On the First Friday of every month, we (somewhat satirically) crack into some lesser-known Old School 93/94 cards with the intent to open a dialogue and encourage brewing.
In 2004, as my focus shifted from Magic to girls and cards, most of my time spent playing Magic was “Mental Magic.” If I had to guess, the only times that I cast the (1)(B) Transmutation were as Demonic Tutor or Diabolic Edict, instead of itself. In late 2017, I dabbled in a well-known Pauper format deck, Tireless Tribe Combo, that used its namesake and Inside Out to perform a one-hit coup de grâce. To me, Transmutation has similar potential.
Nothing substantial, if at all, and legal in all Old School 93/94 formats, but the Chronicles version has a more specific citation in the flavor text.
To me, Susan Van Camp‘s art depicts a poor pixie or faerie that has, through Black Magic, grown awesome Sauron Hands. And who wouldn’t want that?
CRACK THE VAULT
My initial suggestion, and probably the most obvious use for Transmutation, is as a Berserk or Howl from Beyond-esque combo enabler with high-toughness, evasive creatures. Transmutation turns Evil Eye of Orms-by-Gore into a 6/3 “unblockable” and Dancing Scimitar into a 5/1 Flying.
If you splash Red or White, Transmutation turns Granite Gargoyle into Firebreathing. Eat your heart out, Dragon Whelp! On this simple level, there is synergy with Holy Armor, Martyrs of Korlis, Castle, Arcades Sabboth, Elven Fortress, and a whole bunch of other cards.
Transmutation can also be used as removal. It makes short work of (most) Walls because x/0s die as a “state-based effect.” Edit: As some of our readers pointed out, it also combos with Sorceress Queen and Singing Tree. Transmutation can also help trade up in combat. For example, you can Transmutate a Serendib Efreet into a 4/3 and then Lightning Bolt it, or you can Transmutate your opponent’s Ghost ship into a 4/2 so that your Storm Spirit can First Strike it.
With Zombie Master in play and ten creatures in your graveyard, you can one-shot an unsuspecting oppponent with a 1/20 Swampwalking, regenerating, Frankenstein’s Monster! I’d say that’s worth a spot in your Boris Devilboon Brawl deck!
On a less realistic note, Titania’s Song and/or Animate Artifact can be used with Aladdin’s Lamp to create a 10/10. Once you’ve animated a living, breathing lamp, it only makes sense to give it Living Armor, turning it into a 10/20. Now that you have a living, breathing, lamp armored with an uncomfortable parasite, you can Transmutate it, and give it awesome Sauron Hands, into a 20/10. Bam! A four-card, one-hit combo that costs like twenty mana and rival’s Green Lantern’s Ring. Just as Richard Garfield intended it.
Edit: Great Defender and Kry Shield are also cards.
EXITING THE VAULT
Did I miss something? Let me know! I’d be happy to discuss the finer uses of Transmutation with you in our Discord or in the comments section. I’ll freely admit that I have a lot to learn. It is not my intent for these articles to be used as deck techs (we have those elsewhere on our site), tier lists, or to cover every single possible known and unknown interaction the subject card has with any other card. The card may not have been playtested or even owned by me.