Linvala, Shield of Sea Gate
– Zendikar Rising
October 6, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Without getting too far off track, I like how Linvala uses a shield despite her class being Wizard. One of the best things about the advancement in roleplaying games is the loosening of connections between classes and their stereotypical equipment, so you can have urban rangers, capoeira-inspired fighters, and the Elder Scrolls series’ battlemages.
Linvala’s stat lines and her first ability, mimicking the old Azorius keyword detain, would be more than enough to make her good in limited and borderline playable in constructed. Her sacrifice ability might be enough to make her good in constructed, where the party ability will likely be more of an occasional bonus. Aggressively-costed creatures with protective abilities have a strong history of disrupting control decks – think of Saffi Eriksdotter or Dauntless Escort, and the more recent Ranger-Captain of Eos. Even if she basically gets little play in Standard, because Omnath just has to sit there to destroy you, going directly to constructed decks in larger card pools is not a bad place to be.
Back in time for our return to Zendikar, the newest Linvala looks to play well with the party mechanic or, absent that, just play well in general. Her base stats are solid enough (an evasive flyer is always welcome), and if you have enough of a party to get the party going, her detain-style effect is a nice way to obstruct something troublesome, like a planeswalker. And she even has the means to protect your board from a wipe or from pinpoint removal in an emergency, which means that she’ll almost always be worth the price of admission. Linvala 3.0 isn’t likely to be the star of this Standard, but I’d be surprised if she didn’t pull her weight.
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Magic the Gathering Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