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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Aug 21 2018 11:00am
4.6
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 Are the Sphinges living statues of lions with human heads, or lions with human heads that sometimes turn into statues? Did you know that the Egyptian Sphinges were male (androsphinges) while the Greek Sphinges female? And that the former where benevolent, if fearsome, while the latter malevolent? Does this qualify as Bronze Age double standard? Were the riddles just an over-complicated form of password-protected access? Does drawing and discarding cards really qualify as solving the Sphinx's riddles? Why did Magic wait so much before making Sphinx an iconic type like Angel, Demon and Dragon? Am I done with the questions?


1. 

  • Name: Alhammarret, High Arbiter   >> summary
  • Set: Magic Origins
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: This austere guy with an Arabic-sounding name is essentially a big Meddling Mage. On top of the large flying body, for five more mana compared to the little Wizard you also get to look at the opponent's hand before choosing what to block. The deal appears sweet: you see the removal that would hit Alhammarret, you can just stop that particular spell from ever happening. But what if there's nothing useful to name? What if your High Arbiter shows up in front of an opponent with an empty hand? Well, then you'll be stuck with a strictly worse Mahamoti Djinn, because, unlike Meddling Mage, Alhammarret can't just name any card, he has only power over what's in front of him. Which also means that if the opponent doesn't have any removal in hand when the ETB trigger resolves, but then they topdeck one... yeah, that ability won't always deliver.
  • Backstory: Alhammarret was young Jace's tutor on Vryn. He exploited the budding mind mage's powers for his own schemes, trying to keep the plane's two warring factions in conflict, to maintain his own lucrative position as High Arbiter. He used to erase Jace's memory after each reconnaissance mission (hence the card's mechanic of making others "forget" about things), including the memory of his spark igniting; in the end, Jace successfully rebelled and killed the bearded crook, if at the cost of permanently losing the memories of his own family and childhood.
  • Rating: 6

2. 

  • Name: Arbiter of the Ideal   >> summary
  • Set: Born of the Gods
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 9
  • Evaluation: Admittedly, Arbiter of the Ideal does a couple of extremely cool things. The most prominent, of course, is putting one card onto the battlefield for free each turn, counterspell-proof, using a mechanic that seems to foreshadow manifest (the name of the counters it uses all but suggests a design link with the future keyword from Fate Reforged), and Whisperwood Elemental's ability in particular. Except, the Arbiter's manifestations are dropped face up, so you won't have to pay additional costs to have them on the battlefield as the proper selves; and this covers noncreature artifacts and lands as well, while you can put enchantments, instants and sorceries back on the top of your library where you found them, so nothing goes to waste to create unturnable 2/2s. The second cool things is that everything that gets on the board this way is given the enchantment type, and that could be a Johnny-friendly aspect to the whole thing, at the very least triggering all the "enchantments matter" cards, like Verduran Enchantress and her brothers and sisters. But what's the price of all this, ultimately? Mostly, just choosing to play this Sphinx over the similarly-costed, similarly-bodied godmother of all the card advantage fatties, of the Sphinx variety or otherwise: Consecrated Sphinx. What's better, two more cards in hand, or likely one more card on the battlefield? The card advantage says the former, but the tempo advantage is with the latter, which could even lead to bombastic consequences, especially if you have ways to manipulate the top of the library (and the Arbiter's tribe at the very least provides one easy way to know what's coming). Still, barring tapping and untapping shenanigans to facilitate the inspired trigger, you'll have to wait until the Arbiter successfully survives the opponent's entire turn, then your combat phase, then another enemy turn, and only THEN she'll be ready to get going. That's a lot of turns for something that's not exactly hard to kill. Whereas with Consecrated Sphinx you're already profiting the moment she lives to see the opponent's next draw step. This said, Arbiter of Ideal remains the proud handler of a potentially game-breaking trigger, if more attuned to a casual environment.
  • Rating: 7

3. 

  • Name: Argent Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Scars of Mirrodin, Modern Masters 2015
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 7
  • Evaluation: Argent Sphinx's main characteristic is being elusive. And her other characteristic is loving artifacts, while unfortunately not being one herself. If you don't own enough artifacts, she won't do her dimension-shifting trick for you – or for herself, really, given that it'll usually be all about dodging removal. And with toughness 3 (despite that picture that makes her look gigantic), odds are there'll be a lot of removal to dodge, which is the main issue with this silvery gal. Currently, there are only two other Sphinges with CMC 4 (of only four in total that cost less than 5 mana), but they both have higher toughness and no obsession for any permanent type, which makes them better than Argent Sphinx in almost every situation. You might find some use for this in artifact-heavy builds (it saw play back in Scars of Mirrodin Block Constructed, indeed), but it's certainly not a staple even there.
  • Rating: 6

4. 

  • Name: Arjun, the Shifting Flame   >> summary
  • Set: Commander 2015
  • Additional Types: Legendary, Wizard
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Leave it to the first and, so far, only red Sphinx to bring a semi-random effect into the solemn world of the tribe. Actually, there's an aspect of unknowability to most Sphinges, some degree of not being able to tell what will happen, what card will you draw, what effect some trigger will end up engendering; but there's usually some kind of key to it, some way to control it, to exploit the Sphinx's gifts once you "solve the riddle". With Arjun, it's just an unsolvable riddle: your hand will inevitably get replaced every time you cast a spell. It's in the mold of other red "chaotic" effects a la Warp World, but in this case it's entirely one-sided, which makes it not just less fun, but also devoid of any strategic value whatsoever: there's no way you won't end up exchanging good stuff for bad stuff at some point. Perhaps you could pair him up with some gizmo that bounces lands back in your hand, so you'll turn surplus mana into more potential gas? Uhm... Nah.
  • Backstory: We don't really know who this guys is or where he comes from, as the two stories that accompanied Commander 2015 didn't mention him at all (one was about Meren of Clan Nel Toth, the other about Teysa Karlov, so we can assume Arjun is neither from Alara nor from Ravnica). The flavor text tells us he incites the passions of his supplicants, so he's the kind of Sphinx that grants audiences and then is a jerk about it.
  • Rating: 5

5. 

