Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
– Modern Horizons
April 3, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
There’s little hint of what Yawgmoth would become in his card here. He looks so ordinary and . . . well, human. But then again, everyone starts from somewhere, and you can do a lot worse than starting from Yawgmoth’s particular abilities. He’s another card that’s very good at turning one type of resource into another – every creature and token you have is potential removal and a card, and turning those extra cards into proliferation is very widely applicable. War of the Spark introduced us to the powerful interaction between the proliferate ability and planeswalkers, and Yawgmoth works surprisingly well in planeswalker-heavy decks. Rather ironic, seeing as an older generation of planeswalkers fought so hard to destroy him!
The original god of Phyrexia, Yawgmoth was once a human who tried to exploit tragedies for personal profit. Somehow fitting, I suppose. His first proper card, well over 20 years after his name first showed up in Magic‘s lore, depicts his pre-ascension status as a “humble” Cleric.
And…well, he’s pretty vicious. Urza from Modern Horizons may have overshadowed Yawgmoth, but the Thran Physician is still rather nasty. So long as you have creatures to sacrifice and life to bargain with, he can churn out a steady stream of -1/-1 counters and card draw, which makes token generation even nastier than it might otherwise be. There’s also a fun combo with The Locust God, which lets you pay as much life as you care to to machine-gun down your opponent’s board and have a massive hand in the process. His other activated ability also is pretty rude; proliferate works well with both his spreading counters and the other flagship Phyrexian mechanic, infect. It’s not as strong as his other ability on the surface, but there’s still a lot you can do with it.
If you can get him out and get him firing, Yawgmoth is brutal. He even has protection from Humans…which looks cuter than it actually is, since it can blank creatures in one of Modern’s stronger tribal decks and randomly hose Changelings. His only real weakness is that he needs some support to work; he’s not great into an empty board of your own, and you’ll need other ways to supply poison to your opponents.
Constructed: 3.25 (more of a bit of sideboard tech than a main-deck star in Modern; he can work there, but you need to put in a lot of effort to do so)
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