I've heard it said that Scry 1 is equivalent to 0.5-0.75 of a drawn card; is there a similar number of card draw that Surveil 1 represents?

Edit: this link has a reddit discussion that attempts to put a number equivalence on scrying.


  • Heard where? Link? – Hackworth Dec 29 '18 at 20:29
  • Putting things in your graveyard is usually more useful than putting it on the bottom of your library. Especially in a black deck. – Arthur Dec 29 '18 at 22:06
  • Yes; surveil as good as if not strictly better than scry in every circumstance. I'm just looking for a number. – John Doe Dec 31 '18 at 1:48

There isn't going to be a nice numerical value that you can assign to surveil like you can to scry because the utility of surveil depends on your deck.

If you have a deck with no graveyard interaction, surveil is pretty much identical to scry in terms of card advantage. It's arguably worse, because moving the cards to a public zone gives your opponent information about what cards you want in your hand, makes the cards vulnerable to graveyard interactions your opponents might have, and makes it slightly easier for you to deck out (all of which are pretty minor).

On the other hand, if your deck has graveyard interaction, surveil suddenly jumps in value. Discarding a card with flashback or jump-start gives you half the value you would have gotten from drawing it. Surveiling a Narcomoeba is actually significantly better than scrying or even drawing it. And a deck with undergrowth becomes more powerful with every creature dumped into the graveyard.

All this makes the 'value' of surveil significantly more variable than the value of scry, and significantly harder to analyze.

  • 1
    Good answer, but surveil is not identical to scry even if you have a deck with no graveyard interaction. By taking the card out of your deck, you can later shuffle your deck without putting the card back in, e.g. if you don't want to draw lands anymore, scrying lands to the bottom and then casting a card that shuffles your library is significantly worse than surveling lands into the graveyard. – Allure Jan 2 '19 at 21:58
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    @Allure You have a point, but not all decks search either, so it's still a deck dependent advantage. – Arcanist Lupus Jan 3 '19 at 1:12

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