  • Name: Azor, the Lawbringer   >> summary
  • Set: Rivals of Ixalan
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 12
  • Evaluation: Yet another Sphinx that asks for Titan mana, though in this case for a larger body than the 5/5 paradigm set by instant classic Sphinx of Jwar Isle, Azor comes with the non-trivial ability of casting, appropriately, Sphinx's Revelation once per attack (that was an Azorius card, and this guy's name is Azor, so draw your own conclusions). Further point of interest is the fact that he also casts Sphinx's Decree as an ETB trigger. You can soft-lock the opponent out of playing sorceries with a repeatable blinking effect like Venser, the Sojourner's – or just Karakas if you are willing to hardcast Azor every turn. He's a mana-intensive guy for sure, but he simply oozes power.
  • Backstory: And yes, he really is the founder of the Azorius Senate on Ravnica, not to mention the creator of the Guildpact and the Implicit Maze. Azor is an ancient planeswalker, who for thousands of years would visit planes and establish system of laws among their population (hence his moniker), while influencing the looks, mindset and customs of many fellow Sphinges along the way, especially on Alara and Zendikar. He was also friends with Ugin, and once the two of them tried to trap Ugin's evil twin Nicol Bolas on Ixalan, but in order to do so, Azor had to sacrifice his spark, thus giving birth to the Immortal Sun, which is the reason planeswalkers can't walk away from Ixalan. Jace and Vraska later meet him and didn't have many kind words for the old Sphinx, letting him know the system he devised to run Ravnica ultimately proved more than a bit messy. Also, he violated the Prime Directive or something.
  • Rating: 8

6. 

  • Name: Belltower Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Ravnica: City of Guilds, Magic 2012
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 7
  • Evaluation: Sphinx is the kind of creature type that works best when placed at higher rarity. In every case they tried to put them at uncommon, the result was unsatisfactory to say the least. Take for instance this Belltower Sphinx, which is both the first uncommon Sphinx and, along with fellow Ravnican Cerulean Sphinx, one of those responsible for relaunching and consolidating the tribe as a blue staple after the original Petra Sphinx from Legends had unsuccessfully tried to make it a white thing. Historical value aside, Belltower's body is severely sub-par for a five-mana creature, and his power abysmal. As for the ability, well, I doubt even a dredge-oriented deck would bother with such a slow, unreliable effect. If you aim to self-mill, I guess you may find some apt interaction with damage sources (I can't bring myself to say "combo"), but even then, you'd be better off using Swans of Bryn Argoll instead, and actually draw cards before discarding them.
  • Rating: 2

7. 

  • Name: Cerulean Sphinx   >> summary
  • Set: Ravnica: City of Guilds
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: As far as stats go, a 5/5 flyer for six is par for the course. Cerulean Sphinx doesn't add much to such basic package, though: just the most awkwardly drastic removal dodge conceivable, where you essentially Condemn your own creature to avoid for it to end into the graveyard (which doesn't look like a brilliant move in modern Magic) or the exile zone. It only makes some sense against Control Magic effects, essentially. With so many great 6 CMC Sphinges (not to mention the non-Sphinx options), including one that can't even be targeted to begin with, one can't find a reason to ever considering playing this one. Of course when he was released, back in the first Ravnica set, he was the third Sphinx ever printed (and the second was in the same expansion, just with a lower collector number), so we could cut him some slack. But we won't.
  • Rating: 4

8. 

  • Name: Chancellor of the Spires   >> summary
  • Set: New Phyrexia
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 12
  • Evaluation: The Phyrexian Sphinges are nasty and they mean business (for further proof, see below). The blue member of the Chancellor cycle – for chaos-bringing monstrosities, the Phyrexians sure are well-organized – happens to be this finely compleated gal, who gives you a free instant or sorcery from the opponent's arsenal as a properly abusable ETB effect. Our Chancellor is also wise enough to raise the odds of finding a worthy target in the enemy graveyard via some pre-game milling, which admittedly might prove risky when your opponent actually planned to mill themselves. Plus, a seven-mana creature in your first hand is hardly good news, and until you actually manage to drop her on the battlefield, all that milling is essentially moot. Not to mention, Torrential Gearhulk kind of puts her to shame. Nonetheless, she comes with a free spell. "Free" is an alluring word.
  • Rating: 7

9. 

  • Name: Cloudreader Sphinx   >> summary
  • Set: Dominaria
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 7
  • Evaluation: You can see Cloudreader Sphinx as an Air Elemental that traded one point of power for some scry; or better, as a more cost-effective Horizon Scholar, whose blueprint wasn't that great to begin with. Look, it's just a common, the second common Sphinx ever, and we can't ask a midrange common to be all that, now, can we? I'm sure it was happily picked in Dominaria drafts.
  • Rating: 3

10.  

  • Name: Consecrated Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Mirrodin Besieged, Masterpiece Series: Amonkhet Invocations, Iconic Masters
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: What could even be said about Consecrated Sphinx that it's not already evident by looking at her ugly, Phyrexian face? Yeah, she doesn't impact the board right away, meaning that if she meets removal one second later (as she should), you didn't accomplish much. But she just has to survive a tiny bit more, until the opponent's next draw step, and at that point, boy, your card advantage is already worth the mana you invested by a three-to-one ratio: two cards you drew, one card the opponent has to use to deal with her. She sticks around some more, and it's good game. Seriously, very few creatures spell good game so consistently. Consecrated Sphinx laughs at Frost Titan and plays poker with Wurmcoil Engine (with good results). Protection? Who needs that? Well, no, she does need that. Kindly provide it to her, if you want her to do that thing where she wins the game for you. And, oh, multiplayer, you said? It's so overpowered there it's not even funny. If you play blue in Commander and don't include Consecrated Sphinx in your deck, you should consider switching format to something you understand better.
  • Rating: 10

11. 

  • Name: Conundrum Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Magic 2011, Magic: The Gathering Commander, Commander 2018
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Conundrum Sphinx is the most well-rounded of the early Sphinges. Not that there are a lot of them, just the less robust Argent Sphinx, the graveyard-specific Vexing Sphinx, and Conundrum's direct rival Curator of Mysteries. Both the latter and Conundrum are 4/4 flyers for four mana, which isn't a deal you get all the times (most creatures with those stats come with horrible downsides), and deserves some attention in its own right. The equal-opportunity guessing card ability is just cute, even if it's a bit baffling that apparently this Sphinx decides to riddle you along with your enemy while she's attacking them. Also annoying when it takes forever for MTGO to bring up the list of all existing cards in response of the trigger, and for the opponent to understand what's happening the first time around. Don't worry, though, they won't guess it right 99% of the times. On the other hand, you might.
  • Rating: 8

12. 

  • Name: Curator of Mysteries   >> summary
  • Set: Amonkhet
  • Converted Mana Cost: 4
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: This Amonkhet Sphinx is the worthiest challenger to Conundrum Sphinx's hold on this spot on the Sphinx curve. Same cost, same body, but instead of a ticket to the card lottery, he just has a one-mana cycling, which makes him ideal in a Living Death/Living End kind of build. There's also a secondary ability that grants basic scry if you cycle or discard stuff in his presence, which is further synergy with those archetypes. Pretty solid guy.
  • Rating: 8

13. 

