Kruphix, God of Horizons
– Theros Beyond Death
March 6, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
One of the most dizzying things about Kruphix has nothing to do with his abilities. The old web stories suggested that Kruphix knows everything that anyone in Theros knows, and if somebody arrives there, say from another plane, Kruphix knows what they know too. That means that he knows of things like Alara, Fiora, the Eldrazi, New Phyrexia – and, if you enjoy thinking about what your role in the Magic story would be, your favorite deck. Knowledge, as they say, is power, and I wonder what Kruphix might do with all that knowledge the next time we visit Theros.
But let’s talk a little about his abilities, too. It seems to me that he’s basically tailor-made for Commander – the format’s stereotype of his color combination is that it sits there generating mana, occasionally putting some of it into casting card-drawing spells and creatures with comes-into-play abilities, and ideally ending with some ridiculously expensive thing you’d never see in traditional constructed. Even if that stereotype is overdone, Kruphix definitely adds a dimension to ramp decks in Commander. The maximum hand size rule can be an inconvenience for decks that draw things in an engine-like manner or have lots of powerful options they might want to keep in reserve. While an Upwelling effect is not as conventionally strong as other kinds of ramp spells, banking unused mana for future turns can nonetheless help you get to spectacularly huge values for things like Stroke of Genius or even a good old Fireball.
Five mana for a one-sided pseudo-Upwelling is an interesting prospect, and Kruphix has the good fortune to be in the color pair with the most mana sinks. Between big “draw X” spells and snuggly Hydras, Kruphix is well-positioned to create a lot of chaos at a table. While the mana loses its color as it moves through phases, you can still bank large amounts of it later to be filtered through color-fixing sources. And a free Spellbook effect isn’t half bad, though you’re likely playing Kruphix for his novel effect.
I will say that Kruphix is a casual and Commander star, but he doesn’t really do enough in other formats. His effect is powerful, but five mana should usually be when you have enough mana available to start firing. He’s not completely useless in Limited for simply being a hard-to-remove creature if you believe in yourself, and you can always bank mana for later plays, but he costs a bit too much and does a bit too little to really be a star outside of more “fun” decks. He is fun, at least.
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