Rise of the Dread Marn – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Rise of the Dread Marn is an Instant spell card from Magic the Gathering’s Kaldheim set. It serves as a fine example of the power that the Foretell mechanic can have on a game. On its face, it’s a three-mana spell that creates X 2/2 Black Zombie creature tokens, where X is the number of nontoken creatures that died during that turn. Already that’s a good card, but thanks to Foretell, you can play this card face-down in exile for 2 generic mana. Then, you can cast it on a later turn for a single Black mana.

Because this card is an Instant, you can use its Foretell ability any time during your turn. Then, when the time is right you can pay a single Black mana to create a bunch of Zombie tokens. It’s also notable that unlike some other cards that creature Zombie tokens, these do not come into play tapped. Who doesn’t like creating creature tokens at instant speed?

One of the downsides to Rise of the Dread Marn is the amount of removal spells in today’s Magic the Gathering which exile rather than destroy creatures. Rise of the Dread Marn is pretty bad after an Extinction Event, for example, which exiles rather than destroys. However, against more traditional board wipes, such as Doomskar or Wrath of God, it’s a great card. Rise of the Dread Marn is also a great card both for and against sacrifice-themed (also known as Aristocrat) decks.

With Ranar, the Ever-Watchful around to make your first Foretell cost zero in a turn, it seemed likely we would see Rise of the Dread Marn quite a bit in Esper (White/Black/Blue) Control decks. Even for its full 3-mana cost (2 generic, 1 Black), it only takes getting two tokens to make it worth casting. Typically, you’ll likely want to wait until you can get three or four tokens, especially in a deck that’s happy to sacrifice its creatures. However, Rise of the Dread Marn didn’t break through in a Standard environment still dominated by the Throne of Eldraine and Ikoria sets.

In Commander, this card could see a lot of play in not only Zombie decks, but other Sacrifice-themed decks, too. Many existing Commander decks were slow to adopt, but Kaldheim Zombie lord Narfi, Betrayer King took to Rise of the Dread Marn very quickly. This card may even become a staple in some token-happy decks, as well, although that hasn’t yet happened to the point of this writing. In any case, there’s a lot of ways for this card to be good and much is thanks to its Foretell ability splitting its mana cost quite advantageously.

How would you play Rise of the Dread Marn?

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