Lolth, Spider Queen – Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
Date Reviewed: December 22, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale: 1 is bad; 3 is average; 5 is great.
If you’re familiar with Baldur’s Gate II, you’re probably familiar with the sections that involve drow, and with the way their warriors’ battle cry sounds like a round (a repeating song like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”) because it was originally published around the year 2000 and most characters only had enough memory for one voiced line. I always think of that whenever I look at this card.
Speaking of that, Lolth having no loyalty-adding abilities is a flavor home run for the deity of a branch of elves so given to backstabbing that it’s a wonder their society functions at all. That’s not to say that lack is a handicap or something: you can quite easily contrive a way for your creatures to die, particularly in combat-centric formats like draft and sealed, and her abilities are more than threatening enough to make that quirk worth it. If you play her when your opponent has no way of attacking her, her first two abilities easily set up a position where you can pull ahead. And her ultimate is an odd one in that it does the most when you’re attacking with small creatures in the late game; if you think of it as giving every small to mid-sized creature in your deck a pre-emptive, permanent power boost, it seems quite worth the wait.
This card was unranked on my Top 10 Cards of 2021, but it was on the long list for inclusion.
Lolth made her name as being probably the best planeswalker out of the five from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and it’s not hard to see why. She gives both card advantage and warm bodies, as called for, and she can even tick up her loyalty if you’ve the creatures to spare. Her ultimate is mostly cosmetic, to be truthful (though it’s hardly bad); that said, her 0 and her -3 are more than reason enough to get her down onto the field. Even if all she ever does is draw you one more card each turn, that sort of static advantage is well worth 5 mana, and her mere presence can make opponents think carefully about how they approach the game, lest Lolth get her loyalty too high and manage to actually pull off that ultimate. She’s not the card for every deck, but that combination of incremental card advantage and ticking time bomb makes her a threat if you can provide just the little extra bits of support she wants to really shine.
Constructed: 3.75 (serves well as a sort of top-end finisher in a lot of black decks)
Multiplayer: 4 (can scale well if you can build to her ultimate, since it hits everyone once you get the emblem)
Lolth, Spider Queen
The moment I saw this card I thought of how well it will fit in a sacrifice deck, just think about it for a moment. Vicersa Seer, Geth’s Verdict, Liliana of the Veil, etc. there are so many cards that can cause you to sacrifice a creature and Lolth will just get bigger and bigger all on the same turn in most cases. The zero ability will only help in not losing loyalty counters until you can activate her ultimate ability. The ultimate is an interesting one because it basically guarantees you to deal at least eight damage per turn to your opponent. It makes those pesky 1/1 creatures that normally go ignored a serious threat. My only issue is that it’s not really a universal planeswalker that can be thrown into any deck, it’s meant to be in a sacrifice or creature heavy deck that is going to really utilize putting counters on Lolth. It’s not going to work in a control deck or a low creature count aggro deck. Despite all of that it’s an auto include in that type of strategy for sure!
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