– Core Set 2020
September 30, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I love watching people read cards like Risen Reef multiple times. The transition from “Oh, one extra card? That’s cool” to “How many Elementals can you really have in one deck?” to “Omnath is a thing and so is Young Pyromancer” is beautiful, and it makes for some crazy turns in Commander and other casual formats. You always get the card one way or another, and don’t have to wait to play the land; and either way it helps you play more Elementals, giving you a stream of the spells or the lands to do so.
Of course, it may yet have an impact in tournaments, too. Remember that Chandra, Acolyte of Flame is in Standard, and she also makes an endless stream of tokens. Even with Throne of Eldraine‘s focus on one- and two-colored decks, that deck could still play eight blue-red and eight green-blue dual lands. With this much card advantage and all the other tools, it might well be a top-tier deck and a worthy foe for any knight of the Round Table.
Risen Reef rose to prominence as one of the “chase” uncommons of Core Set 2020 because of what it does in the heavily-supported elemental deck. The worst-case scenario is that it’s a slightly-overcosted Coiling Oracle that trades a bit of power around (Coiling Oracle revealed the card, but this can’t put the card into play tapped). But it also has the effect of triggering off of all Elementals including it, and that’s where things get a bit fun. It’s possible to start chaining a massive slew of creatures together, and it also plays well with copy effects, blink effects, and token generation. It’s maybe a bit weak on its own (though still passable!), but it shines as part of a fairly strong deck, and it also does really rude things in multiples. Though don’t count on it to win games on its own, as that 1/1 body is not going to win any awards any time soon.
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