– Urza’s Destiny
February 28, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Yavimaya Elder, interestingly, displays one of the weird little mechanics from Urza’s Destiny, permanents that effectively “cycle” from play. Cycling back in the Urza block cost a standard 2 generic mana, and Yavimaya Elder indeed has that cost to it.
It’s a pretty straightforward green ramp creature that gets you lands and an extra card, though spread out over two payments of mana…or a three-mana warm body with upside when it dies. It pairs well with sacrifice outlets but works well in its own right, and it’s been a green EDH staple since the format’s introduction. It’s too slow for non-casual formats it’s legal in, but it has a niche all the same.
This guy was, in many ways, the forerunner to Champions of Kamigawa‘s Sakura-Tribe Elder. Each has certain advantages: the snake is less mana-intensive, both to cast and to sacrifice, and hits the table at a time when a timely extra land makes a lot of difference. Conversely, Yavimaya Elder is potentially a ridiculous amount of card advantage, rather than just converting one resource into another. And contrary to what some will tell you, it has suffered very little from the rules change where combat damage no longer uses the stack. Two power is still enough to trade with lots of early creatures, and knowing you’re going to hit at least two more lands on subsequent turns may change your opponent’s plans.
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