“In memories, we can find our deepest reserves of strength.” – Auramancer flavor text
Auramancer is a card that’s been part of the Magic the Gathering multiverse since way back in 2001 with the release of Odyssey. The card has enjoyed two different artworks over its nine paper printings. The most valuable version of the card is the Wizards Play Network (WPN) promo foil from 2011, which features the alternate artwork. Auramancer was most recently printed in the Masters 25 reprint set, which celebrated Magic’s 25th anniversary.
A Human Wizard with a converted mana cost of 3 (two generic, one White), and a decent 2/2 body, Auramancer’s ability is straightforward:
When Auramancer enters the battlefield, you may return target enchantment card from your graveyard to your hand.
As this Wizard’s name would suggest, this creature would often be the key to returning an important Aura card (previously known as Enchant Creature cards) to your hand. Of course, that Enchantment doesn’t have to be an Aura. You can get back any type of Enchantment from your graveyard.
Over the years, Auramancer has proven to be a versatile card. That’s especially the case in Limited environments where Auras are often part of a draft or sealed deck strategy. We saw this be true in Core Sets that included the Auramancer: Magic 2012, Magic 2014, and Magic Origins.
But, is this more than a humble common with a useful effect in Limited?
“Beauty stirs the memory like a sweet perfume excites the air.” – Odyssey flavor text for Auramancer
Many years ago at Pro Tour San Diego 2002, Auramancer indeed had a day in the competitive spotlight. Donnie Galitz took a White/Blue/Black Threshold Fliers deck (today known as Esper named after the color combination of the Alara shard) to the Top 4, running two mainboard copies of Auramancer. Eric Froelich ran a similar deck that also made the Top 8.
In Galitz’s deck, the Auramancers were an important part of the deck, allowing you to reuse the four Enchantment cards in the deck, three of which enchanted creatures. The first was Divine Sacrament, a three mana (1WW) Enchantment that boosts all White creatures by +1/+1. It also had a Threshold ability that activated whenever you had 7 or more cards in your graveyard which gave White creatures an additional +1/+1.
Kirtar’s Desire is a one-drop White Enchantment that would prevent a target creature from attacking. If you had Threshold, it also couldn’t block. Patriarch’s Desire was another strong Enchant Creature which was actually fairly versatile. It gave a target creature +2/-2 and +4/-4 with Threshold. It could either boost your bigger creatures – especially the flyers in the deck – or serve as removal. Auramancer being able to get back either of these cards once they hit the graveyard was a huge boon to the strategy.
Auramancer never made the Top 8 of a Pro Tour again, besides being in the sideboard of Limited decks that didn’t actively play them. But, that was hardly the competitive end for Auramancer. In the many years since, Auramancer has popped up in multiple Standard formats, re-emerging as a reprint in 2011’s Magic 2012 Core Set – and as the WPN promo.
The Wizard would reappear in Magic 2014 and Magic Origins, and be included in a Planechase deck, Duel Deck: Heroes VS Monsters, and the Planechase Anthology. While certainly it never has regained status at top tables, it’s still been present on kitchen tables across the world.
The stained glass effect of Rebecca Guay’s original art remains the art on all but the WPN promo. While Wayne Reynolds’ reimagining of the card is beautiful in its own way, Guay’s art hearkens back to a simpler time in Magic history. Indeed, original Odyssey foils are sought after enough for them to be worth a couple of dollars, despite numerous modern border foil printings.
While Auramancer has over time become less important due to power creep – other superior cards often taking the Wizards place – EDH decks still can find a home for our friend. Enchantment-minded decks still have room for the Auramancer, it turns out. But, like so many cards that may otherwise be considered common and good only in casual play today, Auramancer had a pretty good story.
This Wizard’s had a long and fairly successful run. While he/she may fade into history in the years to come, never forget the role this humble fetcher of Enchantments once had in competitive Magic. Auramancer has classic artwork and the effect will always be relevant.