Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate Review, Part 2 – WUBRG

Magic’s newest expansion has us traveling to Battle for Baldur’s Gate. A new set means new cards to examine, and in this article we’ll talk about the monocolored cards and what they mean for the game in different formats and how they’ll play. Last time we covered the mechanics of the new set, talking about the new and returning mechanics for Battle for Baldur’s Gate; this week we’re looking at the set’s monocolor cards. As usual, we won’t be looking at everything, and we’ll be doing this mostly with an eye for Commander play.

White

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Abdel Adrian, Gorion’s Ward

BPhillipYork: You can definitely make a lot of 1/1s this way. If you combine this with Ranar the Ever-Watchful you can make a lot, like really, really a lot of creatures this way. So the obvious background would be a blue one for this duder. Other than that it’s like a 4/4 for 5 mana, which is fine.

PrinceofBielTan: Abdel is looking like a great include for those Azorius/Blink/Yorion the Sky Nomad decks, I’d be happy to include him there. Find a way to flicker him at instant speed and he saves your board from a wipe too, at the cost of his own life. Even then he comes back as an army of soldiers.

FromTheShire: Excellent tool for flicker decks, and being able to choose a background means you can get easy access to blue if you want this to be your Commander.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ancient Gold Dragon

BPhillipYork: I guess it’s been so long since I played D&D that I have no idea what a gold dragon has to do with blue faerie dragon creature tokens.

PrinceofBielTan: Our white mythic dragon makes tokens, at least it doesn’t gain life. An ETB deck running cards like Impact Tremors loves this. But maybe a good top end of the curve for Soul Sisters decks would be a better fit.

FromTheShire: Not a bad effect, though having to deal combat damage to do the thing is a potential issue for this whole cycle. Still, any of these left unchecked for a turn or two can absolutely dominate a game, and this gets absurd with the Dragon Tempest any Dragon tribal deck is also running.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Archivist of Oghma

BPhillipYork: Obviously this is an exciting card for cEDH players, it’s a typical white card draw triggered off something that someone else does. For cEDH I’d say it will be extremely impactful, since getting it out early should net you several cards. It’s definitely one of those cards that gets worse as your opponents get worse, battlecruiser decks rarely search at all. Still this will easily make the list of cards to watch for the set.

PrinceofBielTan: This card has gathered a ton of excitement since spoilers. It’s definitely an incentive to run some of those cards that make your opponent search. Field of Ruin feels less bad with this guy around, and even Path to Exile could make the cut. A card that’s been a fringe include since ramping your opponents isn’t exactly your first choice. Archivist helps us reconsider those cards, so it’s got my interest for that alone.

FromTheShire: Even in kitchen table games this is fantastic, being lower power level just means that you’re triggering this off of Cultivate and Terramorphic Expanse instead of Vampiric Tutor and fetch lands. Due to games going longer I would argue this will draw as many cards or more than at cEDH tables. Really great source of white draw.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ascend from Avernus

BPhillipYork: Potentially a very powerful swingy card, but 4 mana to get back all 1 cost creatures is a lot. Where this could go pretty nuts is in decks that can sacrifice a bunch of creatures for mana to altars, then use this to recur them, hitting tons of ETB and death triggers in rapid succession. Orah, Skyclave Heirophant decks will probably love this, and anything that can dump a lot of stuff to the graveyard efficiently, like Hermit Druid could have a pretty insane interaction with this.

PrinceofBielTan: Heavy casting requirement outside of mono-white with those three white colour pips, but a really powerful effect for Naya Tokens or Abzan Graveyard decks.

FromTheShire: Being X or less is nice, and late game this can be a huge play. If nothing else I have a certain Shadowborn Apostle deck that will looooove this.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Banishment

BPhillipYork: Just a variant on an already existing theme, and very untoolboxy since it’s opponents only. It’s the “and all the same name as” variant, which is okay, but what are you going to do remove everyone’s Sol Ring for 4 mana who cares.

PrinceofBielTan: Interesting mono-white take on Detention Sphere. I agree that the ceiling is a little low here, though flash is nice I think we can do better.

FromTheShire: Generally you’re going to want actual Banisher Priest, but the flash and being able to wrath tokens are worth noting, especially in Enchantress decks.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Battle Angels of Tyr

BPhillipYork: This is a pretty solid white Balance style myriad card, 4/4 flyer with myriad and combat triggers to draw or create treasures (or gain life but who cares).

PrinceofBielTan: I really like this card. Myriad pushes it over the edge, you’re getting at least one of those benefits, and cards and treasure look great if you’re casting this on curve.

FromTheShire: Agreed, this is excellent, especially in white. The two things white struggles the most with natively is ramp and card draw and this offers you both, while also giving incidental life gain which is very nice.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Beckoning Will-o’-Wisp

BPhillipYork: Neat effect but slightly too expensive, I think at 2 CMC this could be doable.

PrinceofBielTan: Interesting card, you can run it in a Goad deck to make one player look like the most appealing target. If you need a little extra political incentive this could be used defensively to deter players from attacking you. After all, who knows who you’ll choose next. If there’s a token player at the table, could be deadly.

FromTheShire: Good political card to incentivize attacks to be pointed away from you, you’ll be surprised how much work this does in an average game.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Contraband Livestock

BPhillipYork: This is a solid exile effect, at instant speed. 2 MV is okay.

PrinceofBielTan: Again, quite like this one. It’s a nice removal card for white, admittedly a colour that doesn’t suffer for removal. But I won’t say no to offering my opponent a token creature rather than a land from Path to Exile.

FromTheShire: Whatever you need to burn your exile on is going to be way more deadly than even the worst case 4/4 here, and paying 1 extra? Who cares, it’s Commander. Don’t let this not being somehow even better than Swords to Plowshares deter you.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Crystal Dragon

BPhillipYork: It’s fine if you want medium-sized flyers for too much mana I guess.

PrinceofBielTan: Regrowth on a white dragon helps you keep card parity with your opponents, without expending a card from your hand yourself with the adventure mechanic. Granted it’s a 4/4 flyer after the fact, but it should do fine for those casual tables.

FromTheShire: You’re here for the recursion, the fact this has a reasonably sized vigilant flyer tacked on for later is just a bonus.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Cut a Deal

BPhillipYork: This card seems really bad but if you have pieces in play to benefit of other people’s card draw then it’s fine. Smugglers Share and etc..

PrinceofBielTan: Personally, Cut a deal works for me. Three mana might draw your opponents a card, but you’re up two cards. Feels very white, feels very fair, but you’re getting the fairest of them all.

FromTheShire: Another good political card, this one is better than most ratio wise on the draw.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Deep Gnome Terramancer

BPhillipYork: Another really solid 2 cost flash creature for white, in response to a fetch land this nets you a land, which is really nice, and it’s plains card not basic plains so really pretty solid. Core card for the set.

PrinceofBielTan: Slam dunk right here, flash pushes this over the edge. Respond to everything from Evolving Wilds to Cultivate, there’s room for this in most white decks.

FromTheShire: Absolutely fantastic. Worst possible case this is a Rampant Growth at instant speed that leaves behind a body, and in most games this will ramp you a bunch as the green players keep putting lands in to play and people crack fetches.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ellyn Harbreeze, Busybody

BPhillipYork: If you’re making a lot of tokens this has some potential, and with all the draw-off creating tokens and draw for creatures in white now there are things you could do with this. If there was a way to keep untapping her that would be extremely solid, and blue and green have some effects in that vein.

PrinceofBielTan: Another source of pseudo card advantage if you’re making tokens every turn. I quite like this with Adeline, Resplendent Cathar from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt.

FromTheShire: You have to do a little work, but this offers excellent card selection and if you’re a token deck with white I think you include this frequently.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Far Traveler

BPhillipYork: One of the more boring backgrounds in my opinion. But a Teleportation Circle in the command zone isn’t all bad.

PrinceofBielTan: Far Traveler lets you reuse your favourite battlefield effect. Looks good in Selesyna colours where many creatures ETB and grab you a land for some early repeatable ramp.

FromTheShire: Good tool for flicker decks, it’s similar to being able to put a Conjurer’s Closet in your command zone and there’s a reason that card is like 8 dollars. Do note the creature has to be tapped, so there’s an upside to something like a Mulldrifter that can fly in safely.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Flaming Fist

BPhillipYork: Solid for the whole “run this in the 99” to benefit both partner commanders.

