Commander Focus: The Goonhammer Ranger Review – Part 2

Hi everyone! Welcome back to another adventure into Dungeon’s and Dragons most neglected cla…I mean… Lord of the Rings’ most prestigious venture! If you missed the first part, check it out here, where I explain the full details of what we’ll be covering. I’ve got a whole bunch to cover, so I’m going to jump right in where we left off; to Isengard!

I do want to note really quickly that we will be skipping some of the less notable ones; you probably won’t touch some of them unless you really want to stick to a pure-Ranger theme.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Erinis, Gloom Stalker

Well this might be one of the less Ranger-y Rangers as far as rules go, but I’m a big fan of this card overall. While less outright powerful than a lot of lands matter Commanders, getting a once per turn Crucible of Worlds can be really strong, especially if your game plan wants to sacrifice lands. Black backgrounds like Scion of Halaster make a great pairing with this one, however you can do some other cool tricks like Sword Coast Sailor to get better protection and access to easy evasion.

Rating: B, what Erinis lacks in raw power and value they make up for in efficiency and flexibility. I still think some other land cards outshine this one a touch, though.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Gloom Stalker

Hey, this card is actually not THAT bad. I wouldn’t really pick it, but don’t underestimate how strong double strike can be. I think vanilla stat stick creatures are pretty awful in Commander, and this is no exception: but if you were running a dungeon themed deck you can do worse.

Rating: D, for DUNGEONS (and/or Dragons)

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Halana and Alena, Partners

This is a fantastic card, if only a touch uninspired as far as Gruul Commanders go. That’s not to say I’m bashing it: you make them huge and they’ll be sure to fuel up your board on all kinds of illicit substances. If you want to go Gruul counters and still have a great Commander to threaten kills, this is a great piece. Just make sure to pack plenty of protection since this is a very Commander-focused strategy.

Outside of being a Commander, they’re a great pairing in a lot of decks that are equipment or aura-focused but need creatures to actually carry the goods for the Commander, aside from the obvious counter synergy.

Rating: A, takes a bit to ramp up, but the payoff is a juicy one.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Halana, Kessig Ranger

She’s pretty neat, but she really takes a lot of mana to get going properly. As much as she’s fantastic with her true partner, I think she’s also great with someone like Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood or Vial Smasher the Fierce who can accelerate the game and synergize with ripping more cards into play for her triggers.

Rating: as a stand-alone card, but her better partner synergies let her punch up pretty well.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Alena, Kessig Trapper

Do you play big things? Do you want cash back NOW for said big things? Call Alena now!

In all seriousness, she gives you mana for playing big dudes. I don’t think she has specific synergies that are notable outside of what we listed for Halana, she’s just more fuel rather than a payoff. Bonus points for being really solid with Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix for a pretty solid dude-storm deck.

Rating: B

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Jadelight Ranger

What was a menace in 60 card formats has become a really solid tribal inclusion in Merfolk, but is pretty lackluster aside from that. Some blink and reanimator decks squeeze this one in too, but at that point I think your deck is just pointing towards being a value pile.

Statistically, it’s usually just a 3/2 that draws a land and mills a card.

Rating: C, a solid general inclusion in Merfolk, but I think doesn’t have much of a case outside of that synergy.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Minsc, Beloved Ranger

I’m gonna be blunt up front: unless you want white, I think the planeswalker version of this card achieves what this was seeking to a bit better. Unless you don’t like the fragility of a ‘walker or want white, I think that’s a bit more interesting.

That being said, Misnc is actually a pretty good card, but just requires too much mana to really effectively use as a beatstick. A lot of the current decks piloted by him tend to be very combo/cEDH focused, which is a sweet deck I should mention. If you want to play a unique combo deck with a sweet Hamster beatdown finish, check this one out, but if you’re looking for a more traditional whacky-boy, you should check out Minsc & Boo, Timeless Heroes as an alternative.

Rating: B from my personal perspective, but if you build this as a proper combo deck for high-power play it can be a serious threat.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Oakhame Ranger

This card was probably solid in limited but don’t get baited by it in Commander: just run an anthem and a token generator separately. It’s not worth the cost.

Rating: D

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Quirion Ranger

This is a classic piece in Birthing Pod type decks and bro-storm archetypes, and that’s basically where it shines. I have to give credit to that it’s real good if you’re either Elf-ballin’ or fast combo-ing though. You’ll know if your deck wants this card based on how much you want to crab rave one card on your board.

Rating: A, even though it’s not my favorite I have to appreciate the explosive potential it brings as a one-drop.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ranger of Eos and Ranger-Captain of Eos

Covering these together because they do basically the same thing. If you have either a hatebears deck that really sometimes needs a certain piece or a combo deck that relies on some small creatures, these are great A+ includes. If not, I don’t think you need to run these.

Bonus points for Soul Sisters decks as well, as they can fetch both out consistently and usually some other goodies.

Rating: A, they’re niche tutors, and even though I don’t love tutors myself they unarguably do that niche very well.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Scryb Ranger

Read Quirion Ranger, but not an Elf, a 2 drop, and more relevant keywords. Not being an Elf is what kind of breaks this one down a bit, but it’s still a great card outside of that.

Rating: B, losing Elf synergy can be brutal in the some of the decks that would want this type of effect. If you don’t need that synergy, this is equal to Quirion basically.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Somberwald Beastmaster

This card is sick but a bit too expensive for what it brings. If you’re in a deck that easily doubles tokens, the value of this one skyrockets though just since it makes 3 reasonably spooky friends when it comes into play. 1/1 stats for a 7 drop hurts, though.

Rating: C

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Turntimber Rangers

Ally decks are pretty tight on cards, but this one usually is good enough to make the cut. I do think it can be quite slow, but Allies tend to be aggressive and explosive enough to pump a bunch of triggers at once on this.

Rating: B, but honestly I’m shocked at how few people run it (<1% on EDHrec). I guess Allies are just not that popular in general, huh.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Varis, Silverymoon Ranger

This card is held back almost exclusively by the lack of overall dungeon support; particularly in mono green. You’ll run out of real synergies so fast you’ll forget dungeons exist by the time you slot in 100 cards.

Rating: D, I really want to like this card for how easy it is to trigger, but it’s just not there.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Verge Rangers

Remember when Mono-White was considered to be so starved of resources that this was like the crème-de-la-crème of spoilers? I actually run this card in Human tribal, where I think it’s not the worst if you don’t have green. That being said, I don’t think this card is actually great since it only provides situational psuedo-card advantage. It’s pretty good if you’re in Humans and don’t have green, but aside from that it’s a bit crept out by now.

Rating: C

That’s all we have for today! Hope you found something new or interesting in the list. Until next time, thank you for reading!

 

If you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.