– Zendikar Rising
September 14, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
A new Zendikar set is always a noteworthy event in Magic’s timeline, as the original set was the first one after M10, and thus the first step in a paradigm shift for Magic’s design and gameplay. And true to form, Zendikar Rising brings us a major twist on double-faced cards: ones with a different card type on each side. Agadeem’s Awakening, the sorcery, is basically an “I win” button: in a properly-constructed deck, you should be returning either an insane number of cards or a combination that will devastate your opponent’s gameplan. And if you need a land early, you can use it for that – and it can enter untapped, to boot. It might not always feel great to use a card as powerful as Agadeem’s Awakening as a land, but it will sometimes win you games. Just be careful in singleton formats, as you won’t have the fallback of drawing a new one later!
Back to Zendikar for another visit to “adventure world currently not being nommed on by extraplanar tentacled abominations”, we have a fairly intriguing twist on double-sided cards for this outing. Agadeem’s Awakening is part of the mono-color mythic rare cycle of these “land/spell” hybrids, where you have the option to either cast the spell or play the land instead. The mythic rares all let you pay 3 life for an untapped land, while the lower rarities will always enter play tapped. This gives a lot of flexibility; you can, in theory, replace some of the lands in your deck with spells like these, and give your deck more options to play with without sacrificing critical land slots in the deck.
As for Agadeem’s Awakening, it’s promising if you have the mana to spare; you’re ideally wanting to play this for at least X=3, but being able to get a bunch of creatures back makes this a brutally efficient mana sink in a late-game situation. But even with no creatures to reanimate, you can still get some mileage out of this spell thanks to just being able to play it as a land.
It’s not going to be easy to tell for sure how good these cards are until the set is in our hands, but these land/spell hybrids certainly read as powerful out of the gate! Agadeem’s Awakening can definitely be a blowout if you get to the right point in the game, but it also has utility early, which can be enough to justify inclusion in a deck, even as a one-of tech card.
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