– Commander 2020
June 9, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Trilobites are one of the last creature types I expected to see in Magic, but in hindsight, it’s not surprising that their first appearance was in Ixalan with the dinosaurs. Trilobites were contemporaries of the dinosaurs’ ancestors in our world, and their presence tends to give an impression of ancient mysteries and faraway places. I think it’s because they almost, but don’t quite, look like certain modern animals – people often mistake different kinds of arthropods and insects for them and think they’ve stumbled into Jurassic Park!
Cryptic Trilobite is particularly well named, because its abilities are quite a puzzle. The double X in its mana cost is a hint that something is up, because it’s not usually quite so hard to get +1/+1 counters on things. In turn, if you read it carefully, you’ll note that you can use part of the mana it generates to put a +1/+1 counter directly back and have one mana left over. But that feels kind of un-ambitious. Hardened Scales lets the Trilobite actually get bigger in this process, and it feels like there should be some use for Doubling Cube here. Most things that generate mana in an “unusual” way (as in not from tapping a land) are just one card away from becoming downright dangerous, so I’d keep this guy in mind whenever you’re scanning new sets.
Cryptic Trilobite is one of those creatures that feels like it can be broken, but I’m not yet sure how to split it in half. With a scaling condition like Hangarback Walker, as well as the ability to buff itself, it definitely has some interesting utility in decks with mana sink abilities. Without those, though, it’s a worse Hangarback Walker, though it is cute how you can use its mana ability to pump itself. My current inclination is to file this one away under “cute” instead of “strong”, but there are definitely ways to split this open.
Constructed: 1.25 (way too slow and ponderous)
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