Underestimated Legacy cards: Disfigure

disfigure banner

Legacy is a very large format with a huge card pool. It is home of the most broken creatures in Magic’s history, and some of the most broken spells. It is also home of some of the most broken removal spells in the game as well, Swords to Plowshares, Lightning Bolt and Abrupt Decay. It’s no wonder most removal spells printed never see the light of day in a tournament calibre Legacy deck, although there’s an oft-forgotten instant from Zendikar I’d like to discuss: Disfigure. Printed alongside another well-played common instant in Zendikar, Spell Pierce, Disfigure is my choice for second-best Legacy playable spell in the set.

disfigure.hqDisfigure is one of those Instants that’s never the first pick for any deck when it comes to choosing removal spells. In decks that are black and white, Swords to Plowshares is almost always better. In black and green you have Abrupt Decay. In black and red you have Lightning Bolt. Even in mono-black or black-blue, you have interesting choices like Innocent Blood that will probably be taking place before Disfigure in any control-type deck.

However, as removal-spell 5+, after filling up on the better alternatives, Disfigure is pretty damn good. For the sake of argument, let’s list the creatures it kills in the current tier 1 Legacy decks, listed in order of importance:

Deathrite Shaman
Delver of Secrets
Stoneforge Mystic
Young Pyromancer
Wirewood Symbiote and all of its friends in Elves
Mother of Runes and most of its friends in Death and Taxes
Vendilion Clique
Dark Confidant
Snapcaster Mage

Further, look at the creatures that Lighting Bolt kills, but Disfigure doesn’t:

Mirran Crusader
Painter’s Servant
Serra Avenger
Monastery Swiftspear (occasionally)

…and that’s about it. Naturally, Lighning Bolt can also be pointed at someone’s face, making it more flexible and obviously the superior choice. Abrupt Decay misses Mirran Crusader, but also kills Tarmogoyf aside the ones mentioned above. Dismember can take care of almost anything without protection from black, but also costs four life if cast at a comparable cost to Disfigure, which is quite important against the aggressive decks.

As a sideboard card in Team America, Disfigure is absolutely fantastic, and I’ve even had it in the main deck in some metagames. I’d say 2-3 in your 75 is amazing in most cases. Play it, live it, love it.

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