#4 Felidar Guardian
– Aether Revolt
December 26, 2017
Commander [EDH]: 3.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This card was ranked #1 in my Top Ten list.
It’s always hard to talk about banned cards. When it comes to games, I’d much rather talk about the ways in which the game is fun, and a banned card is what you get when game design goes wrong. But at the same time, a banned card is one that made an impact, and that is a part of making a Top Ten list. Felidar Guardian is notable because it’s one of the more innocuous-looking cards to ever be banned. I admit, my reaction to it is much like that of a lot of players familiar with more recent sets when they learn that Kird Ape and Serendib Efreet were once banned. There are so many innocuous uses for the card that it isn’t (or perhaps is) funny, and that ensures it will have a long lifespan in casual formats as a centerpiece of flickering-based theme decks, defending against early creatures and getting excessive amounts of value out of Cloudblazer. We may not be able to discuss it in the context of Kaladesh without thinking of the oppressive Copy Cat deck, though I still hope that same casual value will see it get another printing in another Standard set, in a better place and time.
This card was unranked in my Top 10 list.
You can’t talk about Felidar Guardian without talking about the Copy Cat deck. I remember walking into my local game store and a guy was selling all his Saheeli Rais, a rather cheap Planeswalker that had suddenly spiked in price. When I inquired further apparently that day a new card had been previewed that was broken with Saheeli, that card being Felidar Guardian. When combined, these two cards create an infinite combo that resulted in Felidar Guardian being banned in Standard. Without Saheeli in your deck you get a more expensive Flickerwisp. I would say that you can use it to reset -1 counters, change targets with Fairground Warden, or have a powerful creature for cat tribal, but this card is still banned in standard so all these only apply to Limited. This card is hard to score as it is too “good” in Standard but outclassed in Modern. I really feel like Saheeli Rai should have been banned instead.
This card was ranked 9th in my Top 10 list.
The challenge with ranking Felidar Guardian in a top 10 list comes with a simple reason: this bad little kitty was banned out of Standard, thanks to the infamous “Copy Cat” combo deck it spawned alongside Saheeli Rai. The deck basically consisted of resolving Saheeli Rai on turn three, dropping the kitty on turn four, and ending the game on that turn through an overwhelming feline flood. It dominated Standard to an absurd degree, thanks to Felidar Guardian being particularly resistant to the removal of the time, and it wasn’t long before the bad kitty was banished from the format.
While the cat is gone, its shadow looms large, a testament to what happens when interactions like that go under the radar. It hopefully will be the last Standard ban we need to see in a while, and though it’s failed to impress in other formats, it could potentially fill in as a poor man’s Restoration Angel in the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker deck. The low Constructed rating I’m giving it is because it was banned out of the format it’s good in, and it has yet to have an impact elsewhere.
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