by Phoenix Desertsong, Old School Duelist
Tainted Remedy is a Magic the Gathering card from the Magic Origins set. Time and again, this Enchantment has been compared to Sanguine Bond, a card that was once worth $10 before it was reprinted into dust. Because of how valuable Sanguine Bond became, Magic finance speculators have loved this card for years. So, what's so great about this card?
The card Tainted Remedy does something similar but something that's a bit different than Sanguine Bond. Whereas Sanguine Bond is an instant win combo with Exquisite Blood. That's because they did opposite things. Sanguine Bond would make an opponent lose life whenever you gained life and Exquisite Blood had you gain life whenever your opponent lost life. If you control both of these Enchantment cards on the field at the same time, they create an infinite loop which allows you to drain any and all opponents of all of their life totals, giving you an easy win.
Tainted Remedy instead gives you the ability to build a deck that lets you play cards that would ordinarily gain life to instead cause your opponent damage. Early on, it wasn't hard to see Tainted Remedy as a sideboard card to thwart decks that gain tons of life, especially in Modern and Legacy. It also has a great synergy with Beacon of Immortality. The Beacon allows you to double a target player's life total, and with Tainted Remedy in play, it instead deals damage equal to twice that opponent's life total instead. It makes for a deadly two-card combo, especially in a typical one-on-one duel.
While the Tainted Remedy combo with Beacon of Immortality isn’t quite as foolproof as the Sanguine Bond and Exquisite Blood combo. But, if you can pull it off, it’s extremely effective. The question is, would Tainted Remedy be a card that would see competitive play as the Bond/Blood combo did during its time in competitive Standard play.
As predicted, Tainted Remedy did see some sideboard play, as seen in some U/R Prowess lists in Standard. Tainted Remedy even popped up in Modern a bit, too, as seen in this Abzan Midrange deck. But it wasn’t adopted to the degree that many thought it would be. Still, there’s been enough casual and Commander interest to keep this card on a steady rise over the past two years.
Tainted Remedy in Pioneer
With the release of Aria of Flames in Modern Horizons, Tainted Remedy found a new deck. While the deck never took off competitively in Modern, the invention of the Pioneer competitive format - which has a much more limited cardpool for deck builders to work with - brought new interest in playing with Tainted Remedy.
The Aria of Flames and Tainted Remedy combo isn’t an instant win. But, since Aria of Flame gains each opponent 10 life when the Enchantment enters play, it puts your opponent at a severe disadvantage when you also have Tainted Remedy in play. An Aria of Flames deck also plays many other burn spells, which will allow you to finish off an opponent without having to put another copy of Aria of Flames into play.
Tainted Remedy in EDH / Commander
While Tainted Remedy hasn't taken off in competitive play, there are enough people building decks with it in EDH (more popularly known today as Commander) to give it a value of a few dollars on the secondary market. In particular, Tainted Remedy sees play in decks led by Selenia, Dark Angel, Mogis, God of Slaughter, Mathas, Fiend Seeker, Kaervek the Merciless, and Kambal, Consul of Allocation.
In particular, Tainted Remedy is a great Enchantment in a Mathas, Fiend Seeker deck because of the Legendary Creature's ability. Mathas' creates bounty counters on opponent's creatures. When creatures with bounty counters on them die, each opponent draws a card and gains 2 life. But, Tainted Remedy would make each opponent take 2 damage instead.
Because of how narrow its effect is, Tainted Remedy isn't a card you'd see being reprinted to death as Sanguine Bond has. What it does is pretty unique and it can hose a lot of decks that depend on lifegain effects. It’s one of those stash-away cards that could become competitively relevant all of a sudden if the right lifegain combo deck comes along in Modern or Pioneer.
While Tainted Remedy likely doesn't have a price ceiling of $25 or more like Exquisite Blood, it’s not impossible for this to be worth more than a few dollars per copy in the next few years. If there’s a great combo piece to go along with Beacon of Immortality printed in the future, this card's value could rise quickly. In any case, Tainted Remedy is a great card to have in your Magic the Gathering collection.
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