Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Using Kinnan in Commander or Brawl
Green/blue Kinnan offers one of Magic's best generals, whether for tabletop commander or online MTG Arena. He only needs two mana and lets your non-lands tap for one extra mana; as if that weren't enough, he can instantly pay 7 to free-play a non-human creature from among your deck's top five cards.
It's easy to see synergies; load your deck with non-land mana rocks and mana creatures for fast resources, and make sure you have some non-creatures for Kinnan to find. Arena players are all-too familiar with Kinnan staples, like Llanowar Elves for ramp and Jin-Gitaxias Core Augur for a win con, but many worthwhile cards have fallen under the radar—here are ten underrated but useful spells for Kinnan historic brawl decks in Magic: The Gathering!
10. The First Iroan Games
Admittedly, as a saga enchantment, this doesn't have much synergy with Kinnan, at least at first. But over four turns, First Iroan Games creates a 1/1 token, gives a creature three +1/+1s, draws two cards if you control a creature with four or more power, and lastly creates a gold token (which sacrifices itself for a mana).
If you can hit all of these triggers, that's a lot of benefits for a reasonable mana cost, pressuring foes with a strong creature and refilling your hand. Plus, with Kinnan out, the gold token can generate two mana instead of just one, almost entirely refunding the mana cost.
9. Ranger Class
Ranger class is a great card for both immediate benefit and long-term advantage. On entry, it creates a 2/2 wolf, so you've already gotten a solid body for low cost. Pay two more mana to unlock the next class level, which gives a +1/+1 whenever you attack, and four more to let you play creatures from the top of your deck!
All are welcome additions, particularly the last effect, which helps Kinnan maintain advantage after exploding through his hand. My one complaint is that at two-mana, it'll compete with Kinnan as your turn-two play, but that's a nitpick.
8. Wizard Class
An ideal first-turn would include a one-drop mana weenie like Llanowar Elves, but barring that, Wizard Class makes a stellar T1 play. Its first level simply gives you an infinite hand size, useful if underwhelming, but nice setup for later. Three more mana nets level two, which draws two cards, great for ensuring land drops. Five more scores level three, which gives a +1/+1 when you draw.
While not a mana rock or non-creature, Wizard Class is still useful for Kinnan because of its costs working around his T2 entrance and scaling better in the late-game than most one-cost cards.
7. Hypnotic Sprite/Mesmeric Glare
Mesmeric Glare offers a useful if limited counterspell, negating any spell of cost three or less. From there, you can play Sprite from exile, a simple 2/1 flying faerie.
Neither side here is great, but combined, they're a useful combo—remember that simply controlling more creatures empowers cards like Growing Rites of Itlimoc. Plus, unlike normal counterspells, you can play Sprite using Kinnan's effect; certainly an underwhelming choice compared to other non-humans, but much better than a fizzle after seeing three lands and an artifact pop up.
6. Garruk's Uprising
Uprising provides trample to all your creatures, which can be game-winning after Kinnan's found a few fatties. It can also provide advantage, drawing on entry if you control a creature with four or more power and drawing again whenever another enters your field.
I'll admit Uprising isn't usually what you want in an opening hand, as it works better mid to late game, but with the increased deck sizes of brawl and commander, plus a free mulligan, it's rarely an issue.
5. Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner
Like Uprising, Kiora costs three mana and draws whenever a creature with four or more power enters your field. Unlike Uprising, she won't give a draw on entry by already controlling one, but she can accept either blue or green mana in her cost.
More than that, Kiora enters with seven loyalty, and while she doesn't have any loyalty-gaining effects, she can -1 to untap one permanent you control, which can score loads of mana by untapping a Kinnan-boosted nonland.
4. Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
Uro's an amazing card that some players seem to skip since you don't get to keep him if found with Kinnan; he sacrifices himself on entry if he didn't escape from your graveyard (which costs four mana and five other cards exiled from GY). But whenever he enters or attacks, Uro draws a card, gives you three life, and lets you play a bonus land, all useful effects.
Plus, even if he immediately dies, simply entering the field will trigger Uprising and Kiora, giving even more draws.
3. Prophetic Prism
Another T2 competitor with Kinnan, Prism is nonetheless an amazing artifact. On entry, it draws a card, and it can tap and spend a mana of any type to generate one of any color, great for color-fixing.
Kinnan only uses two colors, so some players pass on the fixing since it's rarely needed. But it can save a bad hand full of one land type, and more than that, you're actually gaining mana with Kinnan out, making this a rare ramp/cantrip duo.
2. Marwyn, the Nurturer
For three mana, Marwyn arrives as a disappointing 1/1. However, whenever another elf enters your field, she gets a +1/+1, and she can tap for mana equal to her power.
At worst, this makes her a slightly-more expensive mana weenie, but at best, you'll swarm some elves and generate loads of mana. Give her other +1/+1 counters, perhaps from First Iroan Games or The Great Henge, for even more resources.
A solid commander in her own right, Marwyn's a criminally-underrated card with a surprisingly cheap price, costing well under two dollars!
1. Glasspool Mimic/Glasspool Shore
Here's a versatile two-sided card that becomes whatever you need it to. Play it as a land that enters tapped and provides blue, a respectable T1 option if you'd have nothing to use an untapped land on anyway.
Or, cast Mimic to copy any creature you control. Of course, you probably don't want to duplicate a legendary, but between Kinnan's mana weenies and non-legendary aces like Nyxbloom Ancient, you should have some great targets. Plus, despite her humanoid appearance, Mimic counts as a shapeshift, not a human, meaning she's eligible for the Kinnan search.
Winning With Kinnan in Magic
Today we've seen several underrated Kinnan plays, but don't forget to stock up on staples like Time Warp, Vorinclex, and early-game mana weenies to complete your build. Try to split your mana ramp between creatures and artifacts to make it harder for a board wipe to nuke your field, but for now, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2021 Jeremy Gill