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 wrapping up our review by looking at the new Artifact and Colorless cards in the set, as well as the companion preconstructed Commander decks released alongside the set, and giving our final thoughts about the set as a whole.
If you missed any of our prior reviews, you can find them here:
Phillip: I really like this card, I like the political aspect of it and how it will work in practice, how it’s a way of going after the player who has dangerous combos around while also damaging someone else. One of the advantages of the better swords is they allow you to ping a creature or destroy an artifact or planeswalker when you deal combat damage, but it doesn’t have to be one of the defending players permanents. Unfortunately 5 for a 5/3 flyer doesn’t cut it.
FromTheShire: Repeatable removal that lets you make allies, I’m all about it.
This card is weird, and seems okay for monocolor commanders, I could see it being played in Urza and K’rrik, maybe Godo and some of the better mono color commanders. It could also play well with the mono color partners, 1 to cast and 3 to equip isn’t bad, though it’s overcost compared to the most common commander protections available, Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots.
I think this is interesting though it has somewhat limited use. Time to build your own Progenitus with a colorless general!
Apparently this absolutely isn’t a green color pie ability anymore. This is a card that seems like it could be good, but for 5 mana and doing nothing else, it isn’t, really. The most you could leverage this is via untaps during other players turns, but that kind of ability is so strong you usually can spend it.
This is way better when it’s on an indestructible God. Otherwise it’s absolutely begging to have this blown up when it’s least convenient for you.
This is a cool idea, and there are enough artifact cost reducer and ways to generate big colorless mana that it might not be too hard to cast, there are some ways this could combo off, but in general it’s easier to create a loop than an artifact casting 7 mana.
Kind of weird, the cascade decks generally don’t care about artifacts, and if you’re a deck trying to bounce artifacts I think you’d prefer this be cheaper and not have cascade.
This card is probably overhyped, but it’s also stupid and will make games even more luck based and is almost insulting to the player base. Going to end being a chase card because almost every deck will be flatly improved by getting one.
I mean…..I don’t see any way that famously fair and balanced card Black Lotus could prove problematic and lead to feel-bads in commander. That’s what Lotus is known for, right? This has very high variance but even if it doesn’t truly belong in every commander deck, every commander player is going to want to include it.
Costs too much. But it has cascade and it’s colorless mana only, so it’s potentially something. I guess WotC are pushing golem tribal? Is there a golem commander? Honestly if we could get a new version of Mishra that builds golems that would be really cool.
I’ve unironically looked at doing golem tribal before because I enjoy making stunt decks, and even with some good recent additions, it’s pretty bad. For every one Blightsteel Colossus level card, there’s two or three Junk Golem level ones. Hard pass.
This card is obviously playable and can obviously be used to create a huge combo. It costs a ton, 9, but its all colorless. And when it dies you get 3 golems. And it has encore, for 12, but generates 3 golems, each of which will generate 9 golems.
Definitely something you play to get cheeky with not for the straight up power and toughness. I think the Encore copies dying still only get you 3 apiece, so it’s only 9 in total rather than apiece.
Okay cool it’s a blocker makes you the monarch, it has wings so no problem it has vigilance but not… flying? Wtf? So it can’t block the most common evasion ability. Even though the art literally has wings – I think it just looks like has wings, but that’s actually just the throne in the background. Nonetheless this is bad.
I just watched something in the last day or two about how monarchy is apparently very powerful in Pauper, so this may actually be dope there. In commander, not so much. There are much better ways to become the monarch.
It’s frankly sort of insulting to reprint the diamonds. They’re 2 cost mana rocks that come into play tapped, and in that sense they are generally better than the 3 cost rocks, but there’s really no reason not to reprint the talismans.
I like this card for decks that untap things that come into play tapped, for Land Tax or white effect decks, for decks that play extra lands and have landfall effects, but outside of those it’s probably not worth bothering with.
Interesting. I haven’t heard anyone ever ask for colorless bounce land but it’s neat, and I’m sure there will be some decks that are glad to have it, I just don’t know what they will be offhand.
