Rayami, First of the Fallen
– Commander 2019
September 6, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The fact that we don’t often get blue vampires is overshadowed – on the same card, no less – by the fact that we never get green vampires. Green is about the opposite and inverse of vampires, about the natural cycles of life and the eternal spiral that vampirism undermines. What must Rayami’s story be?
Rayami’s first ability reminds me very much of Samurai of the Pale Curtain, from way back in the Kamigawa block. If anything, it might even be more useful, considering the ubiquity of decks that rely on creatures dying and creatures being in the graveyard. Her cost would make her quite a powerful hate card in Standard, but she holds her own even in the land of giants that Commander often is.
Her other ability is extremely worthy of combos – there’s all the obvious suspects in black, but don’t forget about what her other colors bring. Using cards like Beast Within or Pongify on your own creatures becomes very advantageous with her around, and Eldritch Evolution can both grant her abilities and find her next set of abilities. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Rayami gives rise to an entirely new suite of decks in Commander settings.
A Simic-colored Vampire is a bit odd, though the effect makes perfect sense in Simic colors. Rayami is similar to the other Voltron-style keyword creatures, though with a twist in itself: graveyard hate stapled to the body, as well as a way around the usual memory issues. Rayami only tracks which creatures are exiled with blood counters, so they persist even if she fails to persist…and those keywords are really something else. This gives her a bit of impact even if she dies earlier in a game, and she doesn’t need to start rebuilding from zero (and there are not many cards to pull cards from exile, so she rarely needs to worry about that).
A 5/4 in for four is okay enough, but it’s in three colors and requires a fair amount of set-up and time to get going; for that reason, I doubt Rayami makes it in Legacy. But there’s a lot you can do with her in more-casual formats, so there is that going for her.
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