Meloku the Clouded Mirror
– Champions of Kamigawa
August 1, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I remember when Meloku was in Standard, showing up in all manner of decks that ran blue and were on the slower side. That was the era of the first Ravnica block, and so there were lots of decks that qualified. Many of those decks used him almost purely defensively – there were opponents that basically could never get past him. If Meloku’s controller managed to counter or remove enough threats, one Illusion a turn (the rate that lets the land easily be replaced without additional support) was often enough.
In the modern game, Meloku lacks the same power and edge in the attrition game that planeswalkers now bring, but he still has a role to play in casual formats with larger card pools. There are cards that care about how many cards you have in your hand, and cards that watch for you re-playing those lands to give you some effect. And – is Moonfolk tribal a thing in Commander? It could be, right?
The Kamigawa block was infamous for its weird, insular mechanics, such as Arcane and the block-exclusive Moonfolk tribe. While Tamiyo serves as a direct link to the polarizing plane in the modern game, she has little semblance with the tribe she hails from. All of them are mono-blue creatures with flying that, excepting Erayo, Soratami Ascendant, have activated abilities that have you return lands you control as an additional cost to activate them.
Meloku the Clouded Mirror has one of the cheapest abilities of the Moonfolk, and one of the most powerful: make a 1/1 flying Illusion for 1 mana. This is a very effective rate of return that lets you go defensively or offensively; his 2/4 body can survive in combat fairly well and take weaker burn spells like a champ, and an army of flying creatures plays to one of blue’s strengths in going over the enemy to remove their face. And while blue is not great at replaying lands it bounces, Patron of the Moon (the Moonfolk tribe’s big Spirit) is a way to offset the ability, as is cards like Terrain Generator and Walking Atlas.
Make no mistake: while Meloku is powerful in Limited, he’s way too slow for Modern, and his stats alone aren’t pushed enough. But he does offer a way to grind out a game, and he’s one of the more infamous Limited bombs of all time…and you can try him out in Commander as part of Wizard tribal or (if you’re daring enough) Moonfolk tribal.
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