Strictly better

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Strictly better is a term used to compare cards that are identical in most regards, and in each way they are different the same one is more favorable.[1] Strictly better does not care about creature type.[2] For example, Lightning Bolt is strictly better than Shock. Both are instants that cost Manar.gif and deal damage to a creature or player, but Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage where shock deals 2 damage. The opposite of strictly better is called strictly worse, as in "Shock is strictly worse than Lightning Bolt."

The convention is well understood among experienced Magic players. However, those new to the terminology may complain that a strictly better card is not better in all situations than a strictly worse card.[3][4] For example, Shock is a better card to draw than Lightning Bolt if the opponent controls a Booby Trap naming Lightning Bolt. Such examples are not a failure of the terminology; it compares only the attributes of the cards regardless of obscure situations that may arise in play.

Cards are constantly being obsoleted by strictly better versions (sometimes even in the same set, such as Glory Seeker and Knight of Cliffhaven). This may lead to power creep. Examples of strict comparisons include:

More powerful at same cost[edit | edit source]

The following cards have the same cost but one has an added ability or greater size.

More flexibility at same cost[edit | edit source]

The following cards have the same effect, but one is more restricted in its use.

Same effect but cost less[edit | edit source]

The following cards have the same effect but one has a greater cost.

Instant instead of sorcery[edit | edit source]

The following are cards that have the same effect and cost but are instants instead of sorceries.

Multiple upgrades[edit | edit source]

Some cards can be compared strictly in more than one way. If one card is better than another in every way that they're different, then the comparison is strict.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater. (March 31, 2003.) "This Land is My Land", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater. (July 20, 2014.) "Does the term "strictly better" care about creature types?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
  3. Mike Flores. (March 03, 2014.) "Strictly Superior", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mike Flores. (March 10, 2014.) "Redundancy", Daily MTG,, Wizards of the Coast.