Folks… something got my attention. I found my new favorite casual card and it is awesome. It feels SOOO good to cast this guy. It does everything I want in a Magic card. I have found Gonti, Lord of Luxury and I am pumped!
Let’s get out in front of this: yes, I played at the Kaladesh pre-release and followed all the spoilers so I knew he was good. Heck, I even picked Gonti as one of my top 10 Casual cards in the set. Anyway, I was already aware that the guy was good, but HOW good was he? Oh, he’s awesome.
Let’s fast forward to the other night when I got the nerve to step back into MTGO and draft Kaladesh. Well, my draft was largely uneventful and I had a B/R artifact deck that was no great shake. However, Pack 3 revealed Gonti and I snapped him up. As the draft unfolded he was by far the best card in my deck and was exactly what I wanted to cast every time. I had a Diabolic Tutor in my deck and found myself often searching out Gonti even if I had larger creatures in my deck. Gonti was too good to pass up and was a house for me all league long.
After the event was all finished I sat back and thought about WHY I wanted to cast Gonti with such regularity. I mean, his body isn’t great at 2/3 . He’s not hyper efficient at 4 mana, and double black at that. Deathtouch is usually just an annoyance and rarely a truly defining ability. His ETB ability is interesting but not game breaking… right? Wrong. The ability is EXACTLY what I wanted. His trigger to mess around with your opponent’s deck is just the sort of thing I want.
Gonti, Lord of Luxury, is quietly a 3 for 1 in most instances and leads to nasty stuff that really intrigues me. Wait… yes I said a 3 for 1… at LEAST. Let’s think about it: You cast Gonti and you get a 2/3 body on board, which is certainly a thing. He attacks ok, is a nuisance if your opponent attacks you, and is generally just a solid creature. Next, Gonti lets you look at your opponent’s top 4 cards and exile one and can play it. This often means you get to deprive your opponent of a key resource at the very least, and, at best, have the chance to use it against your opponent yourself. That is a powerful reversal of fortunes if you turn up something like a Gearhulk, Eliminate the Competition, or some other powerful effect. So everyone can admit that, to date, this is a 2 for 1 easily enough because for casting this single card I get two cards worth of value. Getting a 3 for 1 isn’t hard if the card you get off of Gonti trades for 2 cards itself. So a 3 for 1 is pretty easy to get, but I would make the case that you could even get a 4 for 1 out of this scenario if you put a further good card on the bottom of their library further depriving them a chance to play it. This isn’t fool proof if they have a “shuffle” effect, but making them put useful resources on the bottom of their deck is often as good as depriving them of the resource out-right because you are rarely going to have a shot to play a card on the bottom of your library. So, for 4 mana you get pretty close to 4 for 1 and can seriously chop your opponent down to size.
So, Gonti is a ridiculous Limited card. Perhaps fringe playable in Constructed. However, in Casual play the guy is just silly. Let’s face it, in Casual formats people are likely to push for one effect and look to take it to an extreme either because their deck is themed around a given ability or because they enjoy causing their opponents grief. Regardless of what camp you are in, the chance to re-use Gonti’s ability in a Casual format is mind boggling.
In a 60 card casual format you get to play multiples of this guy. That is insane! In Commander, where you can build this sort of card into the theme of your deck, the options are endless, and too appealing to turn up.
So, Gonti is good…Blink him, mill him and re-animate him, make him your commander…and see for yourself. My mind immediately took him to my Smuggler’s Copter Commander deck and he fits in perfectly. Alesha wants to trigger her ability on creatures with power 2 or less and Gonti is a prime target. Triggering Gonti’s ability multiple times in the same game sounds awesome.
Here’s the best part, Gonti is essentially a bulk rare. You can find him at Three King’s Loot for $1.49*. In a set where there are pricier cards like Smuggler’s Copter or Torrential Gearhulk or a Masterpiece, $1.49* feels pretty affordable. You can likely pick one up in trade somewhere reasonably inexpensively making him a great bargain AND a really good addition to your deck.
So, what is the appeal? I’m not 100 % sure WHY I like trying to make Gonti really good, but to me he feels like a slight variation on one of my other pet cards: Villainous Wealth. I just love the idea of playing with my opponent’s deck and anything that let’s me do that is awesome. It feels deliciously filthy to beat them to death with their own things.
As always, thanks for taking the time to stop in and read and please check back again next time for another Casual Encounter.
*Editor’s note: All prices are subject to change according to the whims of the multiverse.