Prismatic Ending might be the best removal spell white has seen since Swords to Plowshares was printed in 1993. I expect it to be a major player in every format that it’s legal.
First, let’s go over exactly what this card does, because it’s a little confusing. The X in the mana cost actually isn’t referenced in the card’s text. It’s simply there to say “you may spend any amount of mana to cast this.” A few examples:
- If you spend W, you can exile a permanent with mana value of zero or one.
- If you spend WUG, you can exile a permanent with mana value of zero, one, two or three.
If you spend 3W, you can exile a permanent with mana value of zero or one. However, you may still want to do this in order to change Prismatic Ending’s own mana value on the stack. It’s a nice way to work around Chalice of the Void or Eidolon of the Great Revel.
If Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is on the battlefield (either yours or your opponent’s), you can spend WB to exile a permanent with mana value of zero, one, or two. In other words, X will equal zero as you’re casting the spell, but using an additional color to pay for Thalia’s tax contributes to converge.
Next, let’s evaluate how good Prismatic Ending really is. A good way to start is by putting it in the context of a few similar cards.
Isolate sees competitive Modern play (granted, it’s usually in sideboards). Consider how massively better Prismatic Ending is. It’s not an instant, but it does the same job while also hitting tokens and threats of varying mana values.
Most of the time, Prismatic Ending will do the same thing as Abrupt Decay. When killing a three-mana card, Decay is slightly more efficient. However, when killing something with mana value of zero or one – cheaper cards are much more common in Modern – Ending is more efficient. But for perspective, Abrupt Decay is a powerful gold card that’s a payoff for choosing the G/B color combination. Now, any deck with access to white mana can access that type of effect.
Finally, there’s Engineered Explosives. Once in a while, Explosives can destroy multiple permanents. But targeting a single threat, Prismatic Ending does the same job for two less mana! There’s also no worry about blowing up your own permanents in the collateral.
So what will Prismatic Ending be killing?
Tokens. In Legacy, this can include dread Marit Lage.
Zero-mana artifacts. In Vintage, this includes the Moxes.
I believe that Prismatic Ending will be a real gamechanger. In Modern, I plan to start with a few copies in my U/W/x Control decks and my disruptive white creature decks. You don’t need access to a lot of colors to make this a great card. However, it can be a good reason to splash a color, or utilize some Horizon Canopy or Sunbaked Canyon-type lands in a variety of colors.