We’re back with one of the most interesting crossover promos for Magic: The Gathering ever, Zilortha, Strength Incarnate. The Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths buy-a-box promo is the newest addition to the pool of choices for Gruul Commander. It functions like a reverse Doran, The Siege Tower, where your creatures power will act as its toughness. While they can still die from having their toughness reduced to 0 it means a creature like Zilortha acts as a 7/7, so yes it’s actually outside of Lightning Bolt range. Now putting aside the Godzilla cosmetic we’re going to see just how powerful the King of the Monsters can be.
Cavern of Souls
Kessig Wolf Run
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Path of Ancestry
Sensei’s Divining Top
Talisman of Impulse
Bow of Nylea
Sword of Fire and Ice
The Immortal Sun
The Great Henge
Nissa, Vastwood Seer // Nissa, Sage Animist
Selvala, Heart of the Wilds
Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma
Deus of Calamity
Ilharg, the Raze-Boar
Xenagos, God of Revels
Bane of Progress
Etali, Primal Storm
Avenger of Zendikar
Beanstalk Giant // Fertile Footsteps
Xenagos, God of Revels: A staple choice for a Gruul power based strategy that turns Zilortha into a 14 power creature with haste for combat. Along with the natural trample ability it makes a destructive strike of commander damage.
Siege Behemoth: When trample isn’t enough there are several ways to assign combat damage directly to your opponents. Siege Behemoth is a big hexproof beast that will make blockers irrelevant for your creatures as long as it’s attacking as well. With Zilortha the 7 power keeps it from lethal damage by another 3 points and depending on the size of the attack you might not even need another combat to finish off your target.
The Great Henge: Power, card draw, mana, and life gain, The Great Henge accomplishes all of this in green. With Zilortha or any other creature with 7 or more power it discounts itself to cost two green, effectively paying for itself.
God-Eternal Rhonas: In a deck that cares about power the fact that it doesn’t grant a toughness boost is all but irrelevant. A solid 5/5 deathtouch creature that grants vigilance and just straight up doubles your creatures attack power. On top of this as with the god cycle of War of the Spark if it dies or is exiled you can tuck it away as the third card from the top giving you a chance to reuse the effect repeatedly.
Finale of Devastation: A creature tutor and potentially huge power boost the finale cycle asks for a lot of mana for it’s additional effect for a reason. When X is 10 or more you get a full board power/toughness boost or X as well as haste to help make sure even the creature you just tutored for is ready to attack.
Garruk Wildspeaker: One of the original planeswalker cards released in Lorwyn and a personal favorite. The main purpose is to untap two lands a turn generating obscene amounts of mana when used with lands like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx or Gaea’s Cradle. He can create 3/3 beasts to defend himself as well but the ultimate ability seems to be overlooked quite often. At -4 it gives a classic +3/+3 and trample Overrun effect to all your creatures which turns a creature wide strategy into a devastating and possibly game ending swing.
Draw: Garruk, Primal Hunter, Return of the Wildspeaker, and Rishkar’s Expertise combined with any of our powerhouse creatures (especially Zilortha) gives you plenty of resources to keep the threats coming.
Removal: While typically quite light on options in these colours relying on combat as the “removal” there are some very destructive pieces. Bane of Progress can cripple players with heavy artifact and enchantment strategies or just destroy their mana rocks. For single target noncreature removal Woodfall Primus will be happy to oblige, twice even, perhaps even more in conjunction with The Great Henge and Greater Good. Greens catch all spell for removal though is simply Beast Within
Regardless of the Godzilla theme that Ikoria did and the fact we probably never get to see an actual Zilortha, Strength Incarnate card I for one am excited to see what kind of damage these decks will do. I’m also just a sucker for 7 power creatures since they’re able to knock out opponents with commander damage in 3 hits.
Zilortha is not only a fun choice but quite deadly. The power as toughness ability synergizes heavily with all sorts of aggressive creatures and abilities. This version is more of a big threats and high value to show off Godzilla, but if you were looking to go wide there’s all sorts of fun in cards like Hero of Oxid Ridge and more Overrun effects. If you grabbed a box and have one kicking around I would say give this big lizard a chance. As a Commander and a collectable it’ll be a great addition to my collection anyways.
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