  • Name: Enigma Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Alara Reborn, Planechase 2012, Planechase Anthology, Commander 2018
  • Additional Type: Artifact
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 9
  • Evaluation: Enigma Sphinx is a big cascade card, you have to give her that. The things you'll end up playing for free when you cast her have a chance to be pretty beefy, like, say, any of the six-mana Sphinges in a Sphinx deck. And you get to do it again a few turns down the road if she dies. All of this isn't bad, and even if her overall body and battlefield stats lack the punch associated with a seven-mana beater, she can still inflict 5 damage per combat. It's just that this is almost as over the top as the cascade mechanic gets, while seven mana across three colors are a pretty serious commitment, even with a free extra card involved. Speaking of which, make it a free, extra, random card. Not a land, but not necessarily much more, and definitely not something you can foretell that easily, as it'll probably potentially amount to anything else in your deck. By the way, for some reason, the Vanguard card with the same name mixes the effect up with Sphinx Summoner's, perhaps in virtue of being both artifact Sphinges from Alara.
  • Rating: 7

14.  

  • Name: Glyph Keeper   >> summary
  • Set: Amonkhet
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Amonkhet has contributed two compelling tools to Sphinx reanimator, both the self-discarding Curator of Mysteries and this graveyard-friendly embalmer, which doubles as sort of a cheaper Sphinx of Jwar Isle, with the same fast evasive clock and comparable resilience. Granted, Glyph Keeper's localized Kira, Great Glass-Spinner ability is not exactly shroud nor hexproof, but in a way it's even better, because the opponent is forced to waste two removals on him, and if none of them was an exiler, they'll have to do it again when his mummified revenant will rise; it can be unnerving. The only thing he really fears are board sweepers, but very few creatures don't fear those. Bandaged mummy wings shouldn't sustain fly anymore, though. Just saying.
  • Rating: 8

15. 

  • Name: Goliath Sphinx   >> summary
  • Set: Worldwake
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 15
  • Evaluation: Looking up the mythological Sphinges, one realizes there wasn't really much in the way of mystical in what they were supposed to do. They guarded stuff, mostly a passage, and asked riddles as passwords. So they were essentially oversized club bouncers with a knack for puzzles. In most of Magic's incarnations, they somehow have become sort of all-knowing seers that will share their wisdom if you appease them, hence (or due to) the choice of making them blue. But originally, they would just beat up (and eat) people who tried to crash their parties. So Goliath Sphinx may be just a dull, uninteresting brute with great hairstyle, but he's also the most faithful to the job description from the source material. Plus, he's still one the most massive flyers for his cost. But yeah, also a big French vanilla dork. His flavor text says he has "endless patience". He better, considering he has to wait a long time between occurrences of being actually put into a deck.
  • Rating: 5

16. 

  • Name: Guardian of Tazeem   >> summary
  • Set: Battle for Zendikar
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 9
  • Evaluation: This extremely leonine Sphinx is the kind of decent midrange beater that'll just never make the cut in a competitive build. The landfall ability is cute, but clunky compared to Frost Titan, which just sits one mana away.
  • Rating: 6

17. 

  • Name: Horizon Scholar   >> summary
  • Sets: Theros, Core Set 2019
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Another instance of an uncommon Sphinx that just didn't come together. Why should I spend six mana to scry 2, ending up with a body that's the same I could have obtained for two mana less? Riddle me that, Horizon Scholar.
  • Rating: 2

18. 

  • Name: Isperia the Inscrutable   >> summary
  • Set: Dissension
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 9
  • Evaluation: Isperia, both the first legendary Sphinx and the first multicolored Sphinx to see print, was also only the fourth Sphinx in existence at that point in time, following the progenitor Petra Sphinx, then Belltower Sphinx and Cerulean Sphinx from earlier in the Ravnica block. By looking up these first four instances of the tribe, we can safely say that, wow, Sphinges sure were pretty crappy and sort of Griffin-like originally. Besides her legendary status, Isperia didn't do much to change this approach. She was by far the best one back then, but still, for five mana, of which four colored in two different colors, you get a weirdly unbalanced, heavily defensive body that you want to swing with, triggering an unnecessarily complicate chain of events. Let's see, you have attack with Isperia, then actually connect with her, then you'll be asked to guess a card in that opponent's hand, in sort of an inverse Cursed Scroll business, and if you do it successfully, you'll go fetch another flyer from your library. I'm sure there was some flavor or logic underneath all of this, but it's lost on me (she is "inscrutable", after all). And sure, it's potential card advantage plus three damage if you pull it off, which is a big if. I'd personally go with something less convoluted, even if she makes for a fun, casual commander.
  • Backstory: Isperia was Guild Champion of the Azorius Senate on Ravnica, back when Guild Leader was the Grand Arbiter Augustin IV.
  • Rating: 5

19. 

  • Name: Isperia, Supreme Judge   >> summary
  • Set: Return to Ravnica
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: After her promotion to Guild Leader, Isperia now lurks from the roof of the Azorius Senate like a gigantic Batman. Also, she left behind the intricacies of card-guessing and took the most straightforward way of just drawing you cards. Or actually, use the threat of card-drawing to stall attacks. You can't really count on Isperia 2.0 to replenish your hand like the similarly costed Consecrated Sphinx does, and she's not very resilient or fearsome otherwise, which means she can't get as high a rating as other high-profile Sphinges, but she'll give your opponents pause when it comes to actually send their armies to your side of the battlefield. And she costs one colorless mana more than her original version, for just one point of overall body improvement, but at least it's all focused on the power side now (don't ask how that happened), so Isperia can kick some butt while making the opponent cringe come the declare attackers step of their combat phases. In Commander, she's a nice general that embodies the ageless political statement, "You better go bother someone else and leave me alone."
  • Backstory: Apparently, when the Senate was in dire needs following the breach of the Guildpact (before Jace became its living incarnation), Isperia put aside her Sphinx-like preference for solitude and accepted the ruling position for the good of the people. So very Cincinnatus of her.
  • Rating: 8

20. 

  • Name: Jelenn Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Dragon's Maze, Battlebond
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 6
  • Evaluation: Flavor tells me that the Sphinges of the Jelenn variety are Ravnica's law-makers. That's the most interesting thing I can say of a five-mana, uncommon Sphinx that swings for one in order to give your other attackers a temporary anthem. I get that they wanted to broaden the tribe's range of action, but aggro enhancer? That just isn't how the Sphinges roll. And, you know, there are actually good creatures at uncommon, they don't necessarily need to suck.
  • Rating: 4

21. 

  • Name: Jwar Isle Avenger   >> summary
  • Set: Oath of the Gatewatch
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 6
  • Evaluation: The first common Sphinx ever printed is... well, just some common filler designed for Limited. If you happen to fulfill the surge requirement, you'll get a 3/3 flyer for three. Yeah, let's say that if Ulamog and Kozilek were ultimately defeated, it hasn't been thanks to the help of the Zendikari Sphinges of that time.
  • Rating: 3

22. 

