4, Apr, 23

The Most Disappointing MTG Villain Finally Has a Good Card!

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As you might expect, given its name, the Phyrexians have been rather important throughout the Phyrexian Arc. This is especially true for the head honchos of the faction: the Praetors. Led, begrudgingly, by Elesh Norn, these iconic villains have produced some genuinely devastating cards throughout the years. For the most part, at least. Despite being prominent threats within MTG’s story, not all of the Praetors have been properly represented as plane-ending threats. In fact, one Praetor,  Urabrask, has consistently fallen short of expectations, much to the dismay of fans. Thankfully, after 12 years since first being revealed, that wrong is being set right! Urabrask is finally getting a good MTG card in March of the Machine!

Urabrask, but Good This Time

Urabrask the Hidden & Urabrask, Heretic Praetor

Ever since they first appeared in 2011’s New Phyrexia, Urabrask has always been a little ways behind their Praetor brethren. This was undoubtedly a crushing shame, as when they first appeared, the Phyrexian Praetors certainly made their presence known. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, for instance, was an absolute menace, and a powerhouse in the Commander format. Similarly, Sheoldred, Whispering One boasted an incredibly powerful reanimation and sacrifice effect, making it a Commander star. As if two powerhouse Praetors weren’t enough already, Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur and Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger were also devastating. The same cannot be said for Urabrask the Hidden, who just offered Haste while slowing down your opponents. 

Unfortunately for Urabrask fans, this disappointing trend continued when the Praetors reappeared during the Phyrexian Arc. Returning as Urabrask, Heretic Praetor, the draw effect similarly didn’t live up to expectation. Especially not when compared to the Standard menace that is Sheoldred the Apocalypse. Thanks to these rather dismal past appearances, many MTG players weren’t holding out much hope for March of the Machine. While all five Praetors would be appearing side by side once again, surely Urabrask would be another letdown, right? Wrong! At long last, Wizards of the Coast has finally printed a good Urabrask MTG card!

The Name’s Urabrask, Just Urabrask

Urabrask | March of the Machine

Aptly named just Urabrask, this long-awaited March of the Machine spoiler appears to be seriously good. Once again playing into the Praetor’s red color identity, this time around, Urabrask partly refunds the cost of instants and sorceries while also damaging your opponent. Obviously, these abilities facilitate playing a lot of spells during your turn, which in turn, allows Urabrask to transform. 

On the other side of Urabrask is the Saga, The Great Work, which similarly is absolutely fantastic. Unlike most Sagas, which only get good toward the end, each step of The Great Work aptly offers greatness at every step. After starting off with a 3-damage board wipe, this Saga then creates three Treasure tokens to facilitate even more spell casting. Lastly, The Great Work allows you to cast instants and sorceries from any graveyard for a turn, while also flipping Urabrask back over. 

While each of the Saga’s steps is obviously not to be dismissed, once flipped back over, Urabrask gets even better. You now have many more spells to cast, synergizing with Urabrask’s red mana-refunding and damaging abilities. Not only does this allow you to devastate your opponent and their board, but it also allows you to flip Urbrask once again easily. Considering this just costs one mana, and deals three damage to your opponent’s everything, it’s certainly a potent ability. 

Unfortunately, while they’re absolutely strong, Urabrask isn’t immune from weakness. First things first, they are a creature which means, of course, they die to removal. Alongside this, their Saga face may take some time to get going, so long as you don’t Proliferate, that is. Thankfully, however, since this mechanic returned in Phyrexia: All Will Be One, that is mercifully easy to do. 

Rapturous Response

Guttural Response
Guttural Response | Shadowmoor

As you can imagine, considering the incredible strength of Urabrask and The Great Work, MTG players across social media were seriously excited by this reveal. It is arguably one of the strongest March of the Machine cards spoiled so far, after all. More so than just being an incredibly powerful card, however, many MTG players were overjoyed this is a powerful Urabrask card! Reddit user u/whiteandcrispy, for instance, rejoiced that after 12 long years, Urabrask is finally playable. “HE’S FINALLY GOT A GOOD CARD I COULD CRY.”

Alongside this eager enthusiasm from countless players, many noted that The Great Work’s powerful graveyard ability is rather unique. Unlike the somewhat similar Mnemonic Betrayal, unfortunately, The Great Work doesn’t allow you to cast any spell. Instead, in a quite substantial drawback, you have to have the correctly colored mana when casting your opponent’s spells. While this does mitigate The Great Work’s effectiveness, playing multiplayer formats or a multicolored deck will help rectify this issue. Subsequently, don’t be surprised if you see Urabrask appearing in a lot of build-around brews and quite a few good decks!

Read More: The Most Hated MTG Format Just Got a Little Bit Better

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