Modern: Card Highlight - Chandra, Dressed to Kill

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Modern: Card Highlight - Chandra, Dressed to Kill

12/19/21 Comment regular icon0 comments

In today's article, we analyze Chandra, Dressed to Kill's impact and presence on Modern's competitive scenario.

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When a new set comes out, we all like to theorize about it. That one card will see play, another card has some synergy with a specific mechanic or deck... and so on. In Innistrad - Crimson Vow, one of the cards that most caught my attention was the planeswalker Chandra, Dressed to Kill, and since her spoiler I comment on the potential it had to play in a variation of a deck I really like. The fact is that she is finding her place in Modern exactly in Mono Red Obosh and variants, and seeing the performance she has in the deck, I came up with the idea of bringing you a concept that I like to call

context

. As an example, I want to make the comparison between this Chandra and another very famous version of the planeswalker, Chandra, Torch of Defiance!

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Analyzing Chandra, Dressed to Kill

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First, let's talk in more detail about our star. Chandra, Dressed to Kill is a three-mana planeswalker (which is already a great sign, we'll talk about that later) that has two positive abilities and an ultimate. Its first ability generates mana, which makes our Chandra "cost two mana" many times, it's similar to the concept of Teferi, Hero of Dominaria costing 5 mana, but allowing you to cast it and stay with two untapped lands; here, it's possible to cast our planeswalker with three mana and still sequence any red one-drop. Her second ability is a kind of card advantage, but more limited and demands a more expressive volume of red cards in your deck, but still, it's a great use for a planeswalker in a more proactive deck who wants to cast the cards on your own turn, which let's face it, is something Mono Red does a lot. Her ultimate, while not bad, isn't what makes the card useful. Even though Chandra has two positive abilities, a planeswalker with 3 loyalty that doesn't protect itself getting to 7 loyalty is usually only possible in a game that's already won, not to mention it's a costly ultimate that doesn't necessarily win the game immediately. In a small conclusion, it's safe to say that this Chandra is a great utility Planeswalker, generating mana and cards to advance our game further. It is not the card that will win us the game, but it serves as a support for other cards to shine more.

Synergies among cards

Speaking of support for other cards, it's interesting that we better illustrate what our new planeswalker can do, so I've brought here some examples of cards that work really well with the new Chandra.
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Light Up the Stage is one of the best card advantage that red can offer, and it's also a card that looks perfect for use with our new planeswalker, especially given her first ability, as well as to generate mana, Chandra, Dressed to Kill deals one point of damage to the opponent, which is essential to trigger Spectacle. It's almost as if the Planeswalker turns the card into a free spell, which is very important to better sequence the other cards, with mana optimization.
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It's not exactly a synergy, but the fact that we're in a format moment where we have these two creatures is very beneficial to our planeswalker. Sequencing Chandra with another one-drop or removal on turn three would be fine, but being able to make a planeswalker and one of the two most influential creatures in contemporary Modern is immensely valuable. Not to mention that, thanks to the monkey, it is possible to cast Chandra in the second turn and still make another one-mana spell, and this extreme mana optimization that red has makes Chandra, Dressed to Kill have a lot of impact entering the first turns.
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Another significant factor in the usefulness of the new Chandra is that it fits like a glove in Obosh, the Preypiercer decks, not only because it fits naturally into the deck without breaking the Companion rule, but also because her extra mana can pull Horror into your hand and even cast it more easily, without losing proactive plays.

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Decks With Chandra, Dressed to Kill

Of course, decks where our Chandra will shine will be the ones that use the cards mentioned above. Luckily, the cards also play well with each other and even formed a deck, the

Mono Red Obosh

, which easily adapted to the planeswalker.
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As an example, we have a list that made it into the Top 16 of the December 4th Challenge. Here we have a very standardized version of the deck, mixing excellent one-drops with high-impact three-drops; Mono Red Obosh takes advantage of both the extra mana that Chandra offers, and the advantage card that comes with the second ability because this version of the deck comes with the option of not using Light Up the Stage, perhaps as it is a version with a slightly higher curve, different from what we will see below.
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We also have the Boros version, which was ranked seventh in the December 11 Challenge. In this version, you can see a deck much more focused on the new planeswalker, mainly due to the extremely low curve, which allows you to better use her mana ability, but, as it is a more aggressive deck, ways to get more cards are needed and don't run out of gas, which is the best function for Chandra's second ability, as well as needing more ways to get card advantage. Therefore, Light Up the Stage are very well-placed on the list.

Comparison with Chandra, Torch of Defiance

And here's the point I wanted to get to, for that, let's take a look at the other Chandra
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Chandra, Torch of Defiance is a planeswalker with four abilities, two positive, one negative and one "ultimate"; Her positive abilities function very similarly to Chandra, Dressed to Kill, but are arguably more powerful. She adds more mana and her card advantage isn't concerned about the color of the exiled card, besides occasionally dealing damage. Her negative ability is a good way to bring balance to the board, as well as a way to protect herself, something Dressed to Kill doesn't have. The ultimate is still costly, but it has a simpler emblem that will most often deal more damage. But if Torch of Defiance is stronger in everything, why is the new Chandra seeing play? And here we come to talk about

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. Magic is a cost-effective game, and as a result, we frequently opt for cards that are "weaker" but less expensive in mana. That said, for a deck like Mono Red Midrange, the difference between 3 and 4 mana is brutal, in the sense that three mana cards have more utilitarian functions and four mana cards are more focused on impacting the game, and taking In that regard, Chandra, Dressed to Kill does its utilitarian work better than Chandra, Torch of Defiance impacts the board. Obviously, the "Obosh factor" also influences a lot, as the companion is a card currently essential to Mono Red's strategy, which makes Kaladesh's Chandra end up being left out of these lists, in addition to the interactions that the Innistrad version have with better placed cards in the format.

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So, even though Torch of Defiance is a more powerful card, the context in which Modern asks for a better cost-benefit ratio, in addition to several other factors that influence beyond the power level, makes Dressed to Kill a better card to the format.

Conclusion

Analyzing cards individually are processes that end up showing us greater completeness, as in the case of Chandra, which ends up revealing part of how the format environment is behaving, these are interesting topics that improve our analysis quality, and I recommend that everyone do it more often. Thanks for reading!
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Gabriel Nunes

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