Old Gnawbone – Forgotten Realms
Date Reviewed: December 20, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.50
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale: 1 is bad; 3 is average; 5 is great.
In ancient times, many cultures had the concept of an intercalary period – a week or month which didn’t belong to any calendar year, and thus served as a free time and a bridge between the old year and the new one. Officially, our modern calendar doesn’t use that, but this time of year often feels like such a period anyway. Personally, I think that there’s value in that kind of thing. It’s a time to relax more seriously, play harder, try new things; and here on Pojo, we’re taking a break from the procession of new set cards to do our customary Top Ten for the year.
Old Gnawbone goes big, and she goes hard. Even just on her own, she generates more treasure tokens than a lot of decks can reasonably use. That makes her somewhat of a win-more card in constructed, but there are formats where you can never have enough mana – that’s kind of the premise of Commander, isn’t it? There’s always a little bit of tension in having a card that ramps you but probably needs to be ramped into itself, although green has, for years now, specialized in throwing an excessive number of huge things at an opponent until they don’t know whether they’re coming or going. Old Gnawbone isn’t a card of that type on the level of, say, Primeval Titan for competitive formats, but she’s one of the most fun and stylish options for casual play.
This card was not on my Top 10 cards of 2021.
Very much a Commander force, Old Gnawbone’s great, big, long wings enable massive explosions of treasure tokens to her benefactor almost immediately; despite costing 7 mana, a combat step going well will result in a massive influx of advantage. She enables explosive post-combat steps and can even help pay for protection if you can get treasure out of it, and a 7/7 flier is quite good at ending games on her own. She hasn’t quite shown up in Standard or other formats, as she’s not a very tricky card who still demands heavy up-front investment, but Old Gnawbone is an excellent way to show swooping is, has been, and always will be bad.
The best card printed from Adventures of the Forgotten Realms, hands down no questions asked and zero debate. This might be one of the best dragons ever printed, especially for green who normally doesn’t get cool mono-colored dragons.
Seven for a 7/7 is pretty standard and easy to pull off in green on turns four or five and it has the added bonus of having flying. But what makes this card bonkers is “whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, create that many treasure tokens” is absolutely insanely good. The easy strategy here is to have creatures fight your opponent’s creatures to remove them from the game and then swing, you’ll get a slew of treasure tokens to cast just about anything you want. In commander you could pump out tons of creatures or if you’re in Gruul swing with Fireball for the win or very close to it. Green is already known for ramp and beefy creatures, this is just icing, sprinkles, hot fudge, extra frosting, and that cake crunch in the middle of an ice cream cake on top with a cherry or two. I think this card was designed with commander in mind, I can’t see how creating that many treasures isn’t a commander focused strategy (looking at you Dockside Extortionist) but even in constructed it’s a game winner. Even by itself you have a 7/7 green flying creature that can wreak havoc on your opponent and get around most creatures. Buy a fancy version of this card while it is cheaper for commander, maybe an extra two for constructed as well because modern is forever changing. This is a card that is only going to go up, up, up!
We would love more volunteers to help us with our Magic the Gathering Card of the Day reviews. If you want to share your ideas on cards with other fans, feel free to drop us an email. We’d be happy to link back to your blog / YouTube Channel / etc. 😉