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Avacyn Restored Preview: Malignus!

We’ve seen over a week of Avacyn Restored previews, and if you’ve been paying attention you know this set is going to shake up constructed for years.

It’s a crazy world out there right now, and we’re all just along for the ride. So without no further ado, let’s say hello to Malignus.

So is Malignus any good in constructed? The honest answer is “I don’t know.” He could be, but there’s still a lot of cards from Avacyn Restored we haven’t seen yet. Malignus the cheapest big body we’ve seen in a while, and has an ability that could be relevant depending on how the format shakes out.

Clearly Malignus wants three things:

  1. Get on the battlefield as quickly as possible
  2. Be able to trample through chump blockers
  3. To be played in every red Commander deck

Obviously G/R Wolf Run Ramp has been a top tier deck for some time now, and Malignus seems like he’ll find a happy home there. Mana acceleration and Kessig Wolf Run means Malignus can easily be a 13/10 trampler on turn five. Your opponent may have a half-dozen 1/1 tokens in play, but this honey badger don’t care.

But the real question is does Malignus deserve a spot in this deck? At five mana he does come down a turn earlier than Primeval Titan, and can swing into any Titan without trading. And even if you opponent doesn’t block and takes all ten damage, Malignus is still a real threat at 5/5.

He’s also a Spirit, so some crazy brewer out there may find a way to run him with blue. Malignus seems to pair well with Phantasmal Images and Vapor Snags - if there’s anything better than attacking with one creature with power equal to half your opponent’s life, it’s attacking with two of them while bouncing their blockers.

Is his second ability going to be relevant? There’s not a lot of damage prevention in Standard right now. Malignus gets around Protection from Red, which is mostly seen from Sword of War and Peace. There’s also the new angel Gisela, Blade of Goldnight in Avacyn Restored, but at eight cost if Gisela hits play you’re probably already in trouble.

To wrap up, we wanted to complement Wizards of the Coast for making this a Commander-friendly creature. It’s always fun to see a massive creature hit the battlefield early in multiplayer games, as they make the politics very real very quickly.


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