Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
– Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoths
May 25, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
While all planeswalkers tend to generate card advantage, Vivien is notable because of the sheer number of ways that she can damage an opponent. Her static abilities give you more cards to play with in the most literal way, and her +1 is versatile enough to be used either offensively or defensively to great effect. And while her -2 is often not very feasible the first turn she comes into play, the time of the game it comes online means you’ll often be getting major threats on the table and pulling far ahead. It’s even a “when you cast” trigger, helping you against those green-blue flash decks and other similar opponents. There’s a lot of competition at green’s five-mana slot, even just in Standard, but I think Vivien is a great option however you look at it.
Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate is an interesting planeswalker; instead of a conventional ultimate, she has a lot of utility abilities and is arguably better for it. Her passives let you speed through a creature-dense library to get more horrifying creatures, and her -2 means each creature spell you cast can bring a friend; dumping a lot of mana on an Absolute Unit can get you a less-Absolute Unit. While she needs a creature spell to do her thing, she also can protect herself the turn she comes out with a friend, making a 3/3 Beast with a keyword off of her +1.
No conventional ultimate may not seem like a good thing, but it makes her immediate abilities more impactful. Five mana is a dead spot for planeswalkers, and she’s not great if you’re staring down a wide board (thanks to her only making one blocker), but she has a good amount going for her in a color that was already well-positioned. Companions might have been the main point of contention from Ikoria, but I think Vivien is sneakily one of the set’s stronger cards.
Hello guys and welcome back to Pojo’s Card of the Day! Today we’re looking at Vivien who advocates for monsters, and given that Ikoria is a set chock full of them she should be right in her element!
Peeking in at Vivien’s ability means peeking at the top of your library, her static ability once the new skillset that was brought in by War of the Spark Planeswalkers means that this might become a more common occurrence. Being able to cast creatures from the top of your library leads to some Future Sight Shenanigans that can chew through the top of your library. Funny how green gets access to another formerly blue chunk of the color pie don’t you think..?
Oh and even after you cast a ton of creatures from the top of your library you get to make a 3/3 beast token with either reach, vigilance, or trample. Very fluid if I do say so myself, and if you weren’t yet excited about this planeswalker her -2 says that whenever you cast your next creature spell this turn, which could be on top of your library no less, search your library for a creature with lesser cmc and put it into play. …Then of course shuffle your library and see if you can spin the wheel and get more value.
This card is incredibly pushed and if it wasn’t for the hefty 5cmc I’d say it’d be a bit broken, Control Players are going to groan when after they’ve taken a beating and finally resolve their Day of Judgement the Green Player untaps and drops this effectively giving them access to the top of their library next turn. It’s a very frightening concept and probably one that people will be dealing with in the near future.
It’s not going to do much in eternal formats like Legacy and Vintage but she’s as scary as the previous 5 mana Vivien and should be respected in Standard formats.
She’s also a draft bomb if you didn’t need me telling you that, Planeswalkers are incredibly hard to remove and while she doesn’t completely protect herself outside of a 3/3 that can block pretty well against a suite of fliers, untapping with her can be a crushing blow against your opponent that leads to incredible sequences of games leading to your victory.
In Commander where infinite mana is more normal than not she is going to be able to chew through an entire deck pretty easily especially with shuffle effects and ways to remove pesky lands off the top like Oracle of Mul Daya. She also goes great with cards like Worldly Tutor (who has just recently spiked), Vivien and tutoring up a Craterhoof Behemoth seems pretty fair to me right?
I’m very excited to see how she plays out in Cube, while the previous 5 mana Vivien allowed access for Green to nuke artifacts, enchantments, and fliers, or impulse for a creature or land, this one seems to be a lot higher in payoff when you untap with her even if her floor is simply 5 mana for a 3/3 beast. She might unseat her previous incarnation after cube testing!
Constructed 3.5/5 – She’s a very timmy planeswalker for Green but she gets in and does work, make sure that she does her +1 first rather than casting a creature off the top so she doesn’t get instagibbed by Lightning Strike!
Limited 5/5 – In a splash heavy format she’s good enough to pick on the splash, her card advantage ceiling is just too good!
Commander 4/5 – Lots of potential here for Mono Green Beat ’em Up decks.
Cube 3/5 – I love her lots and she’s got tons of potential I can’t wait to see how she fits in but I’m afraid Vivien Reid might have an edge with destroying pesky Vintage Powered Artifacts and Enchantments.
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