Kaya, Orzhov Usurper
– Ravnica Allegiance Mythic Edition
March 13, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.68
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Kaya’s new card is actually kind of narrow, at least just by itself. It will take quite a long time for her to exile enough cards to take an opponent out of the game just by using her own abilities. It’s worth noting, though, that a lot of black’s and white’s removal exiles cards anyway: she doesn’t care if some of those cards were technically hit by Oblivion Ring and Path to Exile. Her -1 ability gets a lot of attention, because it includes the words “nonland permanent” and no other restrictions on type, but with a converted mana cost restriction that makes it hard to work in Standard. That format tends to have larger ranges of mana costs, and powerful cards at high costs that she does literally nothing against. Planeswalkers are often a little slow for Vintage, but she could theoretically target Moxes. Her abilities certainly have a lot of potential, but where exactly she falls on the larger scale of power is yet to be fully determined.
I know usually ghosts can’t become planeswalkers, but it would be hilarious if they found a way to get Brago to pursue her to Ravnica. The first Ravnica block had a rather significant ghost/spirit subtheme, after all.
Straight from Fiora, Kaya makes her standard debut in Ravnica Allegiance with a fairly controversial planeswalker. Her abilities are definitely interesting, and there was a limit to how powerful they could make a three-mana planeswalker, but there haven’t been many cards as divisive as Kaya 2.0 in this set.
Let’s start with her theme: she wants to exile cards to try and build to her ultimate, a powerful finisher that you can actually build to as the game goes on. At -5, when she comes in at 3, she’s not too far away if you can protect her, and it pairs well with all the incidental exile you can do. It also pairs well with her +1 and her -1, both of which exile from places. The former gets some lifegain and blocks recursion, while the latter kills tokens dead (and other troublesome 1 or less drops…of which there are not a ton present in Constructed formats, but Commander has a ton of mana rocks that make for tempting targets).
Kaya’s definitely balanced more around her ultimate, but it’s definitely one you work for and save as a game-ending bomb. She has no real protection aside from increasing her loyalty, and she is pretty fragile. That said, a steady stream of value can get you there, and she might serve well as a 1-of in a toolbox.
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