Last Stand – Apocalypse
Date Reviewed: May 11, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I may have started playing Magic in 1995, but I was doing so at a low level, even compared to many casual players nowadays. My sister and I didn’t fully understand that Lightning Bolt was a real card for about a year. My personal transition to a high-information player came later, and it started with becoming someone who actually kind of knew what was going on, around 2001. At that time, Last Stand was new and shiny and exciting – I read it and saw visions of draining ten life, killing a 10/10, making ten Saprolings, gaining twenty life, and drawing and discarding twenty cards. Just from one card. And ten of each basic land, yes, but to somebody who spent junior high trying to maneuver Gray Ogres past War Mammoths in decks with 19 lands, that was a problem to be worked out later.
Last Stand is in a curious space for the Invasion block, as it seems superficially like a card for Planeshift‘s domain theme, yet that theme worked best in practice with one or two main colors and a smaller splash of the other basic lands – which would result in a severely underwhelming casting. People tried using it at the casual tables with fetchlands and original dual lands and got distracted by the five-color power and the price tag, but others have tried Rampant Growth effects and type-changing effects like Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to cheat a little. And now that Kaldheim and Dominaria United introduced even more nonbasic lands with basic types, there are budget-friendly options we wouldn’t have dreamed of in 2001. Unfortunately, Last Stand now not quite powerful enough to be the kind of one-shot uncounterable finish that the main social format seems to demand; but it does what it does well enough to be a fun card to build around in friendly settings.
Commander [EDH]: 3
One effect for each color, more or less. Last Stand asks that you pay one of each color to get in, and then it scales based off of the particular lands you have in play. This certainly looks far better with a card like Prismatic Omen or Dryad of the Ilysian Grove, since they make all of your lands count, but here we are.
I’d say that the most “efficient” of these modes is the Swamp one: five mana to cost an opponent 10 life is a very solid rate of return, and I’d dare to say it’s easily the highlight part of this card. Besides that, you get damage to a creature (so you can’t cast this into a board with no creatures), an army of Saprolings, life gain, and card filtration. All of these are…okay. As additional effects, they’re all pretty good, but this is a card mostly comprised of “additional effects” besides the Swamp life loss one.
As a five-mana, five-color sorcery, this card takes a lot to make the most of, though it has a pretty solid swing it represents if you have the set-up to make it work. I think this is definitely more of a “fun” card; it’s pretty inconsequential as a five-color payoff unless you make it so that all of your lands count towards it, though it can definitely provide a massive swing if you can get it off.
Constructed: 1.75 (you’re probably playing this for the first trigger of the card, and while an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth is enough to make this count, it’s still five mana and five colors in most cases)
Casual: 4 (powerful f you can set this up)
Limited: 2 (Invasion was not the block for this card to do damage)
Multiplayer: 2.5 (each mode hits one target, if it has a target it hits)
Commander [EDH]: 3 (powerful with the aforementioned support…but a mediocre curiosity without it)
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