Lolth, Spider Queen
– D&D: ADVENTURES IN THE FORGOTTEN REALMS
Date Reviewed: July 27, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
In the name of Lolth, we fight! You’ll have to, if you want to have any chance of getting to activate her ultimate, but asking black decks to find a way to sacrifice their own creatures almost isn’t a cost, really. Even if you’re not playing Aristocrats or Nantuko Husk, she lets you engage in combat with less stress, knowing that you can cash in later for either more creatures or a potentially game-changing ultimate. And in other situations, she can act like Phyrexian Arena with additional modes – we already know how powerful Phyrexian Arena is, and how it doesn’t “need” additional modes per se.
Lolth is certainly an impressive planeswalker; in the right build, she can ult immediately! But let’s start from the top.
On her own, she has the ability to protect herself with attendants or give you card advantage. But her loyalty only comes from the deaths of her followers…or yours, I suppose, but who’s counting? An expensive Phyrexian Arena is still a Phyrexian Arena if you can protect her otherwise, and those spiders do a good job otherwise; it does dip her loyalty quite low, but her passive comes into play here, able to give her loyalty if your creatures die in her service. Her -3 doesn’t let her gain a net amount of loyalty, but it can help keep aerial threats from taking her out.
Her ultimate is…fairly unusual, but still decently potent. It guarantees that an opponent that’s damaged by you in combat is going to lose at least 8 life in each swing; that’s three turns of damage (or less) in Standard and Limited, and 5 turns in Commander (and applies to all opponents!). The calculus for her ultimate is a bit weirder, since she doesn’t have a fixed timetable to go off and can’t ult without help; she functions well as a value engine, but she is able to ult immediately with proper support, so that complicates things.
Lolth is definitely a Limited house, and she’s likely good enough for Standard, in spite of her “dead zone” mana cost. If nothing else, an extra card each turn is a passable enough ability for a five-mana planeswalker, and her mana cost isn’t prohibitive. I think she’s one of the set’s better planeswalkers overall, and she’ll serve you well if you are willing to pledge fealty to her and stuff.
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