– Theros Beyond Death
March 9, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Conditional indestructibility can be very hard for some opponents to deal with, and two mana a turn is a pretty good rate for something that is will dominate a scary number of cheap creatures. Even if your opponent doesn’t have blockers and isn’t casting removal spells, the Lion is efficiently costed and pressures people well. And I think there are even some decks that can actively try to exploit his returning as an aura. Note that it doesn’t care how he dies, so if you somehow sacrifice him at instant speed, you can save something else from certain destruction. I expect Bronzehide Lion to be a very popular card, particularly in casual circles – particularly since he’s a cat, for King of the Pride and Arahbo, Roar of the World.
A reference to Fleecemane Lion from the original Theros, Bronzehide Lion is a conditionally indestructible kitty that plays well with the themes of the set. Two mana for a 3/3 is still a solid deal, even years after Watchwolf’s debut, and being able to toggle indestructible is nice as a way to dodge a lot of removal. It’s not quite Fleecemane Lion (which was a one-time payment to make it hexproof, indestructible, and a 4/4), but he can still get a lot of work done, shrugging off menacing attackers and clawing things to death.
Should he die, he turns himself into an aura that sticks onto one of your creatures to conditionally give it indestructible, a reference to bestow from Theros that plays well with the mechanical enchantment focus of the set he is a part of. This is honestly more cute than good; there are times where it will pay off to bring the kitty back and keep something safe, particularly if it has hexproof (or shroud, since this does not target as it returns to the battlefield), but it’s an ability that’s useless if your board gets wiped with nowhere to hide. I do think there are ways to make this useful, but look at the kitty cat as a conditionally-indestructible 3/3 that can occasionally do cool things.
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