I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of Knight of the Reliquary in the last couple months. Mechanically, it’s a great card, serving as both an engine and a significant beater for the deck. I’m also fond of it in terms of art, and the Bant flavor in general. I like that my Knights are wearing plausible-enough armor, and are in a heroic yet not overblown pose. Kudos to Michael Komarck on that one (other nice art from Komarck includes Finest Hour, Horizon Canopy, Oriss, and Rafiq).
Knights in my deck must have an interesting mix of the familiar and bizarre to deal with.
“Oh, hey, a Hierarch.”
“And…what are those freaky little goblin-looking things?”
“Good lord, it’s Cthulhu!”
And so forth.
In pondering their flavor today, I realized that the flavor text really sets up what’s actually, mechanically, going on with the land sacrifice / search ability. The Knight is using her knowledge of the land – any land, really – to lead a guerilla-style fight through many venues, opening up new connections for the planeswalker as she ducks and dodges through her most familiar territory, Forests and Plains. My Knights seem to be okay with a touch of the insane, as the first pass for most of them is from a Forest through a Terramorphic Expanse into another Forest or Plains. I can just imagine the Knight coaching herself ahead of this move.
“Okay, remember, no matter what I see, just keep moving. The real world will be there on the other side.”
I like that following enough of this guerilla hit-and-run fighting (that is, lots of land searching), the Knights become truly scary opponents, despite just being humans in armor. I’ve had Knights up to 8/8 in tournament play, meaning that they can take down (e.g.) Akroma in a head-to-head fight. We have to imagine the Knight is leaping out of a devastating ambush position and beheading Akroma in one dramatic stroke there.
Or, in other words, Knight of the Reliquary is all about Die Hard in Bant. No wonder they’re so successful, channeling the archetypal action movie.