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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
Image from Wizards.com

Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
- Hour of Devastation

Reviewed July 24, 2017

Constructed: 3.5
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 5.0
Multiplayer: 4.0
Commander [EDH]: 4.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

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Card of the Day Reviews 

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh
Apparently four-ability planeswalkers are a thing we get on a semi-regular basis nowadays. At least they've managed not to make anyone as ridiculous as Jace the Mind Sculptor, though I will note that the God-Pharaoh here manages to have an ability that steals cards from your opponent while also increasing his loyalty, which might sound familiar. It also does insane things in Commander where people's decks are full of things like Time Stretch and Rampaging Baloths. There will be situations where you never actually need to use any of his other abilities, but he's just about exactly as good at controlling opponents' resources as you would expect, given who he is.
Constructed: 3/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 5/5
Multiplayer: 4/5
EDH/Commander: 4/5
James H. The God-Pharaoh's return has come, and the people were found unworthy.
As a seven-mana, three-color planeswalker, you would hope Nicol Bolas brings the goods...and he does. His +2 is high-variance, but it's very scary: you can potentially rip an Eldrazi titan off the top to cast or something else sufficiently ruinous (like an Hour of Devastation). His +1 is also suitable if your opponent has no board to speak of, and it can make sure no more answers exist to get Bolas off the board. His -4 is, humorously enough, the same amount of damage as Deem Worthy; while you would hope Nicol Bolas isn't a glorified burn spell, there are far worse ways to close out a game. His ultimate is...a bit weak, honestly. Complete evisceration is nice, but you're probably very far ahead if you are in position to use it.
A high starting loyalty makes Bolas hard to get rid of, he has the ability to make his own answers, and his -4 closes out games well on its own. The universality of his +1 and his ultimate also makes the God-Pharaoh the rare planeswalker to scale well to multiplayer games. If there's one issue, it's his mana cost: 7 mana, in three colors, is a bit of a steep price in a format that isn't the most conducive to three-color decks.
Constructed: 4
Casual: 5
Limited: 5
Multiplayer: 4
Commander: 4.5

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