January 17, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.63
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It’s interesting to note that abilities similar to Sylvan Library have actually reappeared in green for various recent cards, including thoroughly new-style designs with modernist keywords, like Nessian Wanderer. Sylvan Library is good even if you balk at paying four (or eight!) life, because you always have the option to simply arrange your upcoming draw steps for no cost, turn after turn. This was a power that wasn’t generally available for most decks until later on: decks with blue used the likes of Brainstorm after its release, and the next card that stayed on the table and did it so effectively was probably Sensei’s Divining Top. As such, the Library offers a very powerful option for a low cost, in a color you might not expect to see it. That’s actually very valuable, sometimes allowing aggressive green decks to keep up somewhat with blue card drawing in older formats. In fact, it’s probably one of the best card advantage and selection tools in 93/94 and similar formats.
Sylvan Library is an interesting curio from the old days of Magic, when flavor and weirdness tended to dictate what cards did more than rigid color philosophies. And as with a number of these cards, it’s had legs to its efficacy and usage over the years: what is effectively no worse than a free Brainstorm is pretty powerful when you’re getting it every turn! The ability to pay life to keep more than just one card also gives decks the ability to refuel out of nowhere…particularly since Sylvan Library is green without a strict color requirement, meaning that decks with a toe in that color have the ability to further fuel their fires.
Sylvan Library is not necessarily a staple of Legacy, but it’s a powerful little bit to any deck that can support it, and it sees a healthy amount of play to this day in any deck that has green. An affordable and flexible mana cost gives a lot of decks the ability to run it as an ancillary draw engine, and it also plays well with draw-replacement effects like dredge and Abundance. It’s worth considering if you can run it, because the benefits outweigh the oft-negligible costs.
Hello and welcome back to Pojo’s Card of the Day! In honor of Theros being an Enchantment based block we’re going to take a look at some of the most powerful enchantments that have ever been printed in Magic.
Today we’re looking at another Enchantment from Legends and one of the most iconic Green Enchantments, chances are you’ve seen it across the table or on your own side of the field, especially if you’re playing Commander or Multiplayer!
Sylvan Library is a Blue Enchantment that simply wanted to take a break from hanging out in the Islands for a bit. The effect is a little complex in a rules statement and can get pretty hairy if you don’t fully understand the card exactly.
When you draw for the turn, you may draw two extra cards (which makes your opponent with Consecrated Sphinx especially happy!) if you do choose two cards and either pay 4 life per card, or put it on top of your library.
Rules Note: Remember to keep your current hand, and the card you’ve drawn for turn, and the cards you’ve drawn off this card separated.
So for the low low cost of 8 life you can draw 2 extra cards that turn, which in Commander is a small price to pay when you have 40 life to work with and if you’re in green, numerous ways to refuel your life total.
This ability also provides you a peek at the top 3 every turn and selecting your draws, which is powerful just by itself, especially with Fetchlands. The ease of casting this card, at such a low mana cost and for a single color has allowed it to be spread out over every format where it’s legal. Legacy uses it in a variety of decks and if you’re a fan of Commander and you’re playing green chances are you’ve made room for this card… or your friends often chide you about it!
In Cube this card is also incredibly powerful and a high pick for Green, a card which has trouble with straight card draw. It’s also been used in combo decks in Cube, Splinter Twin, Time Vault, and others simply using the passive library manipulation to dig through their 30-some remaining cards to find their combo pieces.
Constructed 4/5 – A very powerful ability, somewhat recreated with Sensei’s Divining Top (which is banned) but being able to draw 2 additional cards for 8 life is nothing when you can win the game that turn!
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