Cemetery Gatekeeper
Cemetery Gatekeeper

Cemetery Gatekeeper – Crimson Vow

Date Reviewed:  January 10, 2022

Constructed: 4.08
Casual: 4.00
Limited: 3.83
Multiplayer: 3.25
Commander [EDH]: 3.42

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


A two-mana 2/1 creature with a bunch of abilities is, by now, basically a design trope all its own – so any creature like that is going to get a lot of scrutiny, and have high expectations on it. Cemetery Gatekeeper is very likely to meet those expectations. When you consider the scenario of casting it on curve, on your second turn, the question becomes what targets it’ll have at that point – and the obvious answer is fetchlands in Modern, Legacy, or Vintage. That puts a lot of pressure on your opponent by, effectively, making them put pressure on themselves: they have to make plays to get out of the situation, and likely hurt themselves by doing so. And the fact that he can double as a hoser against spell-based combo decks, or add a strange and unusual edge to creature-heavy matchups, is incredibly good when you consider you would usually need multiple deck slots to cover all those abilities. Much like most of Magic’s symmetrical effects in the past, he’s a lot better than he might seem – and often much worse for opponent/s than for his controller.

Constructed: 4/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 4/5
Multiplayer: 3/5
Commander [EDH]: 3/5

 James H. 


A 2/1 with first strike in a well-supported tribe already makes for a decent piece, but where this shines is if you can manage to use Cemetery Gatekeeper’s exile effect to great effect. Of note is that the Gatekeeper is symmetrical, but symmetrical effects exist largely to have their symmetries broken, and that you can use this to threaten massive damage on an opponent for doing the things they were already doing is nice. And this can even approximate Ankh of Mishra and/or Zo-Zu the Punisher, two beloved cards that everyone appreciates playing against.

Add to it being graveyard hate in a color that actually tends to not get a ton of it, and Cemetery Gatekeeper can do a lot of damage, between a passable early body and that punisher effect late. Remember: just because it hits you does not mean it’s a bad card, and there are always ways to outrace the blood it drains from you. You would prefer to play this with its passive ability in effect, but if you need a warm body, this can acquit itself in a pinch.

Constructed: 4.25 (it’s priced to move in deeper formats, which counts for something)
Casual: 4
Limited: 4.25 (mostly good for the body, though the passive can do some damage)
Multiplayer: 3.75 (you should be able to find something)
Commander [EDH]: 4.25

Mike the
Borg 9

A well designed card is what Cemetery Gatekeeper is, a perfect edition to the sideboard against all sorts of decks.  If your opponent is playing control, prowess, or storm you’d exile an instant and watch them take 2 damage per turn.  How about if your opponent is running landfall?  Sorry but ramping is going to get you 2 damage per land.  The first strike is a nice to have but a little pointless, you’re never going to attack with Cemetery Gatekeeper unless it is going to win you the game and at that point you won’t need the first strike.  It will sit by and watch your opponent take two damage per cast of their spell/land or at the very least they’ll use up a resource to get rid of this.  The icing on the cake is that this card is not a legendary so you can have up to four out on the field (or more if you do some token creating copycat shenanigans) causing your opponent to lose 4, 6, or 8 every time they play a spell!  It’ll make them think twice!  I may put one of these into the sideboard of my Modern Burn deck and see how it works against decks that focus on a specific spell type!

Constructed: 4/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 3/5
Multiplayer: 3/5
Commander [EDH]:3/5

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