An exceptionally good booster back today including 5 new cards, 2 sphinxes1, a Syndicate Guildmage, and a foil version of Rhythm of the Wild2 - I wish every pack was like that! However, I can only pick one card to talk about so today it will be the rare one:
Sphinx of Foresight is a flying 4/4 creature with two passive abilities based around scrying:
- You may reveal this card from your opening hand and then scry 3 on your first upkeep
- At the beginning of your upkeep, scry 1
I was particularly curious about that first ability as I couldn’t recall ever seeing anything like it before. It turns out I wouldn’t have as the last time it was used predates the Ixalan set from which my Magic journey began. It looks like there have been quite a few cards of the variety “You may reveal this card from your opening hand - if you do [insert perk]” beginning with Guildpact3 (2006) with a Leyline enchantment for each colour. This was followed by further Leylines in Core Set 2011, Chancellors in New Phyrexia (2011), and a single card in Edlritch Moon (2016). However, it is the first card since then to make use of the ability and the only one currently in Standard.
The ability is fairly straightforward; if you have this card in your hand, you get to scry 3 before your first draw which is obviously incredibly useful for card fixing. More importantly, if you have multiple copies of this card, then you get to scry 3 for each instance you reveal4. Speaking of multiple instances, using hypergeometric distribution we can surmise that your chance of finding at least one sphinx in your opening 7 cards is 39% should you have 4 sphinxes in your 60-card deck5; those are pretty good odds!
Looking at the second ability, this is yet another one that is incredibly nice for your mana-fixing giving you most of the power of Eyes Everywhere but attached to a creature. It’s a highly effective way to peek at what is coming up but giving you the choice to keep it or bottom it before you draw. Note also that this will scale nicely with multiple instances as you can get further peeks should you choose to place a card on the bottom of your library6.
Let us consider, for a moment, how this card would fare if there were none of these scry abilities. A 4/4 flyer is good going for 4 mana especially when you look at something such as Air Elemental () or Horizon Scholar ().
Whilst you’d expect it to be good due to it’s rarity, this is a solid creature that can do some damage whilst also having a decent “every turn” ability effectively removing the need for you to have Eyes Everywhere in your deck. In addition, even if you only have 1 of them in your deck, you have a 12% chance of getting it in your initial hand to activate that scry 3 with the only cost being a reveal of the card. This is definitely a card I’m considering building a deck around and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve found success with it.
Which is kind of funny after I spoke yesterday about how it is the second most expensive uncommon in the set - a foil version bumps that price up significantly! ↩︎
Which you may know is set on Ravnica like this set. ↩︎
Watch out for cheaters who just keep revealing the same one 4 times 🤣 ↩︎
Note that whilst the chance of finding one increases to 44% if you are going second and thus draw a card before your first upkeep, it doesn’t help you here as the ability activates once mulligans have taken place - it is specifically your opening hand. ↩︎
It would be nice if 3 instances pooled to be “scry 3” but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way; you get to “scry 1” sequentially 3 times which is pretty useless if you decide to keep the first card you peek at on top. ↩︎
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.