PrinceofBielTan: I think running backgrounds in the 99 is okay if you’ve got the commander(s) to support it. You don’t want to cast it for no benefit. But partner commanders with a commander damage theme and you’ve got a solid card.

FromTheShire: The card is solid because it gives double strike, but I snap included it in this review SOLELY because I serve the Flaming Fist! is indelibly burned into the brain of anyone who played the excellent Baldur’s Gate games and this is maybe my favorite lore cards in a set with a ton of excellent nods.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Folk Hero

BPhillipYork: This one is potentially really strong, 2 mana value and relatively easy to set up your deck to be consistent. However, once per turn only is pretty weak.

PrinceofBielTan: Folk hero comes down early and generates constant card advantage. If only once a turn. You could quite easily fit this into a Rhys the Redeemed deck on curve.

FromTheShire: Once per turn isn’t huge, but in the white tribal decks this is aimed at you’re extremely happy to have it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Harper Recruiter

BPhillipYork: Shouldn’t this be a bard. Anyway uh, yeah sure, it’s a fetch to fill a party.

PrinceofBielTan: At least it doesn’t have to deal combat damage. This should provide some card selection for those Party Decks, which should have a relatively high creature count. So it’s not bad there.

FromTheShire: Well actually, Harper can be somewhat of a misnomer and while many of their incarnations did have a significant number of bards they also…. Look, it’s not important, did you build an assemble the party deck? Then this goes in it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Horn of Valhalla

BPhillipYork: Creating soldier tokens is cool, and making your guy really big, that’s okay, but these two are sort of opposite strategies, go wide and go tall. If it was an instant that would be a whole other ballgame.

PrinceofBielTan: Both sides of this card do what an aggressive deck running white wants to do. Swings big and protects your board on the backswing with an army of blockers.

FromTheShire: Gives you the flexibility to make your go wide deck tall or your tall deck wide which is very useful after your opponent burns their answer.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Inspiring Leader

BPhillipYork: Could be really solid for decks generating tons of tokens, which seems to be what is being pushed for white lately.

PrinceofBielTan: Packs a bit of punch for partner commanders with a token strategy, I can see this being a nice addition to an Orzhov Tokens build.

FromTheShire: Very nice buff that you can always have access to when you want it. An absolute ton of games have been won just like this so go nuts.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Lae’zel’s Acrobatics

BPhillipYork: Solid fun card. Double your ETBs 50% of the time. No 55% of the time.

PrinceofBielTan: Ain’t quite a Teferi’s Protection. Ain’t quite a Semester’s End. But there’s a chance of you getting all of those sweet ETB triggers twice, so… worth a roll of the dice?

FromTheShire: Most commander decks these days have at least some ETB’s to take advantage of, and even in the worst case you’re dodging a key wrath, which is what you’re really wanting.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Lae’zel, Vlaakith’s Champion

BPhillipYork: This is a fairly unique and potentially really powerful effect, for ramming out emblems and other important things really fast, and there’s only about 3 ways to generate it now so this will be another card that shows up in decks.

PrinceofBielTan: Agree that we’ll see Lae’zel where we see Hardened Scales. Really solid card that benefits not only +1 Counters builds but Planeswalker builds too.

FromTheShire: Nice that this hits both creatures and walkers, and this will get out of control fast if left unchecked. Especially nice for superfriends lists that frequently need all the help they can get.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Legion Loyalty

BPhillipYork: This is funny, especially for creatures with nutso ETBs, but 8 mana is so much. But it is so hilarious.

PrinceofBielTan: This is one of those cards I’d love to cast but I’ll probably die trying. Big fan, if you’re at a casual table or in a slower meta, try this as your finisher and let us know how it went.

FromTheShire: I’m absolutely going to curve an Avenger of Zendikar into this and it’s going to be glorious overkill. Can’t wait.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Lulu, Loyal Hollyphant

BPhillipYork: The bar is really really low for this guy, using a treasure will cut it, or a fetchland, things like that. Untapping your creatures at end of turn also has a lot of potential if you think laterally, such as untapping mana dorks and getting flash, so this is a buildable value piece.

PrinceofBielTan: Lulu rewards tapping out and being aggressive. If one of your creatures is blocked and dies, the rest get bigger and untap to block! What a neat card.

FromTheShire: Great for aggro builds, token builds, aristocrats builds, flicker builds…. just a ton of utility, and the pseudo-vigilance is so, so good. I frequently argue that vigilance is the most unappreciated ability in commander games.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Noble Heritage

BPhillipYork: Not good enough. When they need to hit you they just wont take the counters, and when they don’t want to hit you they will.

PrinceofBielTan: Always risky to put your fate in your opponent’s hands, that ‘may’ ability might cost you if the table turns on you.

FromTheShire: It’s not always ideal and people can play around it, but I have seen plenty of games get warped by an Orzhov Advokist, and this gives you full on protection, not just can’t be attacked. Even if they don’t take the counters, you certainly will, and giving that bonus to your best creature each turn adds up.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Rasaad yn Bashir

BPhillipYork: Always nice to have yet more redundancy if you’re doing the toughness thing. Hilarious with that giant crab. Slots well into decks that already do this, but it’s a worse version of Arcades Sabbath basically.

PrinceofBielTan: Rasaad loves Arcades, who’d have thought. It powers up the damage that walls and toughness-matters decks want to dish out and it does it well.

FromTheShire: I think you both mean a better version of Doran, the Siege Tower, clearly. Because this effect is still fairly unique getting another redundant copy is nice, especially with the boost this ones provides.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Rescuer Chwinga

BPhillipYork: Doesn’t seem worth it.

PrinceofBielTan: This is one of those cards that’s either going to do nothing at all, or go infinite with something printed in five years time.

FromTheShire: Spoken like a couple of guys who haven’t gone ham with a Whitemane Lion before. Love that it’s any permanent you control.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Sculpted Sunburst

BPhillipYork: So if you have a way to consistently get 0 toughness creatures, like a 0 toughness commander, neato cool way to exile the board. But even if your commander has 1 power I think it just isn’t good enough because you aren’t hitting stuff like mana dorks, which is absolutely essential.

PrinceofBielTan: It’s a selective board wipe in white and the bar is pretty high. Single Combat works quite well here.

FromTheShire: It’s neat but most of the time I’d rather just wrath and be done with it, even if you are slightly breaking the symmetry.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Seasoned Dungeoneer

BPhillipYork: This is all over the map. Take the initiative but doesn’t take the initiative when attacking it explores instead and then gives protection to a party member. For 4 mana and the inconsistent effect doesn’t seem worthwhile unless you’re desperate for the initiative.

PrinceofBielTan: Fits in an aggressive party deck. The Dungeoneer itself doesn’t need to attack to give the party member protection, which aids in getting the initiative back. It also explores, why not. I agree that this card is a bit convoluted. I suppose it’s a really long way of saying, ‘target creature is unblockable this turn’

FromTheShire: It not only makes a creature unblockable so you can regain or further press your initiative advantage, it also explores, and crucially introduces the initiative if it doesn’t yet exist in your game. It has multiple abilities yes but they all work well together with what the deck it’s made for is trying to do.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Stick Together

BPhillipYork: I think this is kind of funny, but so many randomly good cards are warriors, wizards, rogues, and even clerics that your opponents will randomly still have some creatures, and thus it isn’t gonna cut it. Maybe if WotC came out with an alternate party layout (druid + barbarian + sorcerer + warlock or something).

PrinceofBielTan: Brilliant flavour here. Always stick with the party. It’s thematic and fun, it’s a selective board wipe that lets you save four of your favourite creatures. You’ll have to pay attention to your opponent’s boards though to see if this card is worth casting though.

FromTheShire: Love this bit of classic advice as a card, and even if you leave behind a random party member on someone else’s board now and then, you’re still hitting most of their stuff, and forcing a sacrifice in white even.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

White Plume Adventurer

BPhillipYork: Potentially a big deal for every turn creature untapping. If you have a way to get flash this could be a nutso value piece.

PrinceofBielTan: The floor here is getting to reuse your favourite tap ability every turn, and that’s not too bad. You don’t need to keep the initiative to get the full effect, only complete a dungeon, if you can combine this with tap abilities that let you delve deeper into the dungeons then you’re onto a winner.

