Mindslaver - Illustration by Volkan Baga

Mindslaver | Illustration by Volkan Baga

If you’ve never Mindslaver’d someone, you’re missing out. Nothing turns you into the archenemy of the Commander pod quicker than taking control of an opponent and using their own spells against them, or willing their creatures into bad trades with the rest of the table.

Which is the most powerful? And what are the best pay offs for slaverin’ someone? Let’s put on our thinking caps and dive right in!

What Are Mindslaver Effects in MTG?

Opposition Agent - Illustration by Scott Murphy

Opposition Agent | Illustration by Scott Murphy

Some cards in Magic allow you to control another player during their turn, and these are colloquially known as “Mindslaver” effects. While controlling another player, you make all choices and decisions the controlled player is allowed or forced to make for the duration, and all information available to them is available to you (usually the cards in their hand and any face-down cards they can see). With a few stipulations, you get complete control on what spells they cast, what lands to tap, what creatures they attack with, and when any of these actions are taken.

This effect is obviously very powerful and printed sparingly throughout Magic’s history. In fact, the powerful Mindslaver effect has only ever been replicated on seven cards. It typically asks a huge investment to activate and could end the game in favor of the controller.

I'm going to use the first opponent-controlling card, Mindslaver, as a weathervane of sorts to measure up the rest of these powerful effects.

#7. Word of Command

Word of Command

Don’t worry, I'd never heard of Word of Command either.

A leftover from Alpha, Word of Command’s illegible rules text effectively allows you to force an opponent to cast a spell from their hand and lets you make any decisions the spell calls for. Since that player must tap lands for mana to pay for the spell, you get to choose how they pay.

This is a wonky old card that technically gives you control of another player, but for the shortest amount of time possible.

#6. Worst Fears

Worst Fears

Journey into Nyx’s Worst Fears is a cheaper control effect than the 10-mana Mindslaver. On the other hand, its two black mana pips and exiling effect mean it might be worse overall than Mindslaver, at least if you’re looking to take control of our opponent as much as possible.

Where Worst Fears ensures you can’t cheat any shenanigans out of it with a Snapcaster Mage, Mindslaver can hang out in your graveyard until you’re ready to get it back with a Scrap Trawler.

#5. Cruel Entertainment

Cruel Entertainment

If you’re looking for some goofy fun at your next Commander night, I’m begging you to give Cruel Entertainment a go. Your opponents most likely won’t be suspecting to control each other during their upcoming turns, and this can really throw a game into chaos. You’ll often see this turned against you as the other players retaliate against you for turning them into your own personal puppet show.

Also, remember that Cruel Entertainment’s controller can be one of the spell's targets, even if it isn’t as funny that way. Sure, this can get you control of an opponent for one less mana, but trading them for control of you during your next turn won’t be worth it unless you’re really on the back foot, in which case they’ll probably leave you worse off than you were.

#4. Sorin Markov

Sorin Markov

Sorin’s first appearance in Magic was on the eponymous Sorin Markov planeswalker from Zendikar. Sorin is a 6-mana planeswalker that enters with four loyalty counters, with the potential to tick up to six loyalty immediately.

Like many planeswalkers it requires two activations of its first ability before it can use its final, in this case a Mindslaver for -7. Of course, you could always rush there and use some proliferation effects to get to 7 loyalty a turn early.

Sorin Markov is still a pretty good planeswalker by today’s standards when combined with some synergy.

#3. Mindslaver

Mindslaver

Ah, Mindslaver, the original Mindslaver. Originally designed as a Tempest card called “Helm of Volrath,” the Mindslaver effect would bounce around from a proto-Unglued card before finally finding a home in Mirrodin.

This artifact is a hefty 10-mana investment from cast to activation. Luckily it’s all generic mana, making this spell accessible to any deck. Dropped on-curve on turn 6, you can easily activate Mindslaver the following turn. It’s best to wait until you have all 10 mana available rather than leaving it vulnerable to the inevitable Disenchant or Naturalize.

#2. Emrakul, the Promised End

Emrakul, the Promised End

Emrakul, the Promised End just got a little better with the new battle card type being dropped in March of the Machines, and that might make it worth giving your opponent an extra turn after you’re done with them. You can cast Emrakul for just five mana if all eight card types are in your graveyard!

On top of controlling your opponent’s next turn, you’ll also have a 13/13 flyingtrampleprotection from instants creature once they’re done recovering from your mind control.

#1. Opposition Agent

Opposition Agent

Opposition Agent was one of the most exciting cards from Commander Legends. Finally, an instant-speed response to all those tutors plaguing our 100-card format.

This 3-mana rogue doesn’t give you complete control of your opponent, only while they’re tutoring their libraries. This means you get to select the cards they find. They must still be legal targets of the tutor effect, but you can also choose to “fail to find” a card when a specific quality is present. This can turn off everything from Rampant Growths to fetch lands to Birthing Pods, but won’t stop a Demonic Tutor since there’s allegedly at least one “card” left in their library. That’s fine; just make them grab a Swamp.

Opposition Agent is the cheapest access to controlling an opponent in MTG. While it isn’t complete control, it’s still one of the best ways to force bad decisions on your opponents, especially in Commander.

Best Mindslaver Pay Offs and Synergies

A lot of players’ impulse is to activate their Mindslaver effect as soon as possible and then look at their opponent’s hand to try and figure a way to screw them. This usually just results in a few foolish attacks, a wasted spell or two, and some suboptimal tapping.

This shouldn’t be the plan. Instead, set up the battlefield to force them to make the worst decisions possible once you’ve taken control.

Cards that you control that opponents can activate are great ways to sink their resources into things they don’t need, or you can end them outright by activating an Aether Storm or Volrath's Dungeon over and over. Or cast Chain of Vapor from your own hand and keep choosing to sacrifice a land as your opponent.

Wrap Up

Emrakul, the Promised End - Illustration by Jaime Jones

Emrakul, the Promised End | Illustration by Jaime Jones

There are, of course, a few things you can’t make a Mindslaver’d player do. You can’t, for example, make them get up and buy you a drink, or take their jeans off (sorry Hurloon Wrangler). But you can make them cast their removal spells on their own creatures or force them to attack into your field of blockers or cast their own curse spells on themselves. The list goes on.

What's your favorite thing to make an opponent under the influence of your Mindslaver do? Do you want more Mindslaver effects to be printed? Let me know in the comments below or over on the Draftsim Twitter.

Thanks for reading and stay safe!


Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates:

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *