Today we are going to look at the newest promo card: Oizio, Adaptive Spy. You can read about the lore and see the card here and I highly suggest you do because the story is interesting and the way that Oizio represents herself is pretty neat. First, we will break down the card, then look at some other cards it compares to and sees where it can fit in the meta.
Oizio is a three-drop feln creature with the Rogue type. She is a 0/1 and has ambush and warp with the summon ability to transform into a unit in a void that dies this turn. There is actually a lot going on with that third ability and that is going to be what we spend the most time on. I actually jumped into a testing session with ItsBeriadan to look at all the potential applications of the ability with as many different scenarios as we could come up with to test how the ability functions in the game. But before we get into those details, let’s look at the cards that Oizio is similar to.
At first glance Oizio is very like 4 cards we already have in the game, Sleeping Draught, Back for More, Mirror Image, and Sudden Schism. In the case of Sleeping Draught and Back for More the similarity is that these care about cards that died this turn, whereas with Mirror Image and Sudden Scism these are all about copying a creature. Oizio differs from Sleeping Draught and Back For More in that it can target the opponent’s creature, and she differs from mirror Image and Sudden Scism in that she becomes a copy of the unit in the void so you only end up with one unit in play as opposed to two. Also, the fact that Oizio has warp means that you have a bit of a better chance of casting her compared to any of the other four spells. On the surface, this looks like a really cool card, and if we only look at the story part it is a really neat little effect. However, in play Oizio falls quite a bit short of expectations.
First, there is the issue of Ambush as opposed to being a Fast Spell. Ambush is quite a bit more limited in scope over fast spells. Specifically, you can use a fast spell any time you could Ambush but you can not Ambush any time you could use a fast spell. Ambush can only be used during the declare blockers step or at the end of an opponent’s turn, whereas fast spells can be used in response to other spells and abilities. For instance if you had a Groundbreaker in play against an FJS player and they cast Slay on your Groundbreaker then play a Rhizhan to gain life off of the ability, you could use a Sleeping Draught or Back for More to put the Groundbreaker back into play and prevent the life gain, but could not do this with Oizio. Yes, it is a corner case situation but as the game continues to grow and more cards are added, these sorts of limitations will also grow.
Next, there is how the ability itself functions, Oizio’s ability is a summon effect on a body, this means that it happens after Oizio has entered the battlefield. This is a problem compared to either of the four cards I compared them to because it means you do not get the summon effect off of the unit that she transforms into. Thus it further limits the application of Oizio. Abilities that Oizio does not interact with profitably include Summon, Onslaught, Spark, Tribute, and any other ability that triggers on summon. This is probably the biggest problem with making use of Oizio over the spells that she would be taking the place of. This also limits the potential benefits of Oizio being a creature as opposed to a spell.
By not being able to activate these abilities Oizio loses a lot of potential functionality with spells like Reweave or in reanimator decks. In the case of reanimator decks Oizio is further hindered by the fact that the unit she transforms into has to still be in the void in order to be selected and it had to have died this turn, not just entered the void, so you cannot even use discard shenanigans to make use of Oizio’s ability.
There are a few interactions that ItsBeriadan and I tested out that you might be interested in, many of them are obvious but some are less so. First, we tested Oizio with both face Aegis and voidbound and in both cases, Oizio’s ability works fine. That is one of the few advantages Oizio has over Sleeping Draught and Back For More. Timing-wise you do not have a window to transform Oizio into units that sacrifice at the end of turn. For example, if an opponent plays a dread and it sacrifices at the end of the turn to return a creature to their hand you will not be able to transform an Oizio into that Dread. Similarly, if you ambush an Oizio into play and copy a unit that sacrifices at the end of turn, Oizio will trigger before your turn starts. For example, your opponent plays a Dread and attacks. You block and kill the Dread, the opponent passes the turn, you Ambush in Oizio and she transforms into Dread, you will Sacrifice your new Dread and be able to return a creature to your hand.
The final thing to discuss with Oizio is buffs and debuffs. Transform effects remove inherent buffs from a unit but retains the inherent buffs of the thing it transforms into. For example, if you Twinning Ritual an Oizio in your hand the buffed Oizio will lose it’s buffs when it transforms. If you play an Oizio and copy a Vara that has been buffed to a 5/5 deadly lifesteal unit via its own ability you will also have that buff. If you gave a unit Voidbound via a spell, like In Cold Blood, Oizio will have voidbound after she transforms, but if the unit has voidbound from a global effect, like a Gavel, Oizio will not have voidbound because the copied unit does not have voidbound inherently.
All is not lost when it comes to playing Oizio, as there are some positive interactions and strategies. First, Vargo’s Pelt applies a +2/+2 buff to any card you have that transforms and because Oizio transforms this means that whatever you chose to copy with Oizio will gain this benefit. Next, even though you do not get the summon benefits with Oizio, the fact that they are a creature means that you can still Reweave to sacrifice a unit that is under the effects of a curse like Permafrost and then copy the unit that was sacrificed to the reweave. Effectively this allows you to shift the cursed unit with little loss. Thirdly, Oizio being a unit means that it will interact with cards like Stone Shaker, Elysian Pathfinder, and Twinning Ritual profitably. Finally, the fact that Oizio does not remove their target from the void means that you can use multiple Oizio on the same target as compared to Sleeping Draught or Back For More, which would only be able to return the unit one time. All these benefits are of limited value but if you are looking to maximize your Oizio use these might be directions you could look into.
I do feel that Oizio is an interesting card and that with a few tweeks it could really be a contender in decks. First, the card, as is, is too expensive so the easiest change would be to reduce the cost of Oizio to 2PS, this would put her in line with Sleeping Draught, make her competitive with Mirror Image, and allow her to combo with removal spells more easily. Aside from messing with her cost, you could alter her summon ability. The first idea that comes to mind is to remove the just died timing restriction but limit Oizio to only targeting enemy voids. This would make Oizio a good anti reanimator option and also make her less awkward to use. Alternatively, you could have Oizio apply some ability to herself after she transforms so that she is worth the limitations you suffer in playing her. An example would be to have Oizio transform then gain her summon ability as an infiltrate ability allowing her to continually change shape as you struck the opponent. There is a myriad of options for helping Oizio be that splashy card she appears to be at first glance.
So, to summarize, Oizio, Adaptive Spy is potentially a very neat unit and a cool promo but ultimately we already have better ways of doing what Oizio does. Also, all of the cool things that having this effect on a creature could do are hindered by a combination of timing and targeting restrictions.