Displacer Kitten is the focus of a lot of conversation ever since it was spoiled. Chris takes a look at what can actually be done with it.
Displacer Kitten from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate has been the focus of a lot of conversation. Not entirely sure why…it’s not like Magic has a history of printing problematic cats, right?
Um. Right. Anyway.
One big difference from those cats and this Kitten is that Displacer Kitten comes to us from a non-Standard-Legal set. This means that the kitty can only see play (officially) in Commander, Legacy, and Vintage. There’s already been talk about the impact the card will have on Commander. Is it good enough to break through to the older formats? Well, people are certainly going to try.
But why? Maybe you look at the Kitten and say to yourself, it just blinks stuff, things have done that before, right? Or maybe you look at the cat and need to immediately sit down as the possibilities flood into your brain. Either way, we’re going to look at some of the things you can do with Displacer Kitten, and see what all the fuss is about.
A few notes before we start: these are just a few examples. Displacer Kitten can do some really bonkers things with a huge number of cards, so this is by no means exhaustive. I’ve broken things down into a few categories, based solely on my own thoughts and preferences. And, you know, the rules of Magic: the Gathering.
So, to begin, let’s look at some of the lower powered things Displacer Kitten can do.
This category is for cards that will just generate a lot of value with even a single Kitten trigger. A lot of these can be tweaked to be a part of some combo or another. But even on their own they’re just very, very powerful.
Of almost any card, Spellseeker seems tailor-made for Displacer Kitten. It goes and gets a low-cost spell, which will trigger Kitten, which will flicker Spellseeker to go get another spell. This can start a chain of counterspells – a quick search brings up 72 different counterspells costing two mana or less. I like playing control, and even I’m a little appalled at the thought of how disheartening that can be.
Archaeomancer can’t search up a spell from your deck, but once it’s on the battlefield, it’s not hard to set up a situation where you effectively have infinite counterspells. You need two instants to make it work; the Kitten’s ability fully resolves before the spell that triggered it does, so you need a spell other than the initial counterspell to chain them together. Like, say, a different counterspell. Or perhaps even worse, something like Manamorphose, drawing cards and offsetting mana costs in the process.
Eternal Witness can do the same thing as Archaeomancer, but also works with any card type, grabbing whatever you need out of your graveyard. Honestly, I’d say the only reason to do Archaeomancer over Witness is if you aren’t in Green – the Witness, already a good utility player, becomes a powerhouse alongside the Kitten.
Everyone who plays Commander likely knows that Dockside Extortionist is already powerful on its own, and the ability to flicker it multiple times means that (depending on the board state) any non-creature spell you cast is either free or actually nets you more treasures than mana you spent to cast the spell in the first place. And that’s before you throw in a card like Reckless Fireweaver.
You might think on their face that cards like Cloud of Faeries and Peregrine Drake are less problematic to flicker with the Kitten than Dockside Extortionist. Untapping lands is good, obviously, but it’s harder to accrue mana that way than with treasures, right? Yes, if you’re only untapping basics or normal dual lands. Start adding in cards like Cabal Coffers or Gaea’s Cradle (or a flipped Growing Rites of Itlimoc for a less bankrupting build), and the mana production can go off the charts. Utility lands also can go bonkers, with Academy Ruins and the like being able to activate multiple times in a turn.
Now, Recruiter isn’t the most egregious Kitten target on its own, but it can go grab some of the more powerful ones, essentially enabling most of the other shenanigans I’m listing here. Even if you don’t do anything like that, being able to grab any small utility creature you have in a hatebear-style deck can be backbreaking, as you slowly fill the board with different Thalias, Magi, Spirits, and anything else that stops your opponents’ plans.
This may be the most purely “value” option here, as it allows you to double up on any spell you cast. If Dualcaster Mage is on the battlefield with Displacer Kitten, any spell you cast will trigger Kitten, letting you flicker the Mage and copy the spell you initially cast. You don’t cast the copy, it just goes on the stack, so this doesn’t immediately create an infinite loop, but it doesn’t need to go that far to be extremely powerful.
Got an army of utility creatures with activated abilities which require tapping themselves? Want to be able to use them multiple times a turn? Intruder Alarm will let you untap all your creatures whenever you cast any kind of spell with Displacer Kitten on the board. Flickering the Kitten itself will reset all your creatures if you don’t want to bounce any others, and the possibilities of where to go from there are virtually infinite. This can also work to a lesser extent with creatures like Pestermite, Deceiver Exarch, or Derevi…all of which also do silly things with the next card on the list.
