Magic’s newest expansion has us journeying into the glistening, oil drenched heart of New Phyrexia as allies from across the Multiverse race to stop Elesh Norn from conquering countless planes. A new set means new cards, and we’re continuing our review with the monocolor cards.
Last time we covered the multicolor cards, and this time as usual we won’t be looking at everything, and we’ll be doing this primarily but not exclusively with an eye for Commander play.
Against All Odds
BPhillipYork: It’s nice that it’s flexible, but sorcery speed largely just means there are stronger spells out there with a similar effect, often for cheaper. Targeting artifacts is the one thing this does that is fairly unique. If you want to dump to yard and return an artifact to start some kind of chain I could see using this. Also could potentially be used with some of the stax pieces to get them back after blown up. Or maybe with modular stuff, anything you really wanted to keep having counters go off.
FromTheShire: Sorcery speed means you’re not flickering to save something, but this is some very solid value for an ETB focused deck, getting you both a blink and a new blink target that someone killed previously.
Beanith: I just finished a horror evening on Arena so lets just assume if I don’t say anything about a card, it’s just incoherent screeching that the Editors had to erase. Not a massive fan of the cost but I could see some fun ETB shenanigans as mentioned by Shire.
Loxi: The fact that this blinks both artifacts and creatures and reanimates those same types is solid. Mono-white artifacts wouldn’t say no to this in most cases, since hitting both effects is pretty solid value in a lot of cases.
Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines
BPhillipYork: Oh no this card is going to ruin EDH! Oh wait, no it isn’t. It’s a very solid mid-range card, generally won’t make the cut for cEDH, will do a lot at high power tables since it’s almost worse than an asymmetric stax piece (this is more or less the ETB version of Opposition Agent or Hullbreacher.) Actually now that I have that insight I almost wonder if we can expect a similar red card and green card. I’d assume the green card would have something to do with lands or creatures, and red would be maybe damage or discard or something. I mean, yes I am going to put this into decks.
FromTheShire: Speaking of ETB’s, this card is BONKERS strong. Even if this just affected you, doubling up on simple things like Solemn Simulacrum will get you a long way, much less once you start casting things like Skyclave Apparition and Karmic Guide. However, it ALSO hoses your opponents ETB’s, and these days even the average deck has a bunch of them sprinkled in that help make the deck go, much less the decks built entirely around them. Depending on the list this can completely shut off artifact and enchantment removal, value engines, win conditions….. just completely backbreaking for a lot of decks.
Beanith: It’s cards like this that tempt me down the dark path of just running a Blue Counterspell deck… admittedly its a very small step down from my mono-black murder deck.
Loxi: I won’t write more about what’s already been said: Panharmonimom is really, really solid. I actually am curious about how much she’ll be seen as a Commander: she’s really powerful, but you’re limited to Mono-white compared to other decks in the archetype having more colors. The card will be popular because everyone loves Norn though, which isn’t really a bad thing. She’s really strong, but I want to know how she’ll hold up after people get a few games in with her at the head of a deck.
Kemba, Kha Enduring
BPhillipYork: Making tokens at instant speed is nice. I like the ability equip something to the Cat, this plays really nicely with the new Neyali, Suns’ Vanguard. Also does nicely with some of the white triggers that only happen the first time each turn, like Rumor Gatherer, so that you can grab a card once each turn, though that would cost you uh, a fair amount of mana (30).
FromTheShire: An interesting one, this has a kind of built in tension between wanting to be Cat tribal and Equipment tribal. Typically you want to pile everything on one or two creatures for maximum smashing so I’m not immediately jumping to why I want to put one piece on each new Cat that enters. Seems great in Standard for cheating For Mirrodin! costs at least.
Beanith: There’s no room for cats in my Comet, Stellar Pup Rebellion Rising decks
Loxi: Cats AND equipment? Heck yeah. In seriousness, I think this is a case of a card covering a few too many themes, although I think she might see some good play in the 99 of some equipment decks since a few of the other solid white equipment support cards happen to be Cats. I don’t see her outclassing the existing Commanders she would compete with, but she seems like a pretty good support piece. Heliod, God of the Sun is jealous of her cool spear though.
BPhillipYork: Bonusing tokens is getting hot, I wish white would get more of it that is non-creature based, i.e. artifacts and enchantments that buff your tokens and more “non-token creatures are destroyed” boardwipes because that appeals to me. Still, making instant speed tokens is strong and buffing tokens is strong. This guy is only 3 mana + 2 life or one white, which is even cheaper to generate triggers.
FromTheShire: This is a really nice buff for your tokens. A lot of the time you’re dealing with like 1/1 or 2/2’s that can be easily blocked without danger, but once you start getting into 3/2’s with first strike things begin to get dicier, and then you tick on another anthem or two and people are staring down losing serious creatures for free or taking an amount of damage that adds up quickly. The ability to generate tokens that can poison people out is even better.
Beanith: There is however room for mites on Comet.
Mondrak, Glory Dominus
BPhillipYork: Oh boy, yes, we needed uh, more of this, this is what is lacking. For reals though, wow, especially with Elesh Norn right there, making tons of tokens super easy, and this guy is practically an aristocrats sac outlet, when necessary.
FromTheShire: And so we come to the first of our Domini, which is an absolutely sick cycle. All of these essentially cost 1 extra mana, 4 life, and a condition more to cast because you don’t want to have to wait for your next turn to make them indestructible because people are going to be gunning for them NOW. If you’re the kind of deck that wants this effect, you absolutely have a couple of extra tokens lying around to sacrifice for the counter. After that, you basically have an indestructible Doubling Season, famously fair card, for the thing your deck is trying to do.
