Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
– Core Set 2020
August 5, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.88
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The eyes of the ranger are upon you; any wrong you do, she’s gonna see. Vivien hasn’t been part of Magic for that long, but she is staking out an important place in green’s arsenal – every version so far has brought something unique and often very powerful to the table. Her +1 bonus has a permanent component which snowballs very quickly and is hard to stop, and her -3 is a very aggressive variant on the fight action which helps green decks keep up in the planeswalker-heavy War of the Spark era. I’m actually extremely intrigued by her ultimate. Living Wish, which it replicates, has often been a strong card in tournament formats where a lot of disruptive effects come in creature form. Rock decks used to wish for cards like Withered Wretch and Kataki, War’s Wage when they found themselves facing specific matchups. It also becomes available very fast by the standards of past planeswalkers, although perhaps not by the standards of eternal formats. I still like her prospects in the upcoming Standard format, and I could see her doing a lot of things in casual and Commander formats too.
Vivien is back for another go, and this time she’s a bit more all-in on the green side of things. Triple green is a steep ask for any spell, but she does offer some potent effects in exchange: pumping multiple creatures, a one-sided “fight” that acts as pinpoint removal against other creatures or planeswalkers, and a tantalizing ult that honestly is more “fun” than good. Going off one turn after she resolves, potentially, is nice, but most of the really good creatures you’d want are less likely to be outside of your deck…outside of maybe some weird Ilharg shenanigans going on. (Also, “outside the game” refers to sideboard in any sanctioned event; most Commander games do not have a sideboard, making her ult useless.)
That said, she’s actually good aside from her ult! She’s definitely looking for a specific deck to go into, and that mana cost is inflexible, but she does the two things I like in a planeswalker: have immediate impact, or have some way to protect herself en route to impact. You need creatures for her to do her thing, so this is a horrid top-deck if you have nothing on board, but Vivien 3.0 is good enough to have a role if you’re in green and interested.
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