A Review of Magic: the Gathering’s Dungeons & Dragons: Adventure in the Forgotten Realms Expansion, Part 2 of 4: WUBRG

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With the imminent release of the new D&D: Forgotten Realms set, we’re meeting in a grimy tavern for some ale and to review the set’s new cards. In this article – the second of four in our series – we’ll examine the monocolored cards and talk about what they mean for the game. Note that while typically our coverage is focused on Commander (and to some extent Conquest), we’re expanding our view just a little bit, and as part of that we’re joined this week by new author and Pro Tour player David Inglis, who will be writing regular content for the site moving forward.

 

White

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

+2 Mace

BPhilipYork: You either love this card or hate it. I hate it.

FromTheShire: Flavor win, EDH fail. There’s way more impactful equipment out there.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

 

 

Cleric Class

BPhillipYork: The +1/+1 trigger is the real prize here, kind of a backup Heliod, and the level 3 will let you return a combo piece that you’ve possibly buried in the graveyard.  I think there are ways to work this in decks built around lifegain or counters, and this fits well with the recent Strixhaven +1/+1 counter theme.

FromTheShire: I mostly like the first two levels for decks like Karlov of the Ghost Council, but there will definitely be times where the third level is clutch.

 

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Dawnbringer Cleric

BPhillipYork: I think this has potential with commanders that abuse ETB triggers like Brago, King Eternal, or Orah, Skyclave Heirophant

Dinglis: Solid but unexciting sideboard card. Likely to see play in Standard/ Pioneer in sideboards.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Flumph

BPhillipYork: Yes, finally the good white card draw.  I guess you could use this with stuff like Hullbreacher… Oh. I guess not.

FromTheShire: Good old flumphs. I’m never a big fan of giving my opponents any resources but this isn’t a bad political card.

 

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Grand Master of Flowers

BPhillipYork: Is this like Dragonlance. Get the dragonlance. Lance him.

FromTheShire: This is a super cool lore card that unfortunately isn’t really built for battlecruiser magic.

 

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Guardian Of Faith

BPhillipYork: This is a cool card, a cool way to dodge wraths and stuff. Too bad he has to die to do anything useful.

FromTheShire: Great budget alternative to Teferi’s Protection that is also on a body with two relevant creature types, love it.

TheChirurgeon: I really like this and I’m a fan of them potentially putting phasing in white as a replacement for flicker effects that cause leaves/enters the battlefield effects to trigger. And yeah, I like this as a way to dodge boardwipes.

 

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Icingdeath, Frost Tyrant

BPhillipYork: Listen I read these books and I’m so done with it. A 4/3 flyer with vigilance for 4 that makes a bad piece of equipment is bad. Also shouldn’t your opponent get the equipment? Read the books!

FromTheShire: Icingdeath is well costed for constructed play I think, and having low drop dragons can be nice in a tribe that frequently starts its curve around 6 CMV. That being said, neither the creature itself or the equipment are particularly impressive for general Commander play.

 

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Loyal Warhound

BPhillipYork: I love these. I swear I’m going to make these things work that let you get land if you have less. There has to be something good to do with them.

FromTheShire: Outstanding in any white deck that doesn’t also contain green, and even better if you are set up to do blink shenanigans.

Dinglis: The goodest boi, doing its best Knight Of The White Orchid impression. Coming in tapped is a big deal but a staple for White based decks in Standard.

 

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Minimus Containment

BPhillipYork: I like this card, it’s a fun semi-exile effect and turning something into a treasure is funny.  It’s definitely a way to uptick commander tax.

TheChirurgeon: I think it’s a neat way of giving White more planeswalker removal without giving it another O-Ring.

 

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Moon-Blessed Cleric

BPhillipYork: A possibly playable tutor.

FromTheShire: Extremely playable in my opinion, especially with getting some more good support cards for GW Enchantress in Modern Horizons 2. Idyllic Tutor already sees a ton of play and most of the time I am fine with trading tutoring to hand for a 3/2 body with relevant creature types that can be easily recurred with things like Sun Titan.

 

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Nadaar, Selfless Paladin

BPhillipYork: This guy is emblematic of “venture” effects, and I could see abusing it with something like Brago, could be fun to try to build a dungeon deck around.

FromTheShire: A good value engine and one of the best of the venture cards.

Dinglis: Very similar to Sparring Regiment from Strixhaven. Once the very powerful Throne leaves the format I think this card has a shot.

 

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Oswald Fiddlebender

BPhillipYork: Totally playable, 2 for a 2/2 that tutors is amazing, potentially even a commander, but searching for +1 CMV on artifacts is a powerful ability, and turning treasures into amazing cards like Pithing Needle or Sensei’s Divining Top or Sol Ring or Skullclamp is very good.  A lot of very strong stax artifacts cost 2 also, and could be used with eggs to really ramp up.

