I picked up a foil copy of Vizkopa Vampire today but my rare card was numerically next to one of my uncommons, both of which were new for my collection. As they are somewhat related, I thought I’d take a look at both, starting with:

Kaya's Wrath

Kaya’s Wrath is a WhiteWhiteBlackBlack sorcery that destroys all creatures and gives you life equal to the number of your own creatures that were destroyed. I immediately thought of Cleansing Nova as they are fairly similar; with Kaya you pay one less mana and you get some life back if your own creatures are caught up in it whilst the Nova is potentially easier to cast1 and you get the choice to destroy creatures or all artifacts and enchantments. Both sit at the rare level and both are (unfortunately) sorceries which means no shenanigans during your opponents turn2.

As I’ve mentioned before, my knowledge of the story and lore of MTG is incredibly limited. This is a pivotal moment in the current story3 but at present the MTG Story website only has entries for the Rakdos, Simic, and Gruul, not yet for the Azorious and Orzhov. However, this article about Ravnica Allegiance artwork includes the design brief that was given to artist Victor Adame Minguez4:

Location: Inside a luxurious Orzhov treasure room

Intent: This spell shows a key story moment when the Planeswalker Kaya murders the Ghost Council, a group of old dead dudes who run the Orzhov guild. In the game, the card destroys all creatures, so we’re going to see some mayhem. Kaya uses a signature purple-white magic to physically interact with ghosts, so anywhere we see her touching one, her body or weapons should turn into that glowing purple-white energy.

Action: This is a cinematic, slow-motion shot during an epic, many-against-one fight scene. Kaya is in the middle of the shot dealing out death to the ghosts who surround her. She might have her knife in one’s chest, while another flails backward, his throat slit, spilling smoky “ghost blood” as he falls. Kaya throws small knives of purple-white magic that impale more ghosts, all of them spilling smoky “ghost blood” as their undead life slips away. Really emphasize the action here—every single ghost in this room is dead, dying, or about to die. And through it all, Kaya smiles wide, loving every minute.

Focus: The epic multiple murder

Mood: They had her outnumbered and surrounded. They never stood a chance.

It’s a great piece of artwork5 and I can’t wait to read more about how Kaya murders the Obzedat.

On to the next card:

Knight of the Last Breath

Knight of the Last Breath is a 5 Generic ManaWhiteBlack 4/4 creature with two abilities:

  • Pay 3 Generic Mana and sacrifice a nontoken creature to create a 1/1 spirit token
  • Afterlife 36

First of all, I love this idea that the giant is just 3 dwarves standing on each others shoulders. Secondly, the wording of “Sacrifice another nontoken creature” confused me for a while; I assumed it was an error as you weren’t paying any sacrifice cost already so you couldn’t do “another” but it turns out I was just being stupid and it means it can’t sacrifice itself.

I’m always a little thrown by these aristocrat cards that work on the basis of sacrifice and this card hasn’t changed that opinion. 7 CMC is a high cost for a 4/4 body that turns into 3 x 1/1 bodies and paying 3 Generic Mana to sacrifice a creature to create a 1/1 doesn’t seem great either; I’d have preferred that ability to cost 1 Generic Mana or less and tap the knight. That ability can be useful to add afterlife to a chump blocking creature but 3 Generic Mana seems super high when you’ve already paid 7 CMC to get this creature on the battlefield. It’s the sort of card I’d play in a sealed environment if I was heavily into the Orzhov guild but I can’t imagine any other situation that I’d use it.

At some point I really need to build an aristocrats deck if only to pair it with Ajani and call it The Aristocats. One day…

  1. 3 Generic ManaWhiteWhite has the higher CMC but is easier than having WhiteWhiteBlackBlack as you don’t need such specific coloured mana. ↩︎

  2. Well, unless you are splashing Red and have a copy of Electrodominance in which case any card can be cast at instant speed. That is quite an expensive and difficult shenanigan to pull off though! ↩︎

  3. As can be seen by the fact the card says “mtgstory.com” and it has the planeswalker watermark. ↩︎

  4. Whose artwork you may recognise from such cards as Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants, Bring to Trial, Crackling Drake, and (my personal favourite) Cult Guildmage↩︎

  5. Check out the high resolution version↩︎

  6. I haven’t mentioned the afterlife ability before; it essentially means you get x number of 1/1 flying tokens when the creature dies where x is the afterlife number. So in this case, when your 4/4 dies you get 3 x 1/1 flyers. ↩︎

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.