– From the Vault: Relics
November 29, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 2.67
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I do sometimes miss the From the Vault series. There doesn’t always end up being space in the usual expansion series for nostalgic reprints or highlights from Magic’s past, and there are so many to choose from. Then again, they seemed to be running short on themes they liked; the Transform one is pretty cool, but it didn’t have quite the emotional heft as, say, Relics. And Zuran Orb was a very fitting inclusion in that set.
Like many of Magic’s powerful combo cards, it reads a lot worse than it actually is. You’d almost always rather have lands than life points, but you’ll never be using it to just sacrifice lands for extra life. I’ve only ever seen that once, and it was back in 1995 when Ice Age was brand new and someone in my playgroup got one in a booster. As soon as you have any way to get lands back from your graveyard, it goes from curiosity to engine – and this is before we consider that Necropotence was in the same set. There’s relatively little middle ground with Zuran Orb: you’re either doing something not very relevant, or you’re doing something absolutely ridiculous. Use with caution.
No Limited score for Zuran Orb; its last Standard printing was Ice Age, without any mass reprint set appearances since then.
Turning lands into life is an interesting trade, and not usually one worth making unless you’re on the brink of dying. And yet Zuran Orb is an infamous combo piece, thanks to effects like Splendid Reclamation, Balance, and even Necropotence. Paying zero mana to have a reusable outlet for gaining life (one you usually can tap into in most scenarios) is still a pretty solid deal, and there are plenty of oppressive lock pieces (Land Equilibrium, to name one) available to make the Orb far more threatening than its innocuous exterior insinuates.
It’s a card that’s pretty questionable when played fairly, but unfair uses of the Zuran Orb are far more entertaining. Definitely worth the time if you can set it up, but I don’t recommend you play it unless you’re planning to use it to make people’s lives “brighter” (read: miserable). The Zuran Orb combos aren’t good enough to see Legacy play these days, but it had its day in the sun a long time ago.
Hey guys, hope you had a good Thanksgiving! We’re gonna take a look back into the past today and talk about one of the original ‘Food’ Cards, Zuran Orb!
Now this card was just a little bit before my time so what I have to go on is old video coverage from WotC that feature this card and boy did it do some work back in the day.
Being able to cash in excess lands for 2 life was pretty strong back in the day, and given that this artifact costs 0 means that you’re not losing any tempo by putting it into play.
But in the world of Cube Draft, this card has one specific purpose. Combo!
Drop Fastbond and Crucible of Worlds or Ramanup Excavator with this thing and you’ve got an infinite life combo!
…Now you also have to draft Fastbond which is pretty high on the pick-chart for most drafters, and you have to grab Crucible, and all three have to be opened. And you have to get it during the course of gameplay, and hope they don’t have a way to interact with it.
But when it goes off you are at infinite life territory!
…Unless they figure out a way to deck you before you can kill them.
Constructed – 2/5 And oldy but a goody with rose tinted orbs
Commander – 2/5 A neat trick if you’re playing a lands based commander deck
Cube – 3/5 This is one of the easier pieces to pick up during draft building, the hard one is Fastbond
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