Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer
May 2, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 2.88
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Gwafa Hazid is a character who raises a lot of interesting questions, especially considering he only appears on one card. He is a merchant from Bant who uses gossip, innuendo, secrets, and most of all money to try and advance his selfishness and the secret goals of Nicol Bolas. This would make him a bad guy, except that he also, in his own small way, undermines Bant’s caste system, a system that many players would find problematic. Can good ever come from evil deeds? And even if it can, does that extend to the evil deeds of Bolas and his servants? I mean, we’ve seen just what they do in sets like War of the Spark!
Another interesting question, of course, is about what you might do with Gwafa Hazid’s intriguing game text. He’s got a surprising number of holes in his game text: obviously the creatures are only locked for as long as he’s in play, but he does nothing against activated abilities. I guess his bribes have very specific contracts befitting a realm of law like Bant.
It didn’t start easy for him – he made his debut in the same set as Path to Exile – and it’s not much better in the large formats he inhabits now. Having said that, I think he can still be used in the right place. There are plenty of Commander decks that revolve around the group hug concept, or the forcing people to draw cards and flood their hand and deplete their library concepts. If he’s your general, you can re-cast him at a strategic time and mess up combat. He’s another reusable source of counters for cards like Power Conduit and Everythingamajig.
Finally, remember the excitement of Battlebond and how it reminded the more forgetful that Two-Headed Giant is a format? If your teammate has a creature that they are willing to have locked out, he can help them dig a little deeper into their deck. He’s not a super-powerful card, but there are things he can do for a properly built deck.
Pay off your opponents to forestall attacks? What could possibly go wrong?
Gwafa Hazid is an interesting enough creature: you can use him to tie up an opponent’s creature, locking them out of attacking and blocking. It does come at a price: they get to draw a card, but who cares, right?
The problem largely is that you’re giving your opponents lots of cards (normally) to tie up their creatures, and them being tied up is contingent on Gwafa Hazid also being around. This is because the bribery counter lockdown is not an inherent part of the bribery counters, but an effect of Gwafa Hazid. So that is a Thing.
He’s sometimes useful for politicking and for keeping large threats at bay, but I’m not a fan. You give up too much and get too little to use his effect…and on a 2/2 body with no protection, it’s all too easy to pop him and go wild.
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