Esika, God of the Tree / The Prismatic Bridge – Kaldheim
Date Reviewed: February 3, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Rainbows are magic, in any world and setting from our own to Kaldheim and beyond, so perhaps it’s fitting that the Prismatic Bridge is so powerful. The challenge, as always, is to get it in play, though casual formats nowadays have much more reliable ways to fulfill that prism-greed than in the days of Cromat and Sliver Queen. It’s also worth noting that if some card lets you cast a card from your graveyard, you can cast either side – it might sometimes be easier to get the entire card onto the Hel-road than hold it in your hand until you have just the right setup. And we also have another interesting example of a time when a non-creature card can effectively be your commander.
Esika’s “main” side is fairly notable for limited, with her high toughness and late-ish mana boost, and also for some of the legendary/historic tribal decks based on Dominaria. Legendary creatures used to be universally expensive, but now there’s a more considerable suite of cheaper ones who can ramp into things when she’s in play. I don’t know if that’s as effective as the more traditional ramp strategies, but it might make for interesting decks worthy of skalds’ song.
Another God, this one with a lot of intrigue about her. Esika’s two halves both do some interesting things: as a creature, she’s a mana dork that makes your other legendary creatures mana dorks that can also attack more efficiently. A 1/4 isn’t great as far as stat lines go, and three-mana mana dorks are not particularly efficient on their own…but she can make a lot of them in a set with a healthy number of legendary creatures out of the gate, and this can turn into quite a spike in power.
The Prismatic Bridge is more overtly powerful: one mana of each color gets you a creature or planeswalker each turn for free. It does have the cardinal issue of being a five-mana enchantment that requires time to fire, and we all know how much I appreciate those; the effect is brutal if your opponents can’t answer it, but a restrictive mana cost is definitely challenging to work around.
I will say that The Prismatic Bridge is a very powerful bit of payoff, but it’s extremely hard to cheat into play (owing to it being the back side of a MDFC), and it’s probably more effective in Commander, with Esika at the helm of the deck. She makes for a good five-color God commander, incidentally, as her color identity is all five colors. That said, she’s…okay in the end. I don’t think either side is great, even if one is extremely flashy, but her suite of talents can be exploited if you believe in yourself hard enough.
Constructed: 3.5 (I may be erring low, but a three-mana mana creature is not great, and a five-mana enchantment that needs time to fire leaves a lot to be desired, even if the payoff is solid)
Limited: 4 (it may be worth building to take advantage of The Prismatic Bridge)
Multiplayer: 3.25 (if they let you untap with The Prismatic Bridge, there is something wrong with the cosmos…or their decks)
Commander: 4.5 (limited to five-color decks, but it’s powerful support for them and a suitable commander for such builds)
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