Beanith: So far this review is mostly a shopping list and you better believe this card is on there.
Loxi: My biggest hope with this card is that it isn’t a billion dollars, which isn’t hopeful. It’s going to be a token staple, since it’s a crazy auto-include for the archetype. I doubt it will be a popular Commander though since it doesn’t really do anything outside of being an all-star support card. I do want to mention now that I think the Dominus cycle’s indestructibility effect is really fantastic and a fun way to make the cards unique and have protection without being uninteractive; great design from my perspective.
BPhillipYork: Well the scry 1 is fairly nice, dumping oil counters and paying 1 and tap to draw a card, but the ability to mass generate oil counters could lead to some interesting things.
FromTheShire: Nice and cheap value piece to reward you when your creature heavy deck inevitably gets board wiped. Even if you only get the scry this is pretty sweet, and if it sticks around I’m super down to pay one to draw a card repeatedly, especially in white.
Loxi: Sweet card, I think aristocrats could run this really well but I also think white-weenie decks in general might love this. Let’s face it, if you’re in a go wide deck and your stuff isn’t dying, you’ll probably just run away with the game at some point.
BPhillipYork: Sweet, finally there’s a mirror image of the Phyrexian Obliterator, but why no opposite of the Phyrexian Vindicator? Still, this is ability is potentially really really strong. Like, I activate my Pyrohemia, and then it deals damage to the Vindicator. Wait it flies. Lol that almost makes it worse since you can’t hit it with Earthquake.
FromTheShire: This card is siiiiiiiick. Obviously we have to touch on the huge color commitment, but in Commander especially that’s not a problem. In return, you get a fantastic rate flyer that is heinously difficult to deal with and flings damage around at any target. Give this thing vigilance and enjoy never being attacked again. Cast your own Blasphemous Act and dome someone for 13. Looks like your Pestilence is sticking around forever! So many fun possibilities here.
Beanith: Powerful older brother vibes of “stop hitting yourself”. I’m down for this level of chicanery.
Loxi: I really hope horror tribal gets good access to white at some point because this would be a HOUSE there. I’m curious if 60 card formats will run this card, just since a sorta-indestructable 5/5 flyer for 4 mana is pretty nice. White-weenie inbound, folks.
Skrelv, Defector Mite
BPhillipYork: This guy is a boss. Thing. Sorry didn’t mean to assume uh, oh it’s a face hugger sort of thingy? Anyway I like this guy a lot, making something hexproof and toxic 1 is neato. Also can’t be blocked by those things. And Toxic 1 stacks. With Infect. And Double strike. Just saying.
FromTheShire: It’s not quite Mother of Runes, but it’s as close as we’re likely to get in a new set since they don’t do protection from a color anymore. It can get the poison game rolling on the play if your opponent doesn’t also cast a one drop, it pushes damage through while also tacking on toxic, and it can save important creatures from removal. Outstanding.
Beanith: Don’t mind me… or my Toxic Hexproof 1/1 green Squirrel creature token.
Loxi: This is a fun little protection piece that is legendary…for whatever reason. I won’t hate though, I love this lil’ guy. White getting more access to on-board protection AND evasion on the same card is really strong. I think this card will be really strong in Voltron decks as well as any other go-tall strategies, and if you want him at the helm you could easily have him support beefing up some other goons with equipment or auras.
BPhillipYork: Yes, generate tokens with toxic I dare you. This is a cool fun card, for poison people and like making tokens and all kind of things.
FromTheShire: The next entry in the ‘it isn’t X but’ series, this certainly isn’t Bitterblossom BUT it’s still really good. No flying or blocking definitely hurts but the tokens all have toxic which is great for the decks that want this, and once you get a few counters through suddenly your whole team has lifelink so you can even start casting multiples.
Beanith: I apologise in advance to Qness for the terrible things I’m planning to do on our next Magic night. As for Abznak, I’m not sorry at all.
Loxi: Anything that makes tokens every turn is really good. Aside from the aforementioned Bitterblossom, cards like Thraben Doomsayer & Dreadhorde Invasion are also both really, really solid cards. Even if you don’t have inherent poison synergy, I think this is a solid card that can accrue a lot of value over time if you stick it early.
The Eternal Wanderer
BPhillipYork: That -4 is totally boss. Double Striking Samurai is cool. Flickering things also cool. All around solid planeswalker that might actually see play in EDH, since it basically swings out and ultimates round 1, which is bananas.
FromTheShire: This is one of the more playable planeswalkers since it’s essentially a 6 mana sacrifice based wrath that may actually live a couple of turns since you get to keep your best creature to block with while picking everyone else’s worst. The token is pretty solid since it has double strike, and you will usually have something interesting to use the flicker on. Since it can only be attacked by one creature per turn I can actually see this living long enough to justify the inclusion in a Commander deck.
Loxi: I really like this new planeswalker design where they can ultimate as you drop them. This makes them feel more like a charm-type permanent spell rather than something you need to survive to make the best use of. Aside from being a stud for Samurai decks, I think you can stick this in a lot of white decks just for the sake of it being good on practically any board state.
White Sun’s Twilight
BPhillipYork: I think this cycle is cool. I like a board wipe that attaches to creating tokens. There’s a few of these. Would be fun to try to make a deck without any real creatures, just planeswalkers and board clears for stuff. Oh wait I have a deck like that. Multiple. Okay well. Funny to see toxic tacked onto the created creatures though. Kind of threatening making like 5 of these, or more, after a board clear, can immediately probably end someone.