FromTheShire: There are a ton of ways to abuse untapping even a single creature, much less your whole team, and adding the initiative is an added bonus.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Windshaper Planetar

BPhillipYork: There hasn’t been an effect printed like this since Portal Mage, it’s a nutso confusing effect and it’s hilarious. The problem is your opponents will frequently not play ball and kill off everything you want.

PrinceofBielTan: One of those ‘gotcha’ cards, that could save your life as well as end opponents.

FromTheShire: Fantastic defensive card that even lets you do the reselecting, and once it’s in play your opponents will live in fear of attacking you while you have mana open in case you have a flicker effect in hand.

 

Blue

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Aboleth Spawn

BPhillipYork: Huge big card that has tremendous power and will steal games (remember Thassa’s Oracle is an ETB effect and Consult and Pact are instants so) and it has ward 2 on top of it which is nutso. The way it will play out is Cast Thassa, respond Aboleth, Aboleth on board, Thassa hits, puts scry on the stack, Aboleth triggers and puts scry on the stack AHEAD of the Thassa, you consult, and win the game before your opponent.

PrinceofBielTan: This card is going to sneak out a lot of unexpected value out of your opponents best ETB. This card is perfectly blue. Be sure to play this at the right time and your opponents are going to wish you were holding up a counterspell instead.

FromTheShire: Remember how basically every deck is full of creatures with ETB abilities these days? Yeah, getting to effectively get several of those triggers per wheel of the board is bonkers, or alternatively people are going to hold off on casting their creatures until they can get removal, which is just as big of a win for you.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Alora, Merry Thief

BPhillipYork: This is basically ninjutsu right. This is a ninjutsu thing. Choose a black background and make a ninja deck. Also cards that really want to get through but don’t have evasion, or those with both combat damage and ETB triggers, which are few and far between, but there are some solid ones.

PrinceofBielTan: This goes perfectly in the 99 of Yuriko, Satoru Umezawa and more. Rebuying your favourite ETB abilities or Ninjas is the icing on the cake here.

FromTheShire: Yup, a perfect ninja piece that can also punch your commander through in a pinch.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ancient Silver Dragon

BPhillipYork: Wow weird the blue ancient dragon is the best one. Crazy. Who would have thought that? Draw D20 cards and have no maximum hand size. That’s absurd. Thankfully it costs 8 mana so your best bet is reanimating it.

PrinceofBielTan: We can all be thankful that this is going to have to survive for a whole turn cycle before it draws someone an absurd amount of cards.

FromTheShire: Stuuuupid powerful, you’re going to want to have your Lighting Greaves and some form of counterspell ready to go when you cast this bad boy cause it is gonna draw HEAT, and justifiably so.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Artificer Class

BPhillipYork: This is a neat fairly balanced class. It’s a little on the weak side actually, but there are some potential things you could do, and the level 3 could be a piece for one of blue’s alternate win conditions which would be fun.

PrinceofBielTan: This class does neat things. It ramps you immediately, it provides some card selection second and finally, it acts as a great way to double your most powerful artefacts. It grows with the game, so I quite like it.

FromTheShire: I’m glad the cost reduction is only on the first spell per turn, we already have a good chunk of these and artifact reducers specifically can get wild fast. The abilities are all very useful, I dig it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Astral Dragon

BPhillipYork: There are strange loops you can set up with this duder, but the big ones are making copies of cool enchantments, especially if you choose ones that exile permanents, you can make a loop and keep making the dragon ETB, so like Journey to Nowhere and Silkrap. Journey exiles dragon, Silkwrap exiles Journey, you create another copy of both and end up with infinite Journeys that are 3/3 dragons with flying. But you need haste.

PrinceofBielTan: Astral Dragon is an interesting way to steal your opponent’s best artefacts and enchantments. It’s a lot of mana, so you want to make sure there are some juicy targets for it. Although this being an ETB trigger means that you’re getting something at least for your mana investment.

FromTheShire: The Astral Plane is the limit for this ability, and while it will depend on your opponents having good stuff out, I think part of the fun of Commander is finding the weird interactions between cards like this and whatever spicy tech they have come up with.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Bane’s Contingency

BPhillipYork: I think this is worth playing if you know your commander is going to get targeted with removal.

PrinceofBielTan: If you’re running a Voltron deck and you’re going to have your commander out at all times. Or if you’re running a problematic commander, this is such a good rate it’s hard not to consider.

FromTheShire: A 3 mana counter is pretty much fine if not optimal, but the upside makes this worth it if your meta runs even a halfway decent amount of targeted removal.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Clan Crafter

BPhillipYork: This is really rather solid for pumping a commander outrageously quickly and drawing through. Given the insane rate of treasure generation not hard to see where to get artifacts to sacrifice.

PrinceofBielTan: Sacrifice clues, treasures, foods, thopters, servos. There’s a lot you can fuel this with and keep your hand full.

FromTheShire: Half the time I don’t even care about the counter on my commander here, I’m just loving the consistent draw. Not that the counters won’t also get scary fast.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Displacer Kitten

BPhillipYork: Astral Slide variant returns, letting you get tons of ETBs all the time, if you actually use an exile and return spell you’ll get two out of it. Also lets you turn your removal into dodges, which is nutso. Really a lot you can do with this. Another core card for the set.

PrinceofBielTan: This card is one of my favourites from the set. You’re going to get an awful lot of value with this Kitty. Rebuy ETBs and reset Planeswalker Loyalties. Yes please.

FromTheShire: So, so many uses for this adorable little guy. I have loved Slide decks since they were in Standard, and I’m not stopping any time soon.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Dungeon Delver

BPhillipYork: This is solid and fun, 99-card probably unless there’s a really good dungeoneering commander.

PrinceofBielTan: Dungeon decks want this, most decks don’t. Nice to see that support for the Dungeon mechanic though. After all, we don’t know how likely we are to see these Forgotten D&D mechanics moving forwards.

FromTheShire: Very good in the limited set of decks that want it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Elminster’s Simulacrum

BPhillipYork: Really expensive but you can probably grab several powerful utility creatures.

PrinceofBielTan: Lot of mana to hold up but you’re probably getting something great with it.

FromTheShire: Utility creatures nothing, I’m looking for Eldrazi or crazy Demons or busted Dragons or…. Even better if you have ways to double or populate the tokens, and I like the shout out as well.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Endless Evil

BPhillipYork: This card is cool. I really like the flavor of it and it fits with the way the card works really well. Really fun.

PrinceofBielTan: We’re seeing so much support for ETB effects in this set. It won’t copy your commander or a legend, but it will copy all your utility creatures.

FromTheShire: Ideally you’re sticking this on a powerful ETB or token creator like Tendershoot Dryad so you don’t even care about it making a 1/1. Love it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Font of Magic

BPhillipYork: Potentially really big, biggest with partner commanders but any commander you’re going to deliberately get killed to up this can be really solid.

PrinceofBielTan: Really rocks with partners. I can see this seeing a bit of play. It’s a nice option for cost reduction on those instants and sorceries so when you’ve paid your commander tax you’ve still got plenty of room for casting some flashy spells.

FromTheShire: Even with a single commander that dies a few times in the normal course of play, the cost reduction here can be absolutely massively powerful. It’s also nice that it just counts how many times it has happened, it doesn’t have to be sitting out when it happens, so this can come down late and let you storm off out of nowhere.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Gale’s Redirection

BPhillipYork: This is potentially a really solid card. It doesn’t counter so it can clear off uncounterable spells, and it lets you cast it later, so it effectively steals the spell, and 30% of the time you get to cast it for free. That might be enough to justify the 5 mana value if you can steal something really big, like a tutor or win condition.

PrinceofBielTan: Very nice piece of interaction, notably it deals with Approach of the Second Sun, which is turning into a more and more common win condition. So long as you’re not tempted to cast it yourself of course. Considering that’s the point of the card, why not counter a Rise of the Dark Realms instead.

FromTheShire: It’s a little pricey but this can totally steal you games and I’m here for it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Gale, Waterdeep Prodigy

BPhillipYork: This is really, really solid, like a variant on Kess. The obvious combo piece is Scion of Halaster for a cEDH deck.

PrinceofBielTan: Every spell you cast gives you access to all the spells in your graveyard, hard not to want this. Reuse that counterspell in your graveyard by casting any cantrip. Feels good.

