Arboria – Legends
Date Reviewed: January 19, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Arboria is an example of another interesting type of old-school card: the symmetrical card that actually isn’t very symmetrical. Even in old-school formats, it’s surprisingly easy to turn it into a prison card, because it doesn’t affect activated abilities – your Jayemdae Tome still works, as does Mishra’s Factory if you need to go on the offense. And it’s worth checking its errata carefully, as it doesn’t affect tokens (like Bitterblossom needed any help!). Opponents will be reluctant to turn it on intentionally, as for most decks it means you have to stop playing; so while it’s not a perfect lock, it can shut down tables in the right context. Use with caution.
Constructed: 2.5 (I’m not sure it’s a top deck in Legacy, but there’s probably a rogue strategy in it)
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
The second World Enchantment to get a reprinting in as many years, Arboria is actually a pretty unique effect for green as a color, even if it affects everyone “equally”. You’re protected from attacks as long as you haven’t cast a spell or had a nontoken permanent come into play during your most recent turn, which makes for some interesting things if you can take advantage of flash to bring things in on other players’ turns. Arboria is a particular card, but it’s definitely one with some holes: you lose Arboria’s protection if you play lands, and this does not protect your planeswalkers.
I feel like Arboria’s value comes partly from its weirdness and from it being an effect green normally doesn’t have, that sort of Moat-like protection. It’s a bit too pricey to see play in Legacy, and I feel like it shines best in a multicolor shell that can take advantage of casting things when it’s most opportune for you (and least for your opponent), though there are decks that won’t mind the strange symmetry of this card all that much. It’s a unique curiosity from when flavor often won out, and I imagine there are uses aplenty for this little curio.
Constructed: 1.5 (probably one of the worst colors for Arboria’s effect)
Limited: 2.5 (not sure how this fares in Limited, but I don’t imagine it does all that much besides look pretty)
Commander [EDH]: 4
Fun trivia fact: there are 26 World Enchantments in Magic‘s history, and only four of them are not on the Reserved List. Those four are this card, Concordant Crossroads, Revelation, and Land’s Edge. Not sure if anyone’s particularly clamoring for reprints of the last two, but there you are.
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