Lavaclaw Reaches – Worldwake
Date Reviewed: November 2, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Zendikar‘s creature lands have aggressively costed activations and hit crazy hard if they get a chance to. Lavaclaw Reaches is, in one sense, precisely what many Rakdos decks want, as it can one-shot an opponent given the right opening and enough mana. The tension, of course, comes from the fact that a deck that cares about one-shotting people is likely to want its lands to come into play untapped. If you can get around that, it’s a decent Plan B for when you run out of burn spells and your opponent thinks it’s clever to put every Swords to Plowshares variant in their deck.
Note that as a creature, Lavaclaw Reaches has colors, and specifically colors which every other white card has protection from. If that’s a problem in your metagame, use something like Dread Statuary or Crawling Barrens as your creature land instead.
The ally-color creature lands from Worldwake left a generally big mark on most formats…except, amusingly enough, Lavaclaw Reaches. This isn’t because it’s necessarily bad, but compared to the others, a 2/2 with firebreathing is quite underwhelming. It’s definitely a fast clock if unimpeded, but most decks can impede it. It’s not terrible, but compared to multi-format stars in Celestial Colonnade and Raging Ravine, it clearly comes up short as a consequence of a lack of evasion and a mediocre body without buffs.
Limited: 3.5 (again, Worldwake was not a good Limited for this card)
Quite arguably the worst of the “man lands” to come out of the original Zendikar set, this land never really saw play during its time in standard. Vampires was an archetype at the time but it wasn’t used in that deck, and Valakut decks were not playing it either, so this card did not really have a home. Honestly, the ability is pretty good! Comes into play tapped for B/R and 1BR this card becomes a 2/2 red elemental with X: gives this creature +X/+0 until end of turn. In standard and constructed it is a dud, even in a modern lands deck there are better things you can be doing than playing this card so there’s no real value there, but in commander it pairs quite well with a land focused deck like Lord Windgrace decks! Pay this card and next turn pump it for lethal damage right to your opponent, it will definitely fit into land strategies. Another fun environment is multiplayer and casual because of the combo potential. One that has been making the rounds online is Lavaclaw Reaches and Ceaseless Searblades! How it works is you make Lavaclaw Reaches a creature and then pay 0 for X which will give Ceaseless Searblades +1/+0 for infinite damage! Lastly, there’s limited. Hit or miss with this card, if it is pack 3 and you’re on a Jund lands strategy it can’t hurt to take it but I wouldn’t build around it forcing you to go three colors to help pump it up with ramping (Jund would be the strategy to go with here but again it is too costly most of the time).
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