  • Name: Magister Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Conflux, Archenemy
  • Additional Type: Artifact
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Magister Sphinx's ETB effect doesn't exactly spell "target player loses 10 life". In fact, the more you wait before committing her to the battlefield, the less effective she will be. Hell, if you wait long enough, you even risk to give the opponent their life back. This said, it might well be a game where you durdled for a while, never doing much in the way of damage, then you cast or, more likely, cheat a Magister Sphinx into play, and later you successfully connect with it, and suddenly you're looking at an opponent on the brink of death. And just think at what this means for massive lifegaining archetypes like Soul Sisters or Martyr Life. And you may use the trigger to save yourself from dying, as unlikely as that might be. The thing is, Magister Sphinx's usefulness is kinda hard to judge. It might end up being only an overcosted 5/5 flyer. There's also a wording issue to be accounted for: when it comes to formats with higher starting life totals, like Commander, cards such as Magister Sphinx, as well as Sorin Markov, are simply worded the wrong way, as they weren't supposed to inflict as much as 30 damage. Compare the wording of newer cards like Chalice of Life or Resolute Archangel. That's what this card should say, too: "When Magister Sphinx enters the battlefield, target player's life total becomes 10 less than their starting life total". And I know this would make her weaker, but it'd be the correct templating.
  • Rating: 7

23. 

  • Name: Master of Predicaments   >> summary
  • Set: Magic 2015
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Created by guest designer David Sirlin, Master of Predicaments is a Sphinx that actually poses a riddle, which is a good marriage of mechanic and flavor. And it's one damn hard riddle, too: the web of second-guessing triggered by his ability is mindboggling, which I suppose was the whole point. Let's say my hand contains a flashy six-mana spell (probably another Sphinx) and a three-mana targeted removal, and I hope to play both this turn with some help from my Master of Predicaments. What should I choose? Will the opponent say "greater than 4" by default, to prevent me from casting expensive stuff for free? Or will they say "lesser than 4", thinking I wouldn't choose "greater than 4" because I already know they would choose it? And what if I choose it for this very reason? A real predicament, indeed. The result outcome is never easily predictable, though you should get something out of it in average over the course of a few attempts. Still, you have to connect first; and guessing game and pompous name aside, Master of Predicaments is just an Air Elemental. Definitely not a Spike card, but a fun one.
  • Rating: 6

24. 

  • Name: Medomai the Ageless   >> summary
  • Set: Theros
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Is there anything sexier than extra turns? Just the thought of it evokes primordial battles fought with jewelry and black flowers and weird skeletons walking alongside road cones. And yet, I'm not entirely sold on Medomai. Possibly because I never saw him actually played. He has to be good. But is he? For starters, his stats are underwhelming for a six-mana dude that attacks every other turn (well, that's counting the turns he procures, too). But sure, by the time you drop him, you might have a scary army of your own that he'll cause to turn sideways twice as often, possibly ending the game right there the first time around. And extra turns, you guy. Extra mana, extra cards, extra everything. He is good.
  • Backstory: Medomai was a prophet that would come to Meletis (Theros's Athens) to warn people of upcoming disasters. I don't think they believed him. They never do.
  • Rating: 8

25. 

  • Name: Ominous Sphinx   >> summary
  • Set: Hour of Devastation
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: The one uncommon Sphinx from Amonkhet block. It's a "discarding matters" kind of guy, but not in a particularly crucial way, even in a tribe featuring cards like Vexing Sphinx and Sphinx of Lost Truths. And boy, doesn't it feel like there are way too many Sphinges that are just Air Elemental variants?
  • Rating: 3

26. 

  • Name: Petra Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Legends, Chronicles, Masters Edition
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 7
  • Evaluation: There she is, the one and only Original Sphinx! Look at how fluffy her mane is! Look at her beautiful plumage! Look at her nearly unreadable fine print text! Here's the Oracle version of it: "Tap: Target player chooses a card name, then reveals the top card of their library. If that card has the chosen name, that player puts it into their hand. If it doesn't, the player puts it into their graveyard." So, she basically does what Conundrum Sphinx does. Only, without actually attacking or, you know, dealing any damage in the process. And she comes with one point of power less and costs one mana more (of which THREE white, for inexplicable reasons; but I long stopped trying to understand the thought process of the Legends designers, as I fear for my own sanity). But look at how white she is! Remarkable Sphinx, the Petra, isn't it?
  • Rating: 2

27.  

  • Name: Prognostic Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Theros, Magic 2015 Clash Pack: Fate and Fury, Archenemy: Nicol Bolas
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: In Theros Block Constructed, as well as during his Standard era, Prognostic Sphinx was all the rage. But overall? Well, this bearded old man Sphinx is still pretty good, as he does a lot of different useful things, like dribbling removal while being a free discard outlet for graveyard-exploiting purposes. And when he attacks, he gives you a serious chance at fixing your draws for the next few turns. His main antagonist in Sphinxdom is Sphinx of Lost Truths, bearing the same exact body and casting cost, and similar functions. And in a mass reanimator build, being able to dig three-card-deep into your deck before discarding is a huge advantage, and barring exilers, you don't even need for your enabler to be able to avoid removal, since you actually want for it to die as well before you cast your Living Death. But nitpicks aside, Prognostic firmly remains among the good ones.
  • Rating: 8

28. 

  • Name: Riddlemaster Sphinx   >> summary
  • Set: Core Set 2019
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: I can't believe they've waited 25 years to give a Sphinx the moniker of "riddlemaster". And then they did it with one that doesn't even have a mechanic involving something suggesting riddles. I guess you can see it as riddle-adjacent, the consequence of a creature failing to answer correctly the Sphinx's question and being "sent away". It doesn't really stand to flavor scrutiny (does the Riddlemaster teleport the travelers? Wouldn't it make more sense if she tapped them?), and at the end of the day, it's just a fattie version of good old Man-o'-War, which isn't a bad deal per se, but it's nothing new. She's strictly better than a Angler Drake used offensively, if that counts as an accomplishment. At least she doesn't bounce herself when she enters an empty battlefield. Though at that point you're just dropping Mahamoti Djinn and you're even one toughness short.
  • Rating: 6

29.  

  • Name: Sandstone Oracle   >> summary
  • Sets: Commander 2015, Iconic Masters, Commander Anthology Volume II
  • Additional Type: Artifact
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Sandstone Oracle has an honest ETB trigger for being uncommon, though it's hard to envision replenishing your hand this way, and there's a chance she won't give you anything more than a 4/4 flyer for seven mana, and without Platinum Angel's ability. But hey, she's so far the only colorless Sphinx in existence, so there's that.
  • Rating: 5

30. 

