In the latest Magic: The Gathering’s War of the Spark spoiler news, the Simic guild is back with another crazy biological experiment: Roalesk, Apex Hybrid!
Alright, there’s a lot going on with this new card. First off, it’s a 4/5 flying trample creature for 5 mana. In addition to that, however, Roalesk also gives 2 +1/+1 counters to another creature you control so his 5 mana effectively gives you a 6/7 worth of stats. That’s really, really good.
However, that’s not even what makes him so strong. The biggest thing is that, when he dies, you get to Proliferate twice. So if you have any of the new Planeswalkers on the field, they get 2 loyalty counters when Roalesk dies. The creature that Roalesk buffed with his +1/+1 counters gets 2 more +1/+1 counters. Any other creature with counters on them get 2 more.
Roalesk effectively comes down, buffs a creature, and gives you a 4/5 evasive creature. When he finally dies, all your Planeswalkers and creatures with +1/+1 counters on them get buffed a ton. He brings a lot of value to the table.
Where might he see play?
Roalesk is almost certainly seeing Standard play as long as there is a relevant midrange style deck. This War of the Spark spoiler is exactly what a Midrange deck wants: Value when he enters, value when he attacks, and value when he leaves the battlefield. All in all, Roalesk does a lot of stuff for the mana, making him a shoo-in for Standard UGx midrange.
Commander seems unlikely simply because if Roalesk dies as your commander, and you choose to put him in the command zone, then his death triggers don’t go off. That said, he may still find a way to be relevant in the format as a key piece of Proliferate decks or value decks with a different commander.
Roalesk, as cool as he is, seems a little too slow for Modern or Legacy at the moment. He will, however, almost certainly find his way into many Cubes. Good Simic colored creatures are hard to come by and he really supports a +1/+1 counter theme super well.
Overall, Roalesk is a straight up value card, offering tons of +1/+1 synergy for any deck that wants him.