Zacama, Primal Calamity
– Rivals of Ixalan
January 19, 2018
Commander [EDH]: 4.67
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale.
1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It’s strange to imagine that a card like Zacama might not be what a deck is looking for. After all, it does basically everything, and it’s only three colors, which is not too hard to do in current Magic. Heck, I remember the first time I saw Cromat from Apocalypse, and not understanding why people weren’t trying to make space for him, and he’s five colors. Zacama kills things basically at will and attacks for obscene amounts of damage, which is not always good enough for Standard formats which like to be fast. If it turns out that there’s a deck there that straps metaphorical or literal rockets to dinosaurs – and the mana is certainly good enough for Zacama – then he’ll be strong. If not, there’s always Commander, and you have some hard choices to make regarding whether Zacama or Gishath will be the general. Zacama’s big advantage is not even all his activated abilities as much as the fact that the land-untapping ability means you don’t forgo anywhere near as much when you have to pay the “commander tax”.
What better way to celebrate the launch of Rivals of Ixalan than with the biggest, baddest card in the set. When I started playing Magic, I read a COTD review (I think it was Doomgape) that said if you are spending 7 mana, the card better win the game. This phrase left a lasting impression with me, so it must be even more true for a 9 drop.
If you can get Zacama out, it’s pretty much game over. The fact that it untaps lands means that druids or cards that reduce its cost are not optimal. You can still rely on Ranging Raptors or other rampant growth effects. When Zacama hits the board you’ll probably want to bolt as many creatures as possible. As I mentioned with thrashing Brontodon, Naturalize was a missing piece of the dinosaur puzzle, now you can do it repeatedly. While the life gain ability is the weakest, its still a nice safety net. The only draw back is that due to the specific rules, you can’t untap your lands if you use Gishath to cheat Zacama into play. The term “Elder Dinosaur” makes me think this lizard is a few million years old, and I for one am glad to see it in its scaly glory.
Subtlety, thy name is not Zacama. It’s big, stupid, and stompy, a 9/9 for 9 that…well, after it comes down, untaps all of your lands to promptly use its many impressive abilities. Or cast another dinosaur. You pick. Either way, they lose and you win, as a 9/9 with a formidable set of combat abilities and activated abilities is hard to deal with. It dies to removal, yes, but you’ll still get something you paid for even if it dies, thanks to it untapping all of your lands. I don’t think this will usurp Gishath as the lord of choice for dinosaurs, but another three heads to the deck never hurt, right?
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