Commander Legends review, Part 2 of 7: White

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With Commander Legends releasing, the format is about to see a shakeup arguably bigger than any in its relatively short history. This week, Phillip York and FromTheShire are doing a card-by-card review of the new set and what the new cards mean for Commander. Today we’re continuing our review by looking at the new White cards in the set.

If you missed Part 1 of our review yesterday looking at multicolor cards in the set, you can find it here.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Akroma, Vision of Ixidor

Phillip: It’s a 7 cost Angel so, it does what angels that cost 7 do, generally, and it gives each other creature you control +1/+1 for each of flying, first strike, double strike, deathtouch, haste, hexproof, indestructible, lifelink, menace, protection, reach, trample, vigilance and partner.  Which, if you managed to get all onto one creature would be pretty impressive at least.  Probably one of the best ways to leverage this would be create multiple combats, as these +1/+1s would stack.  But failing this Akroma is a way to play Angel tribal.  Of course there’s…

FromTheShire: A fun callback to the original Akroma, Angel of Wrath, I guess this version is Ixidor’s  illusory prototype before he realized he could make his illusions real. Solid in Angel tribal decks or Odric, Lunarch Marshal.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Akroma’s Will

This card seems built for Akroma, but there are definitely things that could be done with it.  Giving vigilance to all your creatures would allow you to generate combat steps with Najeela, declaring vigilant attackers and then tapping them for mana to untap them.  But at 4 mana this really only works with a combo combat deck like Najeela, the Blade Blossom or Aurelia, the Warleader or Neheb, the Eternal (though obviously color identity would be an issue here).

Love it, and fact that this is instant speed when so often they make a card like this a sorcery and make it much less useful. Obviously a great white Overrun style finishing effect, but the fact you can also use it to protect your board in response to a sweeper is great.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Alharu, Solemn Ritualist

5 mana for a commander is risky, but it’s only 1 colored mana and we live in the land of lotus now, and Alharu, Solemn Ritualist could be used to combo off, particularly with something like Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, but that’s an expensive way to have creatures come into and out of play, and it relies on a fairly obvious sac outlet, typically one of the altars.

An interesting effect to add to a deck already built around counters, but not one worth building around to me. The fact it has partner does make it somewhat more useful.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Anointer of Valor

Awful.  3 Mana for a +1/+1, but only when you attack.  6 for a 3/5 flier.

Even in Angel tribal this is unplayable.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Archon of Coronation

4WW for a 5/5 flier is pretty bad, but comes into play making you the monarch is useful, but “as long as you’re the monarch, damage doesn’t cause you to lose life” definitely has potential.  There’s several sources of damage to all players that you could rely on, such as Pestilence or Thrashing Wumpus, though obviously the problem is you’d need infinite mana to pull these off.

Glad to see the return of monarch cards, they’re in kind of a weird design space so they’re generally confined to supplemental sets like this which can make building a deck centered around the mechanic difficult at times. I’m slotting this right into a Queen Marchesa list.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Ardenn, Intrepid Archeologist

This is good, though it’s toughness is only 2, so that’s dangerous for damage based board clear, but attaching auras and equipment at the beginning of combat is quite a powerful ability.  This could definitely be run in a Boros deck, with potential combos around Aurelia, Warleader and Godo, Bandit Warlord, or simply one punching players using auras like All that glitters.

A dangerous surprise kill out of the 99, it loses a little bit if it’s in your command zone so that everyone can see the trick coming. Even so, this is fantastic for letting you cheat the equip cost of things like Argentum Armor, or putting the host of equipment you’ve played during the course of the game onto one big beater all at once. The fact that this can also move Auras around is pretty useful as well.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Armored Skyhunter

Thematically I hate flying cat knights that are riding dinosaurs, but what are you gonna do.  Searching your deck for Auras or Equipment, putting them onto the battlefield and attaching them instantly is a decent enough ability, but at 4 CMC this is probably only playable in some kind of midrange combo deck.

This card is going in every Boros Aura/Equipment deck as a great source of card advantage in colors that need it. Remember that since you are putting the Aura on to the battlefield, the rules say it doesn’t actually target a creature, so you can put it in to play attached to a creature with shroud, say a Skyhunter you put Lightning Greaves on the turn you played it.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Benevolent Blessing

This is decent protection for a commander, flash and protection from a necessary color.

I don’t think the reason people don’t play Cho-Manno’s Blessing is the double white. The flash means it isn’t completely terrible, but how many times are you going to be glad you have Benevolent Blessing in hand, and how many times are you going to wish it was Unquestioned Authority or even Teferi’s Protection instead? White has a ton of way to protect things and I don’t think this makes the 100.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Court of Grace

This is part of the court’s cycle, but this one doesn’t really do much, creating tokens once a turn is fairly insignificant.

Great for an all in monarch deck, not worth the inclusion in a deck on its own. The power has crept up enough and games have gotten faster enough in the past few years that Assemble the Legion has gone from a possible finisher to mostly unplayable, and coming down a turn sooner doesn’t make up for making a maximum of one token per turn cycle.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Kangee’s Lieutenant

3 for a 1/1 flier that gives all attacking fliers +1/+1 isn’t very relevant, but the Encore ability definitely has some potential.

As I mentioned in our multicolor review, I have TWO Bird tribal decks, and this immediately goes in both. A 3 mana pseudo-Lord is great for a tribe that is generally overcosted, and much less good in a non-tribal deck just wanting the effect. Play Always Watching or any of the other host of less destructible and less conditional Enchantment versions of this effect first in a normal deck.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Keeper of the Accord

There’s a recent trend of white getting strong midrange stax hatebears, in keeping with white’s “balance” theme they only help you when you have less of certain permanents than others.  The nice thing about Keeper of the Accord is it triggers for each player, and if you have sac outlets this could lead to you continually getting more lands or creatures.

