Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
How to Splice Arcane Spells in Magic
Several instants and sorceries in Magic carry the unique arcane subtype. When you cast an arcane card, you can "splice" certain spells by revealing one from your hand and paying its splice cost, adding its effects to the stack. However, the spliced cards remain in your hand, ready to be cast or spliced again later.
Splice cards are all arcane instants themselves, making them useful as either add-ons or triggers for other splices. But with dozens of consecutive abilities available, which members reign supreme? These are the ten best cards to splice with in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Blessed Breath
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 1 (1 to splice)
Since both its regular and splice fees only need one mana, Breath makes a great trigger for other splice effects, letting you spend minimal resources on your initial spell.
Whether spliced or cast normally, Breath simply grants a creature protection from a color of your choice for the turn. Use this to render a unit unblockable against an opposing color or save it from a removal, handy benefits for such a minor price.
9. Dampen Thought
CMC: 2 (2 to splice)
Another spell with identical costs, Dampen Thought sends the top four cards from a player's deck into their graveyard. This makes a handy mill tactic, edging opponents closer to deck-out losses, and it can even be used on yourself when using graveyard-reliant themes (like zombies) to stock your discard pile.
CMC: 4 (4 to splice)
Overblaze's splice replaces a colorless mana with a red one, but it's the same overall price. No matter how you access it, this instant requires a moderate sum of four mana, but doubles the damage a permanent would deal that turn.
Use this once attackers and blockers have already been finalized to land some extra hurt in a battle your opponent expected to endure. Overblaze also works well against foes with protection from red, empowering non-red cards to break through their defenses.
7. Veil of Secrecy
CMC: 2 (unique splice, see below)
For just two mana, Veil grants a creature shroud and makes it unblockable for the turn, ensuring enemies can't target or guard it. It also carries a unique splice cost that requires no mana, but makes you return a blue creature you control to your hand.
Sure, this means you'll have to recast it, but it's a fair trade considering you don't need mana for the splice, and it combos well with creatures who carry entrance effects (like "Snapcaster Mage" or ninjutsu wielders).
6. Kodama's Might
CMC: 1 (1 to splice)
Might simply boosts a creature by +2/+2 for the turn, triumphing in a clash your opponent expected to win. With such a cheap activation fee, Might excels as both an add-on or initial trigger, making it a versatile boon for any arcane deck.
As a bonus, remember that instants and sorceries in your graveyard help satisfy the conditions of units with spell mastery, delirium, or threshold conditions, letting early-game instants empower your later cards.
5. Psychic Puppetry
CMC: 2 (1 to splice)
Puppetry offers a versatile effect, tapping or untapping any permanent. Use this to refresh a surprise blocker, dull a threat, or recharge a tap effect. It's especially tempting when spliced, costing just a single mana, so be sure to harness it alongside other arcane spells.
4. Glacial Ray
CMC: 2 (2 to splice)
Glacial Ray deals two damage to any target, making it a great creature removal or killing blow against weakened opponents. Both its prices are the same, functioning well in either slot of your arcane chain. Just remember that splicing reveals cards from your hand, forewarning opponents about your upcoming tricks, but that's a small price for your continuous abilities.
3. Goryo's Vengeance
CMC: 2 (3 to splice)
Goryo returns a legendary creature from your graveyard to the battlefield and grants it haste, letting it act that round. The revived unit is exiled at the end of your turn, but this offers an excellent instant-speed rejuvenation for some of Magic's strongest warriors.
In this case, splicing is actually more expensive, costing three mana, so your standard activation might be the way to go. Still, it's an appreciated secondary casting method for one of black's cheapest revivals and a perfect supplement to commander's legendary-focused deck lists.
2. Desperate Ritual
CMC: 2 (2 to splice)
Red's answer to black's "Dark Ritual," Desperate Ritual grants three mana for two, granting a net increase of one. You can also convert some colorless mana into red with the effect, a nice bonus, and it's especially tempting as a splice, actually increasing (rather than decreasing like most splices) your total mana without losing a card.
Of course, mana depletes as phases end, so be sure to use your surplus on instants or quick-play effects before the current step concludes. Ritual is one of red's few ongoing ramps (at least potentially), making it a frequent member of my own red builds, and it's surprisingly cheap, costing well under two dollars!
1. Spiritual Visit
CMC: 1 (1 to splice)
Here's a blessedly simple and cost-effective spell: Visit constructs a 1/1 spirit token. And, well, that's it. Sure, it's by no means a powerful warrior, but you've basically got a 1/1 with flash (a fair trade for one mana) who you can also splice, a great outlet for leftover mana. Plus, unlike many tokens, the spirit is colorless, meaning no colored protection will stop him from blocking a big threat.
Whether putting spare resources to good use or letting other arcane units tailgate a cheap spell, Visit remains the ultimate splice yet.
Supporting Arcane Spells in Magic: The Gathering
The more splice cards you include in a structure, the more arcane spells they can follow, meaning today's members work best when you devote to their theme. And remember that you can also chain onto arcane spells that don't offer splices, blending with aces like "Kodama's Reach."
Splicing remains a fun mechanic that grants two different ways to cast the same spell, and I hope to see additional members in future sets. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of arcane-triggered effects, vote for your favorite splice, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill