Cleaving Reaper – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Before the printing of the Kaldheim set, Magic the Gathering hadn’t printed an Angel creature which was mono-Black. One of these Black Angel creatures is the Cleaving Reaper. Like another Angel being released in the set, Valkyrie Harbinger, the Reaper is only available in Theme, Set, and Collector boosters. The Reaper is an Angel Berserker who costs 5 mana (3 colorless, 2 black) to cast. She is a 5/3 flyer with trample and has a secondary ability that when she’s in the graveyard you can pay 3 life to add her back to your hand.

This Angel wouldn’t be all that competitively playable if Kaldheim didn’t have a creature in it that makes your Angel spells 2 colorless cheaper to cast called Starnheim Aspirant. Yet another creature we won’t see in Draft boosters, the Aspirant turns Cleaving Reaper into a potent 3-drop threat. While she’s no Seraph of the Scales, who was very playable in the days of Ravnica Allegiance, Cleaving Reaper might be just good enough to see play, especially if the Berserker subtype gets some extra love in the future.

Also, unlike Seraph of the Scales, Cleaving Reaper doesn’t bring a couple tokens into play when she dies. Yes, you can get the Reaper back to your hand from the graveyard, which is something. But, she’s nothing like Deathpact Angel, the Mythic Rare Angel from back in Gatecrash, who made a token you could sacrifice to bring Deathpact Angel right back to the battlefield for her casting cost.

Cleaving Reaper could potentially be a good creature in the right deck, although Standard play is highly unlikely. A few Commander players have already found room for her in White & Black Angel tribal decks, especially those led by Firja, Judge of Valor. At the very least, the Reaper will be a lot rarer than your typical Kaldheim rare. Her scarcity alone may make her worth looking at as a trade chip for hardcore Magic the Gathering card collectors. 

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