Remove Enchantments… Profit?

Today it is time for something new on these parts. A single card discussion. A SCD.

I haven’t exactly done one of these before, even though I have been talking at some length about a string of different cards, I feel should see more play in our beloved format.

This is exactly one of those cards; a card I feel should be played more – even though it is, of course, in no way a tier1 contender card. But I think it is something of a hidden gem, that it would make sense to play in some number in several decks and/or sideboards. At least as a one off. Or maybe even two.

Remove Enchantments!

A white, instant, one-mana common from Legends. A card with a lot of text.

For this to be a real SCD, I should probably say something about the art too. Well, I don’t think I have much to say about Brian Snoddys art here. I like it. It is clearly old school. The fantasy vibe of the armor and the insanely muscular arm is on point for a Legends card. I also think it has some appropriate flavor – the card shows pretty well (within reason for a rather complex card) what it does. It removes armor. All in all very nice.

So what does it do?

All of that text goes like this:

“Remove all enchantments you control and remove all enchantment cards played on all permanents you control. If this spell is cast during opponent’s attack, also remove all enchantment cards played on attacking creatures. All enchantments you own are returned to your hand; all other enchantments are destroyed.”

That is a bit!

It has an updated text that goes like this:

“Return to your hand all enchantments you both own and control, all Auras you own attached to permanents you control, and all Auras you own attached to attacking creatures your opponents control.

Then destroy all other enchantments you control, all other Auras attached to permanents you control, and all other Auras attached to attacking creatures your opponents control.”

Okay. So it is still quite something. And it is actually a bit surprising that so much rules text hasn’t seen a bigger update. Many of the complex old cards have had a major overhaul in the text, making it almost unrecognizable from the original. I admit that here we also see some change but it is not really to explain what the card does, rather the changes have been made to make sure that the text now encompasses the card type aura. I actually think the original text is easier to understand. Even though there is one major problem that I will get back to in a minute. Surprisingly, apart from not being updated that much text-wise, the card has no rules clarifications on Gatherer.

But what does the card actually do? Quite a lot! Let us break it down, because the card does several things, and it even differs a bit depending on when you play the card.

Remove Enchantments will always have at least three effects:

  1. All enchantments you own and control will be returned to your hand
  2. All other Enchantments you control will be destroyed (maybe a bit narrow, but if you have somehow overtaken one of your opponents’ Copy Artifacted creatures, for example via Preacher, it will now be destroyed)
  3. All Auras you don’t own, attached to creatures you control, will be destroyed

So far so good. These things will always happen when you play the card.

But if you play it in your opponent’s attack phase, it will also have these effects:

  • All auras you own on attacking creatures your opponent control will be returned to your hand (also rather narrow, I actually have a hard time coming up with a situation where this will not be covered by number one above. In what situation is there an aura on one of your opponents’ creatures that you own, but don’t control?)
  • All enchantments on attacking creatures your opponent controls will be destroyed

Number five is actually quite cool, and the main reason why I wanted to write something about this unique card. But I will get back to the potential practical implications of this in a bit.

But overall, what this card does, is bounce all of your enchantments (all of them, not just auras!) back to your hand, and destroy all the auras your opponent has played on cards you control. And – when played at the correct time – I destroys auras on your opponents attacking creatures. That is a lot for a single white mana.

But just to make one thing certain, I want to say a few words on the one major problem in the original text. It may be the one that could have convinced you to play the card. It states that “… all other enchantments are destroyed.” That sounds very delightful right? A one-mana way to remove several opposing Underworld Dreams or the Enchantress players’ board full of Dark Heart of the Wood, Fastbond and Copy artifact. But alas. In the original text, the last part of the text was only referring to the cards that was already affected by the previous text. This means auras. Remove Enchantments does not destroy all your opponents enchantments. Sadly.

So how is all this useful?

The primary way we see Remove Enchantments being used is as a one- or two-off in Enchantress decks. Which makes sense. In these decks Remove Enchantments can make Ancestral Recall look like a bad over-costed, underachieving piece of garbage. It requires some setup, though, not least a living Verduran Enchantress. And they tend to die a lot!

But is there merit to playing Remove Enchantments in other decks?

I’d argue yes.

The card has some quite interesting and strong synergies with cards like Copy Artifact, Control Magic and Animate Dead. But also less played beauties like Spirit Link, Blight (where you can return blight to your hand after the enchanted land is tapped and thus doomed), Dance of Many (where you simply return the Dance to your hand before the Token is created) and Paralyze.

Basically all Auras have some synergy with the card, because you can play the aura early on to gain a temporary advantage – for example play Paralyze on a Savannah Lions – and then bounce them back to your hand, to play them again on something more relevant at a later stage of the game – for example the same Paralyze but now on a Serendib Efreet. The same applies with Control Magic.