FromTheShire: Artifacts are extremely powerful, Birthing Pod is notoriously powerful, I don’t see any way that stapling the two together isn’t powerful. Being on a summoning sick creature means it definitely has a downside compared to Pod but this is outstanding at turning tokens or lands into ramp and answers.

 

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Plate Armor

BPhillipYork: Potentially good in Boros equipment decks or with the new Bant Commander that is all about equipment.

FromTheShire: The buff and the protection are kind of fine but not exciting, being able to reduce the equip cost to 0 has some interesting possibilities though.

TheChirurgeon: The addition of Ward 1 makes this interesting for me, since it’s the next best thing to hexproof/shroud.

 

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Portable Hole

BPhillipYork: I could see possibly playing this if your deck is running some kind of historic draw engine or artifact draw engine, or if you have a way to punish creatures entering play and a way to blink your own permanents, some kind of weird Hushbringer and Brago, Returned King combo, but given that it targets below mana value 2, that’s going to miss most critical cards.

FromTheShire: I don’t care about this for EDH but in other formats this is some extremely solid removal. As with most of the set, the flavor is pretty on point as well.

Dinglis: Now we are talking. This card has applications from Standard to Vintage – an awesome design and a lot of power. Maybe White will be getting more good cards soon.

 

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Potion of Healing

BPhillipYork: More eggs is always good, though this might be arguably the worst card we can call an egg.

 

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Teleportation Circle

BPhillipYork: It might be possible to build a pseudo-Brago deck around this kind of thing, there are now several effects that exile at end step.

FromTheShire: This slots right in to a bunch of blink and flicker value decks as redundant effect. It’s nice that this also does artifacts, not just creatures.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

The Book of Exalted Deeds

BPhillipYork: Apparently the hotness with this thing is to put it on a land, like specifically Faceless Haven, once your haven is an angel and it has the counter it will stop being a creature but you still can’t lose the game and your opponents can’t win the game. And it’s a land, which is hard to destroy. You could even put Consecrate Land on it, though it can still be blinked or you can be forced to sacrifice it, white actually has a lot of ways to protect land

FromTheShire: I like this. Pure lifegain decks in Commander tend to not be that great, but incidental lifegain in addition to a decks larger plan is actually really useful and this gives you another way to turn that into value. Also great for making you archenemy in an angel tribal deck when you put the counter on a Sigarda, Host of Herons or Avacyn, Angel of Hope. Similarly can be combined with Mutavault and Darksteel Garrison.

 

Blue

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Contact Other Plane

BPhillipYork: As an instant I think you could be playing this, 4 mana value is very steep but you have a 50% chance to scry and draw, and late-game card filtering can be quite important.

Dinglis: A card a previous Dinglis would have loved. Its been a long while since Glimmer of Genius has been good enough, but maybe there’s a small chance.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Demilich

FromTheShire: Cheats mana costs, lets you flash spells back, and is recursive? Seems like a recipe for busted stuff happening to me. This is the kind of card that makes you doubt if you can actually get there reliably and then remember that Manamorphose exists.

Dinglis: Despite being a competitive player I really wish this card was legendary. I think there is a good shot this card makes it in Legacy and maybe Modern. Its a cool design and gives me some Tomb of Doom Vibes.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Feywild Trickster

BPhillipYork: Fun card, definitely playable, not sure how exactly but generating bird tokens is definitely a step towards making die rolling powerful.

FromTheShire: Making 1/1 Dragons is cool but I question the ability of a deck to fit both Dragons matter and dice rolling matters in.

 

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Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar

BPhillipYork: Not super strong per se, but given the card draw ability you could certainly build a whole deck around landing unblockables for card draw, but in mono-blue tough to build out a winning strategy with your commander basically just serving as a draw engine.

FromTheShire: You can certainly make this work as a monocolored deck, but this really shines in decks like Edric, Spymaster of Trest or one of the Ninja based decks where it both draws you cards and lets you swing freely with your creatures which are generally small.

 

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Lymrith, Desert Doom

BPhillipYork: This is effectively possibly Ancestral Recal every turn, but on the other hand you have to empty your hand, and your heavily invested flying dragon loses hexproof when it attacks unless you either give it vigilance or come up with a way to make it not tapped, which blue has rather a lot of. So you could definitely build around this or put it into certain slower decks. Possibly hilarious consequences with Double strike, since you could hit, draw, cast your spells, draw 3 again, netting 6 cards a turn.

FromTheShire: Definitely more of a control finisher than a Commander All Star but the base rate of hit them for 5 and draw a card in a Dragon deck is perfectly fine.

Dinglis: I have cast many a Dragonlord Ojutai in my time. Ward 4 isn’t quite hexproof but it’s still going to be pretty good. Very sold finisher for Blue decks in Standard and will see a lot of play in Control and Midrange.

