Sanctifier en-Vec– Modern Horizons 2
Date Reviewed: June 11, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
One of my favorite cards from the Champions of Kamigawa-Ravnica: City of Guilds-Time Spiral Standard seasons was Paladin en-Vec. I played that guy in Orzhov-colored decks of all stripes, despite the fact that I didn’t yet own Umezawa’s Jitte, which was his most common accessory at that time. I used Loxodon Warhammer instead, which was not as well suited to the tournament environment, but a lot more fun when it worked!
Sanctifier en-Vec is a great successor to the Paladin, both lore-wise and in terms of what she aims to do in Modern and other large formats. The orientation of Modern is different from that Standard season long ago, and the graveyard is one of the front lines for anybody trying to uphold righteousness and/or the concept of winning the game by attacking with two-power creatures. And black and red decks have almost as hard a time interacting with her as they do with Leyline of the Void. I am not completely sure the Sanctifier will be ubiquitous in formats that are already overflowing with graveyard hate of various kinds, but I think she has a very good chance. Two mana puts her at the critical turn for fast formats, and two damage adds up deceptively fast.
She’s not subtle, but she’s a very powerful hate card for white’s enemy colors, thwarting a lot of their favorite tricks while not doing the same to white itself. While the effect is symmetrical to exile red and black cards as they would go to graveyards, Sanctifier en-Vec is one of those hate cards whose symmetry can be “broken”, with the elegant solution being to simply eschew those colors where possible. Protection from black and red means she’s also mostly immune to removal from them…not completely, as sacrifice effects and mass removal can still take her out, but the main weapons those colors would use to remove her have less efficacy than they might normally have. She’s definitely the definition of “sideboard silver bullet”: there are decks where she’s not going to be more than a 2/2 body, but there are decks against which she’ll take over an entire game.
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