– Urza’s Saga
October 26, 2017
Commander [EDH]: 2.17
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Echo is a pretty serious drawback; by default, it’s usually equal to the card’s mana cost, so you are basically paying twice the printed cost if you want to keep the creature. It basically asks you how much you really want whatever effect that is. (Of course, there’s also the prospect of effects like Bloodthrone Vampire and Greater Good – many echo creatures have relatively high power, so they go particularly well with the latter.) Shivan Raptor is not strong enough often enough to warrant paying that double cost most of the time; on the other hand, it is still basically a Ball Lightning variant mechanically, and it doesn’t matter if those only last one turn. And it’s the only such variant that is on-tribe for Ixalan!
Today’s card, Shican Raptor, is a bit of a fossil. Even by today’s standards 3/1 with haste and first strike for 3 mana is a good deal. The obvious downside is Echo of course. Most players don’t like abilities that are strictly all-downside, landing Echo at 8 on the “Storm” scale. Is Shivan Raptor still playable? Sure. You don’t have to pay the cost so you just swing and forget about it, but that would be a waste of First Strike’s staying power. Overall Shivan Raptor has a pretty good design and I’m surprised it has never been reprinted in any supplemental products.
Back when creatures were really bad, a 3/1 with haste and first strike for 3 mana was a very good deal. And even today, it would still be a nice set of stats, since 3 power beats a lot of early threats. Unfortunately, echo is a thing, and the price of this dinosaur’s relative power is that you only get one turn with it unless you pay its mana cost again on your next turn. This isn’t a huge problem in Limited, since the creature’s potent enough to make keeping it worth your mana. But it really weakens its ability to stick around, and it’s enough to make it a hard sell in Constructed.
That said, it’s still good in combat. Quite good. Dinosaur tribal decks and EDH builds might not mind using it for that reason, and three power with first strike is still a good deal for three mana.
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