 

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Mordenkainen

BPhillipYork: I recognize the name, and I guess he’s a planeswalker, so, kay, that +2 is extremely solid, and of course drawing your library is very good, but 6 mana is a lot to invest looking for a payoff in 3 turns. In a combo deck with The Chain Veil though this is potentially setting you up for a win.

FromTheShire: Pretty standard plus for value, minus to protect itself Planeswalker. I want those doggo tokens though.

 

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Pixie Guide

BPhillipYork: Well there it is. Generate tokens, deal damage, and roll twice. Get a lot of die rolling and die rolling triggers going on and you’re bound to do something.

FromTheShire: The flavor is perfect, it’s literally granting you 5E’s Advantage. I don’t remember the numbers exactly offhand but I seem to recall this being on average something like a +5 to your dice result, and absolute auto include if your deck cares about rolling dice. Do note that this isn’t limited to d20’s.

 

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Ray of Frost

BPhillipYork: I think this is quite playable pseudo removal for enchantress decks.

 

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Secret Door

BPhillipYork: So, obviously, you’d need a lot of mana or cost reducers, but this could let you venture into the dungeon over and over if you set things up right.

FromTheShire: Also seems generally good in Arcades, the Strategist.

TheChirurgeon: This being the first time we’re bringing up venturing into the dungeon on a card isn’t a great sign. Seems like you’d be better off trying to reproduce ETB venture into the dungeon effects rather than dump mana into this.

 

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Soulknife Spy

BPhillipYork: A rogue elf Thieving Magpie is probably playable in rogues decks.

FromTheShire: Seems on the expensive side for what it does to me and I don’t think Rogues are hurting for playables at this point.

 

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Tasha’s Hideous Laughter

BPhillipYork: I think this card is quite strong, though usually, you want to actually mill, so it won’t get any mill doublers or damage off milling, but even so just exiling a bunch of cards is often good, with the low mana value of many commander decks this could exile upwards of 10 cards, though as your pod gets less powerful this card gets worse.

FromTheShire: It says a lot about how far mill has come in Modern that I don’t think this is a windmill slam main deck auto include. I still think it’s very good, with the mana curve of a lot of Modern decks this could be 1/3 of your opponent’s deck gone with one card.

Dinglis: As the Mill guy in Modern I am very excited for anything new the deck gets. This seems like a good sideboard card for the deck and maybe a main deck copy in some metagames. Powerful card and am excited to give it a go.

TheChirurgeon: I really like this as a mill condition. Also excited to see how this plays out, though I agree with FTS – it’s a good thing that we’re now so far into good mill cards that this is a consideration and not a slam dunk.

 

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The Blackstaff of Waterdeep

BPhillipYork: At first blush, this seems quite not great, but sometimes turning an artifact into a creature lets you do something really abusive, like untapping it repeatedly. In those scenarios this is a very tutorable artifact, unfortunately, it has the caveat you control otherwise it’d be very nice for blowing up combo pieces with creature removal.

FromTheShire: I agree that this can go wild if you plan to abuse it and is otherwise mostly uninteresting.

 

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Trickster’s Talisman

BPhillipYork: Definitely playable where you want to double up on triggers or have the ability to search out artifacts easily for some purpose. A lot of combos require 2 of a thing, which is one of the difficulties of commander, however, most of the creatures you’d really want to copy you don’t usually want to swing with.

 

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Wizard Class

BPhillipYork: Wow the wizard class one is good, who knew. A bit upset, flavor-wise, they didn’t make this one of the most expensive ones to cast and level up, because old school wizards took the most exp to level. Though that’s back in the dawn of time, 2nd Edition. Drawing is good, and putting +1/+1 counters is good. Like, can be really really good, say on cards like Sage of Hours or hilarious interaction with Pir and Toothy.

FromTheShire: The counters can get out of hand quickly with all the doubling effects Simic gets and cards like Mindless Automaton and Sage of Fables.

 

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Wizard’s Spellbook

BPhillipYork: 7 is really really expensive, but for Izzet and other combinations that turn the graveyard into a resource this is a potentially game-winning card, I’ve already built a deck that tries to storm off with this and Clock of Omens.

FromTheShire: Great for big dumb splashy spellslinger decks with Thousand-Year Storm and great for combo decks too, what’s not to love?

 

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You Come to a River

BPhillipYork: Nice flavor and really solid, really really solid toolboxyness for a bog-standard return target nonland permanent. So definitely playable, especially if you have creatures that you sometimes have to get through.

FromTheShire: I guess I could see it in decks like Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest.

 

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You Find the Villains Lair

BPhillipYork: A toolboxy counterspell may be playable, but its 1UU, which 1 more and UU, is really rough to get at super competitive places, but if you have the ability to really profit off discarding or reusing your graveyard or something like that could be a control and selection piece.

