Valduk, Keeper Of The Flame – Dominaria Remastered
Date Reviewed: January 31, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.63
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I understand why Valduk exists, and I’m pleased he does. The usual standard for red attack decks is efficient creatures and burn spells, which is very effective but doesn’t always make for interesting stories, or for interesting situations for either its player or its opponent. Its resilience also varies greatly depending on metagames and what cards are available, both to it and to other archetypes. An aggressive deck based on auras and equipment, though, has a lot of space for deck design choices, sub-strategies and synergies (eg. the choice of Loxodon Warhammer versus Heirloom Blade), and ways to come back when behind or exhaust opponents by turning creatures into outsized threats. Valduk is a great signpost for that kind of deck, and he presents a lot of dilemmas for an opponent, especially since when he’s in action, he makes himself huge and goes wide at the same time – that’s a particularly good thing to do in formats like Commander.
Commander [EDH]: 4
Another uncommon legend, Valduk sort of tries to go for that all-in Voltron style, making a bunch of Spark Elementals to run into your opponents. Of course, he’s also outfitted to smash some faces in, but when you consider how wide he goes, that can be a bit of a mess if he gets the chance. Valduk’s downside is that he needs to be built around, and while red can do so, lacking innate protection means that this is no Bogle-style beatdown enabler. He’s still fun and interesting if you want to go that route, though.
Constructed: 2 (too much effort, even if the payoff is fun)
Limited: 3 (hinges entirely on how much support he has, which is somewhat spurious in most sets (though decent in Dominaria proper))
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
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