Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
October 1, 2020
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Valakut is one of those cards that looks reasonably innocuous at first reading. When it’s a late-game uncounterable damage source in mono-red decks, it’s solid or even a little underpowered. When you start dropping lands in at instant speed with Harrow and Khalni Heart Expedition, after you remember they were in the common or uncommon slots in the same booster, it’s quite decent. When you start putting multiples of them in play with Primeval Titan and pulling more Mountains every turn with the greatest of ease, it becomes a tournament-tier ramp-combo deck. Yes, that really happened. If not for the Mind Sculptor and Batterskull, we might have a very different idea of who to blame for the early 2010s!
Part of Zendikar‘s “rare land cycle that probably should have been legendary but wasn’t for gameplay purposes”, Valakut has become one of the most iconic and played cards from the set that isn’t a fetch land, seeing a fair amount of presence in the infamous Titan Bloom/Prime Time archetype in Modern. While the requirement may seem steep, you’ll usually be able to get Valakut “online” on curve, and it also pairs really well with land ramp and mana acceleration (and Scapeshift). A free Lightning Bolt is pretty brutal, but free ones with every Mountain play will end the game in short order. It’s maybe weak as an actual land, but it’s a good ticking time bomb and a solid combo piece all on its own.
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