FromTheShire: Even with the modality I think there’s way better stuff to run in Commander.

Dinglis: We have come a long way since Cancel. Looting generally isn’t great for a Control deck but I think this has good legs if we get a draw go control deck back in standard.

 

Black

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Acererak the Archlich

BPhilipYork: Yeah boy, this is by far the most fun way to turbo through dungeons. I don’t think that’s any good, but with a couple of cost reducers and maybe K’rrik, Son of Yawgmoth, you could just keep casting it over and over.

FromTheShire: As a commander I’m not particularly a fan, but in a Sultai deck with Aluren and Rooftop Storm this is insane value. You don’t actually have to venture into the Tomb when you cast him, so with either enabler you can loop through the other two dungeons as many times as you want.

 

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Asmodeus the Archfiend

BPhilipYork: This is kind of a balanced version of Griselbrand, pay 4 black and lose 7 life to draw 7 cards, and you can no longer draw. So probably playable, but it’s costed right to make it expensive to get into play, and not something super excited. Also risky, if someone can blow it up with a bunch of cards exiled you’re SOL, but nicely they respond to the draw 7 with blowing it up, you get the card draw, so that’s probably the best use, cast it, throw draw seven on the stack, then sac it to pay for something (like Village Rites)

FromTheShire:  As someone who grew up on Necropotence, I’m a big fan. Bonus points if you can lock everyone out of drawing cards while you cheat your way around it by putting cards into your hand.

 

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Death-Priest of Myrkul

BPhilipYork: Neat for some kind of weird tribal undead deck.

FromTheShire: Very cool to see a lord for all 3 of these tribes stapled together along with a token creature.

 

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Devour Intellect

BPhilipYork: I think this “if mana from a treasure” mechanic as a bonus is a really neat mechanic. It could be a bit frustrating, now you need to keep track of the sources of mana in your pool, though generally people aren’t adding lots of mana to their pool then having it sit there. But I could see it coming up – for example, someone casts Karn, the Great Creator in response you sac all your treasures, then someone plays a card draw spell. Now you have a bunch of mana in your pool, but don’t really remember where it came from. Nonetheless, I think it’s a neat mechanic, this card is a pretty normal variant of a bog-standard black spell.

FromTheShire: I like the mechanic but I’m mainly here for the excellent art of one of my favorite mean creatures.

 

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Ebondeath, Dracolich

BPhilipYork: Anything you can cast from your graveyard over and over is playable, really anytime you can do something over and over it’s breakable, under the right circumstances.  I think this card won’t have a huge amount of impact in EDH, but it is a flash flier, that’s a 5/2, and also a zombie and a dragon, which is a lot of interesting options in a tight package.

FromTheShire: Not a commander I’m building around but this is a great recursive threat in Dragon decks or sacrifice decks.

 

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Forsworn Paladin

BPhilipYork: I think this is neat, gives black a nice 1 drop, gives you a way to generate value if you can’t use all your mana. I like cards that make it so you aren’t so punished for not tapping out on creatures or sorceries every turn. Also giving deathtouch to Mayhem Devil is amazing, and it gives you saccable permanents too.

FromTheShire: Solid utility creature, and granting deathtouch to a pinger or trampler is very useful.

 

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Gelatinous Cube

BPhilipYork: I would think the primary use of this would be, in commander, to exile enemy commanders, and force them to up their commander tax. They may respond by blowing up your ooze, but if they don’t, you can just sit there. If the ooze controller loses the game with a commander exiled that commander is just gone, the trigger to return it can’t enter the stack.

FromTheShire: Exiling creatures is always useful, even better that you can then steal the card, and the flavor is on point.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

 

Grim Wanderer

BPhilipYork: It’s cool flavor-wise, sadly not going to make much of a splash in commander.

FromTheShire: As the resident Goblins in All Formats player I’m pretty stoked about this. Virtually any Goblin deck is going to be running Skirk Prospector at the very least so turning on the tragic backstory isn’t a problem, plus you can always bolt or block and then flash this in as well. It sits at the same spot as Munitions Expert and both cost a black mana so it adds an additional decision point for your opponent. A 5/3 for 2 is obviously great, and that’s before you start layering on the lord effects and the like that fair Goblin lists load up on. You can also cheat it in to play early on with Aether Vial which is also already in lists that aren’t Conspicuous Snoop combo decks. With Modern being what it is these days, 5 power hitting the board turn 2 is by no means a game ender but it absolutely puts serious pressure on your opponent to deal with it right away or lose. Not being an X/1 is huge for the same reason, this requires actual resources to deal with, not trading off a random token.

