September 21, 2020

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Legends of Zendikar Rising: Set Review Part 3

If you missed the first two parts of this series that focused on the Mono-Coloured Commanders as well as half of the Multi-Coloured Commanders, take a look at them here: Part 1, Part 2

Today marks the conclusion of our set review for new Legendary Creatures of Zendikar Rising! We’ve gone through the Mono-Coloured Commanders and half of the Multi-Coloured Commanders with some standing out above the rest. Today let’s go through the last five Multi-Coloured Commanders and give an overall ranking for the best new Legendary Creatures! To help you get started on your next Commander deck, I’m going to go through each legendary creature and talk a bit about where to go with building them and their overall power level. There will also be a rating as to how much someone can expect to see this card in the format. The higher the score, the more of a staple you can expect this to be whether it be in the Command zone or the 99.

 

Kaza, Roil Chaser

Rating: 2/5

Kaza, Roil Chaser reads 'spellslinger deck', but requires creatures that won’t go wide enough to support it well enough. Kaza is certainly an interesting card to build a deck around but the power level of it remains low. At its worst it remains a Goblin Electromancer while at it’s best it makes a single spell cheaper. Without Paradox Engine in the format, there are minimal ways for this card to be taken advantage of for a big combo turn or just generate a wealth of value. As a creature itself, having both Flying and Haste on a two mana creature is nice, but it comes at the expense of an extremely low power and toughness. Kaza just isn’t built for combat and its ability to decrease casting costs of spells seems to just be relatively low. I wouldn’t expect this to be in the Command Zone, but potentially in the 99 of a Grixis Wizard tribal list for some minor value.

 

Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager

Rating: 2.5/5

Hardened Scales players rejoice! Another new +1/+1 counter matters card! Grakmaw, Scyclave Ravager is certainly not an amazing addition to the decks but it isn’t a terrible one either. It would certainly be nicer if the X/X Hydra it created was given +1/+1 counters as opposed to being a base power/toughness but we’ll take what we can get. Where this card goes down a few notches is the fact it just isn’t as powerful as Reyhan, Last of the Abzan since it is able to simply move it’s +1/+1 counters around constantly while Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager is simply a way to cash out when your board is being wiped entirely. Grakmaw also falls into the trap of being a card that doesn’t grow at the same rate as Reyhan or offer you the control over your counters that Reyhan does. All of these components make it a less powerful card that would be best as an addition to a Reyhan, Last of the Abzan deck, not a card to supersede it. Expect to see this periodically in the 99 of decks but rarely in the Command zone outside of Hydra tribal decks (which still have better options for Commanders).

 

Akiri, Fearless Voyager

Rating: 4.5/5

Finally, a great Red/White Commander that will see a fair amount of play. Boros is a colour combo that has always had something holding it back, whether it be efficient threats, card advantage or mana woes. With Akiri, Fearless Voyager being printed, expect Boros to make a large increase in play for many players. A Commander that isn’t combo-focused the way Feather, the Redeemed is, nor Stax heavy like Winota, Joiner of Forces, Akiri, Fearless Voyager looks to be an excellent addition to the more middle of the power level area of format while also potentially having a wonderful power level. Built-in card advantage for little more than building your deck around equipment packages that will be easy to sustain and an efficient creature with built-in protection. It’s hard to say that Boros could ask for a better Commander, the only thing holding it back will be players who don’t want to necessarily build an equipment based deck.

 

Verazol, the Split Current

Rating: 3/5

Verazol, the Split Current is certainly nice to see a ‘Kicker matters’ Commander in the form of Green/Blue as opposed to the Green/Red option available previously as Hallar, the Firefletcher. Verazol may not offer the most powerful Simic Commander, but it is certainly a worthwhile pick for a big mana deck with the theme of Kicker. With the new set offering plenty of choices for cards to include as well as years of Kicker already being a mechanic across multiple sets, this deck should build itself with a sufficient amount of ramp and alternative payoffs such as Hydroid Krasis. This is also a unique card being the first Green creature with the type Serpent on it and being only the second Legendary Serpent. Generally, the tribe has been Mono-Blue but this is an interesting choice for the creature type. While this card won’t overtake Kruphix, God of Horizons for Simic big mana decks, this will certainly make a splash with its support for such an underrepresented but older mechanic.

 

Omnath, Locus of Creation

Rating: 5/5

If you missed my article on Omnath, Locus of Creation, I implore you to take a look at it here: New Omnath, New Staple

Omnath, Locus of Creation is by far the most powerful of the new Commanders printed into Zendikar Rising. For both casual players and competitive players, Omnath welcomes any and all into their efficiency. Granting access to the colour selection frequently used for Hermit Druid style decks for cEDH, and group hug decks for more casual groups, this looks to be an all-star in the format. Historically speaking, each printed Omnath card has become staples in Commander and you can expect the exact same result here. The Landfall mechanic has been an easy mechanic to enable then break with Tatyova, Benthic Druid being a key example of how fast it gets out of hand. While it would be nice for the abilities to activate more in a single turn, the power level of the card as it currently stands is still absurdly good. The way to build this deck on a more casual level is to include a large number of spells that either grant additional land drops or will net a profit from them and make sure most of your lands come in untapped to fully take advantage of each land drop you’re making. As well with the Lotus Cobra reprint, plenty of staples for this deck are going to be cheap and easy to acquire for most players. Pick this card up as soon as you can find a copy as most Commander players will be looking for it as well.

 

Top 5 Legendary Creatures for Zendikar Rising

  1. Phylath, World Sculptor
  2. Drana, the Last Bloodchief
  3. Akiri, Fearless Voyager
  4. Maruag, Fury of Akoum
  5. Omnath, Locus of Creation

 

And that’s it for the Legends of Zendikar Rising! Some great additions to format with some less than ideal cards being added as well. A number of the cards in the set will also only stand to get better as mechanics are fully realized. The Party mechanic will likely be a focus in the coming sets and you can expect Tazri, Beacon of Unity and Zagras, Thief of Heartbeats to become objectively more powerful cards as more cards are built with them in mind. Overall this looks to be a solid set in the short and long term. That’s all for today! Next let’s break down the new Commander decks that come with the set!