Zur the Enchanter
December 3, 2020
Commander [EDH]: 4.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Despite being a well-known personality from Dominaria’s Ice Age (as James points out, some of the most notable cards from Ice Age are named after him), it took Zur a long time to get his own card. On Coldsnap‘s initial release, he didn’t make too much of a splash because his mana cost placed him at a stage in the game when most decks wanted to be consolidating or making a comeback right away (cf. Wrath of God). He might have featured in some of those quirky-deck-building articles on Wizards of the Coast’s website, in the kind of 60-card creation that sometimes felt like building a house of cards (pun semi-intended).
Then, of course, Commander swept the world, and people started to see Zur in a different light. It’s hard not to when you can always have access to him and re-cast him, but his colors also include most of the game’s best control options and some devastating enchantments for him to grab. You can play him as a conventional control deck or a combo deck. You can lock your opponent out of the game completely, or get auras that make Zur kill the entire table in a couple of turns (he starts with flying, which makes it even easier!), or everything in between. The only downside might be that his power level is more known now and you can become a target, but he’s powerful enough that you can even deal with that relatively easily, if you’re careful.
Much like how Commander Legends featured tributes to old legendary creatures, Coldsnap back in 2006 gave us some throwbacks to Ice Age. Zur the Enchanter, previously known for his Orb and his Weirding (among other things), is one of the more threatening EDH creatures in the modern day, thanks to the breadth of his tutor ability. Any enchantment with converted mana cost 3 or less includes a lot of dangerous things, especially in Zur’s colors: you can grab removal, creatures, cards to keep your opponents from attacking you, or just extremely broken draw spells. Zur decks can be especially dangerous, and they’re hard to break when they’re entrenched…which isn’t hurt by Zur having evasion and a solid toughness value.
Zur isn’t a good Constructed card, regardless of how tempting that ability is; he’s a bit on the slow side, has a restrictive mana cost, and is rather weak to removal. He’s certainly a Commander threat, though, and he can even be a rogue option in Modern if you believe in yourself hard enough. If you can build in a way that gives you time and space to get going, Zur will reward you handsomely.
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