Mila, Crafty Companion – Strixhaven
Date Reviewed: April 23, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Apparently, you can teach an old bonder new tricks. Lukka is an interesting place to start, because he has a very enticing collection of red’s formerly-niche abilities. His prominence suggests that they’re becoming more mainstream, which should make for fun times for red players. We already know how good looting/rummaging is, and his “impulsive reanimation” ability is undoubtedly going to surprise lots of people, and become the cornerstone of some casual combo decks, in months to come. His cost makes him less the kind of card that gets thrown in every constructed deck and more the kind you need to build around, but there may well be something to be done with him.
As for his companion Mila, she has some new abilities of her own (new in the sense of pushed for white – see Rayne from yesterday). She’ll definitely add a new dimension to the color, as surprisingly few white creatures over the years have tried to disincentivize opponents from removing them, and her stats are reasonable to maindeck in at least some aggro and midrange decks. I have a feeling she’ll appear in a lot of white decks for her protective abilities, which will then give them a reason to consider extending to a manabase that can cast Lukka too. (Remember, color identity rules don’t apply in kitchen table, Jumpstart Cube, or 50-card singleton . . .)
Looks like Lukka showed up after all, albeit with a friend. Mila being a legendary creature enables him to do things like sit in the command zone, but we’ll get to that.
First, Mila, who is pretty nice at enabling planeswalkers and dissuading targeting. White (and, by extension, Lorehold/Boros) has historically had issues with generating card advantage or recouping losses when incurred, and this helps to swing the balance back a bit. The body isn’t great, but it makes opponents have to commit more to killing planeswalkers (and rewards having an army of them, which I know one of my friends is thrilled by) and can dissuade targeting abilities. Because while white’s card advantage is oft poor, it does have strong answers, and letting a white deck draw a lot of cards can be a fraught proposition.
If you don’t need Mila, six mana gets you to Lukka, who has a pretty neat set of abilities. His -2 is a less-restrictive Goryo’s Vengeance, which actually is not terribly common an effect in red, and his +1 lets you filter away weak creatures to draw cards. Both of these are surprisingly nice! The creature lasting only 1 turn is slightly irksome, but the exile only triggers if they’re in play at the end step, which opens up fun avenues of play; the card filtering lets you turn weak bodies into late-game fuel, which red can struggle with. His ultimate is a permanent Warstorm Surge, and while he needs to last 2 turns to get there, he can do it if you put in the leg work, and Warstorm Surge is pretty potent.
While being Boros/Lorehold might constrain Mila and Lukka’s Commander prospects a bit, they are well worth a spot in such decks. They don’t completely eliminate their colors’ weaknesses, but they help smooth over rough patches those decks may experience, and each side would definitely see play on their own. I think Mila is more likely to make a constructed splash, but Lukka has enough intrigue about him that he could well show up from time to time.
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