Skirsdag High Priest
– Double Masters
September 8, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
One of the reasons the Innistrad blocks’ cards are so effective is because their names are linguistically inspired by (or in some cases, taken directly from) other Germanic languages. The hard consonants and open vowels do contribute to the mood and feel of the whole set. In this card’s case, it’s notable to me that skir is one possible way of saying “sheer” in Swedish, and dag means “day” (cognate with English “day”, German tag, etc). You can easily see why Griselbrand’s cult would call themselves Skirsdag, the Sheer Day. Sharp and perpendicular lines can undoubtedly be demonic, particularly when they’re being cut into a human mind, and he’s all about the opposite of restraint and the opposite of mitigation (and there’s no doubt that an unfair style of Modern deck feels sheer joy at cheating him into play and drawing 14 cards in one turn!).
But we’re mainly here to talk about the High Priest, not the demon lord himself, and that card is actually quite interesting too. Morbid is a trigger that you potentially have a lot of control over, particularly in a black deck, and making 5/5 flyers over and over again is obviously very good. This is, of course, balanced by the fact that he doesn’t do too much on his own and you’ll need quite a lot of support cards to guarantee he can summon demons over and over again. He’s historically been more of a limited star than a constructed one, but you can get some good mileage out of him in casual settings. Demons and sacrificing creatures are also popular themes in Commander, after all.
Making a large number of Demons is attractive, and Skirsdag High Priest offers that if you have enough cultists to help the invocation (and a blood offering). Be it yours or your opponent’s, and make note that only Skirsdag High Priest needs to be past summoning sickness of the three creatures you use to summon the Demon. It’s surprisingly brutal if you can enable him, as it makes for a lot of Demons in short order, but asking a 1/2 to survive and having creatures out beyond him is a bit of an ask. The power is real, and even one activation can be enough to put you into an unassailable position (outside of a board wipe), but getting there in Constructed is way too hard.
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