FromTheShire: I already really like Martial Coup and tacking on life gain and giving the tokens it makes toxic only ups my opinion, though the creature type is noticeably worse.
Beanith: For those keeping track, yes this is also on the list.
Loxi: 7 mana board wipes usually aren’t my forte, but if you’re in tokens or lifegain I think this synergizes quite well. If you really pump this thing late game, it can in theory just swing the board to a state where you can blow someone up really easily with poison.
Blade of Shared Souls
BPhillipYork: This is super strong for a sword, kind of crazy tbh, 3 to make a copy, and then you can keep making copies. Any number of things you might want to use this for, and it makes a token for free, so it’s essentially a clone of a creature you have for 3.
FromTheShire: This is neat since it actually costs one less than basically every other Clone effect, and it also sticks around if the creature dies so you can copy again, or you can just switch it to another creature if you play a better creature than the current choice. I like it.
Loxi: This is a really solid card for so many artifact decks, since it puts you at +1 artifacts on the board, comes with a body, and can be extremely versatile. Even if you aren’t built for clones I think you’re hard pressed to not give this one a shot if you have equipment or even generic artifact synergy.
Blue Sun’s Twilight
BPhillipYork: Yeah people hate this stuff. Steal someone’s commander and make a token copy. But for 7 mana that’s pretty fair. And grabbing a 3 cost or so creature is often really nice, which is fairly reasonable at 5 mana.
FromTheShire: Not necessarily bad but for the most part the bigger and badder the creature you want to steal is, the worse the rate for this is. Personally I’d rather just regular old clone their creature.
Beanith: And this is why you’re a monster Shire…
Loxi: I think this card would be more interesting if it made a non-legendary copy, although considering players hate getting their Commander yoinked that probably is a smart decision to leave out. Not bad, but not as exciting as some of the others in the cycle.
BPhillipYork: Probably great for standard. I don’t see it making the cut for Commander.
FromTheShire: In Commander this is maybe okay, but in the Standard poison decks I expect we’ll be seeing this not quite Ancestral Recall a whole lot.
Beanith: I needed a new card to stick between the spokes on my bike.
Loxi: Powercrept Divination.
BPhillipYork: The concept of making everything artifacts is strong, and there’s a lots of payoffs for fetching and reducing cost, and having multiple ways to do this, and also multiple anti-artifact board clears around is pretty good.
FromTheShire: Artifact synergies are very powerful, so turning all of your nonland permanents into them opens up a lot of fun possibilities. Of course, it also opens you up to nasty stuff like Vandalblast, so the fact that this specifies nonland is a real plus.
Loxi: This is fixed Mycosynth Lattice, isn’t it? It’s a solid card, although I always have one interesting take on this: assuming you’re the type of deck that would want this card (artifacts), wouldn’t your deck already be…mostly artifacts? I do see the crazy potential here, but I think you have to make sure it isn’t just redundant for most of your deck to be an artifact if your deck already is stuffed full of artifacts.
BPhillipYork: I kind of hate this card. Let’s make taking turns even easier to go off. The fact it has a built in -12 that generates a turn isn’t the real problem, the problem is the 0: proliferate. Having your planeswalkers help out your most efficient taking turns planeswalker is gross, and then targeted proliferate on top of it is crazy.
FromTheShire: Well this is certainly a thing. A thing that is going to go infinite in multiple formats. Even just played fairly in a superfriends list this is super strong auto include.
Loxi: This card is VERY powerful, but can we take a quick second to appreciate that art? Oh my lord, this is so cool and the alternate art is…MMM. In all seriousness, this card is just cracked in planeswalker focused decks but only ok outside of them. It might find a home with some Commanders that have counters and sling noncreature spells though, like maybe Vadrik, Astral Archmage.
Jace, the Perfected Mind
BPhillipYork: Please let this be the end of Jace (it won’t be).
FromTheShire: Worth a look in mill decks in non-Commander formats. In Commander he only hits one player which is just not where you want to be when you’re milling three people.
Loxi: If they bring back Jace post-Phyrexian, I do hope they deviate him from mill a bit. I play/have played mill across a few formats, and most of the Jace cards just can’t make the cut. I hope they explore some new design space with him. I like that Jace, Cunning Castaway and Jace, Mirror Mage were unique even if they weren’t as strong.
BPhillipYork: This is pretty good. Copying spells is nice, and doing it via trigger is nice too because you inherently get to cast the spell and make the copy, so you avoid the problem of casting Fork on something you want to copy and then having them counter the original spells. A 2/1 that can’t be blocked is solid alone. It’s also a Rogue, and this copying thing on top of it is fairly crazy.
FromTheShire: Doubling up your spells is really powerful, and while this needs to deal combat damage to do it, it has built in unblockable so it effectively doesn’t have the drawback. Start chaining this together with extra turn spells and the like and you’ll lock up the win in no time.
Loxi: I actually think if you’re in Rogue tribal and you have a decent chunk of instants and sorceries this card is really strong. Unblockable Rogues are already solid for the deck regardless of the extra text, so getting to get some extra copies spells here and there is just frosting. I’m going to pick up one for my Edric, Spymaster of Trest Rogues deck to try out.
BPhillipYork: So instant and sorcery reduction that increases over time is pretty good, flashing it in right before your upkeep is strong. For spell slinger decks this is a really solid card, and it can go nuts with proliferate effects and suchlike, to really reduce the cost of your spells a lot. Could easily see using this to get the cost of a buyback spell like Searing Touch down so you could just autocast it over and over.
FromTheShire: The effect is certainly very powerful, but it is also slow and obvious. I always worry that cards like this are going to eat a Krosan Grip right when I need them to go off.
