Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering
April 11, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 4.08
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
This card depicts a heart-breaking moment from the tie-in novel for the Apocalypse expansion. The lonely figure in the foreground is Gerrard Capashen, and he’s holding Urza’s head as he approaches Yawgmoth’s throne in the ninth sphere of Phyrexia. The trade the flavor text refers to was diabolical in its simplicity: Urza’s life for that of Hanna, Gerrard’s beloved. Phyrexia never forgave Urza for his interactions with it over the centuries, starting from the Brothers’ War where his actions resulted in Yawgmoth being locked out of Dominaria for even longer. Of course, Yawgmoth did not actually have Hanna, and the entire thing was a ploy to undermine Dominaria’s defenses in their darkest hour; it basically worked, though not quite in the way the Phyrexians had planned. Gerrard saw through the ruse when it was just about too late, and being just a head didn’t stop Urza from helping activate the Legacy Weapon later on.
This is an alternate look at the same scene that inspired the card Phyrexian Arena. Another fun/scary fact about the scene is that Yawgmoth is not in one physical location – he is every being in the audience, as well as the simulacrum of Hanna, the walls and railings, the chairs, the sand under their feet, and probably some other things I didn’t think of.
Let’s talk gameplay: in pure cost versus benefit analysis, this is extremely impressive. Rise from the Grave is very decent, and this gives you two extra dimensions: the ability to take out a troublesome opposing card, making it not just a combo piece but also a comeback card; and the ability to reanimate a planeswalker, which gives you access to off-color effects in formats like Commander where your deck’s color identity is restricted. I expect this card to find use in both casual and competitive constructed decks, especially since we’re in an era with an unprecedented number of options that combine with it – there’s always the traditional blue draw-and-discard, but now red also has that effect, and green is pretty good at putting cards in the graveyard via the likes of Mulch and Tracker’s Instincts.
Yesterday was Sagas and today is Legendary Sorceries. These are spells that are so powerful that you need a legendary creature or planeswalker to help cast it. It doesn’t take much to realize that these cards are going to be popular in Commander. The upside to this extra loop hole is that the spells are relatively cheap for their power.
Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering is part of a rare cycle of cards that references important characters and events from Dominaria’s past. The black card refers of course to Yawgmoth, the original threat to the entire multiverse. The card itself is pretty good and as far as I can recall it is currently the only card that can revive specifically planeswalkers. The order of these abilities is important since you can not essentially steal one of you opponent’s cards. Both abilities are good and can be abused in Dimir Mill or Gulgari Delve decks.
Legendary sorcery…now that’s new. Legendary sorceries seem to be flavored such that you need additional help to cast the spell, be it from a suitably powerful creature or a planeswalker. Note that you just need it to cast the spell; the spell doesn’t fizzle if your opponent decides to kill your creature in response.
Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering is a nice hybrid of Hero’s Downfall and a revival spell: you get a creature or planeswalker out of the graveyard and get to blow one up. Note that you don’t need a target for both halves, but each half on its own is slightly overcosted. It is splashable, thanks to only one colored mana in the cost, but five mana is still pricey.
With that said, Yawgmoth’s Vile Offering is powerful. It even lets you get a creature or planeswalker out of your opponent’s yard. It represents a massive potential swing for five mana, but the self-exile clause and the price of entry may make this an awkward spell to hold in your hand.
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