Avatar of Discord
February 14, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This was one of the first examples I can remember of an argument about that tiresome “dies to removal” trope. Back in the original Ravnica block, people were disproportionately frightened of Mortify, Putrefy, and Faith’s Fetters. I can only assume they had a heart attack when Terror returned in the Tenth Edition of the core set. The mistake they made with Avatar of Discord was that they viewed it as having a drawback at all. Some Magic players view absolutely everything as a drawback – I mean, would you say that Ghalta has 12 power when she could have had 13? – and I really don’t get that. It’s not as though black has cards that want to be in your graveyard, or get things back from your graveyard, or care when you discard cards in general . . .
And if you don’t believe me, consider that Aaron Forsythe once claimed that he cut Anger from the Time Spiral timeshifted sheet because it would have wrecked formats in combination with this card. Sounds to me like a great combo for casual decks!
Undercosted flier with a drawback? Sounds like Rakdos, all right. Avatar of Discord is a five-power creature with evasion, and the cost is not too high for that: discard two cards. This conveniently synergizes with the Rakdos mechanic from Dissension, Hellbent, which gave your spells and creatures added effects if there were no cards in your hand. It’s aggressive, plays well in red and black’s overall strategy, and offers ways to turn that downside into an upside (Fiery Temper would be reprinted in Time Spiral, to give an example). I like cards like this: they look straightforward, but what seems like a downside can be spun into an upside if you’re careful with your execution.
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