Loxi: Synergistically with the set, I think this card is best used in decks that can Proliferate a ton, but outside of that might be a tad slow. If you can artificially push oil counters on this in any way, it seems pretty legit. Flash is a nice touch too.
BPhillipYork: Pretty strong blue counterspell, can hit moxes and Sol Ring and Esper Sentinel and a lot of strong counterspells. Very playable, probably sees play in cEDH from time to time. Only reason it’s potentially not going to be around too much is there are so many great counterspells already.
FromTheShire: Stop me if you’ve heard this before, from me, recently: This isn’t quite Mental Misstep, costing one mana instead of being free is a pretty big difference, BUT Misstep is banned in everything except Vintage, where it’s merely restricted, so I have a hard time imagining this not seeing some serious play. There are a lot of control and tempo decks out there, and the fact that this hits free spells is extremely relevant against Living End decks, on top of hitting a whole host of extremely powerful one drops like Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer or Colossus Hammer.
Beanith: I’m just going to assume everyone has this card whenever I see them play an Island.
Loxi: Mini Misstep! From a cEDH perspective, I don’t think this cuts it from the other counterspells in the format, but I think having more 1 mana counters to play with is neat. I don’t think this is really an EDH card period, though.
BPhillipYork: Fun for proliferate decks, probably not worth paying 3 mana with so much competition in counterspells, but if you really need to proliferate, then solid.
Loxi: I think the 3 mana counters with upside are mostly pretty neat, but I think it’s a bit counterproductive from a Commander perspective since you tend to hold counters for the bigger stuff and this wants you to counter more for tempo.
BPhillipYork: Definitely playable in like high power decks or mid power that are very aggressive or want card draw.
FromTheShire: Turning all of your spells into cantrips for an extra blue seems really solid, especially since it also lets you dig 2 cards deeper with the scry to find that key card you need to continue going off.
Loxi: 1 mana to draw and scry 2 just for playing your deck normally in spellslinger or control is pretty solid, but I wonder if this might be too slow for some people that want to push those archetypes. Seems like a bomb if you’re in Sphinxes though.
Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus
BPhillipYork: Uh great. Double proliferate so, that’s fairly dumb. Removing counters could get uh, interesting, especially because you could have a saga at level 3, remove 2 counters, then proliferate going back up to 3, remove the counters, etc. Also just double proliferate is strong too. Also it’s a 3/5 flyer that can make itself indestructible. And you can move counters between creatures, if you so desire, with Nesting Grounds to make other things indestructible.
FromTheShire: If you’re running a proliferate deck like Atraxa, then you can’t cut something from your existing deck fast enough to slot this in. What are the odds people are still running her all this time later though? Oh she’s still the #1 most popular deck on EDHrec? Curious. The cost is again easy to pay and you’re in blue so you have counters for any pesky exile effects that try to get around the indestructible. Prepare to be a target.
Beanith: Who had “Flying Robot Jellyfish with tentacles” as an artword description for Tekuthal? I’m pretty sure I don’t want to google that to find out myself.
Loxi: I always am spooked by cards that want you to Proliferate a ton but don’t help you proliferate themselves. Getting the indestructible is pretty easy to do in a counter deck for this one, though. It’s a cool card, but I think it might have a bit too-narrow of a scope for what you want to run with it to really get good use from it.
BPhillipYork: Um yay a blue creature that gets bigger and bigger as you counter spells, because blue control wasn’t good enough. I don’t see this being a big deal in Commander.
FromTheShire: Devastating threat in limited, and if we see an oil counter deck emerge in something like Standard or Pioneer I could easily see this being a solid piece in it.
Beanith: All hail our blue overlords?
Loxi: This is an absolute bomb in limited and can really get big if you have synergy with oil counters in any way. It’s fine for commander, but these cards usually are some of the first I see get cut from decks.
Unctus, Grand Metatect
BPhillipYork: So card selection is just good, allowing you to dump to your graveyard is good, this buffs artifacts, and it turns things into artifacts, and can be done with no mana. Like artifact based board clears or else ways to manipulate things with artifacts. Weird utilitarian creature that does a crazy amount of stuff.
FromTheShire: Kind of a weird lord in something like an Esper artifacts deck maybe? Like none of these words are bad but they also don’t come together in a way that is particularly compelling to me at first glance.
Beanith: The cool Uncle.
Loxi: I want to just absolute ruin people’s day in Phenax, God of Deception with this. Regardless, it’s…interesting. I feel like you need to abuse tapping to get good use of that, but aside from just turn-sideways combat decks or mill (especially with Persistent Petitioners), I’m not sure the best spot to jam this guy.
Anoint with Affliction
BPhillipYork: Given how many really good small creatures run around Commander this seems fairly playable out of the box, depending on your meta, and especially so if you are running poison or infect or toxic.
FromTheShire: This is mostly worth highlighting for how good it can be in non-Commander formats, although if you’re running a infect/poison EDH deck you’re absolutely including it as well. 2 mana conditional exile in black has some definite utility, and if you get Corrupted going it’s 1 extra mana Swords with no downside.
Beanith: There’s always room in my mono-black murder deck for more “none for you” cards.
Loxi: Poison decks will probably run this, but outside of that I think it’s more for 60 card decks.
Archfiend of the Dross
BPhillipYork: This is a powerful aristocrats effect, I like the way it is balanced around um, losing the game, but black has so many ways to sacrifice things, and so much proliferate now, so potentially quite a fun card, also just a 6/6 for 4 that has flying is quite the beater.
