Zariel, Archduke of Avernus – D&D: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
Date Reviewed: August 17, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 3.25
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Zariel is one of the main characters in the recent Dungeons and Dragons book Baldur’s Gate: Descent into Avernus, and if you’re not already familiar with the power structure of the Nine Hells, this card will give you some idea of why she’s such an important figure. While her +1 and 0 abilities are perhaps not the most game-shaking among planeswalkers, I’m very intrigued by her ultimate. Cards like Relentless Assault are sort of on the cusp of constructed decks, usually not quite efficient enough and requiring too much non-damage-dealing support to use in straightforward aggro decks. An emblem puts the effect in a very different light, even if just because it affects any creatures you happen to topdeck two or three or four turns later. And rather than thinking of it as only getting to attack with one each time, I think it might turn out to be more like choosing your most threatening creature among those with the least damage marked on them.
Zariel is probably the most straightforward out of the five planeswalkers from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, though she’s no slouch. Empowering an army for a massive swing and making blockers is a reasonable starting point, and Relentless Assault (even if just for one creature) has never gone out of style. Particularly a Relentless Assault that can’t be removed. She’s not extremely flashy, but she has a particularly precise skillset that lets her contribute early and often, and I suspect she might be the easiest planeswalker to slot into a deck.
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