 

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Hoard Robber

BPhilipYork: Generating treasures for hitting someone with a rogue is probably playable in a mill/rogue deck. It’s fun too.

 

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Lolth, Spider Queen

BPhilipYork: This just doesn’t seem relevant to commander, though you could definitely put it in a weird tribal spider deck.

FromTheShire:  I actually kind of like this more than most walkers for Commander because you have an easy path to cast this and ultimate it for the emblem in the same turn. In a sacrifice based go wide tokens deck I think this has some real promise, and it amplifies how dangerous even one of those tokens getting through is.

 

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Power Word Kill

BPhilipYork: This is a totally playable, really very strong creature control.  The downsides won’t come up very often, if they will, and you know your pod, just don’t play it. A card that gets better vs better decks.

FromTheShire: Outstanding spot removal in multiple formats. The creature types may come up on Commanders slightly more than Victim of Night but you are still absolutely going to have plenty of good targets for this.

Dinglis: Likely the best 2 drop removal in Pioneer. It slices, it dices, and kills a lot of what you are going to see.

 

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Sphere of Annihilation

BPhilipYork: This is definitely brutal board clear, it’s just slow and the sort of thing that begs for your opponents to blow it up. If your deck is built not to be affected by it, they are even more likely to blow it up.

FromTheShire: The delayed effect is definitely a problem though hitting everything alive and dead is useful. Absolutely killing it flavor wise.

 

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The Book of Vile Darkness

BPhilipYork: I think this is neat, the whole Vecna thing is cool, up with Vecna, it’s a goofy fun battlecruiser thing that’s scary but not actually that strong, and hard to assemble.

FromTheShire: Extremely cool, and an absolute ton of people are going to try and pull the assembly off. if you enjoy trying to assemble Kaldra you’ll love this too. The art is siiiick as well.

 

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Vorpal Sword

BPhilipYork: I say again, why does it not go snicker snack? Also, pay 8 to make someone lose the game is fairly intense. The main use is just to give deathtouch to a pinger, like Mayhem Devil or Havoc Devil or use it for board clear with something like Thrashing Wumpus. The threatening upside is almost more of a downside, since it becomes a threat your opponents won’t want to leave on the board.

FromTheShire: Lose the game effects are fun, this one asks quite a lot from you though. Unlike cards like Phage the Untouchable nothing immediately springs to mind as a way to cheat the steep cost.

 

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Warlock Class

BPhilipYork: The level 3 is cool but it costs way too much.  If it was each end step, maybe. The level 1 would be worth playing for solely if it was every end step. As is it’s just overcost. Probably brutal in some kind of standard though.

FromTheShire: It’s expensive, but the decks running Wound Reflection and Archfiend of Despair are stoked to have another copy of this effect.

 

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Westgate Regent

BPhilipYork: A flying 4/4 that doubles in power every time it hits an opponent is going to get beefy fast. 5 mana isn’t so much, for slower games. And if you give this thing double strike it will get out of control very very fast, and W/B vampires are a thing, and white gives double strike fairly easily. So what I’m saying is, 4/4, 8/8, 16/16, next turn you’ll do 16 then return, almost certainly killing someone, then you’ll have a 48/48 flier.

FromTheShire: Yeah this is an out of control vampire. The tribal decks this will go in contain plenty of lord effects and counter synergies to make sure this pops off even faster too.

 

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Wight

BPhilipYork: Kind of cool to see an iconic D&D monster, but I feel like it’s kind of weak for all that.

FromTheShire: I’m generally not a fan of this kind of card, especially in Commander. It’s unlikely you’ll get the trigger, and even if you do, the zombie isn’t that big of a deal.

Dinglis: A slow two for one, I like the design and this could be a good one in some creature match ups but I am a little skeptical.

 

Red

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Barbarian Class

BPhilipYork: Yes, let us roll multiple dice.  And the level 3 is great, really really solid utilitarian ability.  So generally this seems like a good card, potentially crazy card.

FromTheShire: Another instance of Advantage and I love it. It’s also perfect since that is one of the main mechanics of Barbarians in 5E.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Boots of Speed

BPhilipYork: This is a great card, totally playable in any deck that has red.  Giving haste for 1 colorless is amazing. So many utilitarian things to do with this. But generally, it’s to get an attack-based commander swinging faster.

FromTheShire: Haste effects are great, I can’t ever see myself playing this over Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots though. If I’m playing a haste enabler that doesn’t also grant protection I usually want something that grants it to my whole team.

TheChirurgeon: Yeah that’s fair but I think you’d just run this in addition to Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots in your “turn-the-Commander-sideways” deck/meta.

 

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Brazen Dwarf

BPhilipYork: Oh good now whenever we roll dice, we do 1 damage to each opponent. Well group slug is alive and well. Also neat that it’s a dwarf to help out Magda, Brazen Outlaw

FromTheShire: Auto include in a dice rolling based deck.

