Monastery Swiftspear – Double Masters
Date Reviewed: July 19, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 2.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Red Deck Wins and Sligh have come an awfully long way since the late 90s. Back then, the whole concept was that you were playing creatures that weren’t as impressive as the more expensive ones, but because you were playing them so early and so consistently, you would overrun the opponent. Nowadays, that principle still holds, but you have access to actively impressive one-cost red creatures – Monastery Swiftspear is one of the top tier of those by any measure. It’s easy to overlook, but haste on a one-cost creature (even one with one power) is a major threat in a deck with lots of burn spells, since the countdown could be on before the opponent even plays a land. Prowess means that the Swiftspear can often go toe-to-toe with surprisingly expensive creatures, and is also surprisingly relevant in the middle and late phases of the game. There is very little downside to this card, and lot of game wins in her future.
Multiplayer: 2/5 (very aggressive, but best when focused on just one opponent)
Commander [EDH]: 2/5
Monastery Swiftspear is one of those cards that plays a lot better than it reads…and it already read as plenty threatening! Red decks like having threats with which to smash early on, and starting with a hasty body that grows rapidly in conjunction with the torrents of burn spells you’re unloading is a pretty nice place to be. Hyper-aggressive red decks will almost always be playable to a point, and when you can get a reward for doing the things you already were looking to do, it’s not so bad. Monastery Swiftspear being downshifted to common might irk Pauper players…or delight them, depending on your perspective, because a chain of cantrips or Phyrexian mana spells can make an early Swiftspear spell a swift end to your opponents.
Constructed: 4.75 (the only red one-drop creature you could argue for being better is Ragavan, and that card already is pushing power to the breaking point)
Limited: 3.5 (not phenomenal in a long game, but it’ll do work early, and it’ll do it well at common)
Commander [EDH]: 2.5 (it’s not unplayable here, but it’s more incremental than a lot of cards that might fit in this slot)
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