FromTheShire: Crazy amounts of value, there’s a reason Snapcaster Mage was one of the most valuable cards in constructed Magic for a long time, and this gives you flashback over and over again.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Grell Philosopher

BPhillipYork: Fun. Fun fun. Horrors and Nightmares I think WotC is doing a good job with lately making them weird and creepy and fun, with powerful but unpredictable abilities.

PrinceofBielTan: Nice that each upkeep you can have this Horror mimic whatever you like. Can be as innocuous as a mana dork, or as dangerous as another commander. Looks like a great card. Don’t forget it in Wizard tribal as well as Horror Tribal.

FromTheShire: Another card that adjusts very well to the power level of your table and can lead to some fun and hilarious interactions.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Illithid Harvester

BPhillipYork: This is really hilarious to me, turning commanders into morphed 2/2s is potentially really great. Costs a ton of mana, but near permanently removing commanders is really hard, and really effective against some decks.

PrinceofBielTan: This is a fun way to punish cards with really potent tap abilities, turning them into basic horrors.

FromTheShire: There was a time when Ixidron saw a ton of play as one of the few ways to somewhat permanently deal with problematic creatures, and the effect is still good even if it has fallen out of vogue. The biggest problem ends up being that your opponents frequently just make a deal to block one face down commander with another so they both die and return to the command zone, so it’s usually not quite as permanent as you would like.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Imoen, Mystic Trickster

BPhillipYork: Fun flavor commander, if you want to do dungeons or slam it into a Sefris of the Hidden Ways deck as a piece.

PrinceofBielTan: Lovely payoff for the initiative, but no evasion or abilities to help you get it.

FromTheShire: Does require other pieces to get full value for sure, but this can get you quite a bit of value once it gets rolling.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Irenicus’s Vile Duplication

BPhillipYork: More fun ways to make non-legendary copies of legendaries. When you need to duplicate effects to get over a barrier fun times. Not sure what the specific use case is on this though making some absurd Quandrix token double-double deck seems fun at this point. If you duplicate Adrix and Nev, Twincasters, then you’ll get 2 copies that make copies so, that’s nuts at some point.

PrinceofBielTan: Pretty well-costed clone ability, and by adding flying you could end up with a better version of what you’re cloning.

FromTheShire: Same cost as most clone effects with the added benefit of making non-legendary copies which has a ton of utility. Can easily see it slotting in my Vial Smasher the Fierce + Thrasios, Triton Hero deck for one to double up on that sweet random damage.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Mocking Doppelganger

BPhillipYork: This is solid, cool, fun. Goading commander is nice. Stealing their abilities, all that. Fun times, good times.

PrinceofBielTan: We’re looking at another great clone with upside. Cause some havoc on one of your opponents creatures while reaping the benefits yourself.

FromTheShire: Love this, great way to point a problematic creature away from you at the same time as you clone it, and since it enters as a copy of the creature and never targets, it also gets around hexproof and shroud which can be extremely handy.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Psionic Ritual

BPhillipYork: This is like “bad” but funny bad, the good kind of bad, absurd and potentially making tons of copies of horrors that do something when they ETB so, I like cards like this, fun for big fun stuff, interesting battlecruiser edh.

PrinceofBielTan: It’s a nice way to close out the game in the Horrors deck, bringing back all your best spells. It’s very flavourful, just when you think you’ve survived your opponents best spell, it comes back, and in greater numbers.

FromTheShire: Nice that you can actually reasonably replicate this a few times at least, and then you get to spin the wheel and steal a bunch of the best things that have wound up in the graveyard which is fun as hell.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Renari, Merchant of Marvels

BPhillipYork: Giving artifacts flash is potentially really powerful, shimmer Zur is like a thing, but giving dragons flash is kind of uh, meaningless I would largely say. Sure you can predator end-step them out which is nice but you’re gonna hold up control then drop a Shivan Dragon? Woohoo.

PrinceofBielTan: It’s likely going to be more meaningful to give artefacts flash. Flashing in a dragon as a blocker is going to be nice once or twice, but it’s a lot of mana to hold up for that ‘gotcha’ moment.

FromTheShire: I mean the thing is you’re not flashing in a Shivan Dragon, you’re flashing in an Ancient Silver Dragon with basically haste and then punching someone for d20 cards, or an Old Gnawbone, or any number of other haymaker Dragons that benefit massively from not sitting out for a turn cycle advertising how screwed your opponents are about to be if they don’t hold up removal or cast a board wipe. Flashing in artifacts can be even more powerful, there’s a reason Shimmer Myr is a kill on sight card.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Robe of the Archmagi

BPhillipYork: This is a fun card in my opinion, if you know what your commander is it’s potentially drawing you a fair amount of cards. Still, 4 mana to draw maybe 3 cards on turn 4 is what you are hoping for, that’s okay but fairly expensive for that effect.

PrinceofBielTan: Great for those Wizard commanders with Flying. Evasion is key to making this equipment shine.

FromTheShire: If you can actually connect with it, this is very powerful.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Shameless Charlatan

BPhillipYork: I don’t know what the use case is for this card. Hope your opponents are running better cards than you?

PrinceofBielTan: I’m not sure how hot I am on this. It’s a clone effect in the command zone, in a format where clone commanders exist.

FromTheShire: I think the reason for running this is to be able to shift from creature to creature as better ones come out, even at instant speed so you can see become an indestructible creature in response to a board wipe, things like that. Even so, I’m not sure how how often you really want to be doing that.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Tomb of Horrors Adventurer

BPhillipYork: Well copying spells is really powerful. Copying them twice is potentially game-ending, so it’s finally a dungeon thing worth doing. If the spell you copy is a copy spell you get infinite magecraft triggers, obviously you need to put something on the stack, then cast a copy spell (Twincast) targeting your initial spell (Gitaxian Probe) then the copy of Twincast targets the Twincast on the stack, when it resolves it becomes a copy of Twincast.

PrinceofBielTan: Potentially, Game-winning reward for completing a dungeon, you can run some great combos here or cast a very big Exsanguinate or two.

FromTheShire: It’s nice that this is just any spell, so you can also use it for extra creatures, enchantments, whatever. Expensive to get there though.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Volo, Itinerant Scholar

BPhillipYork: Okay, that’s fun I guess, though it kind of reeks of wanting to be a 5 color deck. This feels like filler.

PrinceofBielTan: You’re getting increasingly improving card draw here to help you draw into your creatures. I don’t see too much more here.

FromTheShire: Very flavorful and pairs extremely well with Volo, Guide to Monsters.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Wizards of Thay

BPhillipYork: I think this is a totally fun myriad. Powerful to cast sorceries and instants cheap during combat, also you could use tricks to keep the copies around.

PrinceofBielTan: Myriad and cost reduction go hand in hand, could be nice to pair with some extra-combat spells.

FromTheShire: While I know the Red Wizards of Thay used circle magic to boost their power, which I believe is what this card is representing, this still feels like a bit of a miss for me. When I think of the Red Wizards I think of a lot of fire spells, summoning the undead or demons, or trafficking in artifacts, and I wish we had gotten more of that flavor instead of just ‘they are powerful’.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Zellix, Sanity Flayer

BPhillipYork: This is solid. Getting a benefit from people milling is real solid. Generating mad horrors is actually fairly scary given how many things are starting to care about horrors and nightmares.

PrinceofBielTan: Tap Zellix to mill your opponent and get a Horror token to block with. I think he’s neat, and he does everything Horrors want which is filling your opponent’s graveyards.

FromTheShire: In and of itself Zellix isn’t particularly powerful, but the concept is fun and you can assemble a fun Horror or mill deck utilizing them.

 

Black

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Agent of the Iron Throne

BPhillipYork: This is a powerful win-con that slots right into the 99. It’s an improved version of both Disciple of the Vault and Zulaport Cutthroat, both of which can do some powerful work.

PrinceofBielTan: Works nicely in the 99 or in the Command Zone, to be honest. Aristocrats never goes out of fashion and this background works nicely to oppose this Treasure meta we’re seeing more and more of these days.

FromTheShire: Yeah I really like using this as a background, having access to your big payoff effect at all times is super useful.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Agent of the Shadow Thieves

BPhillipYork: Yawn.

PrinceofBielTan: Could save your butt in limited, but you could probably do better in constructed.

