Last updated on August 31, 2023

Farsight Ritual - Illustration by Randy Gallegos

Farsight Ritual | Illustration by Randy Gallegos

Wilds of Eldraine brings a selection of new mechanics along with it, and one in particular that has caught a few people’s eyes is bargain. The latest “it’s just kicker,” mechanic makes a lot of spells quite a bit better for (potentially) just a small added cost.

But how good is it, which cards does it appear on, and how, exactly, does it work? I’ll be answering all your questions and more as I break down this simple addition to Magic.

Let’s take a bit of a deep dive on bargain and find out!

How Does Bargain Work?

Back for Seconds - Illustration by Julia Metzger

Back for Seconds | Illustration by Julia Metzger

Bargain is a mechanic that makes your spells more powerful if you pay the bargain cost, which is to sacrifice an artifact, enchantment, or token. For example, Torch the Tower deals 2 damage to a creature without bargain. However, if you pay the bargain cost, it instead deals 3 damage to that creature and you get to scry 1, too!

The History of Bargain in MTG

Brave the Wilds - Illustration by Lucas Graciano

Brave the Wilds | Illustration by Lucas Graciano

Bargain is a mechanic introduced in 2023 with Wilds of Eldraine. It resembles a number of other mechanics from the past, most notably kicker (because everything is kicker!) It fits super well with the mechanics of the set, which also has role tokens: enchantment tokens that you can sacrifice to bargain! I don’t expect it to be evergreen, but it feels like it could show up again sometime.

Is Bargain a Triggered Ability?

Bargain isn’t a triggered ability. It’s just a different effect that comes from paying an additional cost for the spell.

Is Bargain an Activated Ability?

No, bargain isn’t an activated ability. It can’t be countered by spells like Stifle.

Is Bargain an Additional Cost?

Bargain is an additional cost for casting your spells. This means that you need to pay it before it’s technically cast, and that if it’s countered the cost is still paid (because it’s paid before the spell is even able to be countered!).

Bargain vs. Kicker

Bargain can be argued to be a version of kicker, but really it just says how good of a mechanic kicker is. The difference is that bargain has a specific cost (sacrifice an artifact, enchantment, or token) whereas kicker has a variable cost. It makes sense for it to be its own thing, if only for flavor reasons.

Can You Pay for Bargain on a Free Spell?

If you cast a spell with bargain for free (like by using Omniscience or similar) you can still pay the bargain cost. Of course, this bargain cost won’t be free, but at least you can choose to use it.

Does the Token Also Need to Be an Artifact or Enchantment?

No, the token you sacrifice to bargain doesn’t need to be an artifact or enchantment. Just non-token permanents need to be an artifact or enchantment.

Can You Bargain a Spell Multiple Times?

No, bargain can only be paid once. Maybe one day they’ll introduce a “multibargain” mechanic!

What if You Copy a Bargained Spell?

If you copy a spell that you’ve bargained, you get the effect of bargain without paying that cost again, as it’s an additional cost, which is copied with the ability that copies the spell.

Does Bargain Still Trigger if You Don’t Pay the Cost?

No, if you don’t pay the cost, you don’t get the benefit of bargain!

Gallery and List of Bargain Cards

Best Bargain Cards

There aren’t too many cards with bargain printed currently, and there are only two at mythic and two at rare with the printing of Wilds of Eldraine.

Beseech the Mirror

However, one card stands out above all others, and that’s Beseech the Mirror. Lovers of multiple formats are waiting with anticipation to see the effects of this card, potentially played in everything from Standard to Vintage. When its bargain cost is paid, you can go and find any 4-drop in your deck and cast it.

This is like a super tutor for cards of mana value 4 or less. In Standard, it’s another playset of Sheoldred, the Apocalypse that can also be any other 4 mana value or less card in your deck in a pinch. In older formats, it’s looking like it can make the most unfair decks all that more consistent. It may end up just being hyped up, but it doesn’t feel that way at this point!

Wrap Up

Ice Out - Illustration by Olivier Bernard

Ice Out | Illustration by Olivier Bernard

Bargain may be the latest in a long line of kicker clones, but it has some pretty great flavor considerations, which I’m down for. It gives a reason for an additional cost to be paid and mechanically works with the rest of the set.

There are some cards that look like they can make some impact in Constructed formats, too. What do you think, though? Are there any particular bargain cards you’re looking to play? Come discuss the new mechanic and set in the official Draftsim Discord!

Let me know below what you enjoy from these cards, and I’ll see you next time!

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