 

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Burning Hands

Dinglis: Take that, Lovestruck Beast.

FromTheShire: Can definitely see this in a lot of sideboards with how pushed green is these days.

 

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Chaos Channeler

BPhilipYork: So with this card, you’ll exile and be able to play 1.55 cards a turn, that’s perfectly respectable. For a 4-drop it’s a bit slow, but it’s consistent, and its helpfully play cast, so you can get your land drops here. I think this is playable at mid tables and below.

FromTheShire: Solid card advantage, and if you’re trying to make the dice deck a thing in Commander, you’re going to need every playable you can get.

 

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Critical Hit

BPhilipYork: This is what I think of as a really good card design. It’s a fun card, it’s a great callback to a mechanic in another game. It’s strong, but not broken, certainly not game-breaking but a very good value and slots really well into some kind of roll deck, and double strike is a strong but not overly strong ability, granting it is quite useful as an instant.

FromTheShire: Crushing that flavor game as hard as the greataxe wielding Barbarian is crushing skulls.

 

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Delina, Wild Mage

BPhilipYork: This is definitely going into my U/R die rolling deck. Creating tokens like this is quite good, plenty of crazy ETBs to get or big beaters to create, or you can clone your commander, especially if it’s someone like Neheb, the Eternal or Goku.. I mean Godo, Bandit Warlord.

FromTheShire: Extremely good value, and if you can get this paired with an advantage enabler you can potentially be putting a whooooooole lot of tokens out. Love it.

 

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Earth-Cult Elemental

BPhilipYork: This seems like a bit of a sleeper card to me. Yeah, it costs 6, but red is starting to get some good reanimating abilities in Boros and already has some in Rakdos. If this is entering the field over and over it’s really dangerous for your opponents. Strictly to be cheated out, but even so, making each opponent sacrifice 1-2 permanents can be quite huge.

FromTheShire: I’m further down on this, but if you can loop reanimations of it it can certainly be very powerful. I feel like if you get to that point though, wouldn’t you rather be looping something better?

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Flameskull

BPhilipYork: Not good enough, too slow.

FromTheShire: This card is rad as hell, but not for Commander.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Hobgoblin Bandit Lord

BPhilipYork: I think this is a strong card in Krenko, Mob Boss decks and other goblin rushing decks. Outside of that, not too big.

FromTheShire: Oh baby. The 3 drop lord spot is pretty crowded for Goblins, but that ability is very nice. Goblins can pop out quite a few creatures in its explosive turns, and being able to either kill a problematic creature or just go to the face is great. This is also a red way to end the game for Snoop decks so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in the awkward situation of having infinite red mana and needing black to finish your kill.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Inferno of the Star Mounts

BPhilipYork: I think this ability is hilarious, but it’s way too expensive.  20 mana?  6 for a 6/6 flier with haste?

FromTheShire: It’s not a SMART way to spend a bunch of mana but I can’t wait to do it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Meteor Swarm

BPhilipYork: This is a neat way of making a new split X spell, since Wizards have used up most of the ways. But hitting even 3 creatures or planeswalkers with it costs 6 mana, 3 of it red, and I think that’s just not good enough. Only really strong and efficient if you’re killing two 4/4s, which in commander at least is rarely a big concern.

FromTheShire: Personally this is a big whiff. Meteor Storm is an iconic 9th level spell that can level entire armies and we get 8 damage? I know blasting is frequently suboptimal in D&D, but geeze.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Minion of the Mighty

BPhilipYork: I love to see new kobolds, and this is a cool interesting ability. I don’t think the support really exists for it yet, but I like the linkage between kobolds and dragons, and I hope Wizards prints more cards that enable dragons by using kobolds.

FromTheShire: Really like the ability and I think this slots right in to Prossh, Skyraider of Kher.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Orb of Dragonkind

BPhilipYork: This is an okay accelerant if you are running a dragon deck, and late-game you can fetch another dragon with it.

FromTheShire: Iconic item that fits beautifully into Dragon tribal decks, love it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Plundering Barbian

BPhilipYork: This is a potentially playable mid creature with a nice toolboxy ability, if you need dwarves for some reason or are mostly wanting treasures.

 

Credit: WIzards of the Coast

Unexpected Windfall

BPhilipYork: This is on par with several of red’s card-selection cards, getting treasures and having to discard 1 for 2 is nice to have at instant speed, there are several ways to generate value out of it like Galazeth Prismari.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Wish

BPhilipYork: Neat, I guess. Irrelevant in Commander.

FromTheShire: I definitely think this will see constructed play. No impact on Commander unless your playgroup rule 0’s wishboards.

TheChirurgeon: Honestly, wish effects not working in Commander is one of the format’s big misses, though in kitchen table play that never matters.

