Barrin, Tolarian Archmage
– Core Set 2021
July 3, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’m probably going to be quite generous with Barrin, because it’s been literally twenty years since the climax of his involvement with the Weatherlight Saga, and we’ve been wondering what his card would look like for approximately all of that time. (It’s also been well over twenty years since his wife got her card!) However, Man-o’-War and Aether Adept have always been on the cusp of constructed, particularly when combined with flicker effects, and Barrin has an important extra word in his text box: “planeswalker”. It’ll be demoralizing for any opponent when their planeswalker gets bounced the turn before they could set off their ultimate.
He also has some cool combo potential in the trigger related to bouncing your own cards. If you go back into the archives, you’ll find some interesting interactions with quirky cards like Blood Clock, abilities like ninjutsu, and creatures with an unusual disadvantage. It’s also another reason to value cards like Aether Tradewinds highly (but that’s a good card anyway!).
Barrin’s a pretty interesting creature, a sort-of Man-o’-War for both planeswalkers and creatures, that also can give you advantage if you bounce your own things (and not just with him). The body is unlikely to win many awards (though Wizard tribal has always had its upsides), but the effects are all blue staples. You also don’t need to bounce anything if there’s nothing you want to bounce, making Barrin’s new iteration a solid tool overall in blue. He won’t be the star of a format, but I honestly think he has enough to offer to make him a nice role player in a lot of decks.
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