Magic: The Gathering — What Is Committing A Crime?

Break the law with Magic: The Gathering’s crimes mechanic.

Magic: The Gathering - What Is Committing A Crime?

Magic: The Gathering has no shortage of mechanics across its lengthy twenty-one-year history, and with every new set release even more mechanics are added to the game. Sometimes, these mechanics are entirely new introductions, however, other times they are simply a new name for mechanics that already existed in the game.

Committing a crime is a mechanic in the latter category. Consequently, it's easy to understand since you've unknowingly been using this mechanic for quite some time. The villainous theme of Outlaws of Thunder Junction lends itself perfectly to the presentation of committing a crime, so let's get down and dirty.

What Is Committing A Crime?

Magic: The Gathering - What Is Committing A Crime?

Players "commit a crime" by doing a number of things. Any time you cast a card or activate an ability that targets one of the following, you've just committed a crime.

  • The opponent
  • A permanent under an opponent's control
  • A card in the opponent's graveyard
  • A spell or ability an opponent controls

In other words, any card you cast or ability you use that targets something belonging to the opponent is counted as committing a crime.

While the majority of these targeted effects will be detrimental to the opponent, it's important to remember that beneficial effects like placing counters and restoring life are also targeted effects that count as committing a crime. Even nice guys can't catch a break from the laws of Thunder Junction.

How To Make The Most Of Committing A Crime?

Magic: The Gathering - What Is Committing A Crime?

You might think this is an arbitrary term for performing game actions that have been around in Magic forever. While you would normally be right, there are cards in the Outlaws of Thunder Junction set that reward you for committing a crime.

If you have one such card in play, you can get extra value by casting cards or using abilities that target the opponent or any of their permanents. Looking at the previews, some of this extra value is very impressive too.

Not all removal cards count as committing a crime. Untargeted removal like wrath spells don't count as committing a crime as they don't have targets.

As a result, wraths and other untargeted spells should be avoided in any deck looking to take maximum advantage of committing crimes. Meanwhile, cards with targeted abilities that can be triggered repeatedly can serve as engines for an unstoppable crime spree that buries your opponent in value. Being bad has never felt so good.

The Best Cards With Committing A Crime

Magic: The Gathering - What Is Committing A Crime?

Gisa, The Hellraiser

Magic: The Gathering - What Is Committing A Crime?

Creating multiple tokens every time you commit a crime is a huge payoff especially because those tokens receive the power and toughness lord boon that Gisa offers. While Gisa's lord ability is best used in a typal deck that includes other Skeletons and Zombies, the fact that Gisa fuels herself might make her powerful enough to be played alone.

It's also worth keeping in mind that Forsaken Miner is a brand new Skeleton creature that goes alongside Gisa perfectly as you can return it from your graveyard to the battlefield each time you commit a crime as long as you have one black mana available. Will Zombie typal make a return to the Standard meta? Thanks to the strength of Gisa, it's certainly possible.

Magda, The Hoardmaster

Magic: The Gathering - What Is Committing A Crime?

Generating extra mana will always be a worthwhile effect and Magda even allows you to trade in your treasure tokens for 4/4 flying Dragon Scorpion creature tokens! Red's reliance on direct damage also means that you'll have no shortage of spells to include in your deck that count as committing a crime.

All of this being said, Magda's treasures entering the battlefield tapped is a bit of a downer. You'll have to wait until your next turn to generate mana with them. However, you can still immediately sacrifice them to make Dragon Scorpions. Magda will likely be best in some sort of build that has other ways to generate treasure.

Marchesa, Dealer Of Death

Magic: The Gathering - What Is Committing A Crime?

Grixis Commander players rejoice because the new Marchesa is the perfect commander to make the most of committing a crime. The most notable difference from the other committing a crime payoffs is that Marchesa is not limited to triggering only once per turn. Every time you commit a crime, Marchesa adds a card to your hand and graveyard as long as you can pay the mana.

The Grixis colors also allow you to play arguably the best assortment of cards that commit crimes. Red has direct damage, black is stuffed with removal, and blue offers counterspells. Enjoy your Commander crime spree and all of the loot that it stands to offer.

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