“Each opponent’s X” is the text Court of Grace needed to be a good card in a vacuum, so you love to see it here. The tokens are fine if you don’t have a sac outlet or Skullclamp for them and great if you do. In white you’re really here for the second ability since you have such a hard time ramping. See you in hell green deck, we’re keeping pace right with you on lands! Now you’ll only have better creatures than us! Oh and card draw I guess. And….boy, they’ve really been pushing green a lot, huh.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Keleth, Sunmane Familiar

Gaining +1/+1 for your commanders is useful, and 2 CMC commanders are potentially quite strong, especially in Boros decks which seem to have been pushed fairly hard for this expansion.  Apparently WotC is repudiating the CAG’s stance that “red/white should be bad” for “reasons”.

There’s probably a way to do some sick combo or cEDH play with Keleth, but in a typical game a +1/+1 counter on one creature per turn cycle isn’t worth a card to me.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Kinsbaile Courier

This is potentially a huge card, dropping +1/+1 counters has a lot of potential for certain commanders and in conjunction with certain cards, and the ability to exile for 4 +1/+1 counters and then potentially sacrifice the creatures lets you net a lot of value.

Again I’m deferring to the higher power level in cEDH, but just doesn’t do enough in a vacuum.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Livio, Oathsworn Sentinel

This is a weird card, but it potentially can due some neat tricks, and you can also use it’s abilities to dodge removal, by putting the return on the stack and then putting the aegis counter on Livio and letting it exile.

Interesting, though I don’t know how useful it it is in practice. It’s very expensive to try to mass flicker so you’re usually going to be trying to save one or two creatures, and even then that means you’re passing the turn with 5+ mana open in case you want to save something crucial from a board wipe or similar. Hope you partnered this with something that wants to be playing at instant speed.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Prava of the Steel Legion

Giving your creature tokens +1/+4 has some potential, but paying 4 to create endless tokens is definitely probably the ability to note here.  With other cost reducers or cards like Mana Echoes this could go infinite, and it’s a conveniently 3 cost partner in white that has a useful 4 toughness to avoid virtually all damage based removal.

Boy do I wish this wasn’t just on your turn. Being able to chump block with 2/5 tokens seems way more useful than attacking with them. The mana sink isn’t bad, especially if you partner with something in blue to get access to Training Grounds.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Promise of Tomorrow

This seems like a strong card, and it has potential for board wiping and returning your creatures to play, but given it’s an enchantment that has to sit in play it’s pretty dangerous to try to resolve unless you have a resolved Silence to protect it.  Exiling your commander with a card like this is also dangerous, because if you allow it to stay in exile hoping it will return and then the Promise gets removed or stopped your commander will be permanently exiled.

Interesting board wipe protection in theory, in practice I think most of the time you try to pull this off one of your opponents is going to let you exile your creatures and then blow Promise up before the end step. Having to wait until the end step means you can’t even loop this during your turn with Sun Titan, though I think you definitely want one in the deck if you’re going to try and make this card do anything.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Radiant, Serra Archangel

7 cost commanders are questionable at best, and while gaining protection from colors is a nice protection, a 6/4 that does nothing but fly, well it’s questionable at best.

Agreed on this one. It’s cool to see Radiant get a card again but even in a tribal deck I think this is frequently not going to make the cut.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Rebbec, Architect of Ascension

This is a cool effect, and can potentially lead to all your artifacts having effective protection from virtually all targeted spells.  I assume some interesting decks will be built around this card.

Very cool to see Rebbec and Glacian, Powerstone Engineer getting cards in the set, it’s not every day you see any of the Thran talked about these days. Some nice protection for your artifacts, I’m not sure if this will do enough to be one of your commanders rather than in the 99.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Seraphic Greatsword

2 CMC +2/+2 equip 4 is bad.  Creating 4/4 flying angels is cool, but not very effective for 6 mana.

Every set needs to have some bulk Mythics, as evidenced here. Not impactful enough on any axis.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Slash the Ranks

This is a cool wrath effect that doesn’t clear commanders, which definitely has potential, especially given the new planeswalker commanders, which have to be concerned about creatures everywhere.

I think there are ways to take advantage of this and being able to sweep planeswalkers is useful, though the fact that commander is multiplayer inherently makes planeswalkers worse. There are going to be a decent number of times where you’re going to stare at this in your hand sadly because the problem creature you really need to get rid of is someone’s commander.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Soul of Eternity

One the one hand this card costs 7 mana, on the other hand it encores for 9, and each of the tokens will have theoretically quite a bit of power and toughness.

I’m doubtful that Serra Avatar is significantly better after gaining encore.

 

Credit: Wizards of the Coast

Triumphant Reckoning

Obviously this could do some amazing stuff, though 9 mana is a lot, but if you can sac all your permanents to generate the mana.  For competitive, or even high powered play it’s simply too expensive, but for a kind of weird mid range haymaker should be fun.

Now we’re talking, this is what a Mythic should feel like. As the game continues to speed up, huge bombs like this continue to get harder to include as you can well be dead before you can ever cast it. If I’m paying 9 mana I want to either win the game on the spot or be in a commanding position, and Replenish on steroids certainly has that potential. 

 

Tomorrow: Blue

Check back tomorrow when our review of Commander Legends continues with an examination of all the new cards added in Blue. Until then, 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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