You know what time it is, folks. Yup, that's right. It's time for another Command Zone EDH Set review. Khans of Tarkir is our wedge-themed set, something avid EDH fans have been clamoring for since, well, pretty much the day after Shards of Alara was revealed.
Luckily Khans appears to deliver a lot of what we'd expect from a "Wedge" set, without feeling like a color-shifted rehash of Alara. It is pretty epic and flavorful-looking, at least. Let's hope it plays as awesome as it looks!
The Mardu Horde
Up first, we've got the Mardu, the WBR clan. The Mardu clan's dragon aspect is "Speed", and their signature mechanic is "Raid", which gives your spells and creatures rewards for attacking before you cast them.
For EDH purposes, Raid doesn't seem to be a widely playable mechanic, but some individual spells will certainly make the cut. Many of the creatures and effects lack the kind of impact that make for a solid EDH card, and leaning too heavily on Raid may wind up forcing you to make unfavorable attacks just to get the most bang out of your spells.
Overall, the Mardu strategy seems to focus on naked aggression and overwhelming your opponents with masses of small creatures. This strategy is traditionally weak in EDH, given the format's high starting life, tendency toward multiplayer, and prevelance towards gratuitous amounts of board-sweeping. It also lacks access to strong ramp options, and is somewhat limited in the card drawing department.
That's not to say the Mardu Horde can't work in EDH. They definitely have potential to be explosive. The challenge is to find a way to also make the resilient when the need to be, and add some long-game reach to their basic game plan.
I believe the Mardu can be viable, but the may take a bit more effort to make them work than the other clans.
Zurgo could be a bit of a pain-in-the-butt as a Voltron general. Uril's Hexproof is far more annoying that Zurgo's conditional Indestructible will likely be, but nonetheless seems capable of hard-to-stop one shot kills. Heck, he's a three-turn clock by himself, and chumping only makes him stronger! Mostly, though, he's a nice departure from Kaalia.
The sac effect is even less likely to be super-relevant: +3 on the backside isn't going to stop most sweepers from killing your dudes, but you never know...
I'd love to see something a little more clever and original, but sometimes the obvious uses are the best uses.
The trouble is, it's limited to Warrior-heavy decks, and I'm not sure how many of those are out there - and how many have Black in their CI?
Being a demon in these colors, Kaalia is the obvious first thought. He's not exciting there, by any stretch, but hey, you can actually cast this guy in the even Kaalia gets shut out, and once in play he can eat Kaalia in response to a tuck effect or control magic effect.
Also a valid Sunforger target, something that always catches my attention.
It's certainly not going to tear up the format, but it has some nice applications. It'll get played, but probably not widely so.