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Card of the Week – Desperate Gambit

Desperate Gambit - WTH - Banner

One thing that you will often hear Commander player say is “I need to make my deck more consistent”. For different decks this is achieved in different ways, more pump spells, tutors or just focusing on a theme. The Card of the Week is focused on improving Aggro or damage dealing decks, but in a very Red way. Desperate Gambit is an unusual but potentially devastating pump spell, making it the Card of the Week.

Desperate Gambit - Weatherlight
Head you live, Tails you die

The oracle text can be found here.

Desperate Gambit is an instant that if you call a coin flip correctly doubles the next damage dealt by a source you control. However, if you call it incorrectly you will negate the damage instead, this is a high risk, high reward strategy. When you are playing Aggro or Stompy decks you need to be able to take advantage of opportunities to deal damage. For a single Red mana and at instant speed you can turn an attack into a KO. For example if you are attacking with a 7/7 Commander, you can cast Desperate Gambit to turn the next damage into 14 and Temur Battle Rage to give it double strike brining it up to a total of 21 damage.

However, Desperate Gambit does have some disadvantages. For example it is a gamble you could end up dealing no damage. Additionally it only doubles the damage for the next time it is dealt, so it won’t help a Guttersnipe.

Suggested Commanders

Desperate Gambit is best in decks that are looking to do a large amount of combat damage quickly. Making it is a good fit for Gruul stompy decks suck as Xenagos, God of Revels or Radha, Heart of Keld. It is also useful in Jund for example Prossh, Skyraider of Kher or Temur decks such as Kalamax the Stormshire.

Finally it can be used in coin flip tribal decks such as Okaun, Eye of Chaos.