Rise of the Eldrazi – Gideon Jura

A new card that lots of my Twitter followers have been asking me to write about is Gideon Jura:

Gideon Jura

Gideon is an interesting and potentially powerful card; not one that I would necessarily have identified on my lonesome. Apparently people think it’s going to be a chase rare (and by “chase rare” you probably can’t miss the fact that Gideon Jura is actually Mythic Rare).

Gideon Jura costs five mana, specifically 3WW. It costs exactly the same amount as, you know, Baneslayer Angel.

So which is better?

Baneslayer Angel.

Baneslayer Angel is better than Gideon Jura. Baneslayer Angel will win games that no other card would be able to win. We played Baneslayer Angel in the mono-Cascade (you know, Black “Baneslayer”) deck because that deck’s mana base put us behind against Anathemancer; one or two hits from a Baneslayer Angel and you don’t really have to worry about Anathemancer any more. Baneslayer Angel blocks. She blocks so well that often she doesn’t have to block. You lay her out there and the bad guys are terrified of attacking. Baneslayer Angel blocks so well that when she motherlovin’ attacks, the five life you get back is basically like she hung back to block.

So Baneslayer Angel is better — given my snap judgment superficial never-played-a-Gideon-Jura-yet assessment — than Gideon Jura, card-to-card.

So why are we even having this discussion?

Just because Gideon Jura isn’t as good a card as the best large creature in the history of Magic doesn’t mean that he won’t be a significant and useful potential tool. In fact, Gideon Jura will be more applicable to many strategies than Baneslayer Angel was, or is. For example, creature-poor decks often lose their Baneslayer Angels immediately. Lay her out there… and she’s dead. Gideon Jura wouldn’t be immediately dead. You can’t Terminate a Gideon Jura; ergo you won’t be sitting there with a stray Terminate in your hand when Gideon Jura shows up, poised to blow up the new Planeswalker.

We know Baneslayer Angel is worth tapping out for. Is Gideon Jura?

I think it depends.

It depends on what you want to do, and what your deck wants to do, and how you want to hold hands and go about doing what you plan on doing. For example, a deck like Naya Lightsaber can play Noble Hierarch, Great Sable Stag, Bloodbraid Elf, Baneslayer Angel… threat, threat, threat; pressure, pressure, pressure. Baneslayer Angel is great there in a way that Gideon Jura might not necessarily be.

A control deck can play block, tempo, counter, bluff, Baneslayer. If she lives, great. If she dies, well… You were probably going to play Day of Judgment anyway. Baneslayer Angel is worthwhile there.

This is a spot where Gideon Jura might actually be better. You can counter, kill creatures, play your Planeswalkers, Day of Judgment with no loss of card advantage, and then clean up with Gideon Jura. He’s pretty strong in the sense that a White control deck can sweep the board and then go Mishra’s Factory with a 6/6, essentially unopposed. In this sense, Gideon Jura is a fine finisher.

But for all his lack of “ultimate” Planeswalker abilities, Gideon has three… It might be worth looking at all of them:

  • [+2] This ability seems applicable in [at least] three broad ways: 1) “Delayed Blast Falter” … a White Weenie deck (or whatever) can make all the opponent’s creatures attack Gideon Jura, leaving him (mostly) open for a return Alpha Strike, 2) “Turbo Fog” … Gideon Jura could fit into this kind of a strategy, both as an additional White Fog-proxy (and ultimately an alternate kill condition), 3) Boosting Gideon’s loyalty … Because sometimes you have to.
  • [-2] Gideon Jura can go Nekrataal immediately upon hitting the battlefield. The opponent just attacked? You can spring the slaughter and have four loyalty left.
  • [0] Probably best in a true control deck, but serviceable in any deck that plays Gideon.

Gideon Jura is a potential one-card combo. You can play him, activate the [+2] and win almost on the spot. If you have some decent blockers, one or two Gideon Jura-directed suicide runs will make for some kind of a no-limit swing. You can actually sit there activating [+2], forcing the opponent to run into a Celestial Colonnade or whatever, until he decides he is tired of banging his head against the wall and throwing his creatures into the graveyard.

I think Gideon might be a nice component in a Planeswalker-themed control or board control deck. He has lots of colorless mana costs, and should therefore hang it nice and loose with Everflowing Chalice. As a fourth or fifth turn follow up, Gideon can play big brother to Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Just keeping attackers off of Jace will be worthwhile a fair amount of the time.

As already implied, Gideon Jura is a solid potential finisher in a true control deck. He does everything you need him to do. You need to kill creatures? Gideon kills creatures. You need to keep damage off of your own neck? Gideon might just play Baneslayer Angel, heroically, for a turn or two. You need to win the game? Gideon can handle that action, too.

If there were a rating between Role Player and Staple, that’s where I would position Gideon Jura; but there isn’t.

Snap Judgment Rating – Staple

LOVE
MIKE

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6 comments ↓

#1 Alfrebaut on 04.03.10 at 8:08 pm

What about… “high roleplayer?” Maybe I’m just crazy, I don’t like this or the new Sarkhan. =/ The -2 ability seems sweet, but the whole thing just isn’t all that exciting to me. I think I’m just not feeling this set. Every red card but Kargan spoiled so far is 4+ mana, and there’s no land d in sight, and everything is so Timmy-driven. I think I like it the least of all the sets since I started playing.

#2 Vigil on 04.03.10 at 8:27 pm

Seems like you need to have a strong board position before you play him. Hell, his plus ability says “Attack me”. Destroying tapped creatures is so crappy to me; it’s like killing them after they already did something. I’d rather have Elspeth than this guy in a control deck anyday. Get off my lawn.

#3 MTGBattlefield on 04.03.10 at 10:40 pm

Rise of the Eldrazi – Gideon Jura…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#4 Five With Flores » A Different Look at Wall of Omens on 06.01.10 at 11:32 pm

[…] 1 Lighthouse Chronologist 4 Baneslayer Angel 2 Day of Judgment 2 Gideon Jura 4 Kor Firewalker 2 […]

#5 Five With Flores » Yep - All is Dust on 06.03.10 at 9:08 pm

[…] 1 Jace Beleren 1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor 4 Baneslayer Angel 2 Day of Judgment 2 Gideon Jura 4 Kor Firewalker 1 […]

#6 Five With Flores » Stealing Elspeth Tirel on 09.09.10 at 9:47 am

[…] is the thing holding back Planeswalkers like Liliana Vess or Gideon Jura. Remember when we reviewed Gideon Jura when he was new? We said Baneslayer Angel was the better 3WWā€¦ And really, even with the success […]

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