Iona, Shield of Emeria
October 8, 2020
Commander [EDH]: N/A
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Iona rewards certain kinds of play patterns: the ability to get things into play early, and the metagame ability to know what your opponents are likely to play. In constructed, she is a one-card prison effect against the uncommon mono-colored decks, and will often turn off someone’s removal spells or half of their combo at the very least. She even used to be played in Oath of Druids decks in Vintage. In casual formats, she’s a good way to draw the ire of your playgroup, though if there’s a deck that you can’t beat any other way, it’s certainly tempting. I guess there’s even a political use for her in multiplayer, if you choose to lock out one opponent’s color but not another’s.
Note: Iona, Shield of Emeria is banned in Commander.
Iona, Shield of Emeria is a potent lock effect against many decks that aren’t prepared for it; while artifact and colorless spells dodge it, you’re still forced to draw into them while fending off an evasive 7/7 that can end the game and keeps you from potentially aiming a kill spell at it. It can’t die to Doom Blade if your opponents can’t cast Doom Blade, right? It’s a serious investment that rewards the player able to cheat it out, and there are some games where she’s an auto-win on entry. Note that she’s still susceptible to on-board effects and activated abilities; that Seal of Doom on board is still killing her all the same.
Constructed: 1.75 (hard to justify over other options, but it’s hard to deny her power if she hits the board; that said, most Modern/Legacy decks are diverse enough to not fold to her)
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