– Commander Legends
November 17, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
While Aurora Phoenix’s stats and cost don’t quite match up with the kind of cascade cards we see in constructed right now – even Bloodbraid Elf doesn’t get as much tournament play as she used to – it can do some pretty insane things in casual settings. It can start the same insane cascade chains that used to devastate people in Standard circa 2009, and even if you just get one free spell, it’s quite a decent threat to have come along with it. It obviously doesn’t reach its full power outside of a “tribal” deck based on cascade, but if that becomes a thing now, it’ll be in no small part because of this card.
The return of cascade en masse is certainly interesting. Its major appearance was in Alara Reborn as that set’s big mechanic, allowing you to get multiple spells for the price of one; several cards with the mechanic would go on to make Constructed waves, but all of them were multi-colored. Until Commander Legends, that is, if you don’t want to count the gimmicky Throes of Chaos from Modern Horizons in that bracket.
Aurora Phoenix offers two things: cascade, and recursive cascade. On its own, six mana is a bit high for the Phoenix; while it’s good at not staying dead, 5/3 is a touch weak for a flier that pricey. But you’re not just paying for the avian perversion, and it looks a lot better even if you get a cheap spell for free (so long as you can cast it). And if you cascade into another spell with cascade, you can continue the chain. It even can come back if you’ve got other spells with the ability, and being able to recast this makes it potentially very potent towards eking value out of one’s deck.
On its own, it’s not great, and it’s not in a good spot for Legacy; cascade’s value there is in being able to cheat on casting Living End or Hypergenesis, and it’s hard to guarantee either of those spells at six mana. But as a nice value engine, Aurora Phoenix shows that there’s value in swooping early and often.
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