Alara Reborn – Sphinx of the Steel Wind

At the risk of stating the obvious, Alara Reborn mythic rare Sphinx of the Steel Wind is the Esper answer to Akroma, Angel of Wrath.


  • Same converted mana cost.
  • Same size.
  • Slightly changed — but appropriately flavorful — double “protection from” at the end (Red and Green being the enemies of Esper, natch).

The big differences are lifelink over haste and trample (kind of a big one), and the fact that this is a colored artifact rather than a triple white Legendary Angel.

As for the cost in total… There is basically no difference beyond flavor; when Akroma was new, White was the dominating color of its Block, and had Eternal Dragon and so on to incentivize and ultimately find the necessary WWW. Present day in-set Magic is about the Shards; Sphinx of the Steel Wind commensurately an Esper billboard.

6/6 for eight mana served Akroma well enough size-wize, to the point that she was the preferred kill card for reanimation strategies for some time (and still holds a reasonable amount of one-of and sideboard space). Akroma uses Sphinx of the Steel Wind as a toilet heads up, of course (one having protection from the other and all).

Protection from Black is generally more useful than protection from Green but you can at least make a Cloudthresher argument in 2009.

The big difference between this card and its thematic acestor is the lack of haste and trample (racing being one of the main reasons Akroma was so popular in tournament decks), replaced with lifelink.

Now for a U/W-ish deck lifelink is probably more exciting, but Akroma was (out of Block Constructed anyway) not generally played by control decks but combo decks. Even if Sphinx of the Steel Wind is pretty good (and it looks to be pretty god), she is not going to hold up in that pure racing department.

Where can I see this fitting in?
I mean tossing Sphinx of the Steel Wind to Spellbound Dragon and immediately popping her back into play with Makeshift Mannequin is the dream… But that will probably never happen outside the kitchen table.

To be honest, I don’t really know. For the mana I would sooner explore Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, and I’m not exactly getting in line on that one.

But what do I know? Sphinx of the Steel Wind may be the great liberator or something.

Snap Judgment Rating: Role Player


All Alara Reborn

facebook comments:


#1 ProdigalT on 04.13.09 at 12:31 am

The very fact that it is black and an artifact generally gives it effective protection from black outside of large Drain Life or larger black flying creature (there aren’t many). Essentially, the few cards that can deal with Akroma also deal with this (O-Ring, Path to Exile), except Cloudthresher can’t block this guy. That doesn’t make it especially good – it’s still 8 mana and doesn’t win instantaneously.

#2 KZipple on 04.13.09 at 5:09 am

Yeah…I can’t see this competing in a world with Path to Exile. It can certainly be a good finisher for multicolor control decks, but is it better than Broodmate Dragon, Nicol Bolas, Cruel Ultimatum, and [in colors] Sharuum the Hegemon? I doubt it.

#3 Bliss crater on 04.13.09 at 7:31 pm

After clicking on the bookmark for this sight i immediately heard a subway commercial where a manager was addressing 2 employees by saying “michael, jay.” That is all.

Oh and i love this card cuz sphinxes are the absolute power!

#4 Joe on 04.13.09 at 9:40 pm

Good to have you back Mike. I can call you Mike right? We cool man? Sorry, I just finished watching a bunch of movies from the 80s/90s. Anyways, love the posts as usual. But really? Pro red and pro green? In a Path to Exile environment? I don’t think so.

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