FromTheShire: There’s some fun stuff you can do with deathtouch and indestructible like using Tempting Licid or similar Lure effects to wrath people but it’s a little situational.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Altar of Bhaal

BPhillipYork: I think the bone offering is really irrelevant, the real story here is 2B, Tap, Exile a creature you control: Return target giant fat beast threat from your graveyard to the battlefield. The ability to make a token to feed it is kind of a distraction and slows you down most likely by a turn. Slamming out a turn 3 or 4 Archon of Cruelty is scary.

PrinceofBielTan: Love this, how’s about exiling a token to reanimate those ginormous Ancient Dragons!

FromTheShire: Yup, this is absolutely getting played for the reanimation, the token isn’t worth making 99% of the time. It’s really good repeat reanimation though.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ancient Black Dragon

BPhillipYork: A solid dragon effect, but it costs 7 mana which is like, a lot. Really really a lot.

PrinceofBielTan: Speaking of which, this Dragon looks great. Yes it’s got to sit around for a turn and swing to do it’s thing, but Black is the colour that can reanimate this at the last moment, and from there on it’s going to do work.

FromTheShire: Big value here, and it’s nice that you can reanimate from ANY graveyard, not just the player you hit. You’re running The Ur-Dragon in the command zone, making it to 6 shouldn’t be a problem.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Astarion’s Thirst

BPhillipYork: Well this is okay exile, but at 4 mana value not likely to be seeing too much play. If you have a commander creature that cares about combat damage could be good. Also nice in response to some kinds of board clear (damage or toughness based) to save your commander.

PrinceofBielTan: Four mana exile is a rate we’ve seen before, but it’s a lot for removal in today’s commander.

FromTheShire: It’s not cheap but it’s not unplayable either, and the counters make it feel like you’re getting something for the extra mana at least.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Black Market Connections

BPhillipYork: This is another core card of the set, basically an improved version of Arena, 2 colorless instead of black, and ramps you with treasure, and can give you changelings, all of which are really solid on top of card draw.

PrinceofBielTan: You’re going to want one of these, every mode is relevant.

FromTheShire: I’ve paid a lot more life to draw cards and make mana and I’ll do it again. Instant staple.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Blood Money

BPhillipYork: Definitely a fun way to make a lot of treasures and board clear at once. 7 mana is probably too much.

PrinceofBielTan: An expensive board wipe that you’re going to want a good rebate on. On a crowded board, this could set you up for some powerful plays. This is likely why it costs a fortune in the first place.

FromTheShire: I still routinely cast In Garruk’s Wake, so I’m down for a 7 mana spell that gives me money back. If you’re not doubling your mana a couple of times in black, are you even trying?

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Bonecaller Cleric

BPhillipYork: Really good reanimate effect, though at 4 cost kind of prohibitive for a one shot. There is some interesting interplay with Orah, Skyclave Hierophant given he cares about clerics and could be used to set up big chains.

PrinceofBielTan: Relevant where humans and clerics are but an expensive cost to reanimate.

FromTheShire: On the pricey side but it returns right to the battlefield not to hand and it’s on a body that you can also get out of the graveyard which is great.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Brainstealer Dragon

BPhillipYork: I think this is a total awesome dragon horror for fun horror times. Obviously, you’re going to cheat it out.

PrinceofBielTan: Prosper likes this. We’re finding more and more ways to cast from exile but this Dragon also drains our opponents life when we do cast the stolen spell? Could be really hurtful against the right deck.

FromTheShire: Shockingly for the guy with the Gonti, Lord of Luxury deck, I loooove stealing other people’s spells, and the fact this drains them for you doing what you wanted to anyways is fantastic.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Burakos, Party Leader

BPhillipYork: Ramping that much treasure is neat but I’m not sure it will pay off in time.

PrinceofBielTan: Nice fixer for the missing slot in your party deck. As for the ramp, it’s nice to have but it requires aggression and a stacked board. Both things the party player wants.

FromTheShire: Counting as every party type is solid, and the treasures are super handy, especially if you used your background on Agent of the Iron Throne.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Call to the Void

BPhillipYork: These secret reveals are very tense and fun. Obviously you want to stack the deck in some way.

PrinceofBielTan: Best played following some politics or this could come back to bite you.

FromTheShire: Normally I like randomness but this just doesn’t do it for me.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Cultist of the Absolute

BPhillipYork: So having commanders get +3/+3, flying, deathtouch, and ward pay 3 life is potentially really good. There are some commanders where having them slam through is possibly a big deal. And even some decks that can get around sacrifice triggers like this, or benefit from them.

PrinceofBielTan: This is a nice, cheap background to buff your commander or provide you with a sacrifice outlet in the early game. You’re going to see this one, either for the protection it brings or the flexibility it rewards.

FromTheShire: More often than not, especially in a black deck, sacrificing is a benefit not a cost, and having a 1 mana sac outlet in your command zone is great, not to mention all the benefits it gives your commander in addition.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Elder Brain

BPhillipYork: Again, just, like, awesome fun big ass horror creature for fun horror/nightmare deck.

PrinceofBielTan: This card is almost like a Dragon Mage. You’re basically getting access to a new hand every time this guy attacks, and you don’t even lose yours!

FromTheShire: Fantastic. Being able to play lands and the fact you can use the ability for as long as the cards are exiled rather than just while Elder Brain is out are huge bonuses as well.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Eldritch Pact

BPhillipYork: So so expensive. Potential win-con for mill decks, but I’m not sure if it can ever be worth casting. Really feels like it should have delve.

PrinceofBielTan: Great card to deal damage to that graveyard player, but I’m not sure who’s using this to draw cards themselves.

FromTheShire: Even for me this is probably too narrow.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

From the Catacombs

BPhillipYork: I like this sorcery reanimation, it has escape, really fun times to grab something from anyone’s yard. Expensive, but what it does is powerful.

PrinceofBielTan: Escape is a nice way to benefit from self mill or symmetrical mill. If you’re a horror or a mill player, it’s going to be a nice reusable form of reanimation for your creatures or theirs.

FromTheShire: The escape is what makes it, otherwise I’d probably give the edge to Beacon of Unrest instead.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Haunted One

BPhillipYork: For like rat decks and tribal weird stuff could be fun in the 99, but as an actual background, well maybe for horrors or something like that.

PrinceofBielTan: Supports tokens, rats and Shadowborn Apostles, so long as the commander you’re running wants to attack too.

FromTheShire: Any tribal deck will be happy to have this.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Intellect Devourer

BPhillipYork: Another fun time horror creature.

PrinceofBielTan: Neat card, if they exile lands, he ramps you. If they exile spells, you’ve drawn cards.

FromTheShire: Another flavor win, really like it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Pact Weapon

BPhillipYork: I think this is too expensive for what it does. Maybe at like 2 or 3 mana it would be doable. The equip-discard a card is cute.

PrinceofBielTan: Manipulate the top card of your library and this could be a nice tool in the belt.

FromTheShire: The idea is fun and flavorful and I love Volrath the Fallen style decks, but there is just so much artifact removal waiting to blow you ot when you go below 0.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ravenloft Adventurer

BPhillipYork: So lots of hit counters all of a sudden, so this is for someones’ Etrata, the Silencer deck I guess?

PrinceofBielTan: I’m not necessarily sure this guy is going to stick to the board long enough for you to see the ceiling here. Might be a nice include for battlecruiser commander though.

FromTheShire: The life loss is definitely slow and I’m not counting on it, but I do like this for giving the initiative and asymmetrical graveyard hate.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Sarevok, Deathbringer

BPhillipYork: This is a fun ability, I really like it. I do feel like it’s almost more red than black, black would be creatures, but whatever. I like this political aspect. The one problem with it I see is that everyone is running treasures everywhere all the time now, so it’s not that hard to have a permanent leave the battlefield. So then you need to lock out artifacts, which is a useful stax effect anyway. But even so, hitting people for life loss equal to commander power if they don’t be fighting is pretty solid.

PrinceofBielTan: With the amount of treasures floating around, this is going to be a hard one to benefit from. Maybe in the future when we’re onto the next craze.

FromTheShire: I still think there are lots and lots of decks that aren’t set up to reliably have something leave play on their turn and they will either have to take damage or make attacks they would really rather not.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar

BPhillipYork: Sacrificing creatures for draw is a really solid ability to have on your commander, but at 4 mana and then 2 to activate that’s a long way to go to get a value chain. Then you need creatures that you want to sacrifice for value. The main way I see this is in a deck that’s focused on reanimation, so looking for Grey Merchant of Asphodel, Skemfar Shadowsage, and Shaman of the Pack which actually works really well with Cloakwood Hermit giving you squirrels to sacrifice.

PrinceofBielTan: Nice option here for a Rakdos theft deck. Rakdos colours provides the treasures you need to get your commander out early and the theft abilities to steal your opponents creatures, while you sacrifice them for benefit.

FromTheShire: Gives you great big bursts of draw which I like, but I am most likely running this in the 99.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Sivriss, Nightmare Speaker

BPhillipYork: Generally I think your opponents are going to let you have the cards and that is pretty solid, though you’re going to need some way to get them back anyway. One solid thing you could do is combine this with reanimation and Far Traveler to exile and return big fatties that you’ve temporarily reanimated.

PrinceofBielTan: Sacrificing for free is nice here. You can capitalise on those ETB and LTB triggers, and if you make sure your opponents are at a low enough life total. You’re probably going to get the card back. Good option for some political play here too.

FromTheShire: More often than not commander decks are set up to use their graveyard as a second hand, so whether they physically give you the card or not you’re getting access to it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Solemn Doomguide

BPhillipYork: Fun but pretty pricy. Potential in Orah decks or other decks focused on reanimation.

PrinceofBielTan: Party decks get a lot more resilient with Unearth. Of course you’ll be losing those creatures again at the end of the turn so be sure to sacrifice them again to keep them hanging around.

FromTheShire: Unearth does still exile them if you sacrifice them, but that doesn’t mean Unearth isn’t very useful.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Uchuulon

BPhillipYork: I love this Crab Ooze Horror. I’m getting so excited for a horror nightmare deck. There are so many cool weird possibilities.

PrinceofBielTan: This is getting out of hand, now there are two of them!

FromTheShire: Really love the classic D&D dividing Ooze flavor here, and this lad can get LARGE.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Viconia, Drow Apostate

BPhillipYork: Potentially really powerful since mill is typically pretty easy and graveyard tutor is also solid, if you’re willing to go mono-black works really well with Scion of Halaster . Reanimating random cards is always going to have big elements of randomness, but if you fill your graveyard with big fatties it’s potentially really scary.

PrinceofBielTan: Delve lets you sculpt your graveyard nicely here. Even your fourth choice isn’t bad if you’ve intentionally curated your Graveyard.

FromTheShire: These effects can sometimes be a little slow but if you focus on filling your yard it’s not too bad That being said, since this returns to hand and not to the battlefield, I’m not as sold on this.

 

Red

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Amber Gristle O’Maul

BPhillipYork: I like this, kind of inverted myriad effect. Seems like a high potential payoff with a lot of hooked-up card draw. Risky, obviously, but if you want to go red aggro is pretty solid. There are some big potential payoffs in Rakdos here, reanimating big fatties and also turning your hand you’re going to discard into mana Skirge Familiar and things like that. There are also multiple ways to get a payoff for discarding cards. I think 4 for a 3/3 with Haste is alright on those terms. The real go-to here might be just finishing the game with extra combat steps and just untapping and refilling your hand over and over.

PrinceofBielTan: Amber refills your hand if you’re running plenty of combat tricks and draws you into more. Also notably a Madness enabler.

FromTheShire: This deck wants to be aggressive, and more often than not those decks wind up empty handed or close quickly, so this is frequently going to be discard nothing and draw 3 which is excellent.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ancient Copper Dragon

BPhillipYork: Um this just feels perfunctory, to be honest. Big dumb dragons with big dumb dragon abilities. Yay.

PrinceofBielTan: This is the archetypal dragon, it even has a hoard of treasure to guard. Coming down at 6 Mana Value is a little more generous than some of the other Ancient Dragons in the cycle and you’re getting a great reward for combat damage here with Treasure Tokens, Delina Wild Mage likes this.

FromTheShire: This is the second most powerful Dragon in the cycle which is a nice departure for red, they frequently come out worst in these. Great for keeping you churning forward through your expensive dragons.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Baeloth Barrityl, Entertainer

BPhillipYork: I think this guy is really interesting. Finally starting to see some payoff for all this goading, and that’s pretty exciting. Auto-goading all the small creatures is awesome. Unfortunately, 5 mana is a lot to pay for that effect, sure it might generate you some treasures but you sort of want the treasures to get him out. I’d really like to see a card printed that forces your opponents to go right to combat, and not let them tap their creatures for stuff. Old school “forced combat” effects would kill the creatures if they didn’t attack, but that’s not how they do it anymore.

PrinceofBielTan: We’ve got another goad commander, this would be great paired with the ‘Raised by Giants’ Background to goad the entire table.

FromTheShire: Really like this guy, keeping things perpetually goaded is great and even if you never increase his power it makes it very difficult to keep utility creatures out, though clearly you are going to increase it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Balor

BPhillipYork: This is a solid reanimation target, honestly really solid. It’s really nicely costed at 5/5 flying and then can deal out a lot of damage. Just a really solid powerful all-around card for slower games with the potential to be a disruptive piece. Has some really nasty combinations with cards that prevent opponents from drawing like Notion Thief.

PrinceofBielTan: Because Balor triggers on attack or death we’re looking at a great include for those extra combat commanders, or those extra attack trigger commanders. If you’re able to give Balor Myriad then your opponents are in trouble.

FromTheShire: I like all of these modes, and even if it gets killed immediately you still get to proc it at least once. The damage is especially nice in Commander where there’s always some blue or green player with a grip full of cards.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Bothersome Quasit

BPhillipYork: I like this as a goad deck enabler, though a lot of times you want the goaded creatures to block, so possibly unintended consequences, but that’s the name of the game for red.

PrinceofBielTan: Goad support keeps coming, this time with some support for casting non-creature spells. One thing with goad is where you sit at the table can really affect how easy or difficult it is to attack or make blocks, with this card you’re levelling the playing field a little and aiding your opponent’s attacks. Which is exactly what the goad player wants to do.

FromTheShire: Excellent, here to make sure your opponents can’t hide behind chump blockers and work with each other, they just need to start hammering down each others life totals.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Caves of Chaos Adventurer

BPhillipYork: This is actually a really solid “complete a dungeon” payoff, exile-draw with a free cast if you’ve completed a dungeon is really nice. The only thing lacking here is haste. 5/3 body with trample is okay, but smaller with haste and lower mv would obviously be pretty desirable.

PrinceofBielTan: Our floor here is impulse drawing a card a turn, which isn’t too bad. Trample helps us regain the initiative if we lose it but 3 Toughness means we might not be surviving too many combat steps.

FromTheShire: The initiative is nice, though in red you have to work a little harder to complete a dungeon since there’s less support in the color. Either way the card advantage is solid.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Death Kiss

BPhillipYork: This seems too expensive for forced combat, you’re looking at 3 mana to goad 1 creature, 5 for 2, which, granted, your Beholder becomes bigger. Fine for a weird durdle-type deck I guess, the double power again is potentially dangerous but that’s right up Red’s alley.

PrinceofBielTan: Death Kiss is a goad card with a difference. It doesn’t affect players attacking us. With a relevant body for attacking or blocking that final player, this card is going to make sure your opponents make short work of each other.

FromTheShire: Even without the goad, this effect is great for making combat more dangerous for everyone who isn’t us. With it, this is going to be a must kill if the other players want to survive.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Delayed Blast Fireball

BPhillipYork: I appreciate how they managed to make this spell actually flavor fit the spell from D&D, and it’s a very solid board clear on it’s own as well, both flexible and powerful. Really solid card, and one of the take-away cards of the set.

PrinceofBielTan: This being an instant turns it from good to great, this will deal with tokens for 3 mana or it will deal with boards once foretold. An instant speed asymmetrical sweeper is nothing to sniff at. I think this one will see play.

FromTheShire: The flavor is great, the 5 damage less so. There’s a reason red’s usual board wipe is Blasphemous Act.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Descent into Avernus

BPhillipYork: This is a confusing card. But on turn 2 it’s going to give each person 2 treasures and deal 2 damage to everyone. Okay, that’s solid if you have good ways to benefit from artifacts being created and destroyed and specific use for the ramp since you at least get it before everyone else. White wishes they got cards like this.

PrinceofBielTan: Descent into Avernus increases the risk and the reward as turns go on. You’re paying a little life for a couple of treasures. That cost is going to quickly add up though.

FromTheShire: The idea is fun, but for a punisher card this does way too much to help out our opponents for me. With this much extra damage you’re frequently going to deal like 10 and then die to a massive burst of spells you fueled.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Elturel Survivors

BPhillipYork: I think this is generally too expensive for what it does. Sure they could end up being 5/4s with trample on turn 5, but that’s not really that much damage. Maybe if you are counting on repeat combats or things like Impact Tremors as an additional payoff (and maybe a way to sacrifice your myriads).

PrinceofBielTan: Elturel Survivors gets better as the game goes on, Trample and Myriad help us take the Initiative if that’s what the deck is trying to do. But if not, it’s a solid attacker.

FromTheShire: Not a bad beater, though unfortunately with how it is worded it doesn’t benefit from extra combats.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Firbolg Flutist

BPhillipYork: This is an interesting card, and potentially really strong as a reanimation target. Grabbing a creature and then getting myriad with one of your opponents’ creatures, that’s really solid. Potentially really solid. Main drawback is the most likely target you’d want would be enemy commanders, except those are legendary so….

PrinceofBielTan: Steal your opponent’s best ETB and grab some extra copies while you’re at it. I think it’s pretty easy to get 6 mana’s worth of value here.

FromTheShire: Steal it and sac it usually even, not bad at all.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ganax, Astral Hunter

BPhillipYork: 5-mana for this effect is too much unless you’re chaining dragons, like maybe with dragon token guy or something.

PrinceofBielTan: A little incremental ramp helps the Dragon players pay the costs of their expensive creatures. Although you’ve got to get to five mana first before you’re seeing the benefit.

FromTheShire: Love this, comes down relatively early for a Dragon deck and then fuels your future creatures. Goes in the 99 though.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Karlach, Fury of Avernus

BPhillipYork: Solid attacking commander, auto-generating extra combat phases is nice, though this notably doesn’t generate the main phase in between, instead you go straight from combat to combat.

PrinceofBielTan: Karlach is awesome and while we see this effect a lot in red, allowing the first strike is definitely a welcome bonus. Choosing a background allows Karlach to shine in whichever two colour combo you feel like. Could be a fun way to grant extra combat steps in colours that couldn’t usually manage it.

FromTheShire: Extra combats are always powerful, and giving you first strike for both of them is excellent.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Livaan, Cultist of Tiamat

BPhillipYork: I just don’t see this cutting it for commander unless you have a very specific payoff plan that involves pumping up a creature and killing everyone with it at once. Maybe something with myriad?

PrinceofBielTan: A very slight commander who wants you to cast big non-creature spells. The reward is granting one of your creatures a bonus to their power and toughness. So the deck wants big creatures and big spells. Good for battlecruiser.

FromTheShire: Love this for Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest and similar decks.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Loot Dispute

BPhillipYork: Neat flavor, the effect is alright, creating a 5/5 flyer whenever you complete a dungeon isn’t a great payoff, and you can’t manipulate the initiative well enough to really turn this into a combo piece.

PrinceofBielTan: Very fun and flavourful card here. Treasure makes taking the initiative all the more enticing. The dragon at the end is a welcome payoff.

FromTheShire: I’m not counting on getting more than maybe one dragon, but fortunately introducing or taking the initiative is a fun thing to do, and making some mana as you fight back and forth for it is solid.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Nalfeshnee

BPhillipYork: This is strong. Casting from exile is increasingly common and easy to generate, and this is a solid reanimation target and not totally un-hard-castable. It’s very situational, but strong in those situations.

PrinceofBielTan: Once again, we’re getting some support for exile, impulsive draw and impulsive casting. Doubling up those exiled cards is nice value. Sometimes you’ll be able to get the value immediately from granting a copied creature with haste too. It’s a nice card for those strategies. Try copying an Ancient Copper Dragon.

FromTheShire: Really great in Prosper decks in particular, and decks heavily using the new emphasis on impulse draw in general. As a side note, it’s fantastic how much effects like this are doing to fix red’s card draw problem while still feeling very in color pie.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Passionate Archaeologist

BPhillipYork: Wow. They just keep printing cards that make Prosper, Tome-Bound even stronger, and he was strong to begin with. Just wowsers. Lots of fun on this card, for only 2 mana, and obviously you can build a whole deck around it.

PrinceofBielTan: Another fine card for Prosper and similar commanders. It fits nicely in the mana curve for our exile commanders, so it could see some play.

FromTheShire: Nothing complicated here, just a great payoff for something you are already going to be doing.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Popular Entertainer

BPhillipYork: So you deal damage to the opponent A, then goad one of his creatures to attack opponents B or C. That’s fine, I guess. Not really mind-blowing, if there were a lot more “goaded creatures doing things” pay-offs, which I imagine there will be in 6 months (or less at the rate cards are being shoved out) this will be solidly worth revisiting

PrinceofBielTan: We’re getting a low mana value background to support Goad this time. We’re looking to keep the goading growing by attacking our open opponents. It’s benefiting us and we’re probably attacking anyway.

FromTheShire: There’s already a growing number of great goad based commanders, and getting additional ways to trigger it for the decks that aren’t hitting everything like Marisi, Breaker of the Coil is great.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Spectacular Showdown

BPhillipYork: Really solid fun card, giving double strike is powerful and overloading. Also some nice interaction with cards like Zada, Hedron Grinder.

PrinceofBielTan: This is going to be spectacular to cast I assure, you. Hit that overload cost and watch the table try to figure out who lives and who dies.

FromTheShire: The real answer of course being that everyone is going to die. Amazing game ender, and yes, I’m in love with it for my gal Zada.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Storm King’s Thunder

BPhillipYork: This is really expensive but also fairly crazy. Potentially game-ending.  Obviously, the RRR is tough to deal with, but red has a lot of really strong rituals to generate a ton of red mana with which to cast a bunch more spells.

PrinceofBielTan: Follow this up with an extra turn spell, your playgroup dares you.

FromTheShire: These are always a fun balancing act between wanting to feed as much as possible into the effect, while also needing enough mana left over to actually take advantage of your quadruple casting or whatever. Absolute game ender.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Wand of Wonder

BPhillipYork: This is uh pretty nuts in my opinion. Yes, it’s a ton of mana but, getting to cast, on average, 1.6 instants or sorceries, for free off each of your opponents’ libraries is a big deal, that means 1.6*3 = 4.8 spells for 8 mana. And if your deck already cares about casting spells from exile this is all upside. Turn 2 though it’s 4.8 spells for 4 mana, and that’s crazy mana. And if you can untap it various ways that’s even more nuts. Another card that scales with your opponents decks.

PrinceofBielTan: Chaos effects are always fun, if you don’t have the answer for a situation, maybe your opponents will. These cards are fun to use politically, and because you’re not exiling too much I don’t see your opponents hating this.

FromTheShire: Yeah people are going to be having way too much fun seeing what hits you get off of this to be mad about it. For the mana especially, I really like that it doesn’t give you room to whiff on actually hitting an instant or sorcery by searching until you hit one, not just looking at the top 10 or something.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Wild Magic Surge

BPhillipYork: Instant speed destroying any permanent is decent, but giving your opponents a random permanent of the same type is pretty risky. Nonetheless, red often struggles to deal with enchantments so this is a way to actually take care of them. There are also ways to lock out cards put into play for free this way, say Containment Priest which really makes this dangerous.

PrinceofBielTan: We’re looking at another way to destroy enchantments in red here, which is notable. Although, be aware that this card is going to allow the opponent to play a card of the same type. Great in a pinch, but buyer beware.

FromTheShire: I’m in love. There’s a reason Chaos Warp is a commander staple, and while this does let them get the same type of permanent out rather than Warp frequently giving them a land or useless spell on top instead, I’m still super happy to make that gamble.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Wrathful Red Dragon

BPhillipYork: This reeks of hilarious consequences. At the same time, dragons are so expensive it’s like, okay sure fine. But yes if you get 2 or 3 dragons out you can Pyrohemia for 1 and really do a lot. Obviously, Chandra’s Ignition should win you the game if you have several dragons.

PrinceofBielTan: This dragon does work, it even protects your board from damage based board wipes if you’re running Dragon Tribal. Turns damage from blocking into further damage to throw around too, just a fun mean dude.

