Thursday, September 27, 2012

Return to Ravnica EDH Set Review, Part 4: Golgari

The Golgari Swarm is upon us...

Jarad has the most potential, in my opinion, for widespread and varied use in the format. He's a very powerful and versatile win-condition, and can make a very deadly build-around-me general, or serve as a solid role-player in other decks. He seems perfectly at home in Savra, Kresh or Karador builds (though his mana cost is a bit restrictive in a three-color deck - you better have awesome color-fixing!).

As a general I can see him ultimately becoming boring, as his implied strategy is rather linear, while his ability to simply kill an entire table of opponents in one big turn will make him feel like a combo deck, even if you never actually "combo off" - He really resembles Exsanguinate more than anything, I think.

That said, as a win-con in the 99, I think he's less likely to warp the deck around him in a linear fashion.

As the poster-card for the Scavenge mechanic, this is pretty impresive - a 5/5 for 4 mana with no downside and a significant upside. However, it's still a bit too vanilla for use in EDH unless your runnign a General or overall deck that really, really cares a lot about +1/+1 counters. I think he'd be serviceable in Animar for example, but not so much Ghave, where there are far more efficient ways to exploit counters in that deck.

Most of the time he'll just be an irrelevant creature, or an overcosted pump spell.
How playable is a strictly-better Prized Unicorn? Not very, it seems. Built-in Lure could be a relevant ability in EDH, but on a 4-mana 2/2, it's not gonna cut the mustard.

I'd cringe havin to play this even in Limited. 3/3 Flyers are prized in draft, but I have a hard time getting excited over a 6-mana creature that isn't a bomb. At least the Scavenge cost on this is much more reasonable than some we've seen.

Definitely not EDH material.

My advise: Trade these to Standard players for lots and lots of EDH playables. Because that CMC restriction severely hampers it's EDH playability. Sure it can destry Swords of Stuff and Junk or Serra Ascendants, but so does Putrefy, which isn't worth $25.00 and is much more versatile.

See also: Beast Within, Bramblecrush, etc...

Forget Scavenge dudes. THIS is the guy you want helping out your Ghave deck. Powers the hell out of Gavony Township, Avenger of Zendikar, and even Mikaeus the Lunarch. But you already knew that.

Oh he also looks like solid gold in Skullbriar.

I honestly can't think of any other relevant applications beyond those two super-obvious ones. Any ideas?

I might play this guy in a aggresive Skullbriar deck with lots of removal and Swords. Mostly, though, he's just sorta "meh".

Probably the weakest of the Cycle in RtR, for EDH play. None of the modes really sell the card, with on the Enchantment destruction being likely to be reliably consistent, but there are better Disenchants out there.

Very lackluster effect, unless of course you're going all-in on the Graveyard shenanigans. The fact that this might force you to accidentaly mill your own Living Death or whatever kinda sucks. Either way, there are likely combo-y Graveyard abuse decks that could play this, I suppose.

I see this as a sort-of hybrid of Buried Alive and Gifts Ungiven. If that statement doesn't give you pause, it should: Gifts is banned in EDH, while Buried Alive is also pretty damned good, at least when you're trying to exploit it.
This probably has some broken applications, but it is still pretty fair, if you aren't pushing it as hard as you can. Getting any relevant creature to your hand, Genesis in the 'yard seems like a strong-but-not-dickish play.

I also like getting Necrotic Ooze (hand) and anything with a saucy activated ability (graveyard). One imagines the terror this could cause if Griselbrand were still legal.

Very playable, probably fair, but possibly abusable as all hell.

It may be just me, but I think this is far superior to the original Golgari Guildmage. It's still not universally playable in every deck with access to it - but where it does fit, it should do good work.My Savra deck, for instance, wanted both more sac outlets and more token-producers. Well, this does both.

Amazing card is amazing. Not sure how playable it'll be in EDH, though. I'd give it a try in an aggressive Skullbriar deck, but this strikes me as strictly 60-card material.

That is has Trample is bonkers, though, and is the one thing that might push this into niche playability even in EDH.

 Removal that is:
A) six mana
B) conditional
C) not an Instant
...better be a mass removal spell, or it's not even close to getting played. Shame, though, cause that art is ballin'. Might just pick up a foil just to have.

Do you need a stricly-worse Regrowth? You do? Well, here you go. At least the art is strictly better. Better art + available in Foil means a great deal to some folk.

Anyway, you don't need me to tell you that even a one-shot Regrowth is playable. If your in the colors and you want this effect, the Exile clause really should NOT be a dealbreaker.

I will definitely be playing this is Savra. He's cheap utility and a value-generator. The only bad thing is, his best ability - "Each opponent loses 2 life" - is fueld by Instants and Sorceries, whereas Savra is extremely focused on creatures, so I'm not sure I'll have enough fodder to really make him shine. The early ramp spells, though, will be great to pitch to this guy.

DERP: I missed one important detail - this guy doesn't need to feed out of your own graveyard: he can target any graveyard, so he also doubles as slow-but-valueable graveyard hate. That makes him WAY more playable.

Likely to be a popular Standard card, if Golgari do present a viable deck... but virtually useless in EDH, beyond pitching him to Survival, then making a guy +1/+1 bigger... yeah, that's not gonna cut it either.


  1. Built my Jarad deck the same day it was spoiled and still playing a proxy in his slot until the actual set comes out. Not sure how many more times I can use him before the table catches on and starts hating him off the battlefield. So far I have yet to lose, but have been slow playing him even passing over early lines of victory to make my game seem more fair. No other general has made me realize the need to choose wisely when I should win.

    1. Thanks for the input! Yeah, I had a feeling that might be true of Jarad.

  2. I think you forget about Vraska, the golgari Planeswalker :/

    1. Hmm... so it would seem. Well, by now most people will have made up their own minds about her, but for what it's worth I think she's decent, but not great. I play her in Savra more for theme and the fact that she's slightly better than Garruk Relentless.