Leyline of the Guildpact – Murders at Karlov Manor
Date Reviewed: January 30, 2024
Commander [EDH]: 3.63
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’ll get the negative out of the way first: I cannot abide or condone that mana cost. I first saw a variant of it on a custom card forum discussion years ago, and this type of thing is too hard to read, not to mention begging nitpicking questions about why it needs this exact combination of hybrid mana. At least all four of these symbols include green, unlike the ones along the lines of (W/U) (B/R) where there’s no possible conceptual explanation for the possible overlaps.
But that’s only part of it, because this Leyline’s effect is actually quite interesting. It is one of the most purely powerful 5-color deck enablers ever printed, making cards like Tribal Flames and (fittingly) Leyline Binding shockingly powerful way too early. Yet it’s only that powerful when you have it on turn zero: it’s the only Leyline with such restrictive casting requirements. You’ll be in mono-green or, awkwardly, a deck that can already make four different colors of mana. The decks that want it will probably build around turn zero, but aside from that kind of all-in domain deck, it’s somewhat of an enigma. It’s good to get that once in a while in a Magic card.
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
A new Leyline is interesting in and of itself, and this one is actually the first multi-colored Leyline…technically speaking. While this is five-colored, it is possible to cast this for either four green mana or for no green mana, which is an unusual place to be. That said, the effect is very green: all lands are all basic land types, and all your permanents besides lands are five colored. The main attraction here is the first of the two effects (though the other is certainly useful); a turn zero play that corrects colors forever is a pretty big boon to a fair few decks.
That said, the issue is a simple one here: hard casting this sucks. Maybe not egregiously, but the past Leyline cards have had to thread this needle of their turn-zero use case and not having them turn zero. Some are useful enough when played on turn four, like Leyline of the Void and Leyline of Sanctity…but others are not so hot if they don’t start the game already in play. And that’s the issue Leyline of the Guildpact has, I think; it’s not good enough at the rate it’s at to be worth four mana, but it is worth (potentially) playing at zero. This is going to be an interesting card to monitor going forward; I think it’s more cute than it is good, but it’s the kind of cute that’s on the knife’s edge between novelty and viciously powerful.
Limited: 2.5 (can help fix mana here, I suppose)
Commander [EDH]: 3.75 (can be great in five-color decks, but that’s the only place this can show up, and it’s one of 99)
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