Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How Does Entwine Work in Magic?
Magic spells with entwine let you pick between either of two (sometimes more) effects, adapting to suit your current needs. And by paying the optional entwine cost, you can instead activate all of the card's effects (in the order they're written).
Paying for entwine usually costs 1-3 extra mana, although some spells have unique add-on requirements, like sacrificing lands. But with dozens of custom-tailored cards available, which reign supreme? These are the ten best entwine spells in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Twisted Reflection
CMC: 2 (1 to entwine)
Twisted Reflection either grants a creature -6/-0 for the turn, or switches a creature's power and toughness that round. Or, entwine it for both effects, which only adds one to the cost (though you'll need some black mana).
When you entwine Reflection, you can but don't have to target the same creature with each ability. Of course, after reducing a creature's power by six, you can usually swap its stats to kill it (due to zero toughness), a handy removal that can even eliminate indestructible units.
9. Incite War
CMC: 3 (2 to entwine)
This red instant either forces a player's monsters to attack that turn, or gives your creatures first strike for the round. Both are reasonable effects for three mana, but Incite works best when you entwine, forcing foes to commit to unwanted combat against your preemptively-attacking army.
8. Plunge into Darkness
CMC: 2 (1 to entwine)
Cheap even when entwined, Plunge can sacrifice any number of your creatures to give three life for each, or have you pay X life to look at X cards from the top of your deck, add one to hand, then exile the rest.
These are both inexpensive and versatile abilities that offer a semi-tutor and a nice response to a board wipe that would eliminate your creatures anyway. Even better, Plunge is one of few spells that can reduce your life by any needed amount, skillfully preparing yourself for the win condition of "Near-Death Experience".
7. Road of Return
CMC: 2 (2 to entwine)
Play this sorcery in EDH format, where it can return any permanent from your graveyard to your hand, or place your commander into your hand from the command zone. Or do both with entwine.
Why bother moving your commander to your hand? Remember that for each time your leader is defeated, recasting it from the command zone requires an extra two mana. But you only ever need to pay base price from your hand, quickly getting your commander back into the fray.
6. Dream's Grip
CMC: 1 (1 to entwine)
Grip will tap or untap any permanent, or do both for one extra mana. This can shut down a would-be attacker, turn one of your tapped creatures into a surprise blocker, or ramp with permanents that tap for multiple mana. In short, Grip offers a strictly-better "Twiddle", pretty telling since Twiddle is by no means a bad card.
5. Rude Awakening
CMC: 5 (3 to entwine)
Rude Awakening requires a fair investment of mana, especially when entwined, but either untaps all lands you control, or makes them 2/2 land-creatures for the turn. This provides a powerful martial tool for land-searching green decks in standard, and it can be a great ramp in commander if drawn near the end of the game.
Of course, your lands can die while they're creatures, so be careful with your timing. Still, Awakening provides a strong trump card that I recommend in multiple formats, and it's one of today's cheapest rares, costing less than a single dollar!
4. Promise of Power
CMC: 5 (4 to entwine)
When entwined, Promise of Power ties for today's most mana-demanding card, but both effects are worth the nine-cost investment, especially since they stack well. You can either draw five cards and lose five health (an excellent hand-replenisher), or create an X/X demon token with flying, where X is the number of cards in your hand as the token arrives.
It's easy to see how these abilities unite; refill your hand while pressuring foes with an aerial demon of at least 5/5 stats. Once summoned, the demon maintains his initial power, so playing more cards from your hand won't weaken him.
3. Kaya's Guile
CMC: 3 (3 to entwine)
Unlike today's other cards, Guile offers not two but four effects and has you pick two even if you don't entwine it. But if you do, you'll get them all, letting you switch between a mid-game three-cost spell or a late-game six-cost ace. Your choices are:
- Each opponent sacrifices a creature
- Exile all cards from an opponent's graveyard
- Create a 1/1 flying spirit token
- You gain four life
When you don't entwine, I generally recommend the first two options, but if you've got the mana, might as well score all four. Either way, you'll nab them at instant speed.
2. Tooth and Nail
CMC: 7 (2 to entwine)
Tooth and Nail demands seven mana even at base, but it's worth it to invest two more mana, even if that means devoting nine resources. It can pull any two creatures from your deck (adding them to your hand), or play a creature from your hand for free.
Entwine it and you've got a menacing search/free creature duo, perfect for eldrazi like "Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre". As icing on the cake, you can free-play a different creature than the ones you searched, perfect when you've already drawn your biggest troop.
1. Savage Beating
CMC: 5 (2 to entwine)
This aptly-named spell can only be cast during your combat phase, but provides a devastating offensive bonus. You'll choose between giving your creatures double strike for the turn (essentially letting them hit twice, once at first strike speed and once at regular) or untapping them and gaining an additional combat phase that turn.
Of course, if you can afford both, you'll get to swing twice with double-power, essentially dealing four times the damage that turn! Plus, since the untap effect refreshes all of your creatures, not just attackers, you can reuse creature ramps and other tap-based supporters.
Supporting Entwine in Magic
To make the most of today's spells, employ ramps and other mana sources to help afford the added entwine costs, especially since the abilities support each other. That said, don't be afraid to use just one of the effects when the situation calls for it.
Note that if you play another card that casts an entwine spell for free, you can entwine it, but doing so requires the extra mana (you only get to dodge the base price). But for now, as we await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of choice-based spells, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill