Jalira, Master Polymorphist is a particularly fascinating Legendary Creature new in the Magic 2015 Core Set. She is a Human Wizard costing 3 and a Blue to cast with 2 power and toughness. Her tap ability costs 2U to activate and requires you to sacrifice another creature. If you do so, you reveal cards until you reveal a non-legendary creature card. Put that card onto the battlefield and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order. The random order, in particular, is an interesting addition – as effects of this nature are usually in the order than they’re revealed or in any order.
Jalira’s effect is very similar to another card, Polymorph, which clearly inspired Jalira’s effect.
Polymorph actually requires you destroy a creature rather than sacrifice it in order to activate this card’s ability. Interestingly enough, this Sorcery has the same converted mana cost as Jalira. However, this card allows you to get Legendary Creatures, as well, whereas Jalira’s ability does not. Polymorph would be a good card to run in a Jalira-based deck to help you hit Legendary creatures, as well. Do also notice that Polymorph shuffles all other revealed cards into the deck, which is another interesting difference.
Clearly, Jalira was a Legendary Creature designed for Commander play. But since she’ll be in Standard and other competitive formats, how does she fit? Potentially, she could be a pretty good card, especially if you know what your next card is going to be, sacrificing a creature to get out a major bomb is definitely worth the 3 mana. There may be some rogue deck that could take advantage of her ability. But her true power is as a Commander.
There’s the possibility of running a Commander deck chock-full of value artifact and Blue creatures, sticking in some token generation such as Genesis Chamber and being able to consistently play creatures out of the deck. Mono-Blue has easy access to ridiculous amounts of mana (read, infinite) and has many ways to untap creatures. There has been the suggestion to play mostly Legendary Blue creatures and just have several bomb cards like a Tidespout Tyrant that you would mostly be guaranteed to hit. There are a few ways to play a deck around her. She’s probably even better used as one of the 99 in a wide variety of creature-based decks, especially Grixis, that don’t mind sacrificing its creatures to get others out.
Wizards of the Coast has been making it a point in recent years to release more fun Legendary Creatures in each set for the casual crowd, as well as the massive base of players that only play Limited and Commander. Jalira is an excellent example of such a card, and it should be fun to watch how she’s played.
How would you play Jalira, Master Polymorphist?
– Elspeth for the Win