Geological Appraiser – The Lost Caverns of Ixalan
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.67
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Bloodbraid Elf has been one of my favorite cards ever since it first came out. Not only does it have insanely fun gameplay, but have you seen all the illustrations for it? Each one better than the last! I didn’t think cascade really needed much improvement, but discover is basically for when you hit a counterspell or maybe something symmetrical. Which is funny to me, because a deck that’s that risk-averse probably shouldn’t be playing cascade-style effects anyway, but here we are.
Note that discover is a triggered ability when the creature enters play, not when it’s cast like for cascade. That means that you can get more triggers with Ephemerate and the like, or double up with Panharmonicon and such; on the other hand, you also get hosed by Hushbringer and similar cards. Still, an extra card is an extra card, and Geological Appraiser and its brethren ask you very interesting questions about how to construct decks to get the best discover triggers, when and where it’s better than a straight-up “draw a card effect”, and how many discover effects you need in your deck to get the most benefit (or maybe set up massive chains like in some variants of Hypergenesis). I think this is a good card all-around.
Commander [EDH]: 4 (red decks without green can finally get in on the Bloodbraid Elf action!)
The combination of attributes on Geological Appraiser reminds me a fair bit of an infamous card from ages past: Alara Reborn‘s Bloodbraid Elf, a creature that wrought havoc on its Standard over a decade ago. This isn’t quite “Bloodbraid Elf 2: The Re-Elfening”, but it’s still an interesting enough card: a 3/2 that also draws you an additional card or gets a free spell on top of it. That you don’t need to immediately cast what you discover is potentially pretty nice (if you draw an X spell you really would rather not have to cast then and there), and so this isn’t a downgrade over its infamous forebear. That said, if Geological Appraiser gets countered or its enters play got thwarted somehow, you get nothing, so be mindful of that.
Cads like these are interesting to appraise because they’re very much creatures of their format. That said, this reads pretty well overall, effectively your choice of a cantripping 3/2 that guarantees what you find won’t just be a land or a one-mana 3/2 stapled to another potentially potent spell. All of these are good options, and while I do not think it’ll be an all-star, this is an excellent value engine that hearkens back to one of the game’s most infamous creatures and even does a passable impression of it. I could even see this popping up in Human decks in deeper formats, as a way to set up a 2-for-1 of sorts.
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
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