Urza, Lord Protector – The Brother’s War
Date Reviewed: December 2, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 4.88
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’ve often pondered the curiosity of modern planeswalkers going from (for example) being a knight of Bant’s round table to slaying gods on Theros to hanging out in jazz clubs in New Capenna. But a character like Urza actually had many different roles during his life, too, and this card is intended to represent him right at the beginning of his long planeswalk. I’d be surprised if he was supposed to be literally this powerful even before he learned everything he did later on, but much like Mishra’s meld card, the idea seems to be that if you meet the high level of requirements, you basically win the game. The crazy thing about him is that he can do that either on his own or in combination with your other cards. The cost reduction and card drawing make for very explosive plays, the soldier tokens and exile ability can stabilize many kinds of situations; and as for his ultimate, if you needed a second Golgothian Sylex representation in the set, you have one.
And on top of all that, his front face is just begging to be used in some kind of tempo or midrange deck, to make all those efficient spells you’ve been eyeing even more efficient. For that matter, The Mightstone and Weakstone are pretty much maindeckable in a lot of archetypes, so I think this version of Urza is something we’ll all have to be prepared to face. It’s a fitting prospect for the one man Yawgmoth feared.
Commander [EDH]: 5
Back on the introduction of proper planeswalkers in Lorwyn, and even before that, one of the points Wizards made against making an outright Urza card was that, in the lore, Urza was meant to be far above and beyond any other planeswalker in terms of efficacy and puissance, and a card would have a hard time capturing that. Good thing Urza has two cards to represent his first black-bordered planeswalking appearance, right? I’m sure there’s a joke, but let’s get there one step at a time.
The mythic rare Urza is first on the block, and he’s a simple, yet effective bit of cost reduction at an affordable price point. Four toughness is also a good amount to help forfend against a lot of common burn options, which is good, because Urza wants to stay on the board to activate his special ability. Of note, Urza can curve perfectly into a turn 5 flip, letting you play The Mightstone and Weakstone on turn 4 and spend the seven total mana you’ll have there to fire his ability (assuming you hit every land drop).
As for Urza, Planeswalker…seven loyalty, the ability to activate two abilities each turn, and those abilities all being obnoxious to play against certainly lives up to its billing. Seven mana to immediately yeet two permanents off of the board is actually quite a solid deal in all, and he even can keep your engines going with an army, card advantage, or cost reduction that stacks with itself. You can always mix and match to get the abilities lined up to ruin your opponents, and his ultimate (while not the flashiest) is a one-sided board wipe that sacrifices flash for sheer efficacy.
Urza, Lord Protector is one of those cards that’s good on his own, as cost reduction is nothing to sneeze at…but he really shines if you can flip him quickly and start the pain train rolling. Definitely a fitting Urza planeswalker card, and while he’s not unbeatable, facing him will result in you having few solid answers to begin with and watching those evaporate quickly.
Constructed: 4 ((takes effort to get out, but I think he’s more than worth it)
Limited: 3.5 (unlikely to flip here, but cost reduction is solid enough)
Commander [EDH]: 4.75
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