If you know me, then you know that I am a fan of dragons. I am actively trying to collect all Magic: The Gathering Dragon cards, though I am fairly certain that it will be impossible to do so, if for no other reason than I’m not really willing to pay $330 for Zodiac Dragon. Regardless, any new dragon gets me excited, and holy crap, this is one hell of a new dragon.
I think this is my favorite piece of dragon art. Period. I would really like this hanging in my office.
Ok, so lets break down The Ur-Dragon. His mana cost is WUBRG and four generic mana for a CMC of nine. He is a 10/10 Legendary Creature – Dragon Avatar and has flying. Stop here for a minute. Does he pass the Limited Resources French Vanilla test? At this high of a cost, it is hard to say. He is certainly on the cusp. There are other creatures that are similar. Progenitus for example is 10/10, but for double-WUBRG. Like Progenitus, at this cost you are looking for more than a beater, even with flying, and like Progenitus, The Ur-Dragon has more.
Enter the new mechanic for Commander 2017, Eminence. Eminence reduces the cost of all creatures in the deck which share the primary creature type of your commander, in this case dragons. Additionally, this ability takes effect whether your commander is on the battlefield, or in the command zone! (Note, if you let your Commander go to the graveyard, hand or library, then this will not have any effect.)
At this point I’m fully on-board. a 10/10 flyer for nine mana that makes all of your dragons one mana cheaper? Sign me up.
Oh, there’s more!?
“Whenever one or more dragons you control attack, draw that many cards , then you may put a permanent card from your hand onto the battlefield.”
Uh… what!? Let’s run through a scenario… It’s turn eight. You’ve ramped a couple of times, you have ten mana available and can cast The Ur-Dragon. The previous seven turns haven’t been unfruitful, lets say you have three other dragons on the board as well. You cast The Ur-Dragon, then attack with the three dragons that you have on the board already. The Ur-Dragon’s ability triggers and before even blockers are declared you get to draw three cards, then put any permanent (land, planeswalker, creature, etc…) onto the battlefield without paying it’s cost! Maybe you have Draco in your hand… or some other game-ending creautre? Maybe not, lets scale it back a bit… what if you have a Crucible of Fire in your hand? You put that on the battlefield, and now you have an additional nine power that is already attacking.
Any permanent in your hand goes onto the battlefield… for free.
Downsides… are there any? Sure. First and foremost is the downside that exists with most creatures in Magic. It’s a creature. There are TONS of ways to kill, destroy, exile, bounce, etc… creatures in this game and The Ur-Dragon is susceptible to all of them. Next, he’s crazy-expensive. Many decks are built around their commander, and expect to cast it many times throughout the game. My guess is that you will cast The Ur-Dragon anywhere from zero to two times in any given game, and as cool as the attack trigger is, he will likely only be active during an attack for half of that at best (meaning that when you announce going from main phase to attack phase, an opponent will bounce or otherwise remove The Ur-Dragon from play in response, rendering the attack trigger useless).
A couple of months ago I visited my friends in California and before the trip we gave each other deck-building challenges. My challenge was to build a deck out of all gold spells. My commander of choice? Scion of the Ur-Dragon of course! I filled the deck with 34 creatures; all multi-color dragons, and 25 spells; all multi-color charms. I’ve only played it a couple of times, but it is a really fun deck to play! Now it gets a new Commander. Here is the deck list for those interested.
Regardless of the high cost and relative vulnerability of The Ur-Dragon, he is an amazing specimen of a dragon. The best part is that I don’t even have to rip any packs to get him. I just get to buy the Commander 2017 decks, which I was going to do already, and he’s mine.
And to end on a high note; cutest… dragon, sorry, cat dragon… ever! (It looks like a Halloween decoration!)