Kenrith, the Returned King
– Throne of Eldraine
November 11, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 4.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I want somebody who’s reading this now to go, after you’ve finished with the reviews for today, and make a draft for a Duel Decks: Peasants vs. Nobles (or Knights). Now that we actually have those as creature types, we should take advantage of it. There’s only about five of each, so it might take some effort and creative interpretation of art. Actually, we should do the same for Warlocks, for that matter; I’ll need to tell you all in more detail soon about how cool it is that we finally have Warlock as a creature type (and maybe share my own duel deck list if I can do enough creative interpretation!).
When Kenrith was first revealed, he immediately prompted comparisons to Staff of Domination from Fifth Dawn, but in a sense he’s even better because he can be your commander. That sounds trite, but any time you are able to cast him, able to generate a lot of mana in various colors, and have valid targets and cards around him, you will generate a powerful advantage at the worst of times and absolutely wreck the game state at the best of times. He is great in political multiplayer games and might be the best Two-Headed Giant card of all time – you can put him in your deck and go on defense with mana ramp and defensive spells to protect him, and use his abilities to fuel your partner’s deck into an unstoppable juggernaut.
Kenrith, the Returned King is the Buy-A-Box Promo for Throne of Eldraine, so no Limited score for him.
Kenrith is meant to be a rather conspicuous sort of Commander/Brawl plant, enabling five-color shenanigans of all kinds. In particular, all of his five activated effects have a fair amount of symmetry to them in terms of how they operate, pairing well in a team-inclined environment or just letting you play politics to get favorable outcomes at your table. Most of his activated abilities do tend to be fairly expensive for their effect, but being reusable and not requiring him to tap also helps. He can even use some of his abilities to get in there to beat opponents down, thanks to a serviceable body.
That said, Kenrith is a bit too fair to be a Constructed staple. He’s not completely useless there; giving an entire army haste and trample is a good way to end the game, if nothing else, but he’s coming into a fairly inhospitable format that doesn’t necessarily need a creature that takes as long as he does to impact the board.
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