I spent a lot of time yesterday unpacking and scanning the Spellslinger Starter Kit in order to fill up the missing cards I had from 306/280 to 344/280. Unfortunately it turns out that the starter kit does not fill out all of those numbers; some of them are locked behind the Welcome Decks that you get if you’re a new player and which aren’t available for retail. Damn!

Anyway, onto today’s booster which had this mythic rare:

Cavalier of Night

Cavalier of Night is a 2 Generic ManaBlackBlackBlack 4/5 elemental knight with lifelink and two triggered abilities:

  • When it enters the battlefield, you may sacrifice another creature and destroy a creature your opponent controls
  • When it dies, return target creature with CMC 3 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield1

This is one of five cards in the “Cavalier Cycle” that are all mythic rare elemental knights costing 2 Generic ManaX Generic ManaX Generic ManaX Generic Mana (where X Generic Mana is a single colour) and have enter the battlefield and death triggers. Of the five, Cavalier of Gales is the best but this one comes in a close second. That said, I’m not a huge fan of the cycle as the casting cost makes it a little tricky to get them on curve in anything other than mono decks and I’m dubious about some of the triggers.

In terms of the Cavalier of Night, a 4/5 with lifelink and two relevant archetypes in the form of elemental and knight isn’t too bad for 5 mana, even if the elemental synergy likely isn’t there at the moment2. I can easily see History of Benalia working very nicely with this card both in terms of giving you something to sacrifice if you didn’t have anything already and in giving you an anthem effect for your attack; being able to attack with 6 lifelink power is definitely a good thing, especially if you have some life gain shenanigans going on in the form of Bloodthirsty Aerialist or Ajani’s Pridemate!

Whilst not ideal, both trigger abilities are optional so you can use this Cavalier “as is” should you not have anything available to sacrifice. In order to get the best value, though, you’ll want a creature you can sacrifice so you can kill an opposing creature. There are a number of choices available but you ideally want something at CMC 3 or less so you can bring it back when the Cavalier dies; this might be Vraska’s Finisher, Vizier of the Scorpion, Tomebound Lich, or even Embodiment of Agonies. Another option would be to utilise any cards with the afterlife ability so you can gain a creature from your sacrifice i.e. Ministrant of Obligation or Seraph of the Scales. Note that there is no limit on the creature it can sacrifice, only on the one it can bring back when it dies, so in the late game you can sacrifice a Knight of the Last Breath if you really wanted to.

In terms of the death trigger, I’ve already mentioned above the sort of cards you want to be returning from the graveyard; anything with an “enters the battlefield” trigger is going to give you good value but especially Vraska’s Finisher if you plan to die in combat3.

In summary, with this card you should be able to destroy an opposing creature, get some good damage in with lifelink, and then bring back a creature with a good ETB trigger possibly destroying another creature or planeswalker. That doesn’t seem too bad for 5 mana but for that cost I’d probably prefer to use Doom Whisperer or God-Eternal Bontu if only for the simpler deck construction.

  1. I’m almost certain this should be “you may return target creature” but it just wouldn’t fit on the card; you might not have any creatures with cmc 3 or less in your graveyard after all. ↩︎

  2. Most of your synergistic cards are going to be in Temur colours (GreenBlueRed) such as Omnath, Locus of the Roil and Risen Reef↩︎

  3. It’s a real shame that Ravenous Chupacabra is a 4 CMC card! ↩︎

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.