  • Name: Serra Sphinx   >> summary
  • Set: Planar Chaos
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: The alternate reality of Planar Chaos turned Serra Angel into a Sphinx (and Serra's Realm into a plane populated by Sphinges). Which further illuminates how the modern-bordered Sphinges has been made into "blue Angels". But nothing more than that, I'm afraid. It's playable, as Serra Angel still kind of is. It once more renders Air Elemental (and all its functional clones) obsolete. But there are also cards that make Serra Sphinx obsolete, so it's not that high on the food chain as it'd wish to be.
  • Rating: 5

31. 

  • Name: Sharding Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Shards of Alara, Commander 2013, Commander 2018
  • Additional Type: Artifact
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Sharding Sphinx is a bit clunky, I'd give you that. But she actually impacts the board from the get-go, because the token generation effect (which is nothing to sneeze at: those are flying Thopters she creates) is triggered by any other artifact creature, too. And by the tokens themselves, later on, so it's a geometrical progression. Sure, you have plenty of better finishers to cast at 6 mana, in the Sphinx tribe or otherwise, but let's at least concede that Sharding Sphinx does have some built-in inevitability, and can leave a trace behind even if dealt with soon enough. Plus, it interacts with artifact-finding and artifact-reviving cards like Sphinx Summoner and Sharuum the Hegemon.
  • Rating: 7

32.  

  • Name: Sharuum the Hegemon   >> summary
  • Sets: Shards of Alara, From the Vault: Legends, Commander 2013, Commander 2016
  • Additional Types: Legendary, Artifact
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Sharuum is the Karmic Guide of the Sphinx tribe, therefore extremely powerful. Compared to the mentioned Angel, it's all moved up one notch or two, both cost- and stats-wise, but I, for one, am fine with that. Six mana isn't a lot for what potentially amounts to two big creatures (or a creature and a noncreature: read further). Plus, Sharuum is an artifact herself, so nicely exploitable in all sorts of ways. And she makes for a great commander for both Sphinx tribal or, even better, any artifact-based build. In fact, I should note that her ability doesn't care for artifact creatures only; indeed, she likes to return Mindslaver and Oblivion Stone back to the battlefield. Also, according to her flavor text, she wants to hear your riddles, rather than annoying you with hers. How cute is that?
  • Backstory: Sharuum is the sovereign, called "hegemon", of the Esper shard of Alara, and her story has a bit of a "romance among Sphinges" angle. Centuries ago, she had a lover named Crucius, the Sphinx and likely planeswalker who introduced the etherium into the plane. When Crucius disappeared mysteriously, Sharuum devoted her life to find him, even resorting to accept the dubious help of Tezzeret. In an atypical show of morality, though, the metal-mage actually managed to reunite Sharuum with her lost lover, and with their son Kemuel. It's all so jarring that is probably not even canon anymore.
  • Rating: 9

33. 

  • Name: Sphinx Ambassador   >> summary
  • Set: Magic 2010
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Sphinx Ambassador was one of the first mythics to make perfectly clear that not all the cards printed under the new rarity (introduced less than a year prior) had to be powerful, or even just not crappy. Sure, she's a seven-mana beater with a twist, but no impact, no resilience, no real reason for her cost to go beyond Titan mana. Granted, she does cast a Bribery if she deals combat damage to an opponent. Okay, not exactly a Bribery-Bribery, as you have to engage your opponent in a battle of wits where they'll try to name their best creature, so you won't end up with some gigantic Eldrazi on the battlefield. Or maybe they'll anticipate your move so they will actually name their second best? Okay, scratch that, there's too many "if" factors here (if she connects, if you choose right, if your opponent doesn't, if there's even actually something good to take in their decks), and too high of a CMC to begin with. It is crappy. Just play freaking Bribery instead.
  • Rating: 5

34. 

  • Name: Sphinx of Jwar Isle   >> summary
  • Sets: Zendikar, Commander 2014, Archenemy: Nicol Bolas, Commander 2018
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Sphinx of Jwar Isle proves that Sphinges don't need to have particularly complicated mechanics to be good. He's just a big flyer for a reasonable price that's out of spot removal reach. For these reasons, he earned himself a history as a finisher in Modern control builds. He doesn't outshine his fancier sister (then again, who does?), but he does surpass Frost Titan in my book. And I like knowing my next card, while my opponent doesn't. It's just a small little bonus, but it's nice, and it interacts with effects that care about knowing what's on top of your library, including the tribe's own Conundrum Sphinx.
  • Rating: 9

35. 

  • Name: Sphinx of Lost Truths   >> summary
  • Set: Zendikar
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Possibly my favorite Sphinx, this crazy rasta guy is such a great discard enabler of reanimation targets that are both sitting in your hands or you were digging for. And he digs deep. He drops earlier enough, but still gets the option to become the most amazing card-drawing ETB effect ever once you've reached the point where you have the mana to pay for the kicker cost, which merely requires two extra mana anyway. I also like that his body is skewed toward toughness, because his role is to set up things in preparation for some big play (e.g. Living Death, Open the Vaults), and fending off attackers in the meantime is another thing he does well.
  • Rating: 9

36. 

  • Name: Sphinx of Magosi   >> summary
  • Sets: Rise of the Eldrazi, Commander 2014, Welcome Deck 2016, Conspiracy: Take the Crown, Welcome Deck 2017
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 12
  • Evaluation: It seems to me that for a tribe involved with riddles and such, the best Sphinges are actually the most straightforward and uncomplicated ones (perhaps that's just a rule for Magic cards in general). Sphinx of Magosi has a great body for six mana (he's essentially a flying Titan), and an impressive ability to boot: you have some spare mana during your opponent's end phase? What about drawing you some cards? If left unattended, he can actually draws you two cards per turn while swinging for six, which is even slightly more than what the paradigmatic Consecrated Sphinx usually does. Granted, Consecrated Sphinx can do much more, and doesn't tap your mana in the process. But still, Magosi is good enough, and especially recommended in Commander, where digging into your deck is even more crucial, and mana shortage stops being a problem soon enough.
  • Rating: 8

37. 

  • Name: Sphinx of the Chimes   >> summary
  • Set: Return to Ravnica
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 11
  • Evaluation: Let's get this out of the way first: Sphinx of the Chimes was not conceived for Singleton formats. That much is true. In other formats, it's still not that easy to come across two nonland cards with the same name that you feel comfortable to discard; the chance that they were stuff that you actually wanted in the graveyard is astronomically poor, unless you really built around this Sphinx, which is probably a casual approach to begin with (note that CottonRhetoric in that article doesn't even try to have the discarded cards matter in and of themselves). Maybe with a lot of flashback stuff, or Squee, Goblin Nabob. Now, a couple Squees make for a great draw engine with Sphinx of the Chimes, don't they? And who knows, maybe one day they'll print a card that says, "All cards in your hand count as having the same name".
  • Rating: 5

38. 

