Ilharg, the Raze-Boar
– War of the Spark
June 4, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Ilharg is a suitably ominous mascot for War of the Spark – the form of the Gruul’s worship of her recalls the stories of Jormungand and Nidhogg, the force of chaos that immolates the old world to make space for the world to come. Certainly, great change has come to Ravnica: did you notice that there aren’t any cards with guild watermarks in the set? There’s a very different way of thinking in the city, at least for the time being.
A lot of the attention on Ilharg will no doubt relate to her “god trigger” and the difficulty in actually getting her out of play. That’s a big deal – and a good reason to keep extra Pacifism effects handy – but I really like the combo potential of her attack trigger. It doesn’t have any kind of restriction on what kind of creature is allowed to enter, meaning you can not only attack for ridiculous amounts of damage, you can pick something with a huge comes-into-play ability, or something that leaves a bunch of tokens after it returns to your hand. It’s really hard to go wrong when you have an ability like this on your side. I hate to admit it, but I think Domri may have been on to something!
With Hazoret very much not undead and still on Amonkhet, we needed a different choice for the red god of the cycle. And we got it in Ilharg, the Raze-Boar, deity of the Gruul and the one who will trample Ravnica under its ample hooves.
The most interesting part of Ilharg is her attack trigger, a sort of pseudo-Sneak Attack that is naturally very powerful. Sneaking in a large creature to wreak havoc with is always a good use of one’s time, whether it be something like a Darksteel Colossus or a Blightsteel Colossus (to name two options). They return to hand afterwards (maybe to prevent immediate reanimator shenanigans), but all the better for Ilharg to bring them back for a repeat performance next turn. Make no mistake, this can end games in a hurry if you have good targets.
On top of that, Ilharg is not the easiest creature to answer. A 6/6 with trample and the sort of pseudo-protection effect of the gods from the set means that you’re not getting rid of it for long (usually), and it wins a lot of fair fights all on its own. While I think enthusiasm for Ilharg has cooled slightly, it’s still a pretty absurd creature with a lot of potential upside.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Magic the Gathering Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉
Visit the Magic Card of the Day Archive! Click here to read over 4,000 more MTG Cards of the Day! Daily Since 2001.