Once one of the more valuable rare cards from Magic the Gathering’s New Phyrexia, Blade Splicer saw a dramatic drop in price when she was re-released in the Modern Masters 2017 reprint set (MM3). At one point, Blade Splicer’s MM3 printing found itself in dollar bins and even her original New Phyrexia printing steadily dropped towards a dollar and a half. But, in mid-2017, the two printings started to converge in price and the reprint version began a slow rise in value.
It was hardly surprising to see Blade Splicer recovering from reprints. She saw lots of play during her time in Standard, especially in Birthing Pod decks. Blade Splicer would slide into Birthing Pod Modern decks, as well. But, as more powerful sets were released, Blade Splicer has become gradually outclassed. Also, she was reprinted in Double Masters, pushing her into bulk rare territory thanks to greatly reduced play as the years have progressed. So, is there play left for what was once one of the more recognizable cards in competitive Magic?
First off, why is Blade Splicer good? Since she gives any Golems you control first strike, it’s possible a golem creature might be printed at some point that will work well alongside her. We have seen her and the popular four-drop artifact Golem creature Solemn Simulacrum work well together before. First strike is also a very relevant ability, making your Golems essentially walls against smaller creatures. Four power for just three mana is also just often going to be better than some people can overcome right away – although in recent years, 4 power for 3 mana is hardly unheard of as creatures become significantly better.
So, does Blade Splicer still see play in Modern? Even with the banning of Birthing Pod in Modern, Blade Splicer still saw top table Modern deck play in Eldrazi and Taxes and Hatebear decks. These decks really liked Blade Splicer because of all of the “blink” effects in the deck. Eldrazi Displacer, Flickerwisp, and Restoration Angel allow you to reuse Blade Splicer’s enter the battlefield ability multiple times. These decks still played Blade Splicer as recently as October of 2020, but it’s becoming much rarer to see them at top tournaments. Even with Yorion, Sky Nomad making it easier than ever to “blink” your nonland permanents, Blade Splicer isn’t quite good enough for Modern any more.
Fortunately, Blade Splicer has found a new consistent home in Commander, thanks to Commander Legends printing a Golem Tribal Legendary Creature in Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer. Somewhat ironically, Ich-Tekik itself is mono-Green, but because it has Partner, pairing it other Partner Legendary Creatures such as Ishai, Ojutai Dragonspeaker or Rebbec, Artifact of Ascension gives you the white color identity to play and cast Blade Splicer. You’ll also occasionally see Blade Splicer in Yorion, Sky Nomad Commander decks.
Will we ever see a resurgence in Blade Splicer in competitive play? If she gets reprinted in a future Standard-legal set, it’s very likely we may, as she could still hold her own in a format with a significantly more limited card pool like Standard. I’d like to see her return, as she was an unexciting, but very solid card that gave you a lot of punch for what was otherwise just a 1/1 creature.