It can also be used to create one-sided effects out of Enchantments that are normally considered symmetric. You can play Mana Flare and use a bunch of mana, and then return it to your hand before the opponent gets a chance to play around with extra mana. You can bounce your Nether Void in order to get one big turn, without your opponent having much chance to do much. Or you can simply return your Drop of Honey to your hand before your own critters are killed.

There are many more options – Stasis, Island Sanctuary, Energy Flux, Titania’s Song, Worms of the Earth – you decide.

Remove Enchantments will also always destroy all Paralyze, Brainwash, Spirit Link or other auras your opponent has played on your creatures. And just remember that this also means a crucial blow to your foe playing the Psychic Venom deck! Oh Ouch!

But Remove Enchantments also just lets you rescue your precious cards. You can always play it in response to a Disenchant. Of course this may not make a lot of sense, if you have a host of enchantments on the board, because then it could take you some time to rebuild, and it may just be better to let one of the cards go, but it is a relevant feature. It gets even more relevant if your opponent is playing Tranquility!

It is also relevant to remember, that an opponent playing cards like Animate Dead and Control Magic, could be really hampered by a well-timed Remove Enchantments. If he attacks with animated or controlled creatures and you play Remove Enchantments, he will lose control of all those creatures. Which is why I think the card should be seen in more sideboards.

There is also a potentially quite effective synergy with Wrath of God. By playing it before Wrath, you get to return your Animate Dead, Copy Artifacts and Control Magics to your hand and reset the board. Then you can play all of them again on an empty board.

Finally, Remove Enchantments can refill your hand. For example to get Library of Alexandria back online, to make Ivory Tower relevant or to get some extra value out of Jalum Tome, when, for example, you have several enchantments that are no longer that relevant.

It is simply such a versatile card!

A shot at a deck to take advantage of this beautiful card

I don’t want to show an Enchantress deck here. I think it should be quite obvious why Remove Enchantments is an insane card in basically any Enchantress deck. I would probably never play more than two copies though, as it really requires your Lady to be alive, and that is often a tall order. I did use it in at least one of my midrange Enchantress decks back in the day. I should probably have used it in more decks, but I have just recently really discovered the potential strengths of the card.

So Enchantress shenanigans aside, I have built two decks featuring Remove Enchantments. The first one is fully powered, and looks a lot like a lot of other decks, you often see, except for the Remove Enchantments package of the namesake card and complete sets of Copy Artifact and Control Magic. I also opt to play both Wrath of God and Ivory Tower because of the synergies and interaction between these cards and Remove Enchantments I have mentioned above.

I decided to play all four Remove Enchantments because that is what we are here for today. If I were to streamline the deck a bit more, I would probably not play more than two. But to underline the point of today’s post, I slammed the entire set.

I did the same on the next deck, which is a Black White reanimator deck with a lot going on. First of all, of course, the Remove Enchantments package. This time it consists of the namesake card, Paralyze, Animate Dead and Oubliette.

I thought Oubliette had another fun synergy with Remove Enchantments, because it has the same rather weird wording as Tawnos’s Coffin: The creature you remove with Oubliette keeps counters on, until it returns to play once Oubliette is removed somehow. This would mean that you could Oubliette your own Triskelion or Tetravus and then cast Remove Enchantments to get your robot back, bigger than ever, and even have a removal spell in hand.

Unfortunately the updated text on Oubliette states that the target creature phases out. This means that it will still keep its counters when Oubliette leaves, but there will be no “enter the battlefield” effects triggered by the return. The phasing in of the creature. Sad. But I kept Oubliette in the deck anyway, as it is still a decent removal spell, and it will still be a way to remove a small threat early on, and then remove a bigger threat later.

Of course the main thing we want to do here is to play big robots, make them go to the graveyard somehow and then Animate them only to bounce the Animate Dead back to our hand (once we have used the counters on the robots) only to do it all again.

It is a slow deck, but it has a lot of early removal to try to get to the late game, where the machine kicks in.

I was also contemplating building a Dance of Many deck featuring Unstable Mutation and Remove Enchantments, but you have to figure that one out yourself. Unstable Mutation is actually potentially rather funny with Remove Enchantments because you can play an Unstable Mutation on your opponent’s creature let it get a -1/-1 counter or two, and then return the Mutation to your hand, to play on one of your own creatures. Great fun. Such shenanigans!

That was it for today. As mentioned several times, Remove Enchantments is a card with a lot of possibilities, and I think you should try it out. Maybe not as a four-off as I have done in the two decklists above, but less can do it.

One thing I am rather certain is that your opponent will be surprised when you play this on his attack step to kill off his Animated Su-Chis or worse. Good luck – have fun!

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