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Card of the Day

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Sakura-Tribe Elder 
Champions of Kamigawa

Reviewed January 10, 2004

Constructed: 3.67
Casual: 3.33
Limited: 3.90

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale
1 being the worst.  3 ... average.  
5 is the highest rating

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Card of the Day Reviews 

Jeff Zandi

5 Time Pro Tour

  Sakura-Tribe Elder

This is one of my favorite commons in Champions of Kamigawa, certainly my favorite green common. A year ago, the best turn two play in Mirrodin limited formats was to play a Myr (a 1/1 artifact creature that taps for mana). Last year, no matter what colors you were playing, turn two was all about making a Myr. This year, mana acceleration is only for green mages.
The Sakura-Tribe Elder is much better than the Myrs were, however, because he can be sacrificed to bring a basic land from your library directly into play tapped. The mistake a lot of people make is to play the Elder on turn two and then keep him around for a turn or two. Since the land he brings into play comes in tapped, you optimally want to sacrifice the Elder at the end of your opponent's turn right after you have played him. This is an obvious play when you have land number three in your hand as well as a four casting cost creature. However, even if you don't have the third land or a four casting cost spell, you want to use the Elder to get a third land in play on your side as quickly as possible. If your deck is splashing a third color, make sure to use the Elder to go after that third color, even if you don't have any spells that need that third color in your hand yet.


Ray "Monk"
* Level 3 DCI Judge
*DCI Tournament Organizer
 Sakura-Tribe Elder

This guy is possibly one of my favorite creatures Wizards has created in a long time. While sometimes he is nothing more than a Rampant Growth, he often also doubles as a chump blocker for an opponent's aggressive attack, or in a best case scenario, kills a creature by blocking it then fetches you a land. He's also a snake, helping the continuing tribe theme Wizards seems to love, and often times the guy even swings for a couple of points of damage. Even in limited, he's a great pick for mana acceleration or smoothing.

Constructed: 4
Casual: 4
Limited: 4


* game store owner

 Sakura-Tribe Elder - Monday

There just isn't enough room for me to write about this guy.  Rampant Growth was already a great card.  And this guys let's you Rampant Growth at your leisure.  And you can do it at instant speed even.  And to top it off, you get a 1/1 creature to boot.  And the best part, is that it's still only 1G to cast.

Constructed: 4.5
Limited: 4
 Sakura-Tribe Elder --

This card is so good, I know several people who have trouble finding them -- even though they are commons. At one point not too long before the Elder hit the scene, Rampant Growth was beginning to see some play again. It was considered a decent card that fit well into any green deck that needed a small mana jump. Once the Elder debuted, Rampant Growth all but vanished. Why pay 1G for a sorcery when you can get the same effect at instant speed attached to a 1/1 body? I would play this card in constructed, casual, and limited. I will give it a slightly lower rating in casual, just because of the wide variety of land-search cards available, some of which make Sakura-Tribe Elder look bad (see: Land Tax).

Constructed Rating: 3.5
Casual Rating: 3.0
Limited Rating: 3.5

 Van Zandt

 Sakura-Tribe Elder

Certainly a step up from rampant growth, and quite the control card when you cast it turn 2, block, put combat damage on the stack if appropriate, and then sac for your mana fix/acceleration. Sometimes attacks, too. One of those cards it's hard not to include in every deck that's not all-out-aggro green.

constructed 4
casual 3.5
limited 4


* game store owner
(Shuffle and Cut)

Sakura-Tribe Elder
One of the keys to distinguishing a card as playable from being mediocre is it's ability to serve multiple purposes.  Elder meets that requirement.  It's main usefulness is getting you mana, and as such can work as a mana color smoother.  But it's other uses also add to its charm.  Sakura-Tribe Elder can often be seen taking a block for the team before it sacs to grab the basic land of your choice.  A fairly quick play at 2 mana, it can smack your opponent up side the head for a while until it is needed for other purposes (its land grabbing is a non-tap ability - good times).  Add to that the fact that it's a common, and you have a good bye to top it all off. All in all, a very decent card.
Constructed - 3.5
Casual - 3
Limited - 4

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