Is Archangel Elspeth As Powerful As It Looks?
Spoiler season has come a bit early for us as, with the release of a new chapter of the Magic storyline, we were treated to Elspeth’s new look! Let’s take a look.
So we have a four mana walker with four loyalty, square stats in the planeswalker world is always good.
The +1 makes a 1/1 Lifelink, simple enough!
The -2 is quite interesting as it gives a creature two counters, Flying (but without the counter curiously enough, may be indicative of ways to remove counters in MOM), and it becomes an Angel. That is a pretty nice boost in strength for any creature.
Finally, you have an ultimate you can get to rather quickly where you can return your cheaper nonland permanents from your graveyard to the battlefield.
Three pretty distinct abilities, but how does it stack up to the competition?
The first and easiest way to analyze card strength is by historic precedence, in this case, our precedent is another Elspeth!
Both are four mana walkers for double white that come in with 4 loyalty, both create 1/1s with a +1, both give a boost in strength and Flying, and both have unique and powerful ultimates that aren’t necessarily game winning.
Now let’s break down from there.
For the +1s, obviously Archangel Elspeth has Knight-Errant beat as you get a whole keyword with the Soldier!
The second abilities are a much closer call. Initially I had Knight-Errant’s ability well above Archangel’s as getting +3/+3 and Flying for a +1 rather than a minus ability is pretty sick. However, thinking about it more, while a -2 is obviously leagues worse than a +1, getting multiple permanent buffs in the form of +2/+2 and Flying is also very powerful. I still think Knight-Errant’s ability is better, but it is quite close.
Lastly, the ultimates are both pretty weird. Knight-Errant’s is a -8 versus -6, but gives everything but planeswalkers Indestructible which is quite good, but again, not game winning. Archangels’, on the other hand, returns all 3 cmc or less nonlands from your graveyard to your battlefield which, once again, powerful but not game winning. Here, I think Knight-Errant’s ability just eeks out Archangel’s as the ability is a tad stronger, and considering Knight-Errant has two +1s to help reach that ultimate more consistently, will happen more often.
So for our final tally, Archangel’s +1 is strictly better and the other two abilities are a bit worse. So while this is a weaker version of Elspeth, Knight-Errant, that’s perfectly ok. Knight-Errant is a powerful planeswalker, even seeing play in Modern back in the day. Being in roughly the same league as Knight-Errant is a pretty good place to be and Archangel is going to be quite strong in any aggressive strategy.
Thank you for reading! Agree or disagree? Come join our Discord community, discuss the new spoilers, and more.
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