Infernal Kirin – Saviors of Kamigawa
Date Reviewed: February 3, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.17
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Each of Saviors of Kamigawa‘s Kirins has a high-impact “spiritcraft” trigger, and Infernal Kirin’s is one of the stronger ones from that cycle. With the right cards in hand – and luck in what your opponent is playing – you can pick their hand apart piece by piece and prevent them from making any effective offense or defense. The downside is that he absolutely needs those other cards to do that; compare Persecute, which was in Standard at the same time as he was (awkward!). In the absence of those support cards, he doesn’t seem quite as impressive, as he isn’t always the biggest combat threat. But in less cutthroat environments, he can make a difference to a game state; and in a theme deck, there’s something to be said for a disruptive ability that can be recurred by soulshift or interacts with other spiritcraft cards itself.
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
The Kirin cycle from Saviors of Kamigawa was an interesting bit of tribal support, as it were, and Infernal Kirin can shred a hand if you get lucky. The main combo piece with them is Ugin’s Conjurant as a way to hit things like lands, which is what got Celestial Kirin (the white member of the cycle) a bit of notoriety.
Infernal Kirin is…okay. Information is always potent, even if you don’t hit anything off of it, and you can definitely rip a hand to shreds or prepare for future outcomes. But it’s mostly a piece to set up future plays, and four mana is a bit high to reliably get this online in a timely fashion. All the same, it is an acceptable body for the time as an evasive attacker, even if that time has long-since passed. It’s a bit of a fringe pick overall, but it’s a cool card you might be able to have some fun with.
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
An interesting but very specific card that can be a thorn in your opponent’s side under the right circumstances. That’s the key phrase, the right circumstances. Spirits have a heavy presence in the current standard format providing new cards that can interact with this card in eternal formats and commander. In an Esper commander deck, this should have a home if spirits are the main archetype, but outside of that black does not have a massively strong spirit presence. What black does provide is an ability to look at your opponent’s hand with cards like Thoughtseize and Duress so you know which spirits to play and win so they can all be discarded leaving your opponent(s) frustrated and you public enemy number one. As I mentioned earlier, in the right deck this card is cute and will have a home but it’s not a “throw in” for most decks.
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
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