Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter is a Legendary Creature from Magic the Gathering’s Kaladesh set. This Human Artificer has been a two-of in Standard Green/White Aggro decks and is a decent card in a number of EDH decks. However, Oviya was a consistent bestseller during her Standard heydey on TCGPlayer. What made Oviya Pashiri so popular?
When she was first spoiled, the Magic community saw her as sort of a “poor man’s” Rhys the Redeemed. She’s nowhere as good as the popular token Commander, and she’s also mono-green whereas Rhys is both green and white. This somewhat limits her as a Commander, although she is certainly a plausible choice if mono-green Tokens is what you’re looking to build. Really, though, she’s better as a member of the 99 in Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice and the aforementioned Rhys the Redeemed.
Oviya’s tap abilities are decent for a 1 mana 1/2 creature. Her first tap ability costs 2G and creates a 1/1 colorless Artifact creature token. While this doesn’t seem like an awesome ability, with cards that double tokens like Anointed Procession alongside it in Standard, plus Doubling Season or Parallel Lives in EDH, it’s perfectly fine. It’s comparable to Rhys the Redeemed’s ability to create an Elf token.
The seond of Oviya’s tap abilities is quite good for 4G. It creates a X/X creature token where X is the number of creatures you control when you resolve the ability. This token is almost always going to be worth the cost and is great to have in an aggro deck. It’s especially good when you have Procession or another token doubler on the board. This is why Oviya has appeared in many Trostani and Rhys lists, as well as other token-happy Commanders like Maja, Bretagard Protector and Emmara, Soul of the Accord
However, as good as she is in token decks, she’s not a must-play. Oviya’s best homes actually are in decks that play Commanders who care about playing as many Legendary Creatures as possible to gain an advantage. The most common home for Oviya in Commander then is Reki, the History of Kamigawa. His ability reads, “Whenever you play a legendary spell, draw a card.” Since Oviya costs just a single Green mana, she can essentially draw you a card for free.
The other particularly Legendary centered Commander is Kolvori, God of Kinship. Not only does she gain +4/+2 and vigilance if you have three or more legendary creatures in play (herself included), but she also can tap to dig for more Legendary creatures. Kolvori isn’t particularly popular as a Commander, unfortunately.
Really, you can’t ask much more from a one-drop creature like Oviya. She’s a very good role player. However, as good as she was in Standard, even on spoiling it was clear her long-term value was in EDH. While Oviya is a long-term staple only in Legendary Tribal Commander decks, she’s a solid Legendary creature worth having in your collection.