This cycle is a welcome addition, hopefully will be cheaper duals that help decks mana fix. Sadly they don’t have types like Forest or Island, but in the land of Opposition Agent playing search lands may be a thing of the past.
It’s great to finally complete this cycle. We’re now to the point that it’s increasingly unlikely for decks to need to play tapped lands like Guildgates, and even 5 color decks can pretty effortlessly have all their colors when they need them.
This card is massively overhyped. 3 mana and paying life to draw a card via a land isn’t terrible, but there are a lot of really strong utility lands, and choosing this one over others should really only occur if you’re playing hardcore battlecruiser or have some way of locking down the game for a very long time.
One of the biggest mistakes players make is including too many utility lands. Yes it’s theoretically a ‘free’ effect since it’s on an otherwise useful land, but not hitting your colors on time is a very real downside if you get carried away. Worth a look if you are in red or white but all of the other colors have much better ways to draw.
The Commander Decks
Arm for Battle
This isn’t a bad Boros commander at all. 3 for a 2/2 is very viable, he has trample, and he gets to draw for each Aura and Equipment attached. That’s playable as a commander or as a part of the 99.
This deck isn’t terrible as a precon, but it only has 11 creatures, 12 if you count the commander. It has 15 artifacts, 14 equipment and 5 enchantments, 4 of them auras, so basically twice as many ways to power up your creatures as you have creatures. That seems strange to me. If you’re buying this as a deck to play I’d highly recommend subbing in more creatures. It actually has a decent amount of instants, which is nice to see, actual interaction cards.
The lands are mostly garbage, so many bad enters battlefield tapped lands.
If you’re buying this is the basis for a deck you’ll get some decent creatures and equipment and want to sub in better lands (or even just plains and mountains) and more creatures.
Reap the Tides
This commander is huge, basically another Tatyova, and drawing off land drops is a really good ability at basically any level of commander, though at really competitive levels it’s less important except in dedicated land decks.
This deck is firmly in battlecruiser territory, with a ton of huge creatures that will come out late game and swing for a lot. It has almost enough ramp to be dangerous, subbing out a couple big creatures like Murkfiend Liege for more ramp would make this a better deck.
There are a lot of bad lands in here, but a few decent ones, 44 lands is a lot for a deck to play. Like really, a lot, especially for a deck that has a lot of ways to tutor for lands. If Aeisi isn’t in play your hand will probably end up full of land and nothing doing, so you’ll want to protect him, but lack the instants to do so. Adding Tatyova would go a long way, as well as some more instant speed interaction.
Overall comments about the set
There are 2 really huge cards coming from this set that will be all over all levels of play except the most durdley of battlecruiser decks: Opposition Agent and Hull Breacher. They shut down the most common ways for decks to function. This is a huge buff to Opus Thief, and there’ll probably emerge a new Kenrith, the Returned King Opus Thief as well, especially given Wheel of Misfortune. Jeweled Lotus is actually probably going to be less impactful than people think, but it will still lead to a lot of dumb games where players drop Urza turn 1 or Najeela turn 1, or Godo or K’riik very early. Aside from that it will generally probably end up being used to pay commander tax. But stealing search cards and flash yanking draw are hugely impactful abilities. There are some more neat creatures and some utilitarian stuff, I am somewhat eager to try again with Omnath the Fourth now that Aesir exists he seems even more viable as a weird sort of landfall combo commander.
Outside of a few cards like Jeweled Lotus, I’m actually pretty happy with this set. Given how hard Wizards has been pushing the power of cards lately, when they announced that this year was going to turn a firehose of releases on Commander, culminating with 70 or whatever new Legendary creatures in this set, I was more than a little concerned. For the most part I have been pleasantly surprised to find a lot of interesting lore cards, unique effects, and solid playables rather than busted, obviously pushed cards. I’m still cautious about where they go now that they have printed a bunch of the not quite Reserved List cards. Given what we know about the lead times on designing cards, there could still be some busted stuff coming before they react to the feedback from all of the bannings etc. since War of the Spark but if this is an indicator of where they’re heading, I think things are looking up.
Thanks for joining us for our review of the new Commander Legends cards! If you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.