Magic the Gathering Card Analysis: Megrim
“Megrim,” a black enchantment that affects the whole board (except for you), is one of the oldest and still most useful cards in Magic The Gathering. The card first appeared in the late 1990s with the arrival of “Stronghold” which is the second set of the Rath Cycle. An uncommon card, Megrim was reprinted for the “7th Edition,” “8th Edition,” “9th Edition,” “10th Edition,” and “Magic 2010” core sets. This card is a definite MUST HAVE for any black deck that focuses on making opponents discard from their hands. With the right combination of cards, Megrim becomes such a thorn at the other opponents' sides. In any regular black discard deck, be sure to have a couple of these cards on hand. If you have two or three Megrim cards on the battlefield and ways to force your opponents to discard from their hands, you become a major threat to your opponents.
What does Megrim do?
First, one has to know the casting cost. This enchantment is one black mana and two colorless to cast. When on the battlefield, opponents suffer two points of damage whenever they discard a card. If an opponent had to discard two cards from their hand, then it's four points of damage. However, you need to be careful, Megrim can be destroyed by spells such as “Disenchant,” “Naturalize,” etc.
To get the most out of Megrim, you need to have a deck that forces opponents to discard cards from their hands. In most cases, it has to be solid black. However, you can use Megrim in a black and blue deck with the former focusing on discarding and the latter focusing on milling. Also, this is usable in a Grixis-theme deck due to certain cards.
Alone, Megrim can be effective. But, you want to utilize other cards to use alongside Megrim. That way, you get the most out of using Megrim on the battlefield.
“Abandon Hope,” from Tempest, is a black sorcery spell that costs one Black, one Colorless, and X Colorless (which is optional and necessary at the same time). By playing Abandon Hope, you choose and discard X cards from your hand. If you paid 4 Colorless for X, then you choose and discard 4 cards. Then, you look at a target opponent's hand and choose 4 of those cards. That player discards those cards. Remember, you can pay any amount for X. If you paid 6 for X, then the number of cards would be 6.
When combined with Megrim, or two of them, Abandon Hope becomes one of those cards that can take an opponent out of the game in one swift move. Say that you have two Megrim cards on the battlefield and you pay 5 for the X cost for Abandon Hope, as an example, it would be 20 points of damage total. It would be 2 points of damage for each card with one Megrim and an additional 2 points of damage for each card with the second Megrim. With a combination of Megrim and Abandon Hope, it's virtually over for most opponents. It's a combination that most opponents will not want to be on the receiving end of.
Bala Ged Thief
“Bala Ged Thief,” from Zendikar, is an excellent card to have if you are dealing with black discard decks. You will want to play with Allies with Esper, Grixis, or Jund colors. Make sure you have a couple of Megrim cards and a number of Ally cards. This Black human rogue ally costs 1 Black and 3 Colorless to cast. Make sure you have three or four in your deck if you plan on using allies with discard properties.
To get full use, make sure the Bala Ged Thief is on the battlefield first. That way, whenever that card or another Ally enters the battlefield (as long as there's a Bala Ged Thief on the battlefield), you can make opponents discard a card. Thus, you can use Bala Ged Thief as a means to trigger the ability of Megrim. Each time you play an Ally card, provided you have Bala Ged Thief on the battlefield, you can make an opponent discard a card which triggers Megrim and forces that person to suffer two points of damage.
“Barbed Shocker,” from Time Spiral, is a good deck for any Jund or Grixis discard deck. This 2/2 Red insect, costing 1 Red and 3 Colorless, has Trample and Haste. Make sure you find ways to beef up the Barbed Shocker to make sure it deals damage to the target opponent. Its main ability is forcing the affected opponent to discard their hand and draw that many cards. Thus, you can keep attacking with Barbed Shocker and use its ability to make your opponent suffer by triggering Megrim.
Say that your opponent has 4 cards in hand when you damage him/her with Barbed Shocker, Megrim triggers forcing him/her to suffer 8 points of damage. Come the next turn, the opponent could have 4 to 6 cards in their hand. Then, you attack and damage the opponent again with Barbed Shocker. Thus, you cause the opponent between 8 to 12 points of damage. In a matter of turns, you can eliminate your opponent.
“Bereavement,” originally from Urza's Saga and reprinted for 7th Edition, is a pretty decent anti-Green sideboard. Before using this card, make sure any number of your opponents plan on utilizing decks with green cards. If not, then Bereavement is going to be a useful card. This enchantment costs 1 Black and 1 Colorless to cast. In a regular deck, have about 2 or 3 copies of this card as part of your sideboard. Then, put those cards in your deck when going up against a Green opponent.
When on the battlefield, a player discards a card from their hand whenever a Green creature under their control gets sent to the graveyard. In most cases, Green decks will be heavy with creatures and methods to produce creature tokens. That case, you still have Megrim. If an opponent loses 3 creature tokens, s/he discards 3 cards; that triggers Megrim. That causes your opponent to lose 6 points of life. Thus, Bereavement and Megrim combined become a bane to any heavy Green deck. The cast cost is pretty decent as well since you only need 1 Black and 1 Colorless.
