"Most not all things at the last be swallowed up in death?!"--Plato
"Magic cards that are also Yu-Gi-Oh cards unite!"--Kryptynyt
|When you really need to kill something (or somewhere).|
One of the beautiful things about the old days of M:tG was nothing was ever set in stone. This results in blue land destruction, green burn, and yes, red in the form of hard spot removal. In this day and age when red's only removal has the word 'damage' on it, it's nice to look back to a time when that wasn't the case.
No, this isn't the only card that lets red do that, but it's a small number of cards printed in the 90's. I've used it time and time again, first in 60 cards, then in land destruction tactics, before finally in EDH. I mean, it has it's con, being a 5 mana spot removal, but combining the fact it's instant speed land destruction w/ the fact it buries, is too good not to be worth mentioning.
This was actually a red deck staple of mine for a long time. It ran the battlefield along side the likes of Eron the Relentless, Orgg, Goblin Mutant, Mox Monkey, Dwarven Warriors, and other cards I can't remember right now. It took down things too big for Incinerate, and to risky for Earthquake.
However, as I said, it's 5 mana cost is a bit steep, keeping it from being a classic. However, as also stated, it is an instant, which results in some amazing late game plays. It can also blow up a Library if needed, which is always good.
Maybe, just maybe, I'm bad at Magic.
It's art is rather effective (as most pieces from The Dark), showing a literaly fissure, who more then likely swallowed someone just off camera whole. Or perhaps, it's the land itself that was destroyed, and the men in the image are in awe of such power. Shuler's trademark mountain is in the back as well, but the best touch is the slight distant glow hinting on the lava many miles below. All and all, I give this piece a 5, both for memorability and effectiveness.
As said above, it's expensive. 5 mana was expensive back when people were still running decks that contained Sengir Vampire, Orgg, and Serra Angel all at the same time. Times have changed, but this cards mana cost hasn't. However, as is a rule, the more versatile the removal, the more expensive it is, and is it versatile. In Old School, this can kill almost every creature in the format, with the exceptions of Protection from Red critters like Knights of Thorn. Yes, it can take care of hard to remove creatures like Juzam, Serra, Shivan Dragon, Mahamoti. With instant speed, it can be played around your opponents turn, and can be a great bluff cards. Finally, the real icing is it's ability to destroy lands. It can hit a library, prox a late game Strip, blow up a untapped Maze, or an untapped anything, at the end of the opponents turn. Sure, it's still 5 mana, but if you are sitting on that mana right before your upkeep, no harm in using it.
Playability 3/5, because 5 mana, no matter how good, is expensive for spot removal.
Flavor: The flavor is a simple one, the earth literally swallows a poor creature (or land) up. It fits into reds 'strength of the earth' concept well, but is simple enough to leave some to the imagination. I remember people saying it should kill everything in a bands, and other strange stuff like that way back in the 90's (that's a long standing Kangaroo Court ruling of mine btw). The best part of the card, is the haunting Plato quote that is featured on the top of this page. Once again, it works extremely well with the infamous hue of Dark cards, as well as the art on the card itself, and it's unfortunate implications. Ironically, when I first saw this card, being a child, I had no idea who Plato even was, and assumed him just to be another throw away MtG character which was very common in those days.
Flavor gets a solid 4/5.
Final rating 12/15=4/5. A good, useful card, but a bit expensive. I'd recommend trying it though, because short of being on the screw, I've never been disappointed to draw one.