no strings plus the option of destroying an enchantment - crazy!
This card originally appeared in Guildpact back in 2006 and has seen several reprints mainly in Commander decks. In fact, my favourite copy of the card comes from Commander 2016 not only for the awesome artwork but also the flavour text:
Many who cross Sorin’s path come down with a sudden and fatal case of being-in-the-way-of-a-millennia-old-vampire.
For what it’s worth, I love the artwork they have chosen this time around and the flavour text is pretty good too. It’s also worth pointing out that there is a promo version of this card available at Friday Night Magic events throughout Ravnica Allegiance Season (which started last Friday).
This seems like a no-brainer to put into an Orzhov deck and I can see it being useful in other decks with access to these colours. I’ve previously mentioned my milling deck I’m testing that is splashing ; this card might just make the cut.
Random trivia: This is one of only 3 cards in Standard right now that costs and I spoke about one of the others, Kaya, Orzhov Usurper, just a few days ago!