The Dictate cycle of Enchantments from Magic the Gathering’s Journey into Nyx set is a fascinating group of five cards. This cycle of Enchantments, one for each color of mana in Magic, bring back an old, powerful effect from Magic’s history, increase its mana cost a bit, then give it Flash. By giving these Enchantments Flash, you can play them at Instant speed, which makes them much more flexible.
In the case of the Green Dictate of Karametra, we have a card is much like Heartbeat of Spring from Champions of Kamigawa, except that Enchantment cost only 2G (2 generic, 1 Green), whereas this costs 3GG (3 generic, 2 Green). The effect reads: “Whenever a player taps a land for mana, that player adds one mana of any type that land produced.”
There were other Enchantments printed before this one with a similar effect, but with significant drawbacks. These include Winter’s Night from Alliances and Overabundance from Invasion. Zhur-Taa Ancient, a creature from Dragon’s Maze, even happens to have this effect, and it’s a 7/5 for 3RG.
So, does giving this card Flash suddenly make it a bunch better? Interestingly enough, this card works best with Kruphix, God of Horizons and not the Enchantment’s namesake herself, Karametra, God of Harvests. Since the effect works to the benefit of all players, Kruphix’s ability to turn any excess mana into colorless mana is really good.
Five mana is a bit much for an Enchantment like this, in general. It’s an easier investment to stomach, though, if you’re playing a Kruphix deck in which you’re using leftover colorless mana and essentially only paying two Green mana to cast it. That’s something R&D likely took into consideration in designing this card, as Heartbeat of Spring with Flash for just three or even four mana could’ve proven extremely powerful.
It’s also important to note that this mana-doubling effect does stack upon multiple instances. Giving it Flash also allows the owner to cast it at instant speed to be able to take advantage of the Enchantment’s effect first. But, at five mana, this particular Dictate proved too inefficient for any competitive environment.
While it’s a bit expensive to cast in Standard, Modern, or other 60-card formats, Dictate of Karametra was sure to see some Commander play. It’s especially good alongside the aforementioned Kruphix, for a bit of extra redundancy along with its predecessor Heartbeat of Spring and other similar cards mentioned earlier. Besides Kruphix, two other Commanders eventually made great use of Dictate of Karametra: Phelddagrif and Yurlok of Scorch Thrash.
The inclusion of Dictate of Karametra in these two decks is for completely different reasons. Phelddagrif is the most common and famous example of a “group hug” Commander, playing cards with symmetrical effects that benefit all players, while also playing cards that make it extremely disadvantageous to attack that player. With Yurlok, however, which literally reintroduces the legacy rule of mana burn when it’s in play, Dictate of Karametra creates so much additional mana that goes unspent, that boon actually becomes a curse.
All in all, the Dictate cycle proved to be a good one overall, but the Green Dictate inevitably proved to be the weakest. That being said, it’s not a bad card, and it has found a few very good homes in the Commander format.