Dinglis: Unlikely going to be a big deal in Legacy, Pioneer might want this in Lotus Field to diversify your wish spells to make you better versus Extraction effects.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

You Find Some Prisoners

BPhilipYork: This is a cool card, so many uses. It’s a toolbox, lets you blow up an artifact, always nice.  But the ability to exile the top 3 is really great here. If you’re land screwed, grab a land, but when your opponent tutors to the top, you can use this and take his win con, or his big value swing. And it’s till the end of your next turn, so you get to cast this then use a land drop or whatever you want, untap your land. And it exiles all 3, which is really, really nice.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Xorn

BPhilipYork: Lol awesome. Whatever is going on with token generating and doubling and stuff, I guess Wizards is trying to teach math again, getting back to their roots, and this time it’s exponents.

FromTheShire: Getting an extra Treasure token whenever you make them is fantastic value.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Zalto, Fire Giant Duke

BPhilipYork: One of the few other ways to venture into the dungeon over and over, I’m sure this can be broken. Give him indestructible or something. Or as broken as venturing is.

FromTheShire: This feels like it has potential, you absolutely need to do some work so you don’t proc this once and have to recast him.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Zariel, Archduke of Avernus

BPhilipYork: Extra combats are no joke, and getting an untap on a single creature and an extra combat every turn is pretty rad. The cost make its fairly difficult to pull off though, you’ll have to drop this, then +1 it twice, then get the emblem, which is quite a lot to wait for. I love the devil tokens though, those can be really a lot of fun.

FromTheShire: In most games your planeswalkers will die before even coming close to getting their ultimate, so the other abilities really need to be worth having the card in your deck to begin with and Zariel falls flat for me in that regard. At least he enters with enough loyalty to get the ultimate with Doubling Season out.

 

Green

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Choose Your Weapon

BPhilipYork: You definitely could use this card to pump a commander out of control for a kill, use it with the Tarrasque or something like that, at 3 mana it’s pretty comparable to other giant growth-ish cards, and the flexibility to blow up fliers is really nice.  There’s a number of playable dragons now who will die to this, as well as Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus, and other commanders like Ooona, so I think it definitely has potentially, mostly in some sort of EDH mono-green stompy type deck.

FromTheShire: Almost any time a card says “double” on it it’s at least worth a look, and this can absolutely KO someone out of nowhere.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Circle of Dreams Druid

BPhilipYork: At some point more ramp is just nuts.  This is effectively Gaea’s Cradle, a card which is undoubtedly a strong, but it’s not really because it’s not a land, so much easier to kill, and it costs GGG, and it makes you very vulnerable to board wipes, with it’s 1 toughness damage based or wrath type is pretty much okay.

FromTheShire: Obviously this card is extremely strong if you untap with it and it sits in play. It’s a serious IF however, because everyone knows exactly how nuts a Gaea”s Cradle is, and as a 2/1 this dies to EVERYTHING. Still probably an auto include in every Elf and Druid deck.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Druid Class

BPhilipYork: The land drop is good, the trigger is good, the level 3 is kind of meaningless and almost a downside, as generally, you don’t want your lands dying to creature control, but of course you don’t have to use it.  In Abzan or Selesnaya decks the 1 life trigger is really nice, you want lots of triggers of 1 so that “whenever you gain life” things go off a lot.  With fetchlands and such this can mean more than 1 trigger per turn, with a Heliod Sun-Crowned in play or a Dina, Soul Steeper you are getting lots of triggers.  I think this is one of the stronger class cards.

FromTheShire: I’m mainly here for the extra land drop thought the trickle of lifegain is nice as well.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ellywick Tumblestrum

BPhilipYork: This feels boring in commander, not worth the risk of just losing it to a flyer.

FromTheShire: Another interesting walker that ultimately I don’t think makes the cut for most Commander decks.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Froghemoth

BPhilipYork: This is yet another amazing mid-range mono-green stompy card.  It seems like someone at WotC has a phobia or frogs or something, which is weird, frogs are friends, I love Kermit the frog, and apparently it’s very easy being green.  Destroying people’s graveyards is really helpful, and this guy will ramp up in power rapidly.  Of course, this is for slower, battle cruiser type games, but this seems like a really great card for a format like Conquest.  For cEDH this obviously isn’t even remotely going to make the cut.

FromTheShire: This is like Westgate Regent in that it gets out of hand rapidly, however it ALSO has trample and haste to make sure you connect and gains you life on top of it. What a beating.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Hunter’s Mark

BPhilipYork: I think these not fight cards are fun, and can be quite good.  I guess rather than fight it’s just a punch card, there are some creatures where a +1/+1 counter goes a long way (see sage of hours) and getting to blow up a utility creature with it is a great option.