FromTheShire: Classic black undercosted creature with the downside that it kills you, always love to see variants of this. The always on Massacre Wurm damage is pretty sweet as well.
Beanith: I’m already plotting ways of ensuring it’s survival just so it manages to blow up and take out my opponent.
Loxi: Cool note with this card: it only makes you lose the game from that trigger, so if you can kill it off before your upkeep that effect isn’t really an issue. If you can really reliably sacrifice your creatures, this card can be pretty strong as a temporary powerhouse that you kill off before it kills you.
Black Sun’s Twilight
BPhillipYork: To me this card really only exists because it returns a creature from your yard at instant speed, which is potentially really solid. Stapling it onto creature control that ignores indestructible potentially is really something. I think this is a really solid card.
FromTheShire: Inefficient way to kill something, the instant speed reanimation is nice but it does require you to hold up a lot of open mana which is not always something you want to be doing in a black or black X deck.
Beanith: This exists so I can kill off some terrible mutated monster and then bring back Sheoldred, the Apocalypse so she can get murked again as MTG intended.
Loxi: It seems like a lot to pay for a removal spell, but if you’re in dedicated reanimator it can probably do work. I agree with BPY on this one; I think the second half is the more impactful one, so its a bit deceptive.
BPhillipYork: Well it’s a 1/1 with deathtouch and toxic. For 1, simple enough, if you want to start distributing poison counters so you can proliferate this is a solid way, and also a solid way to have your opponents waste their creature control due to poor threat detection.
FromTheShire: Love this nasty little rattlesnake, gets the poison train rolling and then either trades up or wards your opponents away so they don’t lose something valuable to it trying to attack you.
Beanith: AFK, rebuilding my Murder deck to try and squeeze in four of these.
Loxi: A probably reasonable card for Insect decks actually. Deathtouch blockers are a really strong political tool in Commander and always have that as an added bonus from my perspective.
Drivnod, Carnage Dominus
BPhillipYork: Oh good, a second copy of this effect, so now you can have your death triggers count 3 times and that is a lot of times for death triggers to uh, trigger. It also has 8 power, which is something on a creature that can give itself indestructible.
FromTheShire: Another extremely powerful ability and I’m here for it. Since mono black is maybe the second strongest monocolor deck in Commander and has an absolute ton of death synergies, and this is on a really solid body, I can actually see this as your Commander pretty easily, where most of the others are better suited for the 99.
Beanith: Powerful Necron vibes, both in ability and art.
Loxi: I’ve been waiting to talk about this card, since I actually really like it as a Commander. Yes, Teysa Karlov is probably the stronger Commander outright since she’s cheaper, comes with additional upside, and has access to white. However, I think the ability to be indestructible, thus making this a “safer” albeit weaker Commander, is a really interesting trade-off. I think this is much more appealing to me as a mono-black effect too since it feels very on theme for the color, especially in the context of Phrexians. I didn’t really like Teysa too much truthfully, but I think this is a fresh coat of paint for that effect.
Geth, Thane of Contracts
BPhillipYork: Reanimating creatures for 3 mana is just solid. The -1/-1 on all your creatures though is nothing to sneeze at. Nonetheless this is a way to bring something back reliably and cheaply.
FromTheShire: I’m always a little down on reanimation effects that exile in Commander, just since we have access to so many ways that don’t, but Geth is still very solid.
Beanith: There will be no room in my Murder deck for Phyrexian Zoidberg whilst the Bilious Skulldweller are running amuck.
Loxi: The self-killing aura cards I always think are really cool, and the reanimation effect is solid. I think this is a great card and a pretty cool Commander too, specializing in 1-toughness goons to kill aristocrats style and bring back. I’m a little disappointed just in the sense that it seems like Geth as a character kinda had a glow-down from his previous iteration, but at least he didn’t get canned as hard as Odric, Blood-Cursed.
Karumonix, the Rat King
BPhillipYork: So many new tribal creatures, and this is a way to make everyone really hate your Rat deck since all your rats will have toxic they will really really want to get an exterminator. But nicely it’s 3 for a 3/3 that grabs up to 5 cards, so it balances out being creature controlled by letting you get card advantage from it, assuming you’re running this as a Commander.
FromTheShire: Nice to see either another very solid piece for the 99 of a Rat deck or another new Commander. The playstyle will likely vary slightly depending on the application as well to give a little extra variety – you can afford to grind it out more if this is your Commander than if you just want to drop it on a full board and wax fools.
Beanith: Rats, there were no rats when I drew my five cards from my Rats deck… dRAT.
Loxi: Celebrating yet another birthday bash, we have another Rat Commander. I do like this one compared to Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm of recent, but I think this may draw you an equal amount of hate just because it seems really easy to poison kill people with this guy. Go check out my opinions on Ashcoat though, because mostly they carry over here. The TLDR: this would be more appealing to me if people ran the unique rats rather than the ones where you can stuff as many as you want in your deck.
Kinzu of the Bleak Coven
BPhillipYork: A couple of these exist now, and there’s a lot you can do with it. In a Rakdos sneak / sacrifice deck you could then be reanimating the things with powerful ETB’s that you are sneaking in and then saccing and then copying, that’s a huge amount of value from your things. If you’re also getting death triggers (potentially double death triggers) that gets really out of control.
Beanith: I understood most of that… am I a real boy now?
Loxi: She’s cool, but I always found these effects not super fun to build around. That’s a me-personally thing, but I’m sure some people will make some cool shenanigans happen with her. Fantastic art/character design though.
