Grand Master of Flowers
– D&D: ADVENTURES IN THE FORGOTTEN REALMS
Date Reviewed: July 16, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Aside from the reference to Bahamut’s D&D lore, this card also reminds me of the way lots of martial arts movies have a small, unassuming (often older) guy who is actually an uber-black belt and beats up multiple opponents in flowing, acrobatic style. Except since it’s Bahamut, that guy is also a dragon god, and since we’re in Magic, that Keanu Reeves-style “bring it on” gesture in the art is also “please tell me you don’t have Settle the Wreckage”.
It takes him a good number of turns to get to the point where he’s ready to go into Ip Man mode, but that’s not too bad when his abilities can potentially slow down attacks a lot and/or get him a lot of defenders. But just using the Monk of the Open Hand cards to block seems a little unimaginative to me. Note, for example, that Bahamut can return them from your graveyard to your hand as well, which means that the monks essentially can’t die (barring Tormod’s Cryptkeeper and the like). Does that sound like the kind of effect aggressive and midrange white decks always want, but don’t always get? It does to me.
As a general flavor note, the five planeswalkers in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms do not represent actual planeswalkers joining Magic lore, but characters whose abilities seemed best represented with the card type. Of course, they could change this if the characters are a hit, I suppose, and it might be fun to see Bahamut frolicking about on Ravnica or Amonkhet.
Speaking of Bahamut, here he is. Grand Master of Flowers is a reference to Bahamut’s tendency to stay “hidden” as a Perfectly Ordinary Human, only to turn into a dragon when it’s called for. Here, the trigger is 7 loyalty, and instead of a conventional ultimate, Grand Master of Flowers becomes a majestic dragon with great, big, long wings. And indestructible. While still retaining the ability to use his other loyalty abilities, but losing the ability to be attacked. (Ah, rules.)
Getting to 7 loyalty might take a bit. He does have two +1 abilities; one of them stops a creature from being able to attack him (or block), while the other tutors out a one-mana bodyguard who can grow by casting spells. Outside of proliferate or Doubling Season, there’s no “fast” way to get Grand Master of Flowers into his draconic majesty, so he needs to be protected for that long.
Given what you get, is it worth it? Maybe. I think Grand Master of Flowers slots into very particular decks; he’s a very specific puzzle to be solved, a ticking time bomb that can blow up hilariously if he has room to do his thing. But he does need to be protected beyond what he himself offers, and he’s not universally powerful. Still one of the set’s most oddly intriguing cards, and one I’m wanting to try and make work myself.
Constructed: 3.75 (he’s weird, but I think he can work)
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