FromTheShire: For when you absolutely positively have to tell that pesky blue creature to die.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Instrument of the Bards

BPhilipYork: Another decent 1 drop for green is nice to have, you probably don’t want to drop this in turn 1, but if you somehow don’t draw any elves it’s nice to have.  A bit slow, functionally, and 4 for a reusable search is about what you want to be balanced.  Generating a treasure is a nice bonus if it’s legendary.  I don’t see any reason you can’t drop it and instantly search for a Walking Ballista, which is a win-con, and that instantly makes the card a lot stronger.

FromTheShire: The ability is cool but boy is it slow. If this is your turn 1 play you’ll probably get a thing or two from it before it eats a Krosan Grip, but drawing it on turn 8 is going to feel pretty awful.

 

Credit: WIzards of the Coast

Long Rest

BPhilipYork: This mana value stuff is neat, but it’s a lot of mana.  In theory, this could be used to do crazy things in combination with life loss triggers and things like Syr Konrad to do crazy things, but it’s just so expensive, and GGG and X is a lot of mana of specific types.

FromTheShire: Another interesting one. This starts off as a slightly worse Eternal Witness, then by the end of the game you can not only get a ton of card advantage by returning most of your graveyard, you also undo all of the damage you have taken up until that point.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ochre Jelly

BPhilipYork: This goes trivially recursive, so it’s dangerous.  Hardened Scales and a sac outlet means you can sac once each turn for some effect.

FromTheShire: Another good ooze, another card with excellent flavor.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Old Gnawbone

BPhilipYork: The effect is hilariously swingy, This just screams battlecruiser card to me, but it’s pretty like crazy if it does hit.  At some point though, if you are going wide, you are balancing ramp and big creatures, and I’m not sure this is as strong as a Craterhoof Behemoth or an End-Raze Forerunners.  Nonetheless getting like 10 treasures or more a turn is pretty hilarious.  It could also be used with cards that generate extra attack steps to pay for the extra attack steps, essentially another copy of Neheb, the Eternal in a Gruul deck.

FromTheShire: Now this card….This card is pretty busted. Green already completely dominates the ramp game, and Gnawbone dials that up to 11. Then you remember it’s also the color of Doubling Season and Second Harvest and…..

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Owlbear

BPhilipYork: I’ve thought owlbears are stupid for a very long time.  This does not change my opinion.  Also, this owlbear looks like it has shoulder cancer or something.

FromTheShire: This sees play in exactly the Ayula, Queen Among Bears deck but I had to shout out this icon.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ranger Class

BPhilipYork: So this class card is all about level 3, and you’re paying 8 mana to get there.  See and cast off the top is strong, but 8 mana to get there is a lot.  Probably too much.  Okay in battlecruiser, or if you have a truly absurd amount of ramp and card draw off creatures.

FromTheShire: All three levels are useful but we’re mainly after the 3rd level card advantage, because Green has been sorely lacking that in recent history, clearly.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

The Tarrasque

BPhilipYork: I like this design a lot, creatures that get abilities by being cast.  Personally, I think it should be uncounterable and also have regeneration or some kind of auto-recursion from your graveyard.  Like “you can cast this from your graveyard”.  Anyway, it’s cool and fun, and kind of stupid, and I think it’s a great card, but totally irrelevant to competitive play in commander.

FromTheShire: Boy. Haste and ward only if it was cast, and no trample even then? Fights one creature per turn? This is another big miss for me, I should never be happier to cast a Froghemoth than the mythical Tarrasque, destroyer of cities and adventuring parties. I really don’t want my 9 mana legendary to be stonewalled forever by 2 squirrels per turn.

TheChirurgeon: This is far below what I expected for the Tarrasque from a power level standpoint.

 

Varis, Silverymoon Ranger

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

BPhilipYork: Yeah more venture stuff, cool, neato, reach and ward 1 is nice, the cost is about right, playable in a deck where you insist on venturing, though the “only once a turn” is pretty limiting.  Would “only twice a turn” be too much?

FromTheShire: There’s some potential here with Simic flash decks, or even just Yeva, Nature’s Herald, anything where you can trigger Varis multiple times per turn cycle.

 

Werewolf Pack Leader

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

BPhilipYork: Kind of neat, GG for a 3/3 is neat, and card draw off attacking is valuable to keep an engine going but probably not meaningful in commander, and it sort of begs to get bolted before you attack.

FromTheShire: I don’t think this does much of anything in Commander other than go into the Werewolf decks of the few people who built those. Green has so many better ways to draw cards I can’t see ever running the pack leader.

 

Next Time: Multicolored and Colorless Cards

That wraps up our look at the set’s monocolored (WURBG) cards. Join us on Friday as we do a deeper dive into the set’s multicolored and colorless cards, picking out our favorites, and talking about the future build-arounds. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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