When the packaging artwork for Modern Masters 2017 was revealed, most people were fine with Domri Rade and Griselbrand being two out of the three cards featured as the first spoilers for the set. But the third choice caused some Magic the Gathering players to scratch their heads, a rare originally from Shards of Alara called Stoic Angel.
Besides having some really nice artwork, Stoic Angel actually has a really good ability. Whenever she is on the battlefield, each player can only untap one creature during each turn’s untap phase. She’s also a 3 / 4 flyer with vigilance for only 4 mana, although her casting cost is 1WUG (1 colorless, 1 white, 1 blue, 1 green).
Being in three colors obviously limits her play-ability, especially in Limited and especially in Commander. Still, this Angel is a good creature. It just seems strange to feature her so prominently. Still, that art with a beautiful angel holding an hourglass is really pretty. From a players’ standpoint, some were understandably upset to have a two dollar card who really only sees play in EDH / Commander as a featured card for the set.
However, Angels are among the more popular tribes in Magic the Gathering. From a marketing perspective, Wizards clearly felt this was a good card to feature. This is Stoic Angel’s first reprint, after all. It’s also worth pointing out that foil copies were rising in price, due to demand from EDH players looking to foil out their decks.
Stoic Angel is actually a very strong card in EDH, since her ability becomes much more relevant in a multiplayer game. She’s particularly important in decks with Rafiq of the Many as a Commander. By making it very difficult for opponents to keep their creatures untapped, the powerful Soldier Commander can attack undeterred much more often.
Derevi, Empyrial Tactician decks also make good use of Stoic Angel as Derevi’s ability allows you to untap more often than your opponent’s will be able to. Jenara, Asura of War is another Commander that typically plays Stoic Angel alongside, as Jenara is all about stacking up on +1/+1 counters and taking out players with Commander damage.
In any case, Stoic Angel doesn’t have to tap to attack, since she has vigilance. This means that you can easily have two creatures untapped and ready to attack whereas other players will only be able to untap one per turn. In Limited, she’s actually quite powerful. In most Constructed formats, she’s not nearly as much. Still, Stoic Angel is a cool card, just not one worth opening as a rare in a Modern Masters 2017 booster pack, which were ten dollars each back in early 2017. Still, this was a card probably overdue for a reprint.