Kaya, Geist Hunter – Crimson Vow
Date Reviewed: December 1, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.67
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I really hoped we’d get to hear more about Kaya going after Vorinclex, back in the realms of Kaldheim. I think part of the information gap is on me, though – I still haven’t read most of the web fiction from that set. There’s just not enough on MagicTheGathering.com to make me feel like I should go there regularly.
But that’s secondary to today’s main point. I’m intrigued by how this version of Kaya might fit in with decks in her color combination. Orzhov-colored decks don’t all fit into one gameplay category by any means, and you’re clearly being encouraged to be very aggressive. Her +1 is obviously materially useful for many decks, and while deathtouch is more of a psychological deterrent to blocking, it still works many times (your opponent will still do so if they really feel they need to). Her -2 has a lot of applications in Standard, and even more in larger formats (as if Lingering Souls needed any help). And her ultimate is not the kind that wins the game as part of its resolution – not surprisingly, as they’ve been moving away from that kind of ultimate in design – but rather one that puts you in a position to win, or even sets up for even more plays in long games (Commander, etc). I think this is an interesting and probably useful card: we’ve seen all the abilities before, but not all on one card, which can either be built around or used as a versatile support card.
This set seems to be going hard on the cheaper planeswalkers, doesn’t it? The newest Kaya is the set’s other three-mana planeswalker, and she occupies a pretty interesting niche with a very intriguing ability. But let’s get into that.
Her main attraction has to be her -2; Doubling Season’s effects have long been beloved for how they can make a board explode, and if you can prep for it, Kaya, Geist Hunter’s -2 can make one turn a massive swing. Doubling token generation can get really out of hand (and I can see applications in Modern and Commander with Chatterfang if you want to go three colors), and if you have something to take advantage, things get gnarly. Her +1 is an interesting way to force your way and take advantage of all those tokens (if they were creatures); even if it’s just one creature, buffing them and giving them deathtouch helps combat tilt in your favor, and the deathtouch buff goes to all creatures.
Her -6 is suitably swingy, playing well with her tendency to wrangle spirits and keep things dead. It asks for set-up, but even a small clutch of Spirits can be enough to make things ugly in short order, thanks to it counting all exiled cards in generating them. Graveyard hate is also nice, but that’s not why you’re playing her…it’s more of a nice upside.
Like Chandra, Kaya has trouble protecting herself, but her mix of abilities can be potent in a deck geared to take advantage. I suspect she’ll make some noise, if for no other reason than how tempting her -2 is; that’s the kind of ability rogue decks salivate over.
Constructed: 3.75 (I think she’s probably more dangerous than Chandra, but relies more on a specific deck than just being generically good)
Limited: 4.75 (her +1 is enough to crack games open, but not on its own)
Commander: 4 (pity she can’t slot into a deck with Chatterfang as its commander)
Kaya, Geist Hunter
Much like Chandra from this set you get another three mana planeswalker for an initial three loyalty to start which is good to get use out of the planeswalkers but let’s see how the abilities play out. The first +1 gives your creatures deathtouch until end of turn which is a great ability but why did they have to tack on the “put a +1/+1 counter on up to one target creature token” Why the token? This silos this card a bit for making it very usable in token strategies but not so much in general strategies in my opinion, if you get this in limited it is solid despite not having tokens because of the deathtouch ability alone. The -2 ability is nice but again it is for tokens only. In a limited or non-token deck it is pretty useless but if you’re pushing B/W tokens then this is an auto include for sure in most formats, not much really to say here because of the silo that it is in. This ultimate is a game winner, you’ll get an army of tokens that you’ll be able to swing away and likely for lethal (if not then you did something wrong) but with only having a +1 and this being a -6 that is three turns at least and once your opponent gets wind it’ll be a target. I think it is a brilliant ability but it is going to be tough to do but it’s in the right colors to get it going there. Much like Chandra, it is a WOTC move to make fewer OP cards especially for planeswalkers. Commander is where this card is going to shine because of the nearly endless amount of token strategies that exist and this card can, and likely will, make some waves in those decks.
Constructed: 2/5 (B/W spirits 4/5)
Multiplayer: 3/5 (For the ultimate alone)
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