Avenger of Zendikar
– Core Set 2020
July 25, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Avenger of Zendikar is pretty much the quintessential green card for casual and Commander. It’s huge, it has a spectacular effect when it comes into play, and that effect gets bigger as time goes on. Some decks can keep ramping even after he enters and get the Plant tokens as big or bigger than him; this is pretty obviously overkill, but it can certainly be fun to try.
You may well be aware of all these points, but you may not remember that Avenger of Zendikar actually has some pedigree in competitive Magic, too. With all the land-themed cards in the original Zendikar block and all the powerful ramp spells, reaching seven mana was often a reasonable game plan even before Rise of the Eldrazi. He even works well with Primeval Titan from M11, and the two of them have actual synergy regardless of which one you get into play first. The Modern metagame doesn’t really suit the Avenger right now, but you never know what the future holds!
A green Commander staple since the format got rolling, Avenger of Zendikar is a straightforward creature that threatens to snowball a game out of control. Making a garden of Plants and making them all bigger with repeated landfall triggers is a very good way to put a game out of reach (outside of something like a board wipe). The idea is that Avenger of Zendikar, despite a fairly fragile body, represents a lot of power and toughness with even just a single landfall trigger, and it’s not hard for the plant army to get massive (and if you have non-token Plants, those also benefit, which is nice).
It’s not an unbeatable force; it and the plants have no form of protection, rendering them vulnerable to a board wipe, and there are also some cheeky answers to Avenger of Zendikar, like Sunder. But it’s a massive threat that can try to end a game in short order or protect you from a massive swing; even on-curve, seven additional bodies will do a good job of holding the line.
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