Today, we take a look at a Magic the Gathering card from everyone’s favorite set block: Kamigawa! Here’s a little rare from Champions of Kamigawa that is not only the first rare alphabetically in the set, but an interesting one as well!
While you won’t be seeing this card in any top 8 decks, Akki Lavarunner is one of those crazy flip cards. Four mana (3 generic, 1 Red) for a 1/1 Goblin with Haste seems pretty awful, but the interesting part is that whenever it deals damage to an opponent, you get to flip it right away.
Flipped upside down, Tok-Tok, Volcano Born is an interesting Legendary Creature. He’s a 2/2 with Protection from Red, and if a Red source would deal damage to a player, it deals that damage plus 1 to that player instead. It’s a pretty decent effect, and in a Goblin deck, having a creature like him is certainly welcome.
There’s only one downside here: Tok-Tok must deal damage to a player before you can get his effect. In a Goblin deck, he could be well more than a 1/1, though, thanks to lords like Goblin Warchief pumping both his power and toughness. Then, if you do get his flip side, your Goblin Grenades can deal six damage to a player’s face rather than the normal five. Also, suddenly creatures with attack triggers that deal damage, such as Hellrider, become twice as deadly.
Yes, the damage plus one can hurt you, too. But, in the right Goblin-centered deck, that sort of ability would be devastatingly good. Were this just Tok-Tok himself, this would actually be very playable. While Wizards was probably right to make this a flip card at the time, it’s interesting to think what might have been were Tok-Tok his own man…
That being said, Akki Lavarunner / Tok-Tok, Volcano Born does occasionally see play in EDH. Commanders such as Krenko, Mob Boss and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell typically have better options to use in their decks, though. Then again, Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner from the Magic 2021 Core Set has room for Akki, being a creature with power 2 or less than can be made unblockable with her ability.
How would you play Akki Lavarunner?