Today was another good pack containing Sorcerous Spyglass, a foil Heraldic Banner, and the showcase version of Oakhame Ranger // Bring Back. It also contained the showcase version of my pick of the day, the frame and artwork of which was previewed way back in July…
Flaxen Intruder is a uncommon human berserker creature with 1/2 stats and the abilty to destroy target artifact or enchantment if you sacrifice it after dealing combat damage to a player. It is also one of the new adventure cards1 and contains the Welcome Home sorcery for which creates three 2/2 bear tokens.
If we look at the creature part first, I don’t think this is too bad. It’s effectively a cheaper version of that old staple Thrashing Brontodon but it’s weaker and you have to do combat damage to get the destruction rather than paying . Dealing that damage might be a push depending on the blockers your opponent has but it should mean they’ll always leave a creature behind when attacking if they have a particularly good enchantment or artifact on the board. One thing to watch out for is that this is specifically “combat damage” to a player, not any old damage. For example, if you were to use Gravitic Punch or Fling then the damage would be done by Flaxen Intruder but it would not be combat damage. Instead you’ll want to use something like Goblin Smuggler, Passwall Adept, or Manifold Key to make this creature unblockable for a turn.
The only other thing to mention about the creature component is that I love the flavour of it, the inference being that she is eating the food of the bears2.
In terms of the bears, I was shocked to find that these are the only bear tokens in Standard and there is only one creature currently that is a bear, Vivien’s Grizzly3. In fact, bears have been pretty hard done by in Magic with only 23 cards to their name over the past 25 years making it more impressive that 2/2 creatures are often colloquially known as “bears” to long term players. It’s kind of nice that this power and toughness has been retained for these tokens although it would be have been a better flavour fit if they were 1/1, 2/2, and 3/3 to show baby, mama, and papa sizes.
At first glance, paying seven mana for three 2/2 vanilla creature tokens doesn’t look that great. It might be useful in Limited but certainly doesn’t have Standard implications. Or does it? Take a look at Lucky Clover and suddenly you’ve got six bears or possibly nine, twelve, or fifteen if you have multiple copies out. The sorcery speed is a pain but obviously Teferi, Time Raveler, Leyline of Anticipation, and Emergence Zone exist. That’s probably it for Standard play interactions but it is a good one! A common misconception floating around was that you could use Electrodominance with as 1 to cast this part but that isn’t true; the cost of the sorcery part is always going to be and the cost of the creature is always (so would need to be 7 to get this for “free”).
There are two other things I want to briefly touch on with this card. Firstly, there’s an official animation short showing this card as a cartoon; it’s very good! Secondly, the flavour of this card immediately reminded me of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes despite the fact I was thinking of Little Red Riding Hood killing the wolf rather than Goldilocks killing the bears. Even so, it gives me an excuse to quote this line which I adore:
“Oh Daddy” cried the Baby Bear
“My porridge gone, it isn’t fair!”
“Then go upstairs,” the Big Bear said
“Your porridge is upon the bed
But as it’s inside mademoiselle
You’ll have to eat her up as well.”
In all liklihood this card isn’t going to see much play outside of Limited4. That said, I love the flavour and design of it so much that I’m going to try and make an adventure deck work along with Edgewall Innkeeper, Garenbrig Squire, Wandermare, etc, especially now I have a showcase design. Let me know what you think about this card and whether you feel the adventure can be exploited enough to make it work!
For a reminder of how adventure cards work, check out my Throne of Eldraine primer. In short, you can choose to play the sorcery (in which case you may then play the creature part) or you can just play the creature part (losing the adventure entirely). If an adventure does not resolve, it goes in the graveyard and you do not get to play the creature. ↩︎
As food is an artifact. Clever. ↩︎
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.