  • Name: Sphinx of the Final Word   >> summary
  • Set: Oath of the Gatewatch
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Sphinx of the Final Word is very clearly an improved Sphinx of Jwar Isle. For one extra mana, you get shroud upgraded to hexproof, and uncounterability, both for the Sphinx itself and all non-permanents you'll cast afterwards. If it's not strictly better, it's jut because by reaching beyond Titan mana, it becomes harder to drop. So if you care about speed, you should stick with Sphinx of Jwar Isle, since the most relevant part of the entire deal was steering clear of removal anyway. But as a late-game finisher in a control deck, Sphinx of the Final Word is nearly unparalleled.
  • Rating: 9

39. 

  • Name: Sphinx of the Steel Wind   >> summary
  • Sets: Alara Reborn, Premium Deck Series: Graveborn, Commander 2013, Eternal Masters
  • Additional Type: Artifact
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 12
  • Evaluation: First came Spirit of the Night, then Akroma, Angel of Wrath (and her alternate dimension self), and lastly Sphinx of the Steel Wind. What are they? Well, they are the battlefield overlords, the most proficient of the battleworthy creatures, equipped with such a plethora of keyworded abilities that they are bound to win almost any engagement. Steel Wind is more precisely a direct take on the white Akroma. They share casting cost (albeit the Sphinx is Esper-colored, so a bit more difficult to hardcast), body, the first three abilities, and the double protection, with green replacing black as part of the Sphinx's opposite colors. The main difference is that our Sphinx Akroma trades trample and haste for lifelink, which makes the two of them better suited for different roles: Akroma is about winning the game faster, Steel Wind is about coming back from an unfavourable position and ensuring your advantage over time. Other slight differences: Steel Wind isn't legendary, which probably only matters for things like Time of Need or Captain Sisay and the "historic matters" cards; and she's an artifact, which doesn't make her any more fragile, due to her protection to the main artifact-hating colors, while at the same time giving her more interactions with effects like Sharuum the Hegemon and Open the Vaults. Their divergent sets of protections also cause some variance in how they play against other decks. Akroma is protected against two of the three colors that are best at removal; Steel Wind dies to Murder but blocks Tarmogoyf (both are vulnerable to white, which is something only the red Akroma avoids). All in all, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, just like the two Akromas, is a great reanimation/cheat-into-play target: not as explosive as the white Akroma, but still pretty resilient and fully capable of dominating the board on her own.
  • Rating: 9

40. 

  • Name: Sphinx of Uthuun   >> summary
  • Sets: Magic 2012, Duel Decks: Venser vs. Koth, Magic 2013, Duel Decks: Speed vs. Cunning, Commander 2014, Iconic Masters, Commander 2018
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 11
  • Evaluation: In the same core set that gave us the Demonic Tutor Demon, we also got the Fact or Fiction Sphinx. Granted, Sphinx of Uthuun comes three turns later than an actual Fact or Fiction, and at sorcery speed, but you get a Mahamoti Djinn out of the deal. As far as high-costing creatures go, he's a solid one, provides card advantage and he's a reasonably scary and resilient threat (at the very least, he's out of Dismember reach). Of course he's nowhere near as effective as Consecrated Sphinx, or even Sphinx of Magosi, and the printing of Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign more or less made him obsolete. But he's still the most reprinted Sphinx ever. Must be the beard.
  • Rating: 6

41. 

  • Name: Sphinx Sovereign   >> summary
  • Set: Shards of Alara
  • Additional Type: Artifact
  • Converted Mana Cost: 8
  • Body: 12
  • Evaluation: She costs too much, I'm aware. But I just think she's a good reanimation target. She can't really be compared to a powerhouse like Sphinx of the Steel Wind, but if it's life you're after, the Sovereign gives you that right away (well, at the end of the turn she comes in, at least). And she sort of swings for nine damage. Those are certainly two powerful triggers, and even if she gets tapped to prevent her attack, she'll still deal three, and to each multiplayer opponent, to boot. Of course, eight mana, half of which colored, are a steep investment for a creature with zero ways of protecting herself, but just like in the case of her Steel Wind sister, you don't actually plan to hardcast her. (By the way, the solution to her flavor text riddle is "the wind").
  • Rating: 8

42. 

  • Name: Sphinx Summoner   >> summary
  • Sets: Conflux, Commander 2016
  • Additional Type: Artifact
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 6
  • Evaluation: I don't have to explain why tutors are critical in Magic. Now, Sphinx Summoner is a conditional tutor, but at the same time it covers enough possibilities to feel useful in a wider range of decks. Worst case scenario, you can just fetch multiple copies of the Summoner itself. True, an overly fragile 3/3 flyer for five isn't the best of the deals. But the potential for shenanigans is there. Of course, in Commander is even better: most decks run Solemn Simulacrum and Duplicant, if not also Wurmcoil Engine and Steel Hellkite, and they are all cards you're happy to tutor up.
  • Rating: 8

43. 

  • Name: Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign   >> summary
  • Set: Hour of Devastation
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 6
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: The very first Sphinx tribal lord, Unesh has a smaller body than Sphinx of Uthuun, but other than that, he completely steals the thunder of his fellow Fact or Fiction surrogate, even with his trigger being one card short of a proper Fact or Fiction. But he makes up for that by costing one mana less, repeating the trigger at every following Sphinx you cast or cheat into play, and reducing by two the cost of all of his tribesmates, which also results in the successive copies of Unesh becoming more or less just a Fact or Fiction for Fact or Fiction's regular cost. And as far as tribal lords go, Sphinges can certainly use the cost reduction more than a banal anthem effect.
  • Backstory: Unesh is a criosphinx, i.e. a sphinx with the head of a ram. Sphinges are not specieist, though, because they still follow Unesh's lead despite his looking like not particularly smart livestock. Before the Second Sun aligned with Bolas's monument, precipitating the situation, Sphinges on Amonkhet were silent; the population believed it was due to a vow they took, but in fact it was a curse Bolas cast on them to ensure they won't give his master plan away, since even he wasn't able to control their impenetrable minds (one would think they could use nonverbal communication to warn everyone, though; maybe charades? Then again, it's probably hard for a Sphinx to mime "throwing weapon made of weights on the ends of interconnected cords, five letters").
  • Rating: 8

44. 

  • Name: Vexing Sphinx   >> summary
  • Set: Coldsnap
  • Converted Mana Cost: 3
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Hard to suggest playing Vexing Sphinx if you aren't employing a graveyard strategy of some kind; but if you do, man, Vexing does his job like gangbusters. At three mana, he's the cheapest Sphinx currently in existence, while still being a 4/4, which means he'll buy you time early on while you're advancing your battle plan, and will easily land 4-8 damage to the opponent's dome in the meantime, if you so choose. Usually you don't keep him active for more than two turns, thus discarding a total of three cards to his cumulative upkeep, but the great part is that in the turn you decide to let him go, he'll get a new age counter before heading to the graveyard, therefore drawing you one extra card. So in the end you discard three cards and draw three cards, the same ratio as the tribe's other main discarding outlet, Sphinx of Lost Truths; only Vexing comes earlier but works in reverse (you discard first, draw later) and needs to survive for a couple turns in order to achieve the same goal. But he fits perfectly the curve of a deck that cares for this kind of strategy.
  • Rating: 8

45. 

