Dakkon, Shadow Slayer – Modern Horizons 2
Date Reviewed: June 7, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.12
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This may come as a surprise to you, but this is the card I’m most pleased to see in Modern Horizons 2. Dakkon had a lasting impact on Magic’s history and, via his legacy in the Blackblade, on the Gatewatch saga. As such, it’s fitting that he gets a card that represents his power and skill in the context of modern Magic. For one thing, he certainly lives up to his Legends card’s flavor text, with a starting loyalty bounded only by the number of lands in your deck. While there may be an element of truth to the notion that if you survive to seven lands as an Esper-colored deck, anything you play will take over the game, Dakkon is particularly notable in that context because he’ll be guaranteed to do more than one thing in the absence of something truly epic on your opponent’s side. If it’s the sort of context where he exiles whatever your opponent is threatening you with and will put something huge in play next turn, your opponent has basically one turn to survive. If you’re already on top or neck-and-neck, his surveil ability will help keep you there.
His “floor”, worst-case scenario if you like, is not actually too bad either. If you were to get him in play on the third turn and exile just one creature, that sounds like a waste of a planeswalker card, but in Modern, casual, and Commander, there’s a good chance that creature was either a major threat of some kind or would enable one. Yes, it’s not the home run we usually imagine when we make a new deck, but it’s the kind of play that keeps decks moving forward. I think he’s got a lot of good prospects, especially since the kinds of formats he’s legal in love multicolored decks of all kinds.
The original wielder of the Blackblade, Dakkon Blackblade was a mighty warrior who was a planeswalker in the game’s lore, whose sole appearance was as a legendary creature in Legends with a fairly unique effect for his color combination. 27 years later, we get to see Dakkon in his planeswalking prime, with art by the man who brought him to life in Legends. And Dakkon is…a fairly unique and potentially dangerous planeswalker, thanks to his passive.
What makes Dakkon, Shadow Slayer unique is that loyalty-defining passive: he has as much loyalty as you have lands, a nice thematic tie-in to his original card. So, on curve, he comes in with 3 loyalty and the ability to exile any creature. That, alone, is quite nice! If you don’t need to pop a creature out of the gate, his +1 builds loyalty, sets up draws, and even sets up for his ultimate: trick any artifact into play from your hand or graveyard. Obvious targets include Blightsteel Colossus, because of course it does, but there’s a lot of things you can do with this. 6 loyalty is reasonable, especially with his passive, and it’s possible to bring out Dakkon, cheat something in immediately, and keep ticking afterwards.
The question is if Dakkon is good enough for Modern. My hunch is yes, if for no other reason than his -3; spot removal that can do other things if you don’t need it is great, and his main issue (three colors) is mostly moot in a format with fetch lands and shock lands out the yin-yang. He’s not the best three-mana planeswalker, but he’ll do the job.
Constructed: 4 (probably optimistic, but not without reason)
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