CardName – Phyrexia: All Will Be One
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Whatever did and didn’t happen in March of the Machine‘s story posts – and we’ll discuss that when I post the gameplay-free review – the individual moments portrayed on the cards are top-notch. You can hear the sound of her wings; you dare to have hope for Magic’s multiverse, and for our own world.
Archangel Elspeth mostly has the kind of abilities you’d expect from a Time Spiral or Modern Horizons card: ones that invite comparison with older Elspeth cards. Her first two are just slight upgrades over her very first incarnation (and the second ability’s degree of upgrade is arguable). But considering how powerful the Knight-Errant version has always been, that’s perhaps a very good place to be. And her ultimate is quite new – while white has always had access to this ability, it’s been pushed a lot more in recent sets, which we should welcome both from a design point of view and from a gameplay point of view. White decks are well positioned to have lots of cards that are eligible for the rebirth, and I suspect she’ll win quite a few games for people by suddenly putting four creatures into play (or, y’know, Gideon Blackblade).
I have never subscribed to the argument that white needs to do all the same things that green and blue do, not in constructed and not even in Commander. Cards like Archangel Elspeth remind us that there is nothing wrong with white’s fundamentals, and that those fundamentals can indeed be very strong.
Until next week, attack with creatures, and live the life you need to live.
Commander [EDH]: 4
Following what appeared to be an unfortunate death experience, Elspeth returned to the fray with a new pair of wings and a host of angelic abilities. That said, all things considered, the newest Elspeth is a surprisingly simple planeswalker that evokes memories of Elspeth, Knight-Errant from Shards of Alara. It’s not a perfect comparison, but simple planeswalkers are still powerful, so let’s go into it.
Her basic abilities are simple: make a friend, and buff a friend. The friend she makes has lifelink, and the buff she grants is more permanent than normal, and that can be especially nasty if you buff the right thing. Permanent flying is quite potent, and while she does need to pay loyalty, keep in mind that she can do this twice on resolution in most cases. Her ultimate is flashier, but the right set-up can make this backbreaking; white isn’t that well-equipped to set up its own graveyard in most cases, but it does run a lot of smaller permanents that may well benefit from this in a pinch.
I feel like Archangel Elspeth is going to shine most brightly off the back of her -2, which is a great and effective way to push a game forward, Unlike other planeswalker buff abilities, this one is very permanent, and you can use it to spread the power out nicely over several turns. She can also help you stabilize in a pinch as a top deck, and while she’s not going to do absolutely everything, she does particular things very well and is a potent combat-oriented planeswalker for the enterprising white deck.
Commander [EDH]: 4
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