January 4, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Bloodcrazed Paladin gives me flashbacks to Caller of the Claw, which was one of the most effective responses to cards like Wrath of God in the Onslaught days (and even now, for that matter). The dynamic is somewhat different because this card gives you one big creature instead of a herd of smaller ones; it’s conceivable that the reason your opponent Wrathed is because they realized that the spot removal spell they were holding couldn’t keep up with your mana spending, and will thus be ready. I don’t mean to downplay this card’s power too much, though, because it also has an added dimension of counting when other people’s creatures die – it’s a fantastic finisher in the range of archetypes that former Pojo writer Abe Sargent likes to call “Sweep and Keep” (ie. Infest with all creatures with toughness greater than three, Pyroclasm with Paladin en-Vec, etc). This also makes it a great play for the end step belonging to the player immediately before you in a multiplayer turn order.
One of the fun yet difficult to master aspects of Magic is decision making. This is why Kicker is one of the all time greatest abilities as it gives a card two strategic choices. The pessimist in me sees the 1/1 weenie as unplayable while also picturing this guy camping in your hand for 9 turns while you’re trying to top deck a Damnation for that slam dunk play. Black is no stranger to kill spells, but I think this guy goes well with our good friend Gifted Aetherborn or anything with Deathtouch as it almost guarantees 2 +1 counters. Unfortunately Limited has no true board wipes and only one creature that sometimes has Deathtouch. I can see this guy finding a home in casual “sacrifice engine” decks. Where this card shines is multiplayer as not only are “wraths” more common, but more creatures dying means more power.
The dream, of course, is to flash in Bloodcrazed Paladin after a board wipe or a massive, bloody combat step. It may have no other combat abilities (though a surprise 1/1 can put in work blocking), but it has the potential to come out as a massive, resilient threat (one that doesn’t die to Doom Blade, natch). Like with Bishop of Rebirth, it’s going to hope for better Vampire support in the upcoming set, but being a 2-drop that helps you recover from the board being swept is a good place to be.
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