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Kemba’s Skyguard

I’ve settled into looking at Scars of Mirrodin cards for the rest of September; it seems like a good fit with all the preview and new set release excitement everyone is sharing.

Today I want to look at a different creature: Kemba’s Skyguard.

Kemba's Skyguard, Common from Scars of Mirrodin

Kemba’s Skyguard is a pretty sweet take on Wild Griffin type creatures. A 2/2 with flying for just three mana is an excellently aggressive creature for Limited and Wild Griffin currently seats high in white commons for Magic 2011 drafts.

Kemba’s Skyguard, however, isn’t just a Wild Griffin. Wild Griffin isn’t currently in my cube since other options are available (such as Shu Cavalry). I do think the Skyguard will make the cube for one small reason: “When Kemba’s Skyguard enters the battlefield, you gain 2 life.” Two life is a very nice boost when most creatures come with two power. While the double white in the mana cost makes it much trickier to play early, any control deck running white will gladly play this in the middle of the game to great benefit.

Two life sounds small but that’s 10% of your starting total. 10% is a bit bigger than you may think. Games, especially ones of attrition and well-placed attacks, can be decided on two life. This flying Cat Knight will feel right at home as one more way decks calculating life totals will get a surprise.

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  1. September 17, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    What a difference evasion makes. I don’t really like Lone Missionary nearly as much as I do the Kemba Skyguard, in spite of the Skyguard’s more stringent mana requirements. What are your thoughts on Lone Missionary? Does his two point lifegain matter less due to his lack of evasion?

    • September 17, 2010 at 4:47 PM

      Lone Missionary actually gives four life, not two. Similar to Temple Acolyte, Lone Missionary serves a purpose for control decks.

      Imagine a spell that cost the same as Lone Missionary but instead said “Destroy target attacking or blocking creature. You gain 4 life.” Would you play a spell like that? While Lone Missionary isn’t that spell exactly, dropping it on turn two, gaining the life, and trading with an opponent’s more aggressive creature feels right. Temple Acolyte has three toughness which is actually very relevant against many of the two power bodies that fill aggro decks.

      Lone Missionary is a speed bump – and a very good one at that. Kemba’s Skyguard doubles as a potential evasive attacker while ultimately serving the same purpose: help support white based control and midrange decks.

      • September 17, 2010 at 5:15 PM

        You’re right, I completely spaced when recalling Lone Missionary’s total life gain and regret not looking it up first. Thanks for correcting me. I agree with your answer.

  1. January 27, 2011 at 10:49 PM

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