Gandalf the White
Gandalf the White


Date Reviewed:  June 20, 2023

Constructed: 3.00
Casual: 4.50
Limited: 4.00
Multiplayer: 3.88 
Commander [EDH]: 4.00

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


I feel like Gandalf granting flash to legendary creatures is a reference to his famous line from the movie, about a wizard arriving precisely when he means to. Don’t use that line in a stereotypical way associated with ultra-conservative, risk-averse, must-control-every-element-of-the-game-or-I-can’t-have-fun Magic strategy discussion: use it to give your legendary creatures and theme decks tricks to use against counterspells, and a new dimension to their comes-into-play abilities. With his second ability, the one that doubles triggers, I suspect it’ll do more work with general sacrifice effects in the short term (like Disciple of the Vault needs any more help!). But you never know what’s coming next – March of the Machine: The Aftermath seems to signal a move towards more focus on legendary creatures in upcoming sets, and I’d be surprised if we didn’t eventually get something that actively looks for legends going to the graveyard.

Constructed: 3
Casual: 4
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 4
Commander [EDH]: 4

 James H. 


The cosmology of The Lord of the Rings is sprawling and intricate, which extends to its wizards; part of a race called the maiar, a number of wizards were sent to Middle-Earth to try and thwart Sauron’s attempts at Evil. Gandalf is probably the most iconic and famous of these maiar, and his sacrifice and subsequent reincarnation are moments that stand out both in film and in literature.

Gandalf the White is a reference to Gandalf’s “returned” form, in which he was enabled to reveal more of his latent wizardry as a “reward” for not betraying his task. In this case, it’s allowing shiny and legendary things to trigger enters play and death triggers an additional time, as well as let them be cast as though they had flash. He himself also has flash, which lets you set up the turn before when your enemies have dropped their shields, and can give you the chance to opo off. Effects like Panharmonicon have long been beloved for how much chaos they can create, and Gandalf the White is a legendary creature version of it in a surprising number of cases.

The main knock here is that he’s five mana for a combo enabler, not a combo payoff, and his combat capabilities aren’t anything particularly remarkable. Make no mistake, he’s very dangerous, and flash is subtly a nice ability to give to your things, but I suspect he might be a step too slow to make it in Modern or deeper formats. I well could be wrong, but if you’re going to enable a combo at five mana, you’d best pay off as well in that format.

Constructed: 3
Casual: 5
Limited: 4
Multiplayer: 3.75
Commander [EDH]: 4 (white alone isn’t the most common artifact color, but there’s a lot Gandalf can enable as part of the 99 or as the leader of the deck)

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