If you plan on using Megrim in a Jund or Grixis color deck, make sure you have a couple of “Blightning” cards in your deck. This Black and Red sorcery, originally printed in “Shards of Alara,” is a double whammy to any opponent. First, it deals 3 points of damage to a target player. Second, it forces the player to discard 2 cards. When combined with Megrim, this becomes a brutal card. If you are utilizing Grixis colors, you can also have “Cloven Casting” to copy Blightning. Thus, you deal more hurt to the target opponent.
Combined with Megrim, casting Blightning will cause a target player to suffer 7 points of damage. If you have Cloven Casting and copied the spell twice, then Blightning will inflict 14 points of damage to a target player. Even without Cloven Casting, Megrim and Blightning proves to be a pretty devastating combination.
“Bloodhusk Ritualist” (1 Black and 2 Colorless), a 2/2 black Vampire from Worldwake, is a great card to have if you plan on using all black and a lot of vampires. Alone, Bloodhusk Ritualist is very effective when combined with Megrim. Make sure you have plenty of Black mana on hand. If you have a couple of black creatures in the graveyard, have a few “Crypt of Agadeem” cards on hand; this is because you can tap them for 1 Black for each Black creature in your graveyard. You don't need Crypt of Agadeem; but, it wouldn't hurt to have them.
You need the extra Black for Bloodhusk Ritualist's Multikicker ability. When the creature enters the battlefield, the target opponent discards a card for each time it was kicked. Say that you kicked Bloodhusk Ritualist about 5 times, then a target player has to discard 5 cards. That triggers Megrim; thus, that opponent suffers 10 points of damage in the process. Make sure you have a couple of Bloodhusk Ritualist cards in your deck.
Cao Cao, Lord of Wei
If you're lucky enough to get “Cao Cao, Lord of Wei” (2 Black and 3 Colorless), it's an excellent card to combine with Megrim. This 3/3 Black legendary human soldier can be tapped to make a target opponent discard two cards from their hand. Make sure you do this before you attack. Also, this ability can only be done during your turn. Each turn, if you have a few Megrim cards on the battlefield, you can use Cao Cao, Lord of Wei to indirectly damage your opponent. If you have cards with abilities that allow you to untap Cao Cao, Lord of Wei, take advantage of them.
Imagine being able to use the card's ability three times during your turn and you have 3 Megrim cards on the battlefield. Those three times, you would make a target player discard 6 cards from their hand. That triggers the three Megrim cards. At the end of your turn, the unfortunate opponent could very well lose up to 36 points of life.
Crosis, The Purger
“Crosis, the Purger” (1 Blue, 1 Black, 1 Red, & 3 Colorless), originally printed in Invasion, is a useful card to have on hand. To use its main ability, you need to deal combat damage. After dealing combat damage, you can pay 1 Black and 2 Colorless. As long as you have the mana, you can use this ability as many times as you want during your turn. Make sure you've dealt combat damage with Crosis, the Purger first.
If you use the main ability, you pick a color. The damaged opponent reveals his/her hand and discards all cards of that color. It's useful when going up against opponents using solid color decks. In turn, that triggers the ability of Megrim. You attack with Crosis, the Purger, use the main ability, and let Megrim do the rest of the work for you.
If you could not be anymore crueler, you can utilize “Cruel Ultimatum” (2 Blue, 3 Black, & 2 Red) from Shards of Alara. By playing this spell, the target opponent has to do the following: sacrifice a creature, discard 3 cards, and lose 5 points of life. You end up doing the complete opposite of what your opponent had to do. Paying attention to the discarding of 3 cards, that triggers Megrim. By playing Cruel Ultimatum, when having Megrim on the battlefield, that opponent suffers an additional six points of damage. Overall, the opponent loses 11 points of life. If you managed to play “Wound Reflection,” if it's in your deck, that combination will take out most opponents. If you are playing Grixis colors with Megrim, make sure you have Cruel Ultimatum on hand.
Other Useful Cards:
Asides from those cards, there are plenty of other useful cards to think about. These cards are “Death Cloud,” “Bottomless Pit,” “Gibbering Descent,” “Greel, Mind Raker,” “Hymn to Tourach,” “Ill-Gotten Gains,” “Larceny,” “Liliana of the Veil,” “Liliana Vess,” “Liliana's Caress,” “Mind Shatter,” “Mind Slash,” “Mind Sludge,” “Mindslicer,” “Oppression,” “Painful Quandary,” and “Putrefaction.” Any of these cards will go incredibly well with Megrim.
Also, consider using the various Specters if you plan on using creatures. These creatures usually have the ability of forcing opponents to discard cards after dealing combat damage to them.
Megrim's a very useful card to have in any black deck. However, it is always best that you have a strategy of making your opponents discard from their hands. That way, you can make full use of such a card.