Kellan, Daring Traveler – Lost Caverns of Ixalan
Date Reviewed: November 29, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.9
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Block mechanics are well and truly a thing of the past now that Kellan’s second card is a thing. You’d almost never see a card that had a named mechanic introduced in the previous set; but on the other hand, that also means you’d almost never see a crossover between two spotlighted block mechanics. Kellan does so in a rather interesting way: his adventure side obviously gives you more advantage the more opponents you have, and his creature side is costed aggressively enough to have potential in tournament settings, which are generally very different. In a properly constructed deck, he can draw you a surprising number of extra cards, and the explore effects from his Map tokens can also help set up those extra draws. I still think if you’re going to make white draw extra cards explicitly, this kind of thing is the better way to do it.
I’m not sure when exactly a two-mana creature with total power and toughness 5 became so common; if you believe Scryfall, it really took off after Terrain Elemental from Kaladesh, but there have always been a few who didn’t have a major downside. If, after all the efforts the designers made to remove draw-go from new formats and push creatures, they still needed to push beyond the Bear With Set’s Mechanic, they really need to step up their overall design game.
Commander [EDH]: 4
Having gotten off of Eldraine via a convenient Omenpath, Kellan’s now cavorting in Ixala with a it of an adventuristic flair about him. He plays pretty well with the themes of the set, exploring and map tokes (and descend, to a point), pairing a serviceable body with some potential card draw both in the map token he supplies and his attack trigger. He’s the kind of glue card that keeps the engines running…he’ll rarely win games on his own, but he’s great at helping you to get there and can even help kickstart you out of a stall, so there is that.
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
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