  • Name: Windreader Sphinx   >> summary
  • Sets: Magic 2014, Core Set 2019
  • Converted Mana Cost: 7
  • Body: 10
  • Evaluation: Yet another variation on the always welcome "Sphinges get you cards" theme, Windreader Sphinx is definitely not the best of the bunch, particularly considering she started her career as a mythic. Her power is too low, her cost is too high, and if you don't combo her with cards like Lingering Souls or Bitterblossom to fill your battlefield with a reasonably large number of flyers, she's just going to draw you one card per turn, and she even has to attack for that to happen – she does have a big butt, but in the many-Spirit-tokens scenario, she's better off holding the fort while her tiny friends do all the card-drawing duty. Had she cost Titan mana she could have seen play; as it is, it's hardly something you want to bother with in a world where so many better options exist. It's not a coincidence that the M19 reprint brought its rarity down to rare.
  • Rating: 5

46. 

  • Name: Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign   >> summary
  • Set: Commander 2018
  • Additional Type: Legendary
  • Converted Mana Cost: 5
  • Body: 8
  • Evaluation: Here's a role model for Windreader Sphinx. For the comparative cost of a Prognostic Sphinx, Yennett at worst draws you one card per turn (vigilance, menace and a significant toughness are all elements designed to make her attacks as much painless as possible), and at best cast you one spell per turn. And you know what has an odd converted mana cost? Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, and Worldspine Wurm, among others. In case you wanted to Brainstorm something on the top of the library before Yennett's attack.
  • Backstory: We don't know where Yennett comes from, but we do know on her home plane she's a queen with powers over the future, hence her third eye.
  • Rating: 9

STATISTICS

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 Sphinx History (first appearances only)

  • Core sets: 7 (M10: 1, M11: 1, M12: 1, M14: 1, M15: 1, Magic Origins: 1, M19: 1)
  • Starter sets: 0
  • Special sets: 3 (Commander 2015: 2, Commander 2018: 1)
  • Ancient sets: 1 Legends
  • Ice Age block: 1 Coldsnap
  • Mirage block: 0
  • Tempest block: 0
  • Urza block: 0
  • Masques block: 0
  • Invasion block: 0
  • Odyssey block: 0
  • Onslaught block: 0
  • Mirrodin block: 0
  • Kamigawa block: 0
  • Ravnica block: 3 (Ravnica: 2, Dissension: 1)
  • Time Spiral block: 1 Planar Chaos
  • Lorwyn/Shadowmoor block: 0
  • Alara block: 7 (Shards of Alara: 3, Conflux: 2, Alara Reborn: 2)
  • Zendikar block: 4 (Zendikar: 2, Worldwake: 1, Rise of the Eldrazi: 1)
  • Scars of Mirrodin block: 3 (Scars of Mirrodin: 1, Mirrodin Besieged: 1, New Phyrexia: 1)
  • Innistrad block: 0
  • Return to Ravnica block: 3 (Return to Ravnica: 2, Dragon's Maze: 1)
  • Theros block: 4 (Theros: 3, Born of the Gods: 1)
  • Khans of Tarkir block: 0
  • Battle for Zendikar block: 3 (Battle for Zendikar: 1, Oath of the Gatewatch: 2)
  • Shadows over Innistrad block: 0
  • Kaladesh block: 0
  • Amonkhet block: 4 (Amonkhet: 2, Hour of Devastation: 2)
  • Ixalan block: 1 Rivals of Ixalan
  • Three-and-One sets: 1 Dominaria

 Conclusions: In the first 12 years of its history, Magic didn't care much for the Sphinges. In fact, Petra Sphinx (who remains an oddity) is the only one that saw print before Ravnica brought back the subtype with Belltower Sphinx and Cerulean Sphinx, even if Vexing Sphinx technically belongs to an older block in virtue of Coldsnap being attached to Ice Age. Starting with Ravnica, more than half of the blocks has featured at least one Sphinx. More so, to attest their new iconicity, every core set since Magic 2010 debuted one new Sphinx, with the only exception of Magic 2013, which repeated Sphinx of Uthuun from the previous year. To date, the most Sphinge-y block is still Alara, which included seven of the flying hybrids, and it was also the first setting to pay homage to the "living statue" lore. And while both Zendikar and Scars of Mirrodin regaled us with some of the tribe's finest, neither the Greek-themed Theros nor the Egyptian-themed Amonkhet ended up featuring as many Sphinges as one would expect, with just four each.

 Sphinx Colors

  • White: 12 (of which 1 mono, 5 Azorius, 6 Esper)
  • Blue: 44 (of which 31 mono, 5 Azorius, 1 Dimir, 1 Izzet, 6 Esper)
  • Black: 7 (of which 1 Dimir, 6 Esper)
  • Red: 1 (of which 1 Izzet)
  • Green: 0
  • Colorless: 1

 Conclusions: Once the original anomaly of Petra Sphinx was left in the past, Sphinges became entirely blue creatures, and when they're not monoblue (which most of the times they are), they deal exclusively with blue allied colors. The only modern exceptions both came from Commander 2015, where we found the first colorless Sphinx, Sandstone Oracle, as well as the first red one, Arjun, the Shifting Flame.

 Sphinx Cost

  • CMC 3: 1
  • CMC 4: 3
  • CMC 5: 15
  • CMC 6: 15
  • CMC 7: 10
  • CMC 8: 2

 Conclusions: The Sphinges are definitely late midrange beasts, with two thirds of the tribe distributed between CMC 5 and CMC 6. The fastest to drop is Coldsnap's Vexing Sphinx, the most ponderous ones are Alara's Sphinx of the Steel Wind and Sphinx Sovereign.

 Sphinx Rarity

  • Mythic: 13 (of which one later downgraded to rare)
  • Rare: 26
  • Uncommon: 5
  • Common: 2

 Conclusions: As an inconic tribe mostly populated by midrange beaters or late-game finishers, Sphinges mostly show up at rare or mythic rarity. However, the first uncommon Sphinx was also the second ever printed, Belltower Sphinx from Ravnica: City of Guilds. The first common Sphinx came much later, with Jwar Isle Avenger in Oath of the Gatewatch.

