Hidden Strings

Posted in Feature on May 15, 2013

By Sam Black

Sam Black is a Platinum Pro Player and longtime writer for StarCityGames.com. He is a respected deck builder and took over Daily Decks for the first half of 2013.

Even though Hidden Strings is a terrible card in Limited, it's the kind of card that has some potential in Constructed. It can tap blockers "for free" by targeting your opponent's creatures so that the creature you cipher onto gets through, and then the cipher trigger can untap the lands you used to play it so you can cast something else. If the opponent can't block, it actually generates mana the turn you play it, and more after that. This makes it one of the most potentially abusable mana accelerators in Standard.

Hidden Strings

It's at its best with instant-speed ways to spend mana, so you can add mana to your mana pool, untap the lands used to cast it, and add mana again. This lets you cast spells that cost more than the number of lands you control, but it only works in combat, so it has to be an instant.

There are a lot of possibilities for the card, but today I'm looking at blue-red, because it's the most fun. With Goblin Electromancer, the first casting of Hidden Strings creates mana before you even attack, so Goblin Electromancer on turn two allows you to cast a four-mana spell, like Ral Zarek on turn three. Between Ral Zarek and the second casting of Hidden Strings, you can even untap all your mana to do something else.

If you play a Nivmagus Elemental on the first turn, you can play Hidden Strings on the second turn, cipher it and play another spell, attack, cast the cipher, and remove the ciphered Hidden Strings from the stack to make Nivmagus Elemental a 3/4.

Goblin Electromancer also makes it easy to cast a lot of Desperate Ravings and Think Twices, which, if Nivmagus Elemental is in play, will give it a lot of power.

After sideboarding, if your opponent doesn't have enough removal, Guttersnipe can ignore their blockers and deal huge amounts of damage.

Izzet Strings

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