Gyruda, Doom of Depths
– Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths
May 13, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
And suddenly, things turned ugly. The companion mechanic has been polarizing so far – personally, I’m waiting until Friday or whenever I can actually get my hands on one to try – and Gyruda is an illustration of what it’s capable of. People have been designing actual factual combo decks for Standard based around it, which you don’t see that often any more. Basically, you try to get the new Thassa into play, then cast Gyruda from your sideboard and reanimate a bunch of increasingly powerful creatures. The great part is that even though Gyruda has a way to help set itself up, you don’t have to just rely on that – you can just cast it the turn after you cast Gravebreaker Lamia and go nuts. The good thing, of course, about the intrinsic setup is that it keeps the kraken very relevant in limited and in a wider range of decks.
Speaking of companions, I still think it’s bizarre that Commander banned Dualcaster Mage via High Rhulain, but the Ultimatum that says “Put your entire graveyard into play” is fine.
All right, time for some “fun”, and by “fun” I’m referring to the now-infamous companion mechanic, a mechanic that has already wrought havoc online and promises to do the same thing in the paper game.
Companion offers you the ability to start with a card castable from outside the game if your deck comports to certain requirements. It counts against your sideboard if you’re in constructed play, but it’s basically an 8th card in your starting hand that’s nigh-impossible to interact with. It even works in Commander (unless you’re a turbo-banned Elemental Otter), having the card outside the game to cast when the time presents itself, though you can only have one companion (and it gets locked in at the game’s outset).
So, on to Gyruda. If you’re building with only creatures with even converted mana costs, a Gyruda entrance comes with a potential free creature; each player mills four, and you get one of those if it has an even converted mana cost. Conveniently, you should have the criteria easily met, so you’ll guarantee one hit more often than not (and have the option of taking something better if your opponents have something). Six mana for a 6/6 isn’t too bad, either, but being able to pay six mana for a lot more return on investment is pretty legit.
Gyruda isn’t the most oppressive companion (that’s probably a title belonging to Lurrus), but the Kraken is really good at unleashing the re-tentacling, thanks to a big body that usually brings a friend. The mana cost restriction makes him a bit harder to play around, but that’s largely minor, isn’t it?
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