by Phoenix A. Desertsong, Staff Writer, Healer & Advocate
Bogbrew Witch is part of a very interesting combo that Wizards built into the Magic 2014 Core Set. Later, they would reprint it into Iconic Masters, as well. The combo has to do with a common creature card, Festering Newt (a functional reprint of the old favorite Festering Goblin with a twist), and an uncommon artifact, Bubbling Cauldron. The witch allows you to tutor out these cards directly onto the battlefield for only 2 colorless mana and a tap. Let’s see how this works.
Festering Newt is a slightly better functional reprint of Festering Goblin from the Scars of Mirrodin block. When it dies, a target creature an opponent controls gets -1/-1 until end of turn. Unlike Festering Goblin, one of your own creatures will never get hit as it would under the Goblin’s mandatory ability. It turned out to be useful removal in Magic 2014 drafts.
The Newt has an added ability, too. If the Bogbrew Witch happens to be on your side of the battlefield when the Newt dies, that creature instead gets -4/-4 until end of turn. Suddenly, this little one-drop becomes a much nastier removal spell. Plus, it can be tutored up by the Witch. It’s a solid one-drop for Limited, even without the Witch.
Bubbling Cauldron is where things really get interesting. First of all, it’s a two-drop artifact that can be put right into play with Bogbrew Witch using her ability. So you never have to draw this to play it. It has two inexpensive abilities that allow you to sacrifice a creature.
The Cauldron’s first ability costs 1 and a tap: you sacrifice a creature and gain 4 life. This obviously can come in handy if you’re chump blocking and 4 life is no joke. But the other ability is what makes the Bogbrew Witch & Festering Newt combo all the more interesting.
The second ability allows you to sacrifice a Festering Newt, and each opponent loses 4 life. Not only that, you gain life equal to the life lost that way. So you can at the very least give an opponent’s creature -4/-4, have them lose 4 life, and gain 4 life, all for 1 mana and a Festering Newt. Note that the second ability reads “each opponent.” That you can gain a lot more life in a multiplayer game is somewhat fascinating.
To be fair, Bogbrew Witch made for a good Limited card, even just for the life-gain off of doomed chump-blockers. It’s even better if you run Festering Newt and the Cauldron. All three of these cards are good to watch out for, but it rarely made sense to first-pick the Witch without having both of these other cards already in hand.
Outside of Limited, this three-card combo has seen play in Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker Commander decks. But, honestly, it’s a combo best suited for play at the kitchen table.
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