Sylvan Safekeeper
Sylvan Safekeeper

Sylvan Safekeeper – Judgment

Date Reviewed:  June 20, 2024

Constructed: 4.0
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 3.0
Multiplayer: 3.75
Commander [EDH]: 4.25

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 

 James H. 


Sylvan Safekeeper is an interesting little card in that it actually was the prize card for the winner of the now-defunct Magic Invitational tournament: the 1996-1997 winner, Olle Råde, wound up not claiming his prize at the time due to a hiatus from the game, but he would return and ultimately got his card. Amusingly, the card (which always depicted the winner’s likeness in the original printing) depicted him from when he won the tournament in 1997, not him after he’d shaved his head in the ensuing years.

Sylvan Safekeeper, the card, is a pretty unique card that has held up decently over the years. Zero-mana shroud, even at a marked cost, is a good way to help protect key pieces from troublesome interaction points, and this creature’s low mana cost and relevant typelines both help put in work. That said, it’s not a card you want to draw multiples of, as you really only need the one to make plans work, and it’s definitely an expensive bit of protection, but it does synergize with plenty of things (land-sacrifice payoffs, among other things).

A dearth of reprints has kept Sylvan Safekeeper surprisingly valuable, though it coming to Modern should mean supply is a lot more reasonable. It’s not a perfect tool, and it won’t fix all of a deck’s issues alone, but it can help you to get across the finish line with its on-demand protection to keep key creatures around a bit longer, and sometimes one turn is all you need.

Constructed: 4
Casual: 3.5
Limited: 3 (dependent on you having a bigger card that needs protecting, as the “sacrifice a land” doesn’t really have great Limited synergies)
Multiplayer: 3.75
Commander [EDH]: 4.25


Much like Mother of Runes, which was printed close to it in time, Sylvan Safekeeper can be a very frustrating effect – for opponents, and occasionally for its controller too. Compared to the famous cleric, you gain the ability to use it more than once a turn but have to pay a much higher cost. It’s also much more powerful in that it protects the creature for a full turn against any color or lack thereof, yet you’ll be hoping you don’t have to use it on too many consecutive turns. You can work around it if you really choose to, either with Crucible of Worlds or with mana elves, but often it’s just better to wait for the right time. Like many creatures with this style of ability, it’s also often better to have them on the table so they’ll make a psychological impact on how your opponent plays and makes decisions – suddenly they’ll care about counting the number of lands you have, and look at where they point targeted removal in a completely different way.

Commander [EDH]: 

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