– D&D: ADVENTURES IN THE FORGOTTEN REALMS
Date Reviewed: July 20, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Mordenkainen is an absolutely legendary character from Dungeons and Dragons history, and in my biased opinion, he makes Jace look like a total noob; but because we’re in Magic’s multiverse now, his planeswalker card is going to be compared to famous planeswalker cards in the same color. This might be unfair in a sense, because while he probably won’t be dominating games like a Mind Sculptor or such, he’ll do some cool stuff when you need him to. First of all, going up to seven loyalty if you use his card-drawing ability when you first cast him is nothing to laugh at – it’ll be hard for many decks to knock him down, and you’ll be drawing more cards the whole while. Second, if you already have a significant number of cards in hand, there’ll be situations where you can just run his token out and force the opponent to deal with it. If they do, you can make one more while keeping him on the table, and if they don’t (right away), you’ll be drawing more cards to defend them both. And while his ultimate is slow and doesn’t technically win the game on the spot, it makes the term “card advantage” sound obsolete.
One of Dungeons & Dragons‘ oldest characters, originally done by Gary Gygax himself, Mordenkainen brings his magical insights to Magic as the blue planeswalker of the set. At six mana, he’s definitely a pricey one, though he offers a fair bit to the enterprising blue mage all the same.
He offers both card filtering and protection out of the gate, though his -2 is definitely a bit more than pure protection, as a blue Dog Illusion that scales sharply with hand size can be quite a threat in a long game, so long as one has a hand. Going up by 2 each time makes his ultimate fairly attainable, and while it likely puts a clock on how much longer the game is going to go, it makes his illusory canines absolutely massive and can give you what you need to win the game in those last couple of turns.
In all, Mordenkainen is probably a bit too slow for Constructed play; I don’t think he’s bad there, but six mana is still a steep investment, and he’s merely okay at closing out games. He can help you find answers, though, and there are definitely games where he pulls you to victory on his own…not so bad for a powerful archmage.
Constructed: 2.75 (I suspect he’s a bit too slow, but he might be a threat if control has a foothold in the format)
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