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Shivan Gorge – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Shivan Gorge is a Legendary Land that was originally printed in Urza’s Saga. The Gorge was reprinted as a premium foil in From the Vault: Realms with some new fantastic artwork. On the surface, it’s a fairly underwhelming card. It can tap for one colorless mana and it has a tap ability that for 2R, dealing 1 damage to each opponent. In a multi-player Commander environment, Shivan Gorge can be used as a mana sink for some nearly free damage. In a burn-based Commander deck, Shivan Gorge is certainly an option and there are several Commanders that can make good use of it.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight doubles damage dealt to your opponents, so when Gisela is on board, Shivan Gorge might as well read deal 2 damage to each opponent for 2R. That’s a big step up. Also, with additional damage doublers such as Dictate of the Twin Gods or Furnace of Rath, Shivan Gorge can really start dealing some serious burn damage. Other Commanders who are happy to be on the burn plan include Kaervek the Merciless, Mogis, God of Slaughter and Purphoros, God of the Forge.

Rakdos, Lord of Riots is a pretty sweet Commander – if you can cast him. The second coming of Rakdos requires that damage be dealt to an opponent that turn in order to be cast. The way his decks are typically built, that’s not usually a problem. Shivan Gorge does make the job easier. Also, the Gorge supplements Rakdos’ second ability to reduce colorless casting costs of creatures. In a typical four-player game, Shivan Gorge deals 3 total damage per tap. This means your creature casting costs are reduced by at least 3 when paired with Rakdos. It’s a solid combo that should probably be included in more Rakdos, Lord of Riots lists.

The most common Commander to include Shivan Gorge is Heartless Hidetsugu. His ability is one of the most crippling in Magic. For a simple tap, he cuts the life total of all players by half, rounded up. This means that players with odd life totals can survive his ability if a damage doubler is present on board. With Shivan Gorge, you can finish off those pesky opponents who are hanging on at a single life point. It’s cruel and heartless, but that’s the whole point of the deck.

Shivan Gorge is actually a decent utility land for any deck that has ways to consistently deal direct damage. While 1 damage doesn’t seem like much, being an effect that affects all opponents is exactly what aggressive Commander decks want to have. They don’t single out any one player, and provide a slow but steady clock ticking towards victory.

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Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy. Personal Website: https://www.thephoenixdesertsong.com

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