White has a long tradition of getting drawback removal, starting with one of the GOAT removal spells in Magic:
Now, it soon became obvious that Swords to Plowshares was a bit much (or a lot much), as giving the opponent life was about a small a drawback as it gets. Still, white has gotten some sick removal spells over the years, many of which come with drawbacks like giving them a land (Path to Exile), a 3/3 (Generous Gift) or a Clue (Declaration in Stone).
Today’s preview card, courtesy of Wizards of the Coast, continues in that vein, and adds some real power to the mix. Take a look at Fateful Absence!
For just two mana, you get an unconditional kill spell that can hit creatures or planeswalkers. Of course, the drawback is that you give them a Clue, but that’s not the end of the world. A removal spell that can hit creatures or planeswalkers would cost three mana normally, and also require black mana instead of white mana. The drawback not only opens the door for white to play it, but also lets you knock a mana off its cost. Here are some things to keep in mind when looking at where Fateful Absence might fit in:
- Removal spells that give the opponent resources (especially Clues) tend to be best in aggressive decks. Who cares if they get a Clue if you kill them before they can crack it?
- Because this is instant speed, you can usually time it so they can’t get much value from the Clue. Casting this end of turn after they tap out means they aren’t getting the card for at least a turn.
- You can target your own stuff to get a Clue, which is a good fallback plan, even if not the most efficient.
Overall, I see Fateful Absence as a good addition to White Weenie-style aggro decks, and as a way for decks like UW Control to fill in some gaps. If you desperately need a removal spell, this does the trick, even if giving them a card can be painful. This effect comes from a long line of successful removal spells, and Fateful Absence is a fine addition to that lineage.