Cankerbloom – Phyrexia: All Will Be One
Date Reviewed: March 31, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I have a Shakespearean insults t-shirt, and had to go get it out of my wardrobe when I first saw this card’s image. Sure enough, there was something familiar about the name – one of the phrases on my shirt is “canker-blossom”. That honestly would have been a fine name for this card too, and the connection illustrates just how deep the fear and stigma regarding cancer runs in human societies. In that light, it’s a brave choice for a card name, even in a setting as transgressive as Phyrexia.
Mechanically, the card clearly calls back to the likes of Ronom Unicorn and Qasali Pridemage – these have always been good cards, and still are, but the addition of proliferate really pushes Cankerbloom into eyebrow-raising territory. I have a feeling a lot of cubes are going to adopt it wholeheartedly, with many people’s environments lending themselves to situations where it generates a ridiculous number of extra counters with the third choice. It even attacks significantly more efficiently than almost any two-mana creature I’ve seen recently, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing an awful lot of this particular lump of foul deformity.
Commander [EDH]: 4
Cankerbloom is the kind of card that looks good at first, but it looks even better the more you look at it. Naturalize on a stick with the ability to proliferate if you don’t need the Naturalize bits is great, and it plays well with both the green creature synergies and with various creature enablers in general. Add a solid body that’s slightly above rate, and you have a solid glue creature that has potential upside at all stages of a game. Creatures like Cankerbloom don’t look flashy, but it’s these sorts of “glue” creatures that will carry their weight in many games, and I think its flexibility and efficiency are both well worth mention.
Constructed: 4.25 (may have the legs to shine in a lot of formats, even if it itself lacks legs)
Commander [EDH]: 4
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