How Does Extort Work: MTG Guide

January 14, 2023 · Your Playmat
How Does Extort Work: MTG Guide

Card games are one of the world's most popular forms of entertainment. The TCG industry is brimming with games like Pokemon, MTG or Yu-Gi-oH! Many people consider these entertainments to be geeky. But card games can be challenging and need specific skills to win.

Within each card game, there are specific mechanics. All of them give special effects and bonuses. But to defeat opponents on the battlefield, the player needs to use the game's mechanics. One such mechanic is Extort. This helps players gain extra hit points and deplete the enemy.

In our article, we will tell you about the rules of MTG Extort mechanics. We will also show you some cards with this feature and provide you with all the necessary information about the strategy and combination of Extort with other MTG mechanics.

What Is Extort In MTG And How It Works

In card games like MTG, Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh! there are many mechanics. Each of the techniques has different effects and consequences for opponents. They help players gain an advantage on the battlefield. One of the critical mechanics of MTG is Extort. This technique works like this:

  • Players pay an extra cost when activating certain abilities;
  • It drains life from their opponents, then.

In the next paragraph we will look at the main rules of Extort cards in Magic: The Gathering.

The Key Rules Of MTG Extort

As you can see, Extort is easy to use, but there are some key rules:

  1. You can use Extort only on activated abilities of cards that have the Extort keyword;
  2. To use it, a player must pay an extra cost when activating an ability with Extort. The cost is usually much black mana, but it can also be a combination of black and other colours;
  3. When an ability with MTG Extort is activated, the player who used Extort drains an amount of life from each of their opponents equal to the number of times they've used Extort that turn;
  4. Extort triggers independently for each opponent. A player with two opponents will drain life from each opponent separately;
  5. If a player has many cards with Extort, they can use the Extort ability from each of these cards in a single turn. The life drained from each opponent will be cumulative;
  6. You can use MTG Extort abilities in any game phase as long as the player has the necessary mana to pay the extra cost and is activating an ability of a card with the Extort keyword. But remember that some abilities can only be activated during certain phases or steps of the game.

Using Extort To Gain An Advantage In The Game

extort cards in mtg

A key principle is using different techniques to achieve victory in a card game. Although it is also essential to build the deck correctly and know the enemy. But with the help of techniques, you can achieve the most success in battle.

We will tell you about:

  • Combining MTG Extort with other mechanics of the game;
  • Examples of cards with which you can win in battle.

Listening to our advice can take your gaming skills to a new level. Winning official tournaments will become a little easier. And the home game will be more exciting and impressive for your opponents.

Combining Extort With Other Mechanics And Strategies in MTG

You may have wondered if you can combine Extort with other mechanics. Here are some examples of how you can do this:

  1. Lifegain. Extort works well with other life-gain effects. It allows you to drain life from your opponent while also gaining life for yourself.
  2. Control elements. Extort can be a helpful tool in decks that have other control elements, such as:
    • Removal spells;
    • Board wipes.

It allows you to drain your opponent's life while disrupting their board state.

  1. Instant-speed effects. Extort with instant-speed abilities can surprise your opponent with a drain of life. Especially when combined with other instant-speed effects;
  2. Combo decks. Extort can be a valuable addition to combo decks that seek to drain the opponent's life over time. It allows you to drain small amounts of life each turn while also setting up your combo.

Examples Of Extort Cards And How They Function

Here is a small list of cards with the Extort effect:

  • Basilica Guards;
  • Basilica Screecher;
  • Blind Obedience;
  • Grypt Ghast;
  • Kingpin's Pet;
  • Knight of Obligation;
  • Pontiff of Blight;
  • Syndic of Tithes;
  • Syndicate Enforcer etc.

All these Magic: The Gathering Extort cards work according to Extort rules. They allow you to deplete your opponent and gain an advantage on the battlefield. 

The History And Evolution Of MTG Extort

Extort is an exciting mechanic that was first introduced in Gatecrash. This mechanic was the main one for Orzhov Syndicate.

But it also appeared in the Dragon's Labyrinth. Also, today there are 4 rare cards, three uncommon and six standard cards with this effect. With the help of such cards, you can get a profitable advantage on the battlefield.

But if you are a collector, you can also make money on rare cards. Thus, if you come across a valuable extortion card, keep it in your card sleeves.

Extort has remained largely unchanged since its introduction. It allows players to pay an extra cost when activating certain abilities to drain life from their opponents. And it has been used in slower, control-oriented decks that seek to drain their opponents.

Exploring The Creative Design Of MTG Extort 

One of the key design considerations with Extort has been how to balance the mechanic in terms of:

  • Power level;
  • Playability.

Extort abilities are generally weaker than other abilities that deal direct damage or have a more immediate impact on the game. But they can be activated many times per turn and you can use it in combination with other life-gain effects.

This allows Magic: The Gathering Extort cards to be a useful tool. It’s valuable for players looking to control the game's pace. And it helps wear down their opponents. But it also means that it may not always be the most potent choice in a given situation.

The Role Of Extort In Different Formats And Metagames In MTG

playing mtg with extort cards

In Magic: The Gathering, the role of Extort deck can vary depending on the format and metagame in which it is being used:

  • Limited formats (Draft and Sealed). Extort can be a powerful tool for draining small amounts of life from opponents over time. It's especially in slower, grindy games. Their players have a lot of resources at their disposal;
  • Constructed formats (Standard, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage). Extort tends to see less play, as other cards and strategies often outclass it. They are more efficient at dealing with opponents. But it can still be a useful tool in certain decks and metagames;
  • Commander (EDH) format. Extortion can be a strong choice for decks focusing on life-gain and control. It's because it allows players to drain life from opponents. And at the same time, they also gain life for themselves.

Tips And Tricks For Playing With Or Against Extort In MTG

Here are a few tips for using Extort effectively in your gameplay:

  • Use Extort deck in Magic: The Gathering on creatures with high toughness. Extort triggers whenever you activate an ability. So creatures with higher toughness will be able to withstand more damage before they die. And they will allow you to get more value out of the Extort ability;
  • You can use Extort on instant-speed abilities. This allows you to surprise your opponent with a sudden drain of life. Especially when combined with other instant-speed effects;
  • Extort works well with other life-gain effects. If you have other cards in your deck that provide life-gain, you can use Extort to drain life from your opponent. At the same time, you gain life for yourself, potentially putting you out of your opponent's reach;
  • Be mindful of your opponent's life total. Consider your opponent's life total when deciding whether to use Extort. It's because you don't want to drain too much life and give your opponent an opening to mount a comeback.

Remember to always play fairly.

Bottom Line

As you can see, using Extort decks in Magic: The Gathering can be quite a complex technique, although it sounds simple in theory. Be sure to practice before important competitions and test new mechanics. But do not forget about fair play.


Does Extort Work With Other Effects That Drain Life From Opponents?

Extort works in combination with other effects that drain life from opponents. A card with Extort and another card that drains life can give both of these effects in the same turn.

Can I Use Extort On Activated Abilities Of Other Players' Cards?

No, you can’t. You can use it only on activated abilities of your cards with the Extort keyword.

Can I Use Extort On Abilities That Don't Target?

Yes, you can use Extort on abilities that don't target. But it’s only as long as the ability is an activated ability of a card with the Extort keyword.

How Much Do MTG Extord Cards Cost?

In general, such cards will not differ much in price from other cards. On average, you can find such cards at prices ranging from $30 to several hundred dollars.