BPhillipYork: So a pure profit off proliferate trigger is pretty solid. But generally it seems like you are proliferating not for triggers sake but to do something specific, so this becomes a kind of win-more card.
FromTheShire: I like this to add a bunch of chip damage in something like Atraxa, and with the other things you have going on this could easily slide under the radar for a couple of turns and then suddenly have done 10-12 damage to each opponent and brought them into lethal range.
Loxi: I really wonder if there are enough Proliferate effects for this to be good.
BPhillipYork: I’m not that blown away by this card. Potentially good but mostly for just pure value when you are leveraging death (Archfiend of the Dross) or sacrifice (Mayhem Devil). It is instant speed asymmetric sacrifice, which isn’t nothing.
FromTheShire: Edicts are always fun, and tacking on a bunch of flexibility while also hitting each opponent is nice. Really great to have in Pioneer as well, and this is probably the new strongest edict in Modern even.
Loxi: I think the edicts tied to a body tend to be the best ones, but of the noncreature ones this one is probably versatile enough to see some play. Hitting planeswalkers is a nice touch for a two mana spell, even if you only hit one. It’s also asymmetrical which is solid.
Vraan, Executioner Thane
BPhillipYork: It’s kind of funny to me this is in the set with a guy that doubles death triggers but it doesn’t work. They should be partner with actually IMO. Too funny. Uh it’s a solid trigger, but the fact it’s once per turn means you need a lot of ways to make creatures die, which isn’t that hard, but people will probably (read definitely) want to blow this up if you keep making them lose life every turn.
FromTheShire: On its own it’s probably too slow, but if you have ways to sacrifice for value at instant speed so you can trigger it on everyone’s turn, now you’ve got something.
Beanith: Sheoldred meatshield shenanigans are a go.
Loxi: It’s a good effect, but I think might be more of a 99 card since it’s a limited effect. Really good in aristocrats decks that want to cycle death triggers on every turn, like Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker.
Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting
BPhillipYork: This is super strong. Levels of crazy strong, 5 mana to come in with 4 counters and you can turn something into a treasure or just immediately proliferate, but wait, there’s more, draw a card, and lose 1 life. Really solid planeswalker. The poison counter thing I don’t really care about, but I could see it being pretty funny.
FromTheShire: Especially in an Atraxa deck, this is pretty nasty.
Beanith: I didn’t want to build a Superfriends deck until now.
Loxi: I’m happy to see Wizards making high cost planeswalkers stronger, since she can do some WORK in any deck that can close out with toxic/infect after ulting. She kinda makes me think of Oko, Thief of Crowns in a more balanced way since she’s a more restrictive cost and less versatile removal.
All Will Be One
BPhillipYork: So far there’s 2 infinite combos with this. Funny in modular decks, Quest for Pure Flame, The Red Terror who knows what else. Absolutely potentially bonkers with proliferate. Maybe some kind of spellslinger thing with cards like Sphinx Bone Wand and Aria of Flame. Also I think it’s kind of funny it’s a green planeswalker and a white creature on the art, so like, what gives? I mean clearly Urabrask will betray the Phyrexians or something because evil can never cooperate yawn, time paradox living cure, boring.
FromTheShire: Well yes, it’s – spoilers- Elesh Norn using Nissa to supercharge the Invasion Tree, what gives is what the story of the set is lol. This is a red card because of what it does, not just because Urabrask is the rebel Praetor. Really strong though for sure.
Loxi: They said it, they said the thing! I think this card is cool, but I almost wish it wasn’t red. The effect is red, but the triggers seem better in… not red.
BPhillipYork: The potential upside here is so large that there’s got to be ways to abuse this. Getting out extra turn or extra combat spells is probably the default, but also just a bunch of big dumb sorceries would be funny.
Beanith: I could see some play with this after a particularly nasty boardwipe. No doubt I’ll still end up with a Sol Ring instead of something more fun like Hexplate Wallbreaker
Loxi: This card is stacked for Dragon tribal. You’re running big ol’ Timmy spells anyway; what’s stopping you from consistently hitting three fat Dragons at random? It also might be solid in reanimator decks like Chainer, Nightmare Adept since the trigger is on ETB and putting nine things in your graveyard there is a breeze.
BPhillipYork: I like this, though they don’t have toxic. Eating a treasure into Goblins is funny, and it has a control aspect as well.
FromTheShire: Very fun little card, and look at how much fun those little jerks are having. How can you resist?
Beanith: Yeet and delete artifacts for one Red? Call me interested.
Loxi: Huh, this is fun. I can see this being pretty fun in Limited or in Standard as a way to dispose of treasures and such for some serious early aggro power.
BPhillipYork: Weak sauce.
FromTheShire: Wanted to highlight how much of a premium piece of removal this is in at least Limited, and depending on the meta a really solid sideboard card in Standard. Also it looks rad as hell.
Loxi: Wowie, that’s SUCH amazing art. Sometimes I always have to step back and appreciate the fantastic artwork that gets overlooked because a card doesn’t see as much play. It reminds me of what first got me invested in Magic as a kid, and seeing stuff like this brings the wonder back. Yeah, the card isn’t really an EDH card, but damn if that style isn’t gorgeous.
Koth, Fire of Resistance
BPhillipYork: Okay my “when I play a mountain” deck is good to go.
FromTheShire: Oh hey look Koth is back! Not bad overall in the right deck, and nonthreatening enough to maybe live, especially if you’re telling everyone you just want to never miss a land drop.
Loxi: This Koth is cool, but I wish the ultimate was a bit faster to achieve since it doesn’t seem that crazy in the grand scheme of emblems. If you’re in some kind of red burn deck and have a buttload of mountains, I’d say go for it if you like planeswalkers.
