The final piece of the Dragon’s Maze casual and commander review takes a look at the green offers (not much), explores the undead Golgari (so much fun) and unleashes the Gruul clans on some unsuspecting individuals. As an added bonus, I also talk about a land!
LAND SHAAAAAAAAAAAAAARK! A decent little beater, I wouldn’t mind trying out the fish beast in some version of 10-land stompy, but he’s more limited than I’d like.
The newest Invoker, Kraul Warrior doesn’t do a whole lot and is hampered by his creature types.
Of all the Maze creatures, the Behemoth isn’t as exciting as the rest. Granting trampling is nice and all, but vigilance, flying, deathtouch and haste all feel more powerful. Still, if you’re running a decent amount of multicolored cards, this guy can help wreck the opposing players.
In the right deck, this is an instant speed Prey Upon. In the wrong deck, it is a dead card.
I prefer this over Might of Oaks… almost. The fact that it is a sorcery makes it just bad.
Finally a card that isn’t atrocious! It’s a shame evolve only triggers when a creature enters the battlefield, but then this would probably make a near infinite amount of tokens. This evolve lord is interesting and has plenty of options for abuse provided you can consistently trigger evolve and +1/+1 counters. It will take some work, but the reward will be worth it.
Seven life doesn’t excite me, this is probably the most boring of the Gatekeepers.
Remember when Blurred Mongoose was considered amazing? Well Skylasher finally brings color hosing back to Magic! Uncounterable, flash, reach and protection from blue all on a Grizzly Bear? Whoa. At the kitchen table, this is certainly metagame dependant but this is one of those cards, like Perish or Anarchy, that you should keep in mind when a deck becomes too powerful.
A Giant Spider with a touch of Scavenge isn’t awful, but this Hill Giant doesn’t do much.
The Golgari Swarm
Do you like Dredge? Well, if you do, here is one hell of a spell. Sure, milling yourself for 10 can sound like a lot, but in the right deck this card basically says “Draw 10.” The upkeep trigger is incredible between the reanimation or Regrowth clauses. This is a card you want to play if you’re running Black and Green regardless of what your deck does. It’s that good.
Drown in Filth
This card is kind of gross when you think about it. Being sorcery speed hurts this, but the important thing to note is this is for each land in your graveyard – not each land put into your graveyard. For Dredge (casual Dredge, not legacy), this is a nice little piece of removal that plays beautifully with Life from Loam.
Gaze of Granite
I hate this card because it means I’m now facing off against additional Pernicious Deeds – only this time without the warning of it resolving the first time! Gaze of Granite is a fantastic mass removal spell. It’s expensive, but being able to wipe all nonland permanents from the board in a single stroke is terrifying, especially if your deck is ready for it with higher cost spells. Few cards make the jump into eternal staples for casual players, but Gaze of Granite does.
The most Simic of all the Golgari cards! Korozda Gorgon is a fascinating piece of removal that plays so well with various cards in this block already. Scavenge and Evolve love her, but any creatures with +1/+1 counters will enjoy having her around as she locks down the battlefield.
If you are playing these two colors, this should be your go-to removal spell. The ability to destroy an artifact or a creature – and prevent regeneration from working is crazy good now. I also love how green and black are slowly getting back some anti-regeneration abilities.
Rot Farm Skeleton
When is Dredge not Dredge? Well, probably when you have to pay mana for it. Rot Farm Skeleton is a creepy card that has far more combo synergy than I want to believe. The blend of selfmilling and Reassmbling Skeleton make it a deadly addition to Golgari decks. Oh, he also plays beautifully with their guild leader.
Varolz, the Scar-Striped
He looks much bigger than a 2/2. Varolz is an interesting Commander since he gives all your creatures scavenge – and allows you to have some serious fun with oddly cost creatures like Force of Savagery or Phyrexian Dreadnaught. He’s cheap, he’s vicious and he plays so well with filling your graveyard.
Down & Dirty
How did this name get approved? Down is a boring Mind Rot and Dirty is a +1 mana Regrowth. Neither card is terribly exciting, and fused together they feel too expensive for 7 mana. I like the idea of using both sides on yourself to get cards in the graveyard, but that just costs way too much.
Not the most exciting of cluestones since green can usually provide better acceleration, but in Commander it isn’t bad if you’re running Black-Green already.
I like the gates, I think they’re great and especially like the enemy pairs. The end.
The Gruul Clans
A reprint! Feral Animist is terrifying when you have access to mana, but this goblin shaman is usually picked off before he can do anything really fun. But that doesn’t stop him from being an excellent piece of removal-removal.
Gruul War Chant
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
Holy crap, this is a game changer. Vigilance and reach keeps you well defended and in multiplayer formats, finding someone to target with an attack won’t be too hard but his last ability is downright terrifying. If anyone wants to cast a spell, you will pay a serious price when Ruric Thar smacks them for 6 damage. Oh, and he’s a 6/6 for six! I like him.
Whoa. This is a beautiful creature. I remember when an X/X creature cost this much, but now with double strike and the ability to grow? This is an insane creature that just needs a pair of boots slapped onto it so it can destroy all who oppose it.
I find the use of random here to be absolutely hilarious but wouldn’t advise running this since you don’t even get to pick the opponent.
Oh cool it’s a walking Mana Flare. Also it happens to be a 7/5 for only 5 mana. An essential in a bear hug deck that will squish the life out of your opponents. The combination of cheap creature and free mana for everyone makes for a very interesting political play that I can’t wait to toss out onto the table.
I love how this block made many cards say “Each opponent” instead of “target.” This druid is decent acceleration, perfect with Bloodthirst and is even better in multiples for whittling down life totals.
Armed & Dangerous
Armed is a terrifying spell to have cast against you and even better to cast yourself. The +1/+1 is nice, but giving double strike is incredible. Dangerous is a one-shot lure than shows its true value when these two are fused together. Six mana to kill off an entire player’s board? Sounds good.
Zhur-Taa Druid is way more fun.
It’s better than Shivan Oasis I guess?
Flesh & Blood
Flesh feels expensive, but it exiles a potential threat (or just the biggest body) to give you a beast on the board – or to give someone else a beast. The fact that you can exile from any graveyard and put the counters on any creature make be very happy for how this can work in multiplayer formats. Blood is great too since it is cheaper than Soul’s Fire (though at sorcery speed).
The weird mythic that exists in this set is an oddity to say the least. Being able to tutor for Gates is nice… except in Commander where at most you can have is all ten so it doesn’t really work as Thawing Glaciers number two. The alternate win condition probably won’t ever trigger in Commander either.
In causal 60, it could work in a dedicated deck, but the key to remember is that the win condition triggers as part of the activation ability. Though this card is utter nuts with Primeval Titan.