There are some cards in Standard that aren’t getting a lot of attention, but work out really well in practice. So today I’m going to start highlighting a few of my favorites, and hopefully you all will come along for the ride. I dislike the fact that I can’t bury the lede due to the title, but yeah, today I’m talking about Vizier of Many Faces.
Clones have been around since the dawn of time. Every Standard format inevitably has its own variation that’s just slightly different than the last. Some are indeed better than others. I was a huge fan of Clever Impersonator from Khans of Tarkir because being able to copy any permanent, from an Oblivion Ring to a planeswalker, felt like it would be quite strong. Unfortunately, it never saw much play.
One version that still sees play to this day is Phantasmal Image, primarily due to its cheap cost. Another is Phyrexian Metamorph, due to it essentially being colorless and also costing 3 mana—it can also copy artifacts, which makes it extremely versatile.
Some are absolute Constructed flops, such as Evil Twin or Mercurial Pretender. These simply don’t do enough. If you spend your turn copying your opponent’s large monster, the last thing you want to do is to take the next turn off to kill said opposing monster, especially in Constructed where it could have hexproof, or your creature might not even survive until then.
Personally, I was a big fan of Altered Ego. You could cast it for 4 mana as a normal Clone, but you could also buff it by paying more mana. Pay 6 or 7 mana to have a significantly larger version of your opponent’s creature. Or your own creature! You do you, buddy. Additionally, the copy couldn’t be countered, giving Altered Ego a lot of perks for a Clone variation. The card still saw minimal play, but that’s based on environment as well.
I think this is a good environment for Vizier of Many Faces.
A number of friends at my local shop have taken to adding 2 copies to the main deck of Temur Energy to good effect. My friend Vasilios “Billy“ Vasilakis actually took the deck to a PPTQ last weekend and ended up winning it! As someone who has watched Vasilios improve over the years, I was immensely proud of him!
In a format with cards like The Scarab God, Glorybringer, Carnage Tyrant, and even lesser creatures like Rogue Refiner and Whirler Virtuoso, Vizier of Many Faces has tons of targets. There are several reasons why this card is better than something like Confiscation Coup, the go-to blue creature hijacker:
- This doesn’t cost energy, so you can play it in any deck. Heck, even the energy decks sometimes don’t have enough to take something extra large.
- This can copy things like Carnage Tyrant that you’re otherwise unable to steal with Confiscation Coup. Additionally, when you copy a Glorybringer, you can attack with it immediately and kill an opposing creature or block if need be, whereas you would presumably be taking a tapped Glorybringer otherwise.
- The Vizier only costs 4 mana, as opposed to the Coup’s 5. But that’s not all! You also get a second use out of it when it dies!
Sure, all of these points may be fairly obvious, but what isn’t obvious is why, if they are so obvious, Vizier of Many Faces isn’t seeing as much play as it should be. Conversely, I do see it popping up more and more in Standard lists, from control to midrange. I imagine you will as well in the coming weeks or months.
When I was at my local store last week, upon realizing how good the Vizier seemed in Standard right now, I made sure to pick up a couple more to complete my play set. I had no idea what their price was, but I knew it had to be increasing, especially with 2 copies appearing in the sideboard of Frank Skarren’s Cincinnati-Classic-winning Temur Energy list. Along with the rest of my tab, they rang up an additional 2 dollars for the Amonkhet Clones. I know this might be a little pricey for some of you, but if you feel like splurging, ChannelFireball has them for about fifty cents each. If you ask me, that’s a steal for a powerful card that’s slated to be in Standard for a good while longer…