Gwendlyn Di Corci – Legends
Date Reviewed: February 8, 2024
Commander [EDH]: 3.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
One of my good friends devastated FNM in 2006 with a blue-black deck that rocked Nezumi Shortfang as the lead-in to increasingly crazy disruptive effects. It was incredibly effective against control decks, which were incredibly strong in Kamigawa-Ravnica Standard, and it had a fighting chance against aggressive decks in the period where it had access to Umezawa’s Jitte. What we don’t always remember is that the Shortfang and similar cards trace their lineage not just to Hypnotic Specter, but also Gwendlyn here. The forced discard coming from an activated ability is intended as a partly beneficial tradeoff, as you don’t have the risk of losing it in combat, but also have to choose which function to use each turn. Gwendlyn is oddly efficient for a creature from 1994, albeit with an oddly specific mana cost, and this works against her in a curious way: when you don’t attack with a Nezumi Shortfang you usually don’t miss out on much, but she was often one of the better combat creatures on tables back in the 90s. The later, cheaper cards could also come down early and threaten an opponent’s early-game development, while she will often appear when the opponent is already set up. Even so, this activated ability is always a threat, and there are things that anyone lucky enough to own a copy can do to really turn heads (and not just at the size of their Reserved List collection).
Limited: N/A (note: even if Legends had been drafted, none of its 310 cards offers you a way to reliably cast her on curve)
Commander [EDH]: 3
One of the original Legends creature, Gwendlyn Di Corci is…a very typical design from 1994, in all. She’s not as dire as some of the Legends that populated Legends were; her stats are acceptable for her cost, and repeatable random discard is especially good if you can find ways to repeatedly untap her…which is a thing blue can do. Unfortunately, she needs to tap during your turn to force the discard, and while there are worse ways to spend four mana, it’s still not ideal to basically forego a blocker/attacker just to rip cards out of hands on your turn. Her mana cost is also low, but it’s four colored mana over three colors, and that makes her a hard sell. The overall package is a bit underwhelming; she is unique, and she will turn heads for both being a pricey card and a cool card, but if you’re aiming to win, Grixis has better options.
Constructed: 1.75 (the color requirements are a massive liability, as is lacking haste)
Limited: N/A (Legends was not drafted, but I don’t think she would be great there)
Multiplayer: 2.75 (she only hits one player at a time)
Commander [EDH]: 3 (I think there are ways to abuse her, admittedly, like Intruder Alarm set-ups)
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