– Ravnica Allegiance
February 19, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.67
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Way back when Kamigawa and the original Ravnica block were new, I tried to make a deck that depended on casting Otherworldly Journey on a creature, then using Sway of the Stars that same turn to reset the game, except that I would have a creature and the opponent wouldn’t. It worked pretty badly, especially since Sway of the Stars is so expensive and the game is often over by the time you hit that much mana – especially when you are also playing enough creatures to try and do the flicker trick too.
But Emergency Powers is effectively both halves of my janky combo in one card, and that makes it worth looking into. You probably save a lot of mana when you hit a free permanent of some sort in addition to your Timetwister effect (the latter usually starts at about five mana in modern sets). The only thing that occurs to me is that the kind of deck that’s most likely to consistently survive to seven mana is also likely to have a lot of answers and fewer permanents. That can be mitigated by building around the effect, of course – its power level and spectacular outcome are certainly high enough to justify it, especially in casual settings.
Emergency Powers is a pretty interesting card, starting out with it being an instant-speed version of the infamous Timetwister effect. Timetwisters are usually sorcery-speed, and so having an Instant with this effect already draws notice. Particularly when we get to the other part of the card, the addendum effect.
Timetwister-style effects are always known for being cards where you can break the symmetry to take full advantage of refueling your proverbial engine. At seven mana, Emergency Powers is one of the more-expensive iterations of the effect, but it’s still powerful enough. But you’re rewarded for using this proactively: if you cast it on your main phase, you can put a permanent onto the battlefield that costs up to 7 mana.
Worst-case scenario, it’s another land; it’d feel bad to just get a land from Emergency Powers, but it’s still something. Best-case scenario, you end the game then and there with something like a planeswalker (Elspeth, Teferi, Venser, or someone related) or an oppressive permanent to lock the opposition out.
Emergency Powers is powerful, but seven mana is definitely a tall order (even if it combos well with things like Grand Arbiter Augustin IV). But being able to refuel and potentially start blowing up your opponents in one fell swoop makes this a distinctive card…and, even if it’s less than optimal, being able to cast this at instant speed is a nice option.
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