Chandra, Awakened Inferno
– Core Set 2020
October 1, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
To some, the title “Awakened Inferno” might suggest a more speed-oriented card than this one; that’s what some of Chandra’s other recent incarnations do, too. On the other hand, it also recalls the famous reminder text about “the land continues to burn“, and it is a welcome addition to red’s increasingly diverse game effects.
That’s because it provides options in what has often been the most difficult segment of the game for red decks: the late game. As a comeback effect, Chandra is very powerful: her global damage effect is dangerous and can be devastatingly one-sided, and her -X can take out a huge range of creatures and comes with a bonus. The fact that her damage emblems are almost impossible to stop and actually increase her loyalty is game-changing, as it gives any red deck that can afford her cost a degree of inevitability you usually only see in blue or green.
You should expect to see a lot of her in Standard, and perhaps even in other competitive formats, depending on how many rituals they can jam in and still have room for planeswalkers.
The mythic rare of the Chandra planeswalkers from Core Set 2020, this Chandra aims to do one thing: burninate. And she does it rather well! An uncounterable burn machine is a pretty good place to be, and Awakened Inferno brings three different flavors of burn. An emblem that can be stacked to burn opponents passively, a board wipe that can potentially be one-sided, and a single-target disintegration spell are what she has to offer; not subtle, and not particularly nuanced, but all three do the job nicely. It is irksome that her only way to damage opponents is through her +2 emblem, but that’s minor.
I’ve said before that six drops need to be immediately impactful, and Chandra does promise to be that; being able to potentially permanently burninate something is a good use of mana for red, and even just board wiping is nice. Six loyalty is also pretty legit, giving her a good buffer early on. That said, I think she’s in the awkward place of being powerful in more casual formats but a bit of a dud in Standard; red wants to go a lot faster than she wants to, and that leaves her as a powerhouse without a home, so to speak.
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