Anax, Hardened in the Forge
– Theros Beyond Death
February 12, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 2.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Anax, Hardened in the Forge is a fairly unique creature for red; he replaces all of your creatures when he dies with more Satyrs, giving even more if a bigger creature dies. They can’t block, but there are still ways to exploit them…between the original Purphoros, Impact Tremors, Warstorm Surge, and Pandemonium, there’s a lot you can do to make the effect work well, and Anax does replace himself on death. And he’s encouraged to attack often with his scaling power, so there is that. He’s no worse than a 2/3, but being able to make him hit harder is a good place to be. I doubt Anax is a Constructed star, but he offers enough to make red decks decently-positioned if they want a bit of a fallback option.
Constructed: 3.25 (not convinced on him yet, but he has upside)
Hello everyone and welcome to Pojo’s Card of the Day!
Today we’re looking at a spicy red enchantment creature, Anax, Hardened in the Forge.
Mono Red is a strong deck in all regards and the worst part of playing it is having to jam in and hope they don’t have the Turn 4 wrath. But Anax has something to say about that, whenever Anax or another nontoken creature you control dies, create a 1/1 red satyr creature token. And then if the creature had power 4 or great, make 2 of them!
So what does this mean? Hell for your control opponents! Anax’s power is dependent on devotion and he’s got 2 red pips in his CMC. So if you curve out then Anax is landing as a 4/3 that when he dies is going to make 2 dudes and a big headache for your opponent if they don’t have countermagic up and ready for him. Because if he and the other guys die in a wrath, then you’re still sitting there with 4 power on board and an opponent who has to deal with 4 dudes.
So let’s take a look at where this guy can fit in!
Constructed is going to be this man’s bread and butter, in formats like Standard and Pioneer where Mono Red is almost always a thing he’s going to have a neat little home here I think. UW Control got a Day of Judgment variant in Theros as well, so he’s going to make slamming into that Turn 4 wrath a little less terrifying.
Limited is.. a little more eh, where you’re almost always playing 2 colors and straight aggro is a more difficult tune to play to especially where consistency is always an issue. Anax can still be a decent pick but I wouldn’t put him in bomb territory, possibly ‘evasion’ since his death will at least generate a satyr.
Commander and Multiplayer gag at this card, Krenko, which is one of the main mono red commanders doesn’t care about Anax mainly because he’s not a goblin and that little ‘nontoken’ clause prevents value from his goblin tokens. Also hard aggro in Multiplayer isn’t the route you want to go, because it’s almost always a kamikaze gameplan.
My Vintage Powered Cube is taking a look at him in the 3drop Red Spot because making dudes is a great way for Red to get value and stay in the game, and while Anax gets the tokens after the fact he’ll almost always leave behind 2 satyrs after his death.
Constructed 4/5 – Mono Red is almost always a thing and this is a juicy hammer for their toolbox.
Commander 1/5 – Unless you’re doing casual peasant commander, and even then I would look at more 2 color options.
Limited 3/5 – Consistency is an issue when playing out aggro decks in Booster Draft, and chances are this guy won’t play like in Mono Red Standard.
Cube 4/5 – I think he’s a bit stronger here where you can use him in conjunction with a strong series of red drops and him to pressure the board.
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Anax’s ability that cares about your creatures dying is somewhat unique for red, but there are definitely decks out there that will welcome it. It’s a fairly straightforward ability that helps aggressive red decks keep up against attrition-based decks, and it works quite well in big red strategies due to the high-power bonus. I think a lot of players will be more interested in trying to see how high they can get his power – that encourages a style of deckbuilding we don’t often see in mono-red and which adds an interesting twist to the conventional strategy. In a properly built deck, he could deal lethal damage in one attack surprisingly early (even in Commander!).
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