Yurlok of Scorch Thrash
– Commander Legends
November 13, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Advanced game design, apparently: remove mana burn from your game, then make a legendary creature who has a similar effect and put him in your Commander-themed expansion. #stonks
Yurlok isn’t just good for occasionally-unstoppable damage, of course: that is technically still a mana acceleration ability, and going from four to seven (particularly with the reliability that comes when he’s your commander) is nothing to dismiss. And I know we’re probably not thinking that much about team formats right now, since Battlebond is well outside this moment’s release cycle, but in such formats, you might have a teammate who needs that continuous mana filtering as much as you do.
Mana burn is back. Sort of.
Yurlok of Scorch Thrash brings back a rule that had been removed from Magic right around Magic 2010: excess mana emptying out of your pool during the changing of phases cost you life, which was meant as a sort of “valve” against combos that generated arbitrary amounts of mana and let it go away. While that rule didn’t really impact much, there has been an occasional desire to bring it back. Enter Yurlok of Scorch Thrash, the way to burn players who make more than they spend.
A 4/4 with vigilance and a mana ability is pretty fun, and an interesting way to get damage out when it’s advantageous (and spells when it also is advantageous). It plays well if you can remove mana reservoirs to force massive burn, and it even can just erode away life totals in a long game. Note that “mana burn” here is not an action that can be responded to, though you can respond to an attempt to change phases by spending mana.
Yurlok is more cute than amazing, but there’s often room for cute. And he’s an interesting way to potentially force more “fair play” out of your opponents. Unfortunately, a 4/4 body with no built-in protection is definitely on the vulnerable side, but good things sometimes are worth protecting.
Constructed: 2 (more cute than good in Legacy, but someone might get creative)
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