Maze of Ith

Below is a comment I have made in MTGSalvation’s cube card of the day thread about Maze of Ith a month ago. It turned out to be pretty long and detailed. It grabbed a few likes there and that is a good indication it holds interest to the public.
Before that I’d like to note that the cube list has been updated and details can be read here.

Maze of Ith is an exceptional card and especially good in control decks. There is a happy marriage between that archetype and Maze as both cover the weaknesses of the other well. Maze of Ith is one of the best answers to many things control is usually soft against:

1) Manlands. Celestial Collonade? I don’t mind if you pay 5 mana per turn for nothing! The attacking Gideons can also be included in this category. Planeswalkers and lands are hard to answer and survive your mass removals. Maze of Ith protects you from their nastiness, indefinitely
2) Repeatable pump effects. I am mainly talking about equipment, usually making each creature your opponent draws a must answer threat thus exhausting the control mage. With maze on board there will be no sword triggers or Jitte counters. Maze also largely negates Elspeth, Knight Errant‘s most potent ability and Kessig Wolf Run.
3) Haste dudes. With Maze they will never catch you with your pants down.
4) Vehicles. Similar to manlands and equipment, but for the time being the majority of cubes have 3 or so lying around.
5) Aetherling. How many cards can even answer that?
6) Death triggers. This depends on your suit of removals. Cards like Hallowed Spiritkeeper and self recurring threats can pose problems to control.

In turn, control complements the weaknesses of Maze well:
1) Costing a land drop. This hurts least in control decks. You are not trying to ramp nor to win fast. You do not care if you cast that six drop a few turns later if you are in control of the game.
2) It is bad against decks going wide. You are not in a good place if you untap a token with it. This is traditionally taken care of by mass removals. In turn, Maze of Ith forces your opponent to overextend a bit to overcome it, making each mass removal you play more potent.

This is all in addition to effects the card offers to decks of all theaters. Sometimes it is not all about you – Maze protects planeswalkers like few other cards can. Although increasingly less relevant, it is answer to cards with protection against your colors. Maze is hard to respond to by your opponent. It is uncounterable and there are few maindeckable answers to lands. Another incidental perk is that it is quite good against cheat strategies. Titans and eldrazis ignore it, but the occasional Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Wurmcoil Engine or Dragonlord Atarka cry. While most cheated fatties will not be completely answered by maze, it will steal a lot of their punch and delay their clock, giving you enough time to find a proper answer. It is of the few cards able to do so before turn 3.

Maze is a card often misplayed (including by me). It is generally advisable to play the land only after your first mass removal against aggressive decks, delaying the reset button by a turn is not worth it. The decisions Maze creates in races are complex. Which creature will be able to get through, which will be able to block you. Which planeswalker do you protect. This all adds up to a card that is powerful, yet interesting.


One thought on “Maze of Ith”

  1. What a great write up on why Maze is good in cube. A number of players in my group are seriously undervaluing this card and I see it going later in drafts nowadays. I’ll definitely be sharing this article with them!

    Liked by 1 person

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