Urabrask / The Great Work – March of the Machine
Date Reviewed: May 15, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 4.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
That is a lot of text to say “Cast lots of spells, it’s worth it!” Jokes aside, Urabrask really does do enough to fit in (or create) several decks, or allow one deck to win in several ways. It goes without saying that he’s very strong in combat; his first triggered ability reminds me of the various masters and/or horizons sets where red had storm as its archetype, and can either win on its own or chain into The Great Work. While The Great Work’s big finish is something your opponent can see coming for a long time and try to prevent, it sets itself up well and is just as devastating as it looks. Just don’t use it to cast Warp World in Commander – for your friendships’ sakes!
Commander [EDH]: 4
After being on the bottom of the Praetor totem pole for years, Urabrask might finally have gotten a card of an impressive power level, right as he meets with an unfortunate death experience. Urabrask is actually a very different beast from his past outings, so let’s get into it.
Urabrask is this time more of a “spellslinger” card, partially refunding spells and adding on a bit of damage. While one point isn’t a lot on its own, you’re getting one mana and one red mana on top of all of the spell’s effects…as a cast trigger, which can help you grind past counter wars and countermagic. Three spells get you to beng able to flip Urabrask, and since you get the mana refund, this is basically a “cast three spells, win big rewards” trigger.
The Great Work is quite powerful, and it’s worth the flip for a deck type famous for its tendency to be soft to creatures. Three damage is a good amount to help clear out a board (on top of other red damaging effects), and the second verse helps to set up for that Yawgmoth’s Will/Past in Flames effect of the third.
On top of this, until Urabrask flips, he’s a 4/4 with first strike for four damage, and that’s a solid body! He’s a strong support card for a particular deck type, and I would say he’s easily among the top tier of this most recent Praetor cycle. I do think he’s going to have particular decks where he shines brightest, but I would say that, even if you’re not expecting him to flip regularly, he’s a good way to force a clock and keep progress rolling.
Limited: 4 (even if he never flips, he is a 4/4 with first strike, and that’s plenty)
Commander [EDH]: 4.75 (I think he’s probably better in the 99 than at the helm, but you can easily build a deck that milks his unique attributes for a lot of chaos)
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