Cavalier of Thorns
– Core Set 2020
July 15, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
You know, much like I said when we reviewed Knight of Autumn, the name “Cavalier of Thorns” would also have been a great fit for an Arthurian block or set. Sir Gawain even encountered a Green Knight in the famous story of the same name. I suppose they could always reprint it when the time comes (that’s me hinting, Wizards of the Coast).
As far as the “tale of the tape” goes, Cavalier of Thorns is very efficient. There aren’t many creatures with a ratio like 5/6 for five mana; reach is sometimes considered more of an ability for limited than constructed, but it can be relevant anywhere at the right time. The big news probably involves comes-into-play and death triggers. Note that the first doesn’t specify a basic land, and the second doesn’t specify anything at all. In larger formats, he can put some kind of combo-involved land directly into play, and in any format, he can reclaim literally anything that is likely to be useful at the time. Apparently, sometimes it is easy being green!
Another year, another slightly pushed mythic rare cycle in a core set. The Cavalier cycle is a quintet of heavily-colored cards with excellent stat lines and brutal effects on resolution and death. Cavalier of Thorns is the green member of the cycle, and it has two effects meant to synergize well with one another, getting a land into play (and loading up your graveyard) and then getting one of those cards back when it dies.
Even setting aside its effects, which are understatedly powerful, a 5/6 with reach is a very hard creature to break through. Flying is not much help against the Cavalier, and it’s a large enough body to dodge removal. It benefits from the Core Set 2020 Elemental support, if nothing else, and it’s a card that provides a lot of value in both resolution and death.
Asking for three colored mana is a bit of a tall order, but the effect is powerful enough to justify it, and Cavalier of Thorns is both a limited bomb and a serviceable card for Standard. Being in green means it benefits from a lot of the mana acceleration that green has to offer (coming down as early as turn 3), and it can run over the game from there. I expect to see a fair bit of it.
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