Everyone who was around for Birthing Pod’s run in Standard and Modern can remember the way Pod chains could just end games. Doing that took some very specific lineups of creatures in your deck, letting you untap the Pod at each step along the way. Displacer Kitten just lets you chain Pod activations for as many noncreature spells that you can cast, flickering the Pod and resetting it each time. Pod didn’t really need a ton of help as it was already broken in many ways, and Kitten opens up even more lines of play for the Phyrexian artifact.
All right, now down to the bottom line. So far, all we’ve talked about are possible starts for doing a lot of broken things. Now for specifics. Here’s a few ways to effectively end the game with Displacer Kitten.
Karn, the Great Creator + Lion’s Eye Diamond + Relic of Progenitus – Infinite Mana
So here’s the setup. You have Displacer Kitten, and you have a Karn, the Great Creator. In your sideboard, you have a Lion’s Eye Diamond and a Relic or Progenitus. You also presumably have another Karn-centric win condition or two in your sideboard, but we’ll get to that at the end. You are going a bit all-in here, so make sure you pick your spot when the coast is clear.
First, activate Karn and grab your Lion’s Eye Diamond. Cast it, flickering and resetting Karn, allowing you to activate him again. Before you do that, sacrifice the LED, discarding your hand and making mana of whichever color you prefer. Now activate Karn, grabbing your Relic. Cast it, once again flickering Karn. Activate the Relic, exiling it and your graveyard.
You now have two mana left over from your LED and a fresh Karn ready to activate. Karn, notably, can grab cards you own outside the game or in exile. This means you can go and grab the same LED, and then the same Relic, and loop this as much as you like, creating an arbitrarily large amount of mana.
Trinket Mage + LED + Elixir of Immortality – Infinite Life
Cast the Trinket Mage, and go find a Lion’s Eye Diamond when it resolves. Cast the LED, flickering the Trinket Mage, this time finding the Elixir. finally, cast the Elixir, flickering the Mage again. Let’s assume we’re playing Legacy, and you can go grab another LED, although you can easily go grab any other zero-cost artifact if you’re playing Commander. In either case, cast the artifact, and with the Kitten’s trigger on the stack targeting the Mage, activate the LED, then activate the Elixir, shuffling it and your graveyard back into your deck.
You gain five life, and when the Kitten trigger resolves and you flicker the Mage, you can now go find the same LED that’s been shuffled back into your deck, starting the loop over again. While all of this won’t win you the game outright, you do gain infinite life, potentially infinite mana, and can eventually go find something like an Implement of Combustion or a Pyrite Spellbomb to close out the game.
Teferi, Time Raveler + Any 0-cost artifact – Draw your Deck
One last time, the setup. You have either Displacer Kitten or Teferi, Time Raveler on board and the other in hand, with enough mana open to cast it. You also need any 0-cost artifact, either in hand or already on the battlefield. For this, we’ll go with Teferi being in your hand and the Kitten on the board.
Cast the Teferi, flickering whatever you wish. If you still need to cast the artifact, you can activate Teferi here however you wish, flickering the Teferi once you cast the artifact to reset it. Activate Teferi’s second ability, bouncing the artifact back to your hand and drawing a card. From here, you can just keep casting the artifact, flickering Teferi, and bouncing the artifact back to your hand, drawing a card each time. You can repeat as much as you like, drawing your whole deck if you wish.
The nice thing about this combo is that once Teferi is on board, it’s nearly impossible for your opponent to meaningfully interact with what you have going on. Something like Boseiju, Who Endures can still trip you up, but unlike the other two combos, nothing here can be countered or removed by normal means.
Now, the especially silly thing? All three of the above combos can fit into the same seemingly-playable Legacy deck.
This is an incredibly untuned list I threw together just now, so don’t expect to see this exact 75 making waves any time soon. But I wouldn’t be surprised if something like this started showing up in Legacy events as people test out Displacer Kitten. I’m sure it can do even more broken things in Vintage. Whether or not it will break through in the Eternal formats remains to be seen.
But for an absolute certainty, Displacer Kitten will make waves in Commander. If you have some ideas for what silly things you can make happen, let me know on Twitter. And definitely let me know if you can make it work in Legacy or Vintage.
Chris is the Associate Media Producer at Card Kingdom. He would like to apologize to his son for not holding onto more cards from when he first started playing, as that likely would have paid for college. He enjoys pretty much all formats of Magic, but usually ends up playing decks that make other people dislike playing those formats with him.