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By: runeliger, Sebastian Park
Sep 18 2010 1:59am
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Ah! Spoiler season. 

Since the dawn of time, man has always wanted to see what's next. So what we invented the wheel.. I want to know what we're going to do with said wheel (hence the cart). However, if the cart was spoiled today, would we be able to truly grasp how it interacted with the cart? Well we'd have a pretty good idea, but without having the cart in its intended environment, it'd be a hard sell.

Now, this reality extends to magic.I could write a bunch of words (approximately 1000 actually) about how said new card interact with what we already have and how it would dominate this or that. But, what proof would I have? How would I articulate how powerful this card is viewing it from a vacuum? 

Well the first thing I'd do would be to make an educated guess can be made by referencing history.

History, meet your newest addition: 

Oh goodness. Carnifex Demon. Now, I won't make any guarantees (I sense a but coming), but (here it is!) this card will undoubtedly be a bomb in this limited format. 

There. I made the claim. Now what's my proof?

In limited formats past, 6 mana 6/6 flyers have traditionally been good. And by good, I mean great. They evade the ground stall, beat for a lot, and end games. Additionally, it's been the case that cards that wipe the board also tend to be very good. Cards that provide incremental advantage by weakening opponent creatures? Also very good.

Now what happens when you add 3 traditionally good cards together? Well sometimes, awful things, but in this case, a very decent flyer that starts off as a 4/4, then wipes the board of smaller utility creatures and beats in. 

So yes, this card will be good in limited. Now how good will it be in other formats? It's very easy to say that this card, given that the titans have raised the bar on how quickly a card's abilities should affect the game state (Yes, when a titan can come in and immediately create card advantage, Carnifex Demon looks awfully small comparatively), that this card won't be great in standard. However, the prevalence of one keyword could change that. Proliferate, a new ability which reads "You choose any number of permanents and/or players with counters on them, then give each another counter of a kind already there", can make this card infinitely better. Consider this scenario. You first remove one counter from Carnifex, putting -1/-1 counters on the board. Then proliferate (using some card with it, be it Contagion Engine or what not), targeting Carnifex Demon and your opponents creatures. Now you have 2 more barrels to fire with Carnifex, and your opponents board looks more dead by the second. As Eric Hadam has gotten me to say, seems good. 

A long shot you say? Maybe, but if one good proliferate card engine is spoiled, you may see Carnifex Demon entering the "this could be playable. Maybe. I think." debate (A debate I have with my buddies about marginal cards that may just one day get there).


Even if its constructed hopes (like my NBA dreams) don't work out, Carnifex Demon still has something going for it: The flavor of this card is amazing. 

For those of you who don't know, Carnifex is latin for "executioner." Given that This demon sweeps in and can execute a board of Fauna Shamans, Meddling Mages, Birds of Paradise, Llanowar Elves, and those pesky 1/1 soldier tokens, it's just what an executioner should do. 

I'm sure Freed from the Real's Tribal expert AJ_Impy will have a field day with demons once more now that it has this flavorful addition in its mix. 

So in sum, Carnifex Demon is a great card you should include in your sealed and draft decks. It will win you games and cause headaches all around. Take this as my limited advice for the upcoming limited PTQs.

You should also re-evaluate this card when it's no longer in a vacuum. As the recent pro tour's appearance of Treefolk Harbinger shows us, you can never be sure if a card will never be good (and boy, never did I think Treefolk Harbinger would find its way into extended power-level decks).

With a contagion coming (*cough*), in the form of artifact shenanigans, who knows, maybe this demon is just the solution to all of our problems.

Or maybe not. It's still a vacuum

-Sebastian Park 

runeliger on MTGO and on Twitter

PS So I tried really hard to give a shout out to my buddy Calcano for his recent pro tour success within the article. Unfortunately, I couldn't fit it in anywhere. He's not an executioner, he's not infectious, and he's definitely not a demon. What he is though is a magic player on a mission who's getting work done. Good luck the rest of the way man.

PPS If you like to podcast, Freed from the Real is looking for a tournament level player to be their newest member! Contact or for more information!

PPPS Aleksi Briclot's malicious artwork will give kids nightmares. Keep it away from your children. 



Small correction by laughinman at Sat, 09/18/2010 - 05:44
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in favor of the Demon:
you don't target anything with proliferate. You simply choose.

Yep, pick up your Helix by themonkey at Sat, 09/18/2010 - 11:17
themonkey's picture

Yep, pick up your Helix Pinnacles while you can.

Hey just wanted to say you by Paul Leicht at Sat, 09/18/2010 - 05:47
Paul Leicht's picture

Hey just wanted to say you will be missed on the pod cast. Hope whatever you are doing instead is more fun and worth it. The demon looks absolutely terrific (in all senses of that word) as demons go. I expect it will fit nicely in a number of tribal-based decks not just with demons either.

The fun combo for this guy is by AJ_Impy at Sat, 09/18/2010 - 12:30
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The fun combo for this guy is with itself. Two of them in play can take turns killing everything else indefinitely. Reminds me of Pestilence Demon.

Carnifex by RoninX at Mon, 09/20/2010 - 18:57
RoninX's picture

For what its worth: Carnifex doesn't actually *mean* executioner in Latin, despite what the first several hits on a google search claim. It actually means "butcher". literally "meat-maker" (this would also be a pretty gnarly name for a Demon). It was only later applied as a titular addendum to the executioner of Rome, the post with which it eventually became synonymous.