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Uncommon Sense: Ashes to Ashes

Welcome back, friends. I know I’ve been lax lately in my quest to bring you the best of hidden gems, buried treasure and forgotten pirate gold that is Uncommon Sense – if you need a target for your ire, please direct all complaints to my five-week-old son, who will be happy to address your concerns about the lack of time I have to devote to Magic – but we’re back today with a real doozy of a card. Going all the way back in time to 1994’s The Dark, we’re checking out some premium black spot removal that bends the colour pie in interesting ways.


Ashes to Ashes

Funk to funky…


So…first glance, it’s Reckless Spite, which is already a solid card that sees play in many black builds. In Commander the loss of five life is a trifling matter, and the card advantage of trading one of yours for two of theirs is not to be sniffed at. So why would we want to run Ashes to Ashes, outside of a need for redundancy of effect?

For those not in the know – which seems to be a lot of people, given how rarely I see this card played – “remove from the game” is NOT an archaic form of “destroy”; it’s actually the old pre-keyword version of exile. As we all know, monoblack does not often get to exile, and certainly not this cheaply – Silence the Believers is certainly a thing, but in terms of relative cost it’s going to be a much bigger drain on our mana pool. Also of note is that Ashes to Ashes lacks Reckless Spite‘s restriction against black creatures; next time the Jarad player is about to sac his Lord of Extinction and kill the whole table, Ashes to Ashes not only removes the key piece but puts it somewhere it can’t return from.

Graveyard shenanigans and recursion are the norm in Commander, with a creature’s death rarely being the end of its impact on the board. Shutting that down cheaply, in monoblack, is extremely powerful tech and if you run any black in your decks at all, you should probably look into this card.

That’s all I have for you today, but if you’re really desperate for more of my musings you can keep an eye on Tricks of the Trade, my semi-regular Commander column over at the excellent (and super smart) Ontological Geek – coming up sometime next week will be five articles reviewing the Commander 2014 decks out-of-the-box, and which generals fit the best with which decks.

See you next time!



  1. Yeah, that’s certainly a cool card!
    Another interesting thing: Ashes to Ashes doesn’t cause you to lose life, it deals damage. That means that you can actually prevent the 5 damage by playing things like Circles of Protection or Platinum Emperion.

  2. Welcome back Tom! Great article and reintroduction of this card to those unfamiliar. I dig old school stuff that I buried in my binder long ago.

    The Black Border “The Dark” version looks soooo much better than my White Border “Chronicles” version. Gonna hafta find me a bb version

    Also… I love this card for Oloro, where life is a resource

    I’ll be keeping an eye on the “Tricks of the Trade” column for your Commander review…

    BTW… Do you have an RSS Feed for your articles over there?

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