Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider – Kaldheim
Date Reviewed: January 15, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
So, yeah, this seems to be real. And apparently, the Phyrexians are still allowed to do things that other cards shy away from, like outright doubling effects. If I’m reading this correctly, Vorinclex’s ability works like Doubling Season’s does, meaning a lot of planeswalkers can use their ultimate on the first turn. And unlike Doubling Season, he also hoses your opponent – and attacks very effectively on top of that. Someone in R&D must have been troll-bound when they waved him through, and while I think he’s less likely to get banned than Omnath, that’s more because he needs more specific support and not because he isn’t extremely powerful.
If I sound a little wander-weary when it comes to Phyrexia, it’s just because I’ve read too much of the wrong kind of praise for them. They’re a villainous faction and villains are supposed to be threats, but they were implausibly unstoppable in both Invasion and Scars of Mirrodin, to the point of being demoralizing. Look up the history of the NWO from World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in the 1990s: when the same people run roughshod over everyone week after week after week, with no heart-spark of hope in sight, it stops making people want to see them dethroned and starts making people change the channel (or change to a different card game). Let’s hope that doesn’t happen this time around.
Well, this is interesting.
Vorinclex makes his return after nearly a decade of domination over the plane formerly known as Mirrodin, boasting some interesting tricks. A 6/6 for 6 with trample and haste is already quite potent, but the anti-symmetrical Doubling Season is what really makes this card. Doubling Season has long been a beloved casual card for how obnoxiously it pairs with counter effects and planeswalkers, and this actually pairs well with the counter-loving permanent type. Note that his doubling only triggers for their “comes into play” abilities, as adding or removing loyalty counters for their activated abilities is considered a cost. And if that wasn’t enough, it halves counters on your opponents, making this a brutal hoser for “superfriends”, counter strategies that aim to load creatures up with counters, and the like.
Vorinclex 2.0 is very pushed, which sounds about right for green. I actually think this has some potential in “deeper” formats; the body is certainly passable enough in terms of its rate of return, and that effect can sometimes be enough to hard-stop decks in their tracks. It’s only banking on its 6 toughness to survive things, but when an effect is as unpleasant to pressure an opponent with as this one is, sometimes you can put up with minor issues like susceptibility to removal, particularly since haste means it’s usually able to make magic happen as-is.
As an aside, Vorinclex does pair well with infect from Scars of Mirrodin (and poison in general), which is nice enough. It also marks the debut of the Phyrexian creature type, which’ll probably lead to a fair amount of errata.
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