– Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths
May 12, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Despite the fact that most modern reptiles are very quiet, and many birds have quiet times, their cousins the dinosaurs are always portrayed as being very loud. We really have no way of ever confirming whether that was correct, but since it’s more fun that way, I choose to believe it was. Quartzwood Crasher, for one, has close to the “loudest” art of any dinosaur card, and its game effect is just as attention-grabbing. Ikoria‘s handling of keywords allows us to make pseudo-tribal decks for various of them, and since trample is one of the strongest combat keywords, it shouldn’t be a surprise that its tribal payoff is so good. I can rarely recall seeing a card that goes wide and goes big at the exact same time, much less one that interacts so well with famous red and green enchantments (Parallel Lives; Warstorm Surge). I expect to see this guy in Standard and other 1v1 decks that just want to hit hard, but his uses actually go beyond that.
Quartzwood Crasher is a pretty interesting curve topper for most decks; a 5-mana 6/6 with trample on its own is pretty vicious, especially in the “fast mana” colors, but where it shines is with its other ability. The passive creation of friends is a fairly unique way to try and snowball a game even further out of hand and helps to support tramplers. This means that Quartzwood Crasher can do Things and Stuff the turn it comes out, even without trample, and potentially spending 5 mana for 10+ trampling power can be a back-breaking move.
Of course, no protection does mean Quartzwood Crasher is a bit of a proverbial sitting duck, and that color requirement is a bit of a steep ask (even in a multicolor-heavy set like Ikoria). He does have some specific things he’d like to see in a deck to really pop (lots of trample or ways to grant trample), but there are ways for him to shine all on his own (like with things to grant haste).
Constructed: 3.25 (not sold yet, but he has promise)
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