Rhuk, Hexgold Nabber
BPhillipYork: This is a funny creature, funny to be grabbing equipment. Not good. But funny at least.
FromTheShire: Clearly made for Standard, which, y’know, not everything is made for Commander, nor should it be.
Beanith: I kinda want to stick this one in with Syr Gwyn, Here of Ashvale. What could possibly go wrong?
Loxi: I get the point of this; it’s got really good synergy with ‘For Mirrodin!’ since it lets you get the equipment on a better body for free. I love that design space, so I can completely get why this card is in here. I don’t necessarily see it being popular due to this, but it could be a fun start for a “living weapon tribal” type deck. I might take a crack at that just for fun.
Slobad, Iron Goblin
BPhillipYork: This is potentially pretty good, could be eating all those “when ~ enters or leaves the battlefield” do X for 2 mana cards.
FromTheShire: Nice burst of mana in artifact decks.
Loxi: Slobad is pretty Slogood. Sacrificing artifacts for what is basically a (sort of) free return on mana can lead to some solid plays. Daretti, Scrap Savant decks and other similar decks would love to have him, and I’m sure he’ll be fun to try at the helm since he works really well with such similar cards.
Solphim, Mayhem Dominus
BPhillipYork: Double damage is strong but it feels like the red thing in a cycle is almost always the weakest, and discarding cards to get indestructible on a 5/4 seems weak. It should have haste or trample I feel like.
FromTheShire: Because I’m a sicko I have a Boros Burn list and at least a couple of group slug lists for Commander, so I could not be more excited for this dude. Sometimes the fun of the format is taking a strategy that is considered not to be good and supercharging the hell out of it, and we’ve gotten some amazing pieces for direct damage in recent years. The biggest drawback is that in these strategies you’re usually not super stoked to discard 2 cards.
Beanith: Sick art but yes, needs some Trample or Haste for extra relish.
Loxi: I am a group slug player. I adore this card, to a crazy extent. This is for sure my favorite one in the cycle, even if it isn’t the strongest necessarily. As with the white & blue ones, I think this is a better supporting card than Commander, but the effect is so powerful if you can set it up right that I think there’s some fun to be had. This also might make a good Commander for pure Mono-red burn. I might do some comparing, but this one could arguably give Torbran, Thane of the Red Fell a run for the money in scenarios where your damage triggers are greater than 1 or 2.
BPhillipYork: Yeah this is fun. Apparently red doesn’t have toxic though or what?
Beanith: I suddenly feel the need to cram more Artifact removal into my decks.
Loxi: This is sweet, I almost wish the tokens were artifacts so you could abuse them a bit better for artifact decks (since the card itself is an artifact), but it seems neat regardless. 3 mana is a pretty low cost of entry for free tokens every turn.
BPhillipYork: This is neato, right up reds sort of place in the color pie, generate oil tokens, and then sac and your hand to draw 4.
FromTheShire: Really nice way to refill your hand in non-Commander red aggro.
Loxi: This is a 60-card type beat, but I like it for that. Reminds me of good ol’ Bomat Courier, and if you played Standard around then you know what that thing could do.
BPhillipYork: Yes, this is crazy to me. Please to give him double strike and infect so you are giving someone toxic 1 twice, = 2 poison counters, proliferate 1 twice = 2 more poison counters. If you give him infect that’s it, they are dead. Even without it, potentially getting 4 counters in a round trampler too, and everyone else getting proliferated is a lot.
FromTheShire: His creature type is appropriate because this dude is definitely a BEAST. Does everything you want in one trampling package, plus it’s cheap. Sign me up.
Beanith: Tokens for everyone!
Loxi: Arguably one of the more consistent proliferators in the set, so if you have a lot of those cards we’ve been seeing that trigger from that effect, this will be a solid include. Also again with being a 3 mana 4/4 with upside, oh the humanity!
Conduit of Worlds
BPhillipYork: I love to play lands from my graveyard. Also love to be able to recast spells from my yard. Goes really well with decks with tons of instants and stuff to cast on other people’s turns. Just nice, solid, toolboxy.
FromTheShire: Getting your fetches and the like back is already super useful, and then on top of it you can get one other thing out per turn if you don’t have something else to do? Hell yes.
Beanith: Just stop putting land into the graveyard and you want need a card like this…
Loxi: More effects like this being accessible for lands players is great from a budget perspective, which I adore. The additional reanimation is niche but potentially strong, which seems right on par with what it was intended to do. Adding a reason to run a strong green-specific artifact is cool, so I’m for it.
BPhillipYork: Interesting Spinoderm thing, basically fading but oil fading. Not likely to see play, in Commander, IMO.
FromTheShire: What a Limited beating.
Loxi: This card is bound to just crush Limited tables.
BPhillipYork: Erm evolve but oil. Okay.
FromTheShire: We’ve seen cards like this get there before in things like mono green Stompy lists, question is how viable oil counters end up being and how easily you can sling extra counters their way.
Beanith: At least ain’t Valvoline.
Loxi: Experiment One but kinda worse? It’s cool, but not great.
BPhillipYork: 6 mana is too much but a totally fun effect, enchantments like this are rare but I think are becoming more common, a trigger and also an ETB that make something for you. Really good with Ixhel in battlecruiser. But who plays poison in battlecruiser?
Beanith: You’ve poisoned my battleship
Loxi: I really like this card in concept, but I think it won’t draw you enough cards for it to be worth trying to get it to stick around. It might be alright in the new poison-themed precon, since it seems like there will probably be enough ways to consistently enable it there.