FromTheShire: Fantastic utility piece in dragon decks, and not the first time I have used a Boros Reckoner style card with Blasphemous Act for hilarity.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Wyll, Blade of Frontiers

BPhillipYork: More dice! For the more dice and dice rolling deck. Or maybe the commander. We’ll see. Dice guy who triggers off dice and rolls more dice is good for dice deck, not exactly rocket surgery.

PrinceofBielTan: Great support for all the dice rolling in this set, if that wasn’t enough he grows when we roll our dice too. Wyll is going to be one to watch out for, I think he’s going to grow faster than our opponents anticipate considering he lets us roll two dice every time we’d roll one.

FromTheShire: Straightforward and obvious which decks this goes in, still wildly powerful.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Wyll’s Reversal

BPhillipYork: This is really, really solid. Way to win a counter spell war, also grab a hold of powerful control and turn it to your ends.

PrinceofBielTan: Another redirect spell with a chance of copying our opponent’s spells an additional time. These spells can be used to throw something back at our opponents or to redirect damage to that threat that’s flying under the radar.

FromTheShire: Again, Deflecting Swat has quickly become a staple for a reason – part of that reason is of course that it’s often free, but the larger reason is this effect is extremely useful.

 

Green

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Acolyte of Bahamut

BPhillipYork: Cost reduction for dragons is kind of meh. Like they cost a lot, a lot -2 isn’t enough to make it really affordable. It’s like 10% off a luxury item, who cares? Also, like luxury items, dragons are kind of often marked up, to begin with, and over-costed, just desirable because they’re dragons. I’m sure there’s some kind of clever comment here about dragons and gold but I’m actually just kind of tired of dragons.

FromTheShire: Hard disagree for me. Getting your dragons out 2 turns early is excellent, and that’s before you combine it with ramp and any other cost reducers like The Ur-Dragon’s Eminence ability.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ancient Bronze Dragon

BPhillipYork: So, of all this cycle this seems like one of the strongest since you can do things like put the counters on something like Sage of Hours and just keep taking turns. Which is genuinely really dangerous. But still, 7 mana without haste is really slow.

PrinceofBielTan: Our final Ancient Dragon makes your creatures bigger, it’s very green. I’m not quite sure what I expected the green dragon would do, but counters is about as plain as it comes. You could set yourself up for dealing some big damage next turn, but personally compared to the mana from the copper dragon, or the card advantage from the silver dragon. This one’s a little vanilla to me.

FromTheShire: Even with putting the counters on two creatures, this suffers from the Jugan, the Rising Star problem where we just have so many other, better things to do with our dragons.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Barroom Brawl

BPhillipYork: I think this is a fun card for making fights all around. Lots of unintended consequences are possible, but should be fun to see this bounce around the table.

PrinceofBielTan: Two mana to remove two creatures is nice, even if your opponent decides what that second creature is. Just make sure you’ve still got all four players alive to not get hit back by this.

FromTheShire: Even if it tags me back, that just means it’s made a full circuit, and I’m damn sure going to keep passing it along. Absolute worst case this is two mana creature removal which is perfectly playable.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Durnan of the Yawning Portal

BPhillipYork: This is not a terrible card advantage engine with cost reduction but it’s going to be very uneven. It’s nice that it’s templated so that removing Durnan doesn’t steal the card from you.

PrinceofBielTan: You’re still getting the creature if Durnan dies, so it’s not too scary to keep him swinging and generating card advantage, Undaunted is a welcome return here to make sure what follows comes down cheap.

FromTheShire: Durnan! Good to see you lad! A nice value engine with great flavor, as creatures keep crawling out of the well to wreak havoc.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Earthquake Dragon

BPhillipYork: Why doesn’t it have an Earthquake ability. You know, deal X damage to all creatures without flying. I’m confused and that makes me angry. But like cool, they made another massively expensive creature with a bunch of cost reductions. Dragons are so expensive that if you have some you should get this guy pretty cheap pretty quickly, and have fun interaction with the new token dragon commander who is a dragon.

PrinceofBielTan: A repeatable big threatening flier with trample? You’re not going to lose the initiative easily with this guy on the field.

FromTheShire: Massive flying trampler with a significant cost reduction and recursion, what’s not to love? Other than not having an earthquake effect with that name, hard agree on the name to flavor fail there.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Emerald Dragon

BPhillipYork: Not a terrible instant, countering activated or triggered abilities can be huge, but then it turns into a terrible way over-cost 4/4 flier with trample. Yawn.

PrinceofBielTan: Stifle on a dragon is nice and welcome to see in Green, which you know. Really struggles to do anything as a colour. It’s got a pretty basic body once cast, but it’s nice that with adventure you’ll always have the option of that creature in the late game.

FromTheShire: I love on tribe ways of getting effects you want in your game already, and while the body isn’t amazing it’s fine, and the stifle to get someone is excellent.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Erinis, Gloom Stalker

BPhillipYork: Land recursion is actually pretty solid if you’re willing to really piss people off. Just recurring Strip Mine is pretty brutal. But who wants to build a deck around that. Everyone will completely hate it. Recurring fetches, are also really solid. There are also the quite solid channel cards from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty.

PrinceofBielTan: Ways to buyback your fetch lands are always welcome when it comes to smoothing out your mana base. Solid in landfall.

FromTheShire: Even if this just ramps you by getting fetches it’s great, and it’s only upside from there. A halfway decent body and more importantly deathtouch do a lot of work, too often cards like this just attack once and then die rather than getting the effect repeatedly.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Giant Ankheg

BPhillipYork: Well giving all your creatures trample and ward 2 is pretty nice. But 8 mana for an 8/8 trample ward 2 doesn’t really cut it, when you compare it to Craterhoof Behemoth which might as well be made of scissors given how much cutting of it, it does.

PrinceofBielTan: We’re looking at a big stompy green creature which offers protection to the rest of your board. It’s quite a straightforward albeit budget alternative to those green creature finishers you’re looking for in battle cruiser magic.

FromTheShire: Pricey but great abilities, I like this more in something like a Golgari deck where you’re reanimating it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Green Slime

BPhillipYork: Wow fun good ability for an ooze deck or just in general. Foretelling cards gets them out of your hand and generates exile casts, both of which can be good things, and this is a not-terrible flash 2/2 ooze. All-around utilitarian creature.

PrinceofBielTan: This card is real sweet, foretell it early and bring it back cheap to destroy some problematic permanent. If you can flicker this in response to an activated or triggered ability of your opponents, it’s going to be great value.

FromTheShire: Excellent in a Simic deck so you can flicker it. This would be worth playing just for the stifle, but it also blows up the thing you stifled which is even better.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Halsin, Emerald Archdruid

BPhillipYork: So, this could potentially generate you a lot of tokens with cards like Smothering Tithe and then turn them all into Bears, and a 4/4 bear is twice as big as a grizzly, and grizzlies are huge to begin with so that’s fun. White has a ton of decent token creators, especially if you can turn treasures and clues into bears.

PrinceofBielTan: This creature is going to support your token strategies with some much needed punch. 1 Mana for a 4/4 Bear isn’t a bad rate. It can be held up as a combat trick or used in response to declaring no blockers to really amplify that damage.

FromTheShire: Good rate for the effect, you can have a lot of fun here.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Jaheira, Friend of the Forest

BPhillipYork: This is also really interesting, turning your treasures into permanent mana sources is a powerful ability, and that seems like the easiest go-to for this. There are also a lot of ways to generate clues, sometimes excessive amounts of them.

PrinceofBielTan: Jaheria is going to be popular in my opinion, we’re getting more and more artefact synergies, so while she offers your creature tokens the opportunity to tap for mana, I think she’s going to be way more impactful tapping your treasures, foods and clues.

FromTheShire: This being any token is excellent. The obvious use is turning your token creatures into even more tokens and big finishers which is a tried and true formula, but you can get creative with it as noted above.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Jaheira’s Respite

BPhillipYork: Too expensive, otherwise would be a really cool card. If this came in at 3 or 4 even maybe it might be justifiable, but hoping to get attacked at 5 mana is just too dangerous, especially in a color that can’t usually hold up to flash things out later.

PrinceofBielTan: Neat card that combines a fog and ramp in one little package. It’s costed quite highly so hope it doesn’t get countered.

FromTheShire: Fogs are another underutilized effect in Commander and the ramp CAN be huge, but 5 is a lot to hold up unless you’re something like a Simic deck with other stuff to do at instant speed. Not that those are everywhere or anything.