Restless Reef– Lost Caverns of Ixalan
Date Reviewed: November 10, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.63
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It is actually pretty well-established that a complete cycle of cards with similar effects can be completed in adjacent sets. Consider, for example, the five enemy-colored painlands being introduced in Apocalypse, right next to the allied-color painlands in Sixth Edition and Seventh Edition. It’s interesting when they do it in sets like Wilds of Eldraine and Lost Caverns of Ixalan, which are quite different creatively. You’ll get way more variety in creature types and concepts than you would otherwise – this half of the cycles has a Shark and a Llama land, neither of which are animals that exist in Eldraine.
As a threat, Restless Reef is definitely good enough for a variety of applications. A 4/4 with deathtouch is hard to block and hard to handle overall; and that’s even before you add in its milling ability. If your intention is to actively run out the opponent’s library, milling them with the Reef is often going to be slower than just killing them with its damage. But if your aim is to take advantage of opponents’ graveyards – or your own – in some other way, this card represents a way to set that up consistently while also attacking from another angle. Posing more questions, and more types of questions, than opposing decks can answer is a good place to be.
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
Restless Reef is part of the recent tranche of two-color creature lands, and this one interests me a bit. It’s a mill enabler in mill’s colors, though the twist here is that target player mills on attack, not the defending player. I think this wording is really useful to have, since it means self-mill strategies can also find some use from this.
Besides that, it animates into a 4/4, it dodges a lot of sorcery speed removal, and it’s good at setting up plays. It’ll likely be a solid choice for decks, as most dual lands without downsides are, but the size of the shark and its support for several different strategies are both marked assets, slotting into either mill decks against opponents or aiming to use your graveyard as a second hand. That it can do both seamlessly is solid, and while it’s not the cheapest thing to animate, it’s a good i condition in a long game.
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
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