Green Sun’s Twilight
BPhillipYork: So for 6 mana you can put a creature in the top 5 into play and a land. Potentially huge, especially with so many tutor the top cards. To grab out a win-con definitely playable.
FromTheShire: If I have enough mana for this to feel worth it I think I’d always rather have Genesis Wave. If you need a worse copy then go for it though.
Beanith: My brain immediately said Craterhoof Behemoth
Loxi: I think this one is probably the best of the cycle, since it will almost always hit two solid cards in the right deck and at the least can be easy green draw early game. It’s not super crazy, flashy, or complicated, but its good if built around so I’m a fan.
BPhillipYork: Wow. Just wow. Better than fight, instant speed, gives everyone else a poison counter. Can be used with like, creatures with deathtouch and lifelink to totally ace something and gain life (can you think of any Phyrexia type things that have deathtouch and lifelink and are like the most commonly used Commander for deckbuilding and Phyrexia themed? No me neither).
FromTheShire: Outstanding removal that also gives everyone a poison counter, love it.
Beanith: And now I need a green Commander deck.
Loxi: A one sided fight is pretty cool, the poison counter is just gravy. Sadly isn’t actually a fight effect for when that matters (Neyith of the Dire Hunt is upsetti spaghetti by this).
Nissa, Ascended Animist
BPhillipYork: Well so, enters play, for 5 and 4 life, then you make a 6/6 horror or blow something up. Yes, that can be gotten on board with, but it’s quite pricy. ETB for an Overrun is good, but they lack trample or even toxic, let alone infect. Probably a stretch to really bring her out.
FromTheShire: Well she gives trample so this is a basically a more powerful Overrun if you have more than 3 Forests, which you absolutely do if you’re running her. The other abilities are meh.
Loxi: Just looking at this as a finisher I can see it being alright, but my problem mostly stems from it just being not as flexible as marketed. The whole point of the compleated mechanic is to make cards have versatility, but I feel like casting her compleated feels terrible for the rate. I wouldn’t fault anyone for using her as a finisher in a go-wide mono green deck, but I think that’s the only use-case for her.
BPhillipYork: Weird card but I don’t giving my opponents the choice. Could be used hilariously with something like Lure, but can you count on your opponents having 10 creatures? If so kind of cool kill condition. Also just basically an Overrun, but without trample or infect seems too weak.
FromTheShire: Definitely goes in a narrower range of decks than a lot of other mass pump spells, probably just ones already giving out poison counters in fact.
Beanith looks nervously at his token deck… 10 creatures you say?
BPhillipYork: Um, right, extra instances of toxic 1 is not problematic at all. On like, mites and stuff. Solid way to hand out a lot of poison.
FromTheShire: Kind of surprised this is on a common, especially at the rate that it is. If you’re playing toxic, you’re playing this.
Beanith: Tis the season of giving.
BPhillipYork: Neat iteration but this effect has been done and I mean, a 5/5 trampler with indestructible on your turn in mono green is nothing really to write home about.
FromTheShire: Neat to see Thrun again but he feels worse in this iteration.
Loxi: The return of Thrun! Do you think interaction is for babies and want to just beat the crap out of people with good old fashioned combat? Is dying gloriously a thing of the past? Do you loathe blue players in their entirety? He’s the guy for you.
BPhillipYork: Yes, I loved Stranger Things. Is this the universe within or. Um Toxic 4 is a lot, on a haste body with trample and ward 4 and also an 8/8. Costs 7 but wow.
FromTheShire: Nothing fancy here, just a big stompy green monster with two scoops of abilities. Very, very good abilities.
Beanith: So the whole “thinking about building a green deck” is very rapidly becoming more and more likely as I scroll through all this.
Loxi: It’s a big stomper, really the toxic probably won’t come in to play as much since I feel like if you’re swinging in a bunch with damage from this guy you probably have backup for him, but consistently stacking a lot of poison per attack (let’s be real, blocking this guy is rough) is a strong plan to go off.
BPhillipYork: This is a crazy defensive type thing but also you can target your own creatures with spells to give poison counters, nutso. Really hilarious with like Zada, Hedron Grinder or similar effects. 10 creatures? Oh cool target my guy with uh, hexproof. Boom you’re dead.
FromTheShire: Kind of an interesting spot, you have to be playing poison but also have a bunch of auras and spells that target your creatures to get max value, otherwise it’s like one extra counter when something gets removed.
Loxi: I hear a lot about this one for 60-card, but for Commander it might not be as wild outside of cEDH, and truthfully I don’t really have a good gauge for it there either. It’s a great card, I can just picture it getting nuked too early to really stack things up pretty often.
Zopandrel, Hunger Dominus
BPhillipYork: Yes, double uh, your creatures power and toughness for 7 mana. Cool. Whatever, too expensive. Green having sacrifice creatures is rare, so that’s interesting, that used to be a thing that’s largely gone away. Though it is each combat, so not just when you attack, which is a mixed bag with effects like this.
FromTheShire: Certainly an extremely green thing to do, it feels like this should come down and win you the game or you’re not doing it right.
Beanith: More angry green robot-zombie dinosaurs suggestions please.
Loxi: This card is strong and can just win you the game if you stick it, but I think it isn’t actually anything that crazy compared to other 7+ mana finishers in green. It’s a solid card and I absolutely want to play it, I just think I’d go with a more interesting build around card and leave this to be an extra way to close out a game in the 99.
Next Time: Colorless
That wraps up our look at the set’s multicolored cards. Join us next time as we review the sets colored cards, picking out our favorites, and talking about the future build-arounds. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.