Mayael the Anima – Commander 2013
Date Reviewed: December 14, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.37
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Alara is still one of my favorite planes after all these years, and one of the reasons for that is the glimpses we got of interesting characters and/or places. Mayael has an interesting effect, quite on-character for her colors with emphasis on Naya’s “power 5 or greater” theme. But the fact that it’s rather slow to set up, potentially unreliable, and has an additional mana cost kept her out of competitive Magic, and sometimes casual Magic too. Commander taking off was probably the best thing that ever happened for cards like Mayael, and while there are more spectacular Naya commanders nowadays, there are other times when you want to just slam gigantic things out of your library and onto the table over and over again. When those times come, nothing does it quite like Mayael does.
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
Hailing from Shards of Alara, Mayael the Anima was one of the original iconic Naya commanders…though I’d say she was maybe never all that interesting? Don’t get me wrong, her effect is very attractive on the surface, being able to cheat in a creature from the top of your library, and green does love its large creatures anymore. Six mana was usually a slight overpay for most of them, but this was repeatable (and a triggered ability open to plenty of abuse), and this could be handy for surprising someone in a pinch with something of substantial size.
Again, though, Mayael’s an expensive activated ability on legs and has little else going for her. It’s not impossible to set up her ability to fire, but a creature that has to survive a full turn cycle (usually) while dying to Lightning Bolt-level burn is a tall order. Commander’s steady influx of powerful creatures and abilities has helped to crowd Mayael out of the format. She’s still able to work if you build with her specifically in mind, but I feel like the reward anymore would be outdone by other Naya-colored commanders.
Constructed: 1.25 (dying to Lightning Bolt and needing to survive a full turn cycl is not going to help her prospects)
Limited: 2.5 (Mayael relies a bit too much on other creatures, and while Naya did love them, she’s still a combo mythic)
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
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