 Additional Types

  • Legendary: 9
  • Artifact: 8
  • Wizard: 1

 Conclusions: Sphinges don't mix themselves with other types – they have one job: being enigmatic, aloof guardians of knowledge and passages. Aside from the legendary ones, we only have a few artifacts, reminding us of the historical tradition of statuary Sphinges. Arjun, the Shifting Flame is the lone exception again, since he's also the first Sphinx with a class: Wizard.

 Keywords (or so)

  • Flying: 46
  • Scry: 4
  • Vigilance: 4
  • Protection: 2 (of which 1 from red, 1 from green)
  • Cascade: 1
  • Cycling: 1
  • Embalm: 1
  • First strike: 1
  • Hexproof: 1
  • Lifelink: 1 (plus one other life-gaining ability)
  • Menace: 1
  • Shroud: 1
  • Surge: 1
  • Uncounterable: 1

 Conclusions: All the Sphinges fly, but for the rest they have very few recurring keyworded abilities. Scry and vigilance compare more often, to suggest their roles of seers and/or immovable watchers. It's however interesting to note that 13 Sphinges have some kind of card-drawing ability and five others grant another genre of card advantage; five Sphinges dodge removal; and five Sphinges "pose riddles".

 The Best Sphinx Parade

 Latest Additions


SUMMARY

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10 Comments

4 power with evasion is a by AJ_Impy at Fri, 11/29/2013 - 11:58
AJ_Impy's picture
5

4 power with evasion is a jump of two turns on 3 power: Four power with evasion for 4 mana is worth the risk of getting bolted, especially if it can try to dodge it. Argent to my opinion is better than a 6. Great work as always.

Argent doesn't have evasion, by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 11/29/2013 - 18:18
Kumagoro42's picture

Argent doesn't have evasion, though, she has "situational evasion" (if for evasion you mean the flicker effect, not the flying). Not being an artifact herself, you need 3 artifacts in play for that to work. Even in Tribal Wars, that would mean adding a bunch of artifact lands, and in a blue/mostly blue deck, after the first 4 Seats of the Synod, it'd be like adding colorless sources. Maybe Argent deserves a 6.5/7, but Conundrum is definitely the superior creature in most occasions.

Generally, yes. (And I'm by AJ_Impy at Fri, 11/29/2013 - 20:32
AJ_Impy's picture

Generally, yes. (And I'm referring to the flying rather than the occasional flicker.) But three artifacts aren't too hard to come by, especially in a tribe with other artifact creatures, and a colour with one of the finest anti-creature artifacts in the game.

Halfway through I stopped by Paul Leicht at Fri, 11/29/2013 - 19:34
Paul Leicht's picture
5

Halfway through I stopped because I needed to comment concerning Magister Sphinx. Typically the "Becomes 10 life" ability works in your favor whether it is to get you BACK to 10 or put your opponent within sudden death range.

Also I noticed some odd grammar errors:

"And why did Magic wait so much before making Sphinx the blue equivalent of Angel, Demon and Dragon?" "...wait so long..." would be better.
"The things you'll end up playing for free when you cast her risk to be pretty beefy..." "Risk to be" is really not how this phrasing should go. Better is "...cast her are likely to be pretty beefy...". Risk indicates a strong negative. And this phrasing is an incorrect usage because of the infinitive "to be".

"...you even risk to give the opponent their life back!" the problem here is the "to give" part. "Risk giving" is better. (gerund vs infinitive verb form)

"It might also come the case where you use her to save yourself... " This is quite awkward. Better would be: "There might come a case where..."

"Possibly because I didn't see him played yet, neither in Commander nor in regular constructed formats." "...didn't see him played yet..." should be "...haven't seen him played yet..." also the "neither,nor" negative should instead be the positive "either, or" since otherwise you would have a double negative. (The not in didn't or haven't is the first negative.)

I won't pick apart the entire article. These just jumped out at me. I will be happy to help you proof your articles if you so desire. Just email me the copy you want proofed and I'll try and be helpful.

==Edit==

I'd like to point out that while I did find a number of errors in this article I don't think that reflects on your ability Kuma. You generally write some of the best articles on the site and perhaps in the game. Without your hard work there would be a huge gap to fill. And one of the reasons I've felt comfortable not writing much is because I don't see the need.

The errors within this particular article were anomalous which is why I pointed them out. I hope you understand how well regarded you are for the work you do.

"I'd like to point out that by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 08/23/2018 - 08:36
Kumagoro42's picture

"I'd like to point out that while I did find a number of errors in this article".

And now all has been fixed and mostly rewritten with this (long-needed) update!

Very nice as usual. Just a by Leviathan at Fri, 11/29/2013 - 18:24
Leviathan's picture
5

Very nice as usual. Just a few random comments from a Commander perspective.

Conundrum Sphinx has burned me every time I've played it. You never realize how many Sylvan Libraries, Top's, Scroll Racks and other ways there are to view the top of a library until you play Conundrum and start giving all your opponents free cards.

Isperia and Sphinx Ambassador are fun little mini-games in a game. Ambassador is even better because you get to look at an opponent's library, and you almost never see an opponent guess the right creature. And it's even more funny when people forget what's in their decks.

Medomai is amazing, especially with haste. I was happy every time I drew him in my Daxos deck.

Yeah, I don't think I would by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 11/29/2013 - 19:45
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Yeah, I don't think I would ever play Conundrum Sphinx in Commander. Then again, I don't usually play any creature in Commander under 6 CMC (if any at all, now that I think of it) that doesn't come with some utility angle. Even Thrun looks mostly pointless to me.

And of course Ambassador works better when you target a 99-card deck with a potential large number of useful creatures (did I name Duplicant? Terastodon? A finisher?). But I still can't get behind how convoluted the mechanic for Isperia 1.0 is, and what the flavor of it is even supposed to be. (Then again, it's the same block that gave us Haunt, which experienced MTG players use as a campfire story to scare newbies.)

Sphinx of the Chimes will by CottonRhetoric at Fri, 11/29/2013 - 19:07
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Sphinx of the Chimes will live forever!!!

Herein lies a riddle:I am by MichelleWong at Thu, 08/23/2018 - 08:30
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5

Herein lies a riddle:

I am surrounded by water yet never wet.
I am broken yet wholly in tact.
I am besieged in more ways than one, but worries I have none.
I am an artist, and I draw perfectly.
I am a drawer, but nothing is stored in me.
I am consecrated to power, yet my power wanes.
I am the envy of Oracles, yet I am not from Theros.
I have rotated away but I still see play.
I command the cryptic, yet I am not a Cryptic Command.
My bride is all white, yet she is not my wife.

What am I?

If you guessed correctly that I am a Consecrated Sphinx + Moat combo (a combo I loved in Tribal Wars!), then you can go ahead and draw a card. If however you are playing on Magic Online, sorry you will not be able to draw a card even if you guessed correctly!.

Nice. :) by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 08/23/2018 - 08:30
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Nice. :)