With Alchemy Horizons: Baldur’s Gate’s preview season in full swing, I already analyzed Viconia, Nightsinger’s Disciple and Karlach, Raging Tiefling, but there’s still more cards to look at! One that caught my eye in particular, as the title gave away, was Ulder Ravengard, Marshal. Let’s take a look!
So we have a 3 mana 3/3 with a lot of text. When it enters the battlefield, you can give another creature double team until end of turn. Then when Ulder attacks, you get to conjure a duplicate of another creature and put it into your hand. So overall, Ulder gives double team on entry and then can functionally do it again on attack, how powerful is this?
To answer that question, let’s take a look at the stock list for Boros Aggro.
So for Ulder Ravengard, Marshal to really do anything at all, you’re going to need other creatures on board to conjure. Furthermore, having a large amount of cheap creatures is pretty vital, as again, you’re going to want something on board when Ulder comes down and playing it on curve is obviously going to make it a lot better. So if this seems somewhat restrictive in it’s application, why do I think it’s so good? It’s because getting even one of these triggers to work is going to be incredibly powerful!
Right now the deck plays 16 one or two mana creatures and 8 three mana creatures. The most standout card in this deck and the one that initially caught my eye was Sunrise Calvary. A 3 mana 3/3 Haste and Trample that could grow was a solid stat line, but most of the time, it felt like a Hulking Bugbear. Don’t get me wrong, I was relatively happy playing a Hulking Bugbear, but it was definitely among some of the weaker cards in the deck. What Ulder could do instead in that slot is give the deck something it was lacking before: card advantage.
Generally speaking, aggressive decks are going to want some sort of card advantage so they can help keep pace in the late game. This is doubly true in Alchemy as Rakdos is one of the most popular decks and is very good at dragging games out. Ulder Ravengard, Marshal is a way to produce card advantage that doesn’t force you to take a turn off deploying threats which is a huge deal.
An obvious question is if Boros wanted card advantage that badly, why it isn’t just playing Showdown of the Skalds? I gave away the answer, and while Showdown of the Skalds is an excellent card, even taking off one turn of applying pressure can mean the difference between winning and losing that game. Ulder coming in, letting you get a duplicate of your best creature, and then threatening to keep doing that again until it’s dealt with is a very scary ability. It is a bit brutal if you don’t have good attacks when you have an Ulder out, but very few card advantage cards are going to help you much when your back is against the wall as an aggro deck and you have no good attacks.
Overall, I believe that Ulder is going to make Boros Aggro’s best curves that much scarier. Boros is really good at getting on board early and establishing solid pressure, but can start to wilt towards the mid game when other decks can start deploying better cards than Boros. While Boros may not be able to win the quality war in these spots, with solid creatures and cheap removal, it can very easily win the quantity war with Ulder as you’ll have a lot of games where you can “draw” an additional card per turn until the opponent is too far behind to catch up.
While it does take some set up for it to work and needs to be played in an aggressive Boros deck, the effect is definitely powerful enough to warrant it. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Boros prioritizes playing a few more early game threats just to make better use of this as this is an easy 4 of in the deck moving forward.
Thank you for reading!