Mtg Errantry

Sometimes a card’s design can foretell the kind of mechanics that will appear in the future. For example, Sealed Fate from Mirage has its own minor theme called fateseal in a few cards much later on. In the case of Errantry, it may have been a kind of ancestor to the exalted mechanic if only in flavor. The idea of the lone knight errant on a quest has always been one of the staples of fantasy lore and the card Errantry tries to capture the essence of this.

Unfortunately, this common aura from Ice Age was severely underpowered even in its time. Its casting cost of one colorless mana and one red mana is already one mana above the norms of that era. Take Unholy Strength for instance. That aura gives an unconditional +2/+1 for a mere black mana. On the other hand, Errantry gives only +3/+0 despite its higher cost and even imposes the limitation that the enchanted creature can only attack alone.

This certainly fits in with the idea of the knight errant and Errantry’s flavor text, but in terms of efficiency, it is extremely horrible. Auras in general are already very vulnerable to card disadvantage as there is always the fear that the permanent it is enchanting will become the target of removal spells. It is for this reason that auras like Rancor and the umbras are created. Yet, Errantry offers no such protection and can actually be harmful in certain situations when you really want every creature you have to be on the offense. The only time when it is barely playable is on the defense or if you are using an exalted theme.

It might be a fun card to use though in some quirky multiplayer formats. For example, there is a format by which players sit in a circle and the player will actively try to kill the person to the right of them using mainly creature decks. In that case, Errantry can actually be used in some situations to delay a player’s inevitable loss. At the same time, it forces the enchanted creature to remain on the defense so that it can serve as a blocker for that player, thus delaying that player’s own doom.

In all honesty though, such situations are very rare and Errantry remains a flavorful but badly implemented card due to its sheer inefficiency. The design team did quite well with this card but the development and the numbers don’t match its potential. It is just as well that some measure of the idea lived on in the exalted ability.