Aluren – Tempest
Date Reviewed: July 21, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Aluren is a card that’s very hard to use “fairly”. For a while after it was released, it didn’t do much at all in constructed, as its symmetry created a risk of running into an opponent who had more or better creatures at the right costs, and its relatively high cost put it at a stage of the game where you were often better off just trying to end things than getting the incremental advantage it offers. Then the Invasion block brought the unassuming Cavern Harpy, and people noticed that when you control Aluren and a Soul Warden, you can cast the Harpy repeatedly, bounce itself with its own trigger each time, gain a million life, and then cast Maggot Carrier as many times as you need to kill your opponent. That interaction colored how Aluren would be used ever after: showing up in Legacy as a rogue deck whenever creatures with particularly juicy or exploitable comes-into-play abilities were released. It’s not the most popular deck there now, but might surprise people occasionally.
Interactions like that are probably overkill for casual play, but there might now be a space for a deck that uses Aluren more fairly: there are creatures at its relevant cost range who do things beyond just attack or make mana or the now-seemingly-tame range of abilities that the Tempest era was used to. Just don’t be surprised if people see it and assume you’re playing a broken combo deck!
Commander [EDH]: 3/5 (games are longer and you can watch chaos ensue)
While Aluren itself has never been properly reviewed on Pojo, it has been referenced intermittently, most prominently when Acererak the Archlich got a review. Setting aside that particular game-ending combo piece, Aluren is a deceptively vicious little card when you realize just how many rude things you can pair it with that don’t just form game-ending loops then and there. Ranging from lock pieces to obscene value engines to planeswalkers, Aluren shines brightest when you can abuse the heck out of it then and there, and its unique effect is one that has a home in decks geared to milk it for all its worth.
While it is symmetrical, remember that abilities with symmetry needn’t benefit all players equally, and the Aluren player is more ready to vomit out their hand than their opponent is. It’s a card that demands some creativity to make the most of, but when it shines, it shines brightly. And it has plenty of game-ending loops linked with it, so there is that.
Constructed: 4.5 (nothing else does what it does, and while it’s not for every deck, it’s irreplacable in the decks where it has a home)
Casual: 4 (can still be played fairly, but what fun is that?)
Limited: 2 (Tempest block was not favorable to this card)
Commander [EDH]: 3.75 (Acererak combos still work just fine here, though it can be risky with more players unless you can win then and there)
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