– Theros Beyond Death
January 29, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Do you recognize the references in Gravebreaker Lamia’s mechanic? The most direct are Entomb and Buried Alive, and as far as creatures go, there was also Corpse Connoisseur from Shards of Alara. All of those cards are very good at setting up graveyard-based combos and interactions, and the Lamia performs just as well on that front. The cost reduction ability is even better when used in the right deck, and getting that little extra advantage out of strong strategies (eg. flashback) can take your deck from good to devastating. He also has the advantage of being slightly efficient as a creature: we might not see a 4/4 with lifelink very often in tournaments, but would that change if it were the thing left behind – the Plan B – after Rest in Peace?
A five-mana Entomb that doubles as a cost reducer for graveyard casting isn’t half bad, and the body on it isn’t awful, either. Gravebreaker Lamia is only the second proper Lamia in Magic‘s history, and it’s pretty decent out of the gate, especially in a set with escape as one of the major mechanics. Even if it dies immediately, you were still able to set up by using the Entomb effect, which has always been an effect that plays surprisingly well in practice; with things like the Titans and Polukranos running around, there’s a lot for Gravebreaker Lamia to enable, and a flexible mana cost does it a lot of favors in being able to splash for it.
If it lives, getting a one-mana discount on most of the spells it sets up for is pretty legit (and the discount applies for any spells out of your graveyard, not just ones with escape), and a 4/4 with lifelink that also interacts favorably with constellation is pretty passable. This card is a pretty good role player that winds up being a bit more than the sum of its parts, and I think it’s going to see play so long as black winds up being relevant.
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