Dralnu, Lich Lord – Time Spiral Remastered
Date Reviewed: March 26, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
In the Invasion block’s story, Dralnu is an unlikely ally of Urza’s forces. His zombie armies helped the Coalition attack Volrath’s Stronghold, though he also tried to take control of the metathran army with the help of an exotic plague, and ended up being destroyed by his erstwhile allies. In Time Spiral, he has more of a focus on instants and sorceries, which made him a natural fit for the blue-black control decks that were popular in that block and Standard season. Some of them only had three creatures in the maindeck: Dralnu, Triskelavus, and Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. They were glacially slow but could be brutally effective.
He’s a little bit slow for Modern, and his drawback is much riskier in formats with Lightning Bolt and a wide range of burn spells in general. But with the right support, he can do some interesting things in casual or Commander settings where you have access to an equally wide range of blue instants.
The idea of Dralnu is appealing: unconditional flashback on one spell each turn cycle is nice, and a decent pay-off for a five-mana investment if you can get this off a couple of times. Unfortunately, Magic‘s liches like to drive a hard bargain, and Dralnu is far from an ideal creature. Hemorrhaging permanents any time he takes damage can chew your board up rapidly, and while this technically means Dralnu is immune to damage-based removal, your board certainly is not!
That said, the effect is powerful, and Dralnu can offer a lot to decks willing to protect him, whether through a flood of tokens to be sacrificed in lieu of himself or ways to keep the damage off of him. He’s definitely a card you need to build around more than most creatures tend to be, but the payoff can be pretty potent if you get to reuse some powerful spells in the process.
Constructed: 1.25 (same issue as Sengir Nosferatu, only this one can be actively detrimental to you, given how common damage-based removal can be in Modern)
Commander: 3.75 (high risk, high reward)
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