I headed to my local games shop today to play in the Standard Showdown event. Unfortunately I didn’t win1, but due to a lucky die roll I did get to walk away with an RNA booster and one of the Standard Showdown boosters. In my RNA booster (and the one I opened this morning) I got very little of interest: End-Raze Forerunners, Sphinx of Foresight, and two copies of Rakdos Firewheeler being the most noteworthy. However, the SS booster came with a foil Swamp2, a foil version of The Mirari Conjecture, a Dread Shade, and this card:
Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice is a 2/5 creature with flying, mentor, and a special ability: at the start of combat on your turn, it gives a +2/+0 until end of turn along with trample if it’s a red creature and vigilance if it’s a white creature. The more perceptive amongst you will realise that this basically means this is a 4/5 flying creature with mentor, trample, and vigilance.
The reason I chose this card to discuss over The Mirari Conjecture is that I lost two games to it tonight. My milling deck has a few defensive measures but the one I had filling my hand was Seal Away, something that is completely and utterly useless against vigilant creatures as I discovered to my chagrin3.
I had thought that this was one of the more powerful mentor cards but it turns out there are four others with equal or higher power: Truefire Captain, Light of the Legion, Hammer Dropper, and Barging Sergeant. That said, the ability to add +2/0, trample, and vigilance can be applied to any other creature so you could technically make Hammer Dropper a 7/2 with mentor, trample, and vigilance if you so wished. You could also use that ability on any of the other 13 cards with mentor in order to boost Aurelia herself…
The fact that this is, to all intents and purposes, a 4/5 means that the 4 CMC is well below rate especially when you consider the other bonuses it confers. Whilst obviously designed for a Boros deck, this could easily pair with some of the afterlife tokens the Orzhov produce or to mentor a Crackling Drake if you haven’t graveyarded many instants or sorceries.
Something about the Boros Legion and angel creatures just doesn’t appeal to me personally so I’m highly unlikely to make use of this card despite how good it is. That said, if you are building a deck and you feel like you could use some extra power, this definitely seems a good way of providing a powerful offensive card that buffs via mentor whilst also being vigilant for defence.
This post is part of a weekday series where I open up a booster pack and pick a card to discuss. Whilst these are often the best cards from the set, I'll often pick one that is a bit niche or one that has cool artwork or flavour text. If there's a particular card you want me to take a look at, get in touch or join my Discord community.