Naya Commander Review: Part 1
This week the three colour reviews continue with part one of the Naya review. Naya is an allied shard all about creatures. Tokens, big beasts, and dragons, Naya has it all, so naturally the cards represent an equally large swath of styles and strategies usually tied to creatures and creature combat, which makes for a lot of very usable spells for Naya's Commanders.
A quick reminder of how this will work:
We’re looking at each card’s multiplayer effect, its power level, and whether or not it’s playable in a multitude of decks or just one. For legendary creatures I’ll still assign one letter grade, but also talk about the card’s viability as a commander or in the 99.
The grading looks like this:
A: Bombs/broken cards and excellent commanders. A lot of fun with unique design and interaction. Will effect the board in a big way in just about any deck or will allow for a very strong deck to be built around it if it is a commander.
B: Very good cards in most decks or total bombs in only one particular deck. Solid commanders but perhaps not the best in the colours.
C: A playable commander card, not great, maybe you’re running it because of budget reasons. This card may be perfectly good in a specific deck yet not playable in others. An average commander, the abilities make for a mildly interesting/fun commander.
D: Not really a playable card in EDH except in some corner cases and specific builds. Generally not good. A commander that has no relevant abilities or is just not very fun.
F: Unplayable in a commander deck or as the commander itself.
Fiery Justice - D+
Fiery Justice may have been a playable card in Commander at some time, but I feel like that just isn't the case these days. It's not a terrible card, and what you may think is the worst part - the five life gain for an opponent – can actually be useful as a political tool. That being said, neither of the effects are great and there are better options for similar effects in these colours.
Gahiji, Honored One – A-
A good Naya commander will usually embrace either large creatures or tokens. A great Naya commander will do both. As a result, Gahiji is a solid Naya commander who can helm many decks. Big G helps your creatures no matter what their size and it helps you deflect aggression. Its power level isn't super high, but it's that versatility that makes Gahiji one of Naya's best.
A three colour, four mana 3/3 that's sometimes a vanilla 6/6 just doesn't cut it no matter how many Steven Tyler-like ribbons it attaches to the spear it's holding.
Godsire - B+
A big stupid beast that makes more big stupid beasts is exactly what Naya wants. This card is hilarious and silly and cool and just screams commander.
Hazezon Tamar - B+
Hazezon is a great token producer, even if the trigger to create them is delayed till the next upkeep. Tying the number of Sand Warriors you get to the number of lands you have is very powerful in Naya, since lands are something that Naya deals well with. The downside of only having to remove one creature to decimate the army, however, is real and needs to be built around. Despite this, Hazezon still works well with sacrificing creatures, and if it can wear some boots you're probably sitting pretty. Overall a very good, and probably even underrated commander.
Jacques le Vert - D-
I suppose you could make an argument for "Jack the Green" being the Naya version of Doran the Siege Tower, but you're definitely reaching. When your colour identity has white in it there's just no reason not to include something that boosts power and toughness over this. The only way Jacques makes a current Commander deck would be if you're trying to make the most French EDH deck ever.
Johan - D
Johan definitely wins the award for the most text used on a card that could have just read. “Other creatures you control have Vigilance.” Yeah yeah, I know there's a bunch of other stuff on his card, but it's dumb and overly complicated. At least Johan is the best Darth Maul/Last Airbender/A Yak mashup you'll ever see in your life.
Knotvine Mystic - C
Hey if Naya ever gets a proper Elf deck, this guy is... probably included? Sort of like a super signet on a creature, Knotvine Mystic isn't a bad source of ramp actually. I kinda like him, and may use him in more decks.
One of the wildest commanders ever made, Marath has three amazing abilities that each represent Naya to the extreme. Tokens, pumping creatures, and dealing damage. Marath works with many infinite combo enablers, yet isn't broken on it's own and it scales in size with the game. It's also the only made-for-EDH legendary that had day one errata. It has so many deck styles and strategies that can be built around it, not to mention just being a good "colours-only" placeholder commander. I mean, what more could you possibly want from a commander?
Maybe, MAYBE you might include this in your Naya Cat-tribal decks? Marisi's Twinclaws is a textbook D as in, Definitely needs some help.
Mayael's Aria - B
Another massive EDH only card, Mayael's Aria is actually a fun alternate win condition mostly because of how hard it is to activate. In the meantime it boosts your creatures and gains you life and just so happens to fit perfectly into a Mayael the Anima deck. Perfect!
Mayael the Anima - A+
Mayael is definitely one of the most build-around-me commanders in all of Commander. She tells you exactly what she wants to do and how she wants to do it. Big creatures, six mana. Double it up with some ramp and untapping or an Illusionist's Bracers and you are seriously having a laugh. Her low mana cost makes her easy to cast again and again and her art is pretty wicked to boot. Just one of the best designed commanders around I'd say.
Meglonoth - B+
It always seemed weird to me that Meglonoth's triggered ability happens when it blocks as opposed to when it is blocked. I get it, it has vigilance and trample, but just look at this thing! Does this beast look like it even knows what blocking is? Great in just about any deck it can go in, Meglonoth is pure Naya.
Naya Charm - D+
A fair modal card (and I normally love modal cards) that seems like it may have been designed for limited over anything bigger or more competitive, Naya Charm isn't terrible, it just isn't that helpful as a one time effect.
Naya Hushblade - F
I think even our fictional Naya Elves deck would pass on Naya Hushblade. :\
So there you have part one of the big Naya review. Did I get something incredibly wrong? Something incredibly right? Let me know in the comments below! Or just let me know what your favourite Naya cards are and the fun corner cases they get to rule in! I'll be back in two weeks with the rest of the big smashy beasts, until then keep slingin' dem spells!