Kroxa and Kunoros – Commander Card Or Standard Staple?
With the March of the Machine debut a few days ago, we saw a huge influx of new cards coming in March of the Machine. While I spoke about Sunfall, Hidetsugu and Kairi, Monastery Mentor, Wrenn and Realmbreaker, and Archangel Elspeth. we have plenty of new cards to look at as well! Today I want to go over an amazing team up that’s a grand slam in Commander, but may have a lot of utility in Standard as well – Kroxa and Kuronos!
Kroxa and Kuronos is a three color six mana 6/6 with Vigilance, Menace, and Lifelink, so a pretty scary stat line to contend with. However, that’s only the first half of the card! When it enters the battlefield or attacks, you can exile five cards from your graveyard to reanimate a creature from your graveyard! That is certainly a lot of text on one card, and while it needs that much to be considered for Standard as a three color six drop, it’s definitely impressive. That said, will it just be relegated to Commander or can it see play in Standard?
By in large, six drops have had a pretty rough time in Standard. Right now, the only playable 6+ drops are The Eternal Wanderer which just sees some marginal play in Mono White Midrange and Atraxa, Grand Unifier which is pretty much just Griselbrand the sequel. So to say the least, the bar for six drops is insanely high – they need to be pretty nuts to even see fringe play, so does this cross that threshold? I believe so.
First off, a 6/6 Vigilance, Menace, and Lifelink is a pretty obscene stat line. I always thought that Danitha, Benalia's Hope could see some play just on stat line alone and it likely would have if the metagame wasn’t so midrange dominated and some creature decks were more prevalent. That said, while this is one more mana and two more colors than Danitha, having +2/+2 in stats is a pretty big deal. That said, I’m not looking to play this just for the stat line, but it certainly does help as this can stabilize and kill someone very quickly; I’m much more interested in the ETB and attack trigger! While exiling five cards from the graveyard can be a lot, getting back a creature from that is pretty insane. This is kind of like Olivia, Crimson Bride without the incredibly huge downside of killing her killing the thing you reanimated. If you get to resolve this and you have six cards in your graveyard, one of them being a remotely good creature, you just get two strong threats for six mana. That is pretty disgusting value and seems very hard to beat if the opponent is looking to play fair.
While this looks extremely powerful, there are two obvious hiccups we have to address. First off, this is a three color card in a color combination that doesn’t have a tri-land. Obviously that isn’t damning as Mardu Midrange is already a viable deck, but being forced to play three colors is definitely a bit brutal, especially when Green is the self mill color and one of the colors to the best payoff of Atraxa, Grand Unifier. Second and related to the self mill problem, getting enough cards in your graveyard may not be the easiest. I have no doubts that you can get six cards in your graveyard for the first trigger just by playing normal magic, but getting multiple triggers is where the issues will likely arise. We do have cards like Bloodtithe Harvester and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker to help filter through cards and The Cruelty of Gix to do a bit of everything, so it’s not an impossible ask, just not the easiest.
Despite those issues, they are relatively minor compared to the power level of the card and while the mana cost and colors may be a bit prohibitive, it is definitely an extremely powerful late game threat that many decks would struggle to beat.
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