Zethi, Arcane Blademaster
Zethi, Arcane Blademaster

Zethi, Arcane Blademaster – Universes Within

Date Reviewed:  February 9, 2023

Constructed: 2.00
Casual: 5.00
Limited: 3.50
Multiplayer: 3.75
Commander [EDH]: 4.13

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.

Reviews Below: 


I’ve occasionally wondered about how characters from one property would look in a different setting. You can look on it as a quirk or a mental strangeness, depending on your perspective, but it definitely makes Lego displays more fun when you can cross over. That kind of speculation is fun but usually fruitless, which makes Zethi a particularly unique card. It’s kind of cool that they didn’t feel obliged to make Chun Li’s in-universe card a monk or a savate expert or something, just so we have a diversity of styles and don’t have a character who’s Chun Li in a too-blatant way, if you see what I mean.

There’s a couple of things about Zethi’s game text that are very easy to miss. One is that kick counters are perpetual; the other is that you cast the spells without paying their mana cost. Both of those completely change the calculation of whether the setup is worth it – and it does take a lot of setup, because you want there to be things in your graveyard when you cast her, and you want those things to be worth casting during combat, presumably every turn. That means you’re looking either at her being a late-game play in a tempo deck, an earlier casting on the heels of some overpowered looting and self-mill cards, or a true gimmick like Quiet Speculation. But when it all works, you’re going to pull very far ahead, even accounting for the fact that Zethi herself has no combat or protective keywords.

Just do everyone a favor, and don’t use her to copy Warp World.

Constructed: 2
Casual: 5
Limited: N/A
Multiplayer: 4
Commander [EDH]: 4

 James H. 


As a reminder, the reskinned Secret Lair cards are part of The List, and are not available in a draft set. Their legality is also confined to Legacy and Vintage, and my scores will reflect this.

At first glance, Zethi, Arcane Blademaster doesn’t necessarily match up with what you’d expect from her aesthetic…she wields a sword, but she references kick counters and has multikicker? It makes a lot more sense when you realize the card she’s a reskinned version of: Chun-Li, Countless Kicks from the Street Fighter Secret Lair from last year. Chun-Li is famous for kicking things repeatedly, hence multikicker and kick counters.

That preamble aside, besides the flavor, Zethi is actually a card that turned heads because of how she’s worded. You exile instants with her multikicker, and you can copy them when she attacks. But the key here is that kick counters remain on cards after their exile, so recasting Zethi means you can get the advantages of the older one. So you can, in effect, have a pseudo-Voltron style card, where Zethi keeps crashing in and wreaking havoc each time she turns sideways. Her body isn’t anything special, and she is in colors that naturally lack haste, but there’s a lot of room to make her have the room to kick all of the things with flask enablers and with careful defensive play, and you can give Zethi all the buffs she needs from instants to survive combat.

I think Zethi is probably a bit too slow to make a splash in Legacy, but it’s not as clear a line as might seem at first. Even if you only kick her once, being able to, say, recast a Lightning Bolt each turn is a pretty good approach. I think she’s the right mix of intriguing and powerful to inspire attempts to make her work, and she’s certainly up to the challenge in Commander and more casual formats.

Constructed: 2
Casual: 5
Multiplayer: 3.5
Commander [EDH]: 4.25 (kick counters mean Zethi keeps getting value on each recast, and she can be a very scary Commander to stare down)

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