April 20, 2018
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’m not actually sure if Lyra is the literal descendant or merely the successor to Reya Dawnbringer, who was once the leader of Serra’s angels during the Phyrexian Invasion and remains a staple of casual reanimation strategies to this day. It’s interesting that Lyra is much more focused on combat – if we were translating them into Dungeons and Dragons terms, I make her something like a fighter or paladin and Reya a cleric.
As useful as creatures with non-combat abilities can be, my position is that creatures should be about combat. After all, that’s the thing they do that no other card type does (aside from the odd Lumbering Falls or such). Lyra’s stats obviously recall the infamous Baneslayer Angel, although protection from demons and dragons is perhaps less narrow an ability than the lord effect. On the one hand, angels tend to have high stats and arguably don’t need a tribal effect; on the other, cards like Entreat the Angels or Sigil of the Empty Throne are crazy enough when they don’t grant you the life the angels hack out of your opponent/s, and it offers the potential for some pretty epic comebacks. Angel tribal may not come up often in competitive play, but I suspect Lyra will make it even more popular at casual tables, so be prepared.
Angels always have and will always be my favorite creature type. They are strong, beautiful, and are the embodiment of White’s values and ideals. I freaked out the first time I saw Baneslayer Angel. Those abilities on that body at that cost was, and still is, absurdly powerful. 5s across the board. Upon those wings I won my most consecutive FNM victories. So when I first laid eyes on Lyra Dawnbringer, my heart started to flutter.
The main difference between the two is their last abilities. Baneslayer had protection from Dragons and Demons, an interesting homage to Akroma’s protection from Red and Black. This ability rarely came into play, more of a cute addition if anything, but when it did factor in the results were hilarious. Lyra on the other hand gets the much better and less situational ability of giving all angels +1/+1 and Lifelink. With Innistrad long out of Standard rotation I doubt Angel tribal will catch on. There’s also the whole “Legendary” thing. One Baneslayer is enough to make a comeback. Two Baneslayers and you’re on the fast lane to victory. Only being able to cast one Lyra is a bit disheartening.
I would also like to mention that I love the stained glass aesthetic a lot of white creatures from Dominaria are sporting. Angelic Destiny is my favorite art in the game and Lyra is very reminiscent of that piece. Angels finally have a lord and I could not be happier. Lyra Dawnbringer is hands down my favorite card in Dominaria.
Baneslayer Angel, Part 2. Or she’s close to it, at any rate. Flying, first strike, and lifelink on a 5/5 body makes Lyra Dawnbringer a real menace in combat, able to block well the turn she comes down and start smashing face the turn after. And buffing other Angels is a very real boon, even if Angels aren’t normally run en masse in competitive decks. It’s still a very real buff to give +1/+1 and tack on lifelink. Lyra might create a lot of chaos in the upcoming Standard format, and she demands immediate answer before she runs away with the game.
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