Calix, Destiny’s Hand
– Theros Beyond Death
February 3, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Theros is an enchantment-themed world, and so it gets an enchantment-themed planeswalker. Just as it should be – I’ve never bought into Mark Rosewater’s past arguments that it wasn’t possible to make a set or block about enchantments in the same way that Mirrodin or Kaladesh are about artifacts. And though Kalix is in a sense narrow, with all of his abilities directly referencing enchantments, all of his abilities are also quite powerful. Enchantress decks can often just leave him in play and keep using his +1 as a much more beneficial Phyrexian Arena. His -3 makes you instinctively look for global enchantments with hexproof, of which there aren’t too many (for obvious power level reasons); on the other hand, even if it just buys you a turn or two, it will sometimes be worth it.
I quite like his ultimate, too, even though it’s much slower and thus less inherently combo-ready than its famous ancestor. In his case, it’s probably more of a “just when you thought you’d won” comeback button, and a very effective one in the right deck.
The new planeswalker character of our return to Theros, Calix steps into the relatively untapped realm of “enchantment-themed planeswalker”; the closest planeswalker to this space before was Estrid, the Masked from Commander 2018, though she wasn’t Standard-legal and also was more specifically tied to Aura enchantments mechanically.
Calix plays well with enchantments overall. His +1 lets you dig for more of them, and his -3 is a unique effect that turns any enchantment you already control into a Banishing Light-style effect; it’s only able to hit other enchantments and creatures, but it’s a really nifty way to get a bit of extra mileage out of enchantments that sit around and do nothing after they hit the board. His ultimate is Replenish, which is suitably powerful; he needs three unanswered turns to get there, and it necessitates foregoing his powerful -3 in the meantime, but Replenish can be the way to end the game then and there, as it always has been, and it especially works well in a set rife with constellation-style effects.
Calix does a good job of being a narrower planeswalker with a still-powerful set of abilities, and that mana cost is actually well-positioned to give enchantment decks a bit of later gas. His -3 is removal that can buy you time to finish a game in short order, and his +1 lets you dig for more answers or threats. He does have a hard time protecting himself unless you can start sealing things away immediately, but Calix might not immediately be a “kill on sight” planeswalker, so he might have space to breathe out of the gate. That said, he has a very narrow deck archetype he wants to play in, and his fortunes in Constructed formats will rise and fall entirely on the back of the Enchantress deck type.
Hello everyone and welcome to Pojo’s Card of the Day!
Today we’re taking a peek at a new planeswalker that has been a long time coming! We’ve had artifact themed planeswalkers, creature themed, spells, mill, tokens, aggro all sorts but one that has been missing is Enchantment!
Now Calix is finally sating the hungry desires of EDH Enchanters everywhere! His first ability basically demands that your deck be stacked with various enchantments (can’t wait for them Enchantment Lands!) which is fine, but the hallmark of good planeswalkers is their ability to protect themselves. …And this guy kind of does that?
He can basically turn any enchantment you control into an oblivion ring for another enchantment or creature… at -3. Now I can understand why they didn’t want to make it -2 as you would be able to double o-ring turn after turn. But this exile ability doesn’t hit opposing planeswalkers (very relevant) or artifacts (sort of relevant!)
So where does this guy fit in? Unfortunately he’s a Commander card and that’s pretty much it, in Commander you can build around enchantments pretty easy, especially in GW (or Bant if you want Propaganda!) and his ultimate acting as Replenish isn’t too shabby either if the game has gone on long enough.
Outside of there, he’s a definite pick up for Theros Draft where there’s plenty of enchantments to be able to tag his -3 on or draw with his +1, and his ult getting back all your enchantment creatures can be gamebreaking.
In Constructed formats he’s very meh, I don’t think there’s enough enchantments to really make him work at the moment, but who knows what Ikora could bring!
Now for my favorite format, Cube! I play a Powered Vintage Cube that runs a similar planeswalker to Calix, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. Unfortunately the difference between artifacts and enchantments are revealed here. Artifacts have a great mix of utility, ramp, power, and draw, and their colorless aspect means that it’s easy to pack your deck with them. Enchantments fail to compare in many situations against artifacts, and while there are very powerful enchantments, they are not as plentiful as artifacts meaning that he’ll frequently wiff on a +1 or be unable to function off his -3.
Constructed 2/5 – Plenty of potential, needs a right mix to make him work though!
Limited 4/5 – Removal is bomb worthy, removal on a planeswalker makes it better!
Commander 5/5 – In a world where fun reigns and themes are plenty, this guy will surely find a home.
Cube 1/5 – A good start to making this card playable would be making Mana Rocks that are enchantments!
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