One of the most infamous Mardu commanders of all time is Kaalia of the Vast. With her ability to instantly kill any player without a creature (using Master of Cruelties), she is incredibly scary. Most players will kill her on site. That same cleric is back again in Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2020. But this time she has a slightly milder ability that might not mark you as archenemy from the get-go: Kaalia, Zenith Seeker.
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For three mana in the Mardu colors, Kaalia, Zenith Seeker is a 3/3 legendary human cleric with flying and vigilance. When she enters the battlefield, you get to look at the top six cards of your library for an angel, demon, or dragon and add it to your hand. The rest of the cards go to the bottom of your deck. This effect is not nearly as powerful as what the old Kaalia has, which let you put one of those three creatures from your hand into play for free. However, she still helps support those three tribes and produces card advantage.
Building around her isn’t too difficult for EDH either. White has tons of flicker effects to reuse her enter-the-battlefield ability, such as Restoration Angel. Plus, you can play a ton of utility demons, dragons, and angels. Need a board wipe? Just get Deathbringer Regent. Artifacts getting annoying? Grab Hellkite Tyrant. The possibilities are endless.
But where does Kaalia, Zenith Seeker fit in other formats? She has great stats for 3 mana, so she could be playable in the right deck. Building around her by playing lots of angels, demons, and/or dragons is important though. Unfortunately for Standard, some of the better support cards for those creature types (like Liliana’s Contract) will be rotating out. However, in Modern it might finally be possible for a Mardu angel tribal deck to emerge. Thanks to Modern Horizons we now have a one-drop for the tribe in Segovian Angel. There are also some cheaper angels in Resplendent Angel and a lord with Lyra Dawnbringer. With a little brewing, it might finally be time for the tribe to shine.
What do you think of the new Kaalia? Is she good enough for competitive play, or is she simply a sweet commander? Let us know what you think down in the comments below! Then stay tuned for more Magic: The Gathering Core Set 2020 spoilers!