Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner
– War of the Spark
September 25, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Kiora’s inclusion in this week’s reviews is a nod to a recently-announced set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. “Announced” might be a strong term, since they didn’t tell us anything about it other than its name and the fact that it has something to do with summoning and even making your own monsters. Big creatures have always been popular, even in the early days of Magic when we got a lot of lectures from “smart” players about how they weren’t good, so I don’t doubt that Ikoria will eventually go over well. My bet is on a black-bordered version of Grusilda, Monster Masher‘s mechanic.
In the meantime, Kiora gives us a useful piece for our own behemoth-based decks. Anything that keeps cards flowing is always good, and she eliminates that sneaking feeling in the back of our mind that maybe we should be looking at something that has a comes-into-play ability instead. She works well with token generators – Rampaging Baloths comes to mind – and with other versions of herself (cf. Kiora, Master of the Depths). It might sometimes be a good strategy to keep her at high loyalty so your opponent will have a hard time stopping your extra cards, but don’t forget that you can use her -1 on any permanent. It’s mana acceleration, which technically can be in mono-blue or blue-black (is that allowed now?).
One of the fairly simple planeswalkers from War of the Spark, Kiora is still pretty solid in and of herself, a fairly durable source of card advantage that can also untap lots of things over her lifespan. 4 power or greater is quite doable in green and blue, and getting loads of cards can help a green deck keep firing on all cylinders as the game goes on. And the untap ability is subtly nice, getting you further up the mana curve a lot faster than you might be otherwise.
Of course, this Kiora does little to advance the game state on her own, making her more a piece than the main attraction of a deck. It’s still a powerful enough effect, though, and there are plenty of degenerate things she can pair with to give opponents a bad time (such as lands that generate loads of mana). And even if opponents want to kill her, a base loyalty of 7 makes her a bit of a wall.
Speaking of her, she augurs interesting things for one of the future sets, Ikoria. I wonder if we’ll see her there, given her fondness for things that are large and lethal.
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