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Go For The Throat Returns! – Is It Still The Best Two Mana Removal Spell?

Hello everyone!

We got even more spoilers with the Magic 30 event, and while we already covered [card name=”Phyrexian Fleshgorger”], Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim, and Monastery Swiftspear, we have yet another super sweet card that I’m both surprised and not surprised to see reprinted after 11 or so years – Go for the Throat.

Go for the Throat is a very simple card, kill a non-artifact creature. The last time it was printed was Mirrodin Besieged, another artifact set, so that clause seems very high impact. However, if history is any testament, this is hardly a work around.

While not being able to kill artifact creatures in an artifact set can be a bit brutal, traditionally speaking, artifact creatures are not terribly popular in Constructed. If you look at current Standard even, the only creature this could not kill would be Reckoner Bankbuster. Of course, saying that before the artifact set comes out isn’t the most fair analysis, but I still don’t envision this being a big problem. Having a kill spell that kills the vast majority of threats for two mana is going to be a good enough rate most of the time. Even Power Word Kill which missed hitting some extremely important creatures like Goldspan Dragon still saw a good amount of play as the restriction wasn’t enough to bar it from decks.

How about compared to Infernal Grasp?

Infernal Grasp feels like a tough removal spell to beat out right now. Not only is most of Standard midrange mirrors where your life total isn’t under terrible pressure most of the time, it can kill anything! Even at the cost of two life, isn’t killing anything better than killing almost everything. Personally, I don’t think so.

The first issue with Infernal Grasp is they get weaker in multiples. Sure, the first copy isn’t going to be too painful, but copies two and three are going to add up very fast. The second issue is that we’re in a pain land Standard right now. Since our mana bases are naturally costing us life, whether literally through pain lands or by taking attacks because we’re playing off curve, losing additional life is a pretty big detriment. Finally, while your life total isn’t under quick pressure, there aren’t really good ways to gain life in this Standard so that chip damage can accumulate over the course of a game, so while you aren’t dying fast, you may die at a point you could’ve stabilized had you been at a higher life total.

Go for the Throat, on the other hand, has an extremely low opportunity cost to play. You don’t mind playing it early, playing it late, or seeing any amount of copies for it. Not killing artifacts may be relevant (but there’s an equally good chance it doesn’t), but this Standard is absolutely flush with removal spells to help you out there. If between Cut Down, Abrade, Soul Transfer, The Wandering Emperor, Rite of Oblivion, and Hero's Downfall you can’t find the right removal suite, I would be extremely surprised.

I’m talking solely about the Standard applications of this card, but I can see this seeing play in older formats as well! While it’s hard to play two mana kill spells over more efficient options such as Cut Down or Fatal Push, Black decks would likely play 1-2 copies of this happily as this is the least restrictive kill spell we’ve had in awhile. Historic, in particular, has Doom Blade, but the non-Black rider is definitely much more restrictive than non-Artifact. As such, while it’s not going to make huge waves, expect to see a copy or so of Go for the Throat in most Black decks in Historic and Explorer moving forward.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

While not an obviously insane card, having good removal can help build the foundation of any deck. Even after 11 years, this card still holds up extremely well and I envision seeing it extremely often in many formats moving forward.

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Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on
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