Card of the Week
This week we look at two cards that allow you to use a form of "removal" on yourself for a benefit. This can be a high risk/high reward strategy that requires planning and careful timing to make the most of, but can unlock new potential in the right deck!
classic card of the week
Card: Magical Mess Remover
Cost: 1 Potions
Set: Chamber of Secrets
Artist: Jeff Laubenstein
Effect: Choose any number of your cards in play (other than your starting Character) and discard them.
Flavor Text: "Harry had seen him scrubbing the message on the wall with 'Mrs. Scowers All-Purpose Magical Mess Remover', but to no effect;..."
Jimmy: Magical Mess Remover is a pretty wild card to exist at 1 cost. You can clear away all the Characters that have once per game abilities. Consider all of the future cards it could interact with though. What if there was a benefit to suddenly having fewer Lessons than your opponent? What if you could do something based on how many of your cards were discarded from play this turn? There are some wacky plays you might be able to utilize, like discarding a damaged creature via MMR then returning it to your hand… I’m much less excited about those but it’s a nice option. Also, if you’re playing Adventures or Quidditch Matches and your opponent has made progress but not finished, its awesome to wipe away what they’ve been working on and put out a new Adventure or Match. If Snape is your starting Wizard, you’re almost certainly playing this card.
John: Magical Mess Remover is a clever card, giving you access to a really strong piece of utility at the extremely splashable cost of 1 Potions Lesson. Magical Mess Remover is best at giving you the ability to discard unique Characters that you would like to play again, but also functions as a way to replace Adventures in decks that don't run Fred & George. Magical Mess Remover combined with Hannah Abbot is an especially powerful combination because Hannah's ability does not require an Action and allows you to get a card back that you used MMR on and play it on the same turn. You can even Magical Mess Remover your previously used Hannah Abbot and replace it with another from your hand! One of the biggest drawbacks to playing cards like Prof. Quirinus Quirrel is that once you use it, your opponent knows that you can't use it again. Magical Mess Remover allows you to get more mileage out of these powerful abilities and hardly has any associated deckbuilding cost. Since MMR simply discards the cards and does not help you access them, it always needs to be played alongside a complimentary effect or with a replacement Character already in hand. The ability to remove multiple cards at once can't be overstated though, and makes Magical Mess Remover more likely to be used outside of just the turn when you attempt to win the game.
Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser could have gotten the message off the wall. Maybe he's a Hogwarts graduate?
Revival Card of the Week
Cost: 5 Charms
Set: Heir of Slytherin
Artist: Stefan Giovanni
Effect: Choose 2 of your non-Healing cards in play of different card types (other than your starting Character). Discard 1 of them and return the other to your hand.
Jimmy: Skurge lets you clear out 2 cards you have in play, but you get to keep one. On one hand, you could view getting to keep one of them as a bonus over Magical Mess Remover or you could view this card as only being half as good as you want it to be. While 5 isn’t a steep cost, it falls into an uncanny valley of sorts – you’re not using wild tricks to accelerate to 5 like Wand Shop and lots of Charms, but you’re also not getting to 5 from a Character and playing around Caught By Snape. Sure, it’s just one extra Lesson, but it also presumes a Lesson from a Character… I’m glad Skurge exists as an option, I just don’t see myself playing it at 3 or 4 copies. If I’m playing Flitwick there’s no way I skip this card at 1 of. Notably, and this may be its strongest usage, it isn’t a Healing card itself so as long as you have cards in play and hand to burn you can cycle it with Hannah Abbott.
John: Skurge is the newest angle on self-removal, allowing you to actually return one of the removed cards to your hand. By itself this difference means Skurge is better at standing on its own than Magical Mess Remover is, but with other costs that can't be ignored like requiring 5 Charms Lessons and the "cost" of having to remove a minimum of two cards.. of different types. Having to choose two cards of different types instead of just two Characters does make Skurge's utility a bit more narrow, but the fact that you can sacrifice one card on the board to reuse another without having to dip into Hannah Abbot or Reparo is really interesting. Skurge returning one card to your hand makes it better against new mechanics like counters from creatures like Slytherin's Basilisk allowing you to free your character from petrification and still replay it. I also like that Skurge takes this mechanic and gives it to a new color, although the fact that this costs five means that it is far less likely to find a home splashed into an Adventure or Character focused deck. That being said, just like MMR the best cards to use Skurge on are both Adventures and Character cards, and I can't imagine excluding a copy of Skurge when deck-building a modern Charms list because of utility pieces like Healing characters, Hannah Abbot, and Peeves that are finding their way into most of my lists these days.