The Commander Conjecture Countdown
In my last article, “Powerful Instants to Surprise and Bewilder your Foes” we looked at some excellent cards that have not gotten as much playtime in the past few years. This article will carry the same condition; that they have not been printed in any commander edition. Sorcery cards have to have a higher impact or lower cost than instant cards, given the limitations of when you can play them. When you tap out for a sorcery on your turn in a game of commander, you could get attacked 3-4 times before your next turn, if you put a target on your head. To the list!!!!
Urban Evolution / Blast of Genius – Lets draw three cards. Oh wait, there is even more card text! I expect both of these cards as re-prints in a future Commander set, which is one of the only reasons they are honorable mentions. Urban Evolution, as a Simic card, already fits into a many mana hungry archetypes (I even play this in some of my 5-color decks for the utility and mana-fixing). Blast of Genius is a great card in Commander because the nature of the format allows all of us to play really expensive spells. Just remember that you have to choose the target before you know which cards you draw.
Immortal Servitude – This card is crafty and I like it. I think building your creature curve around this type of card is really a fun exercise. Limit your deck building so that your curve has a pile of creature at only 1 or 2 converted mana costs, is quite possible. These creatures will stick around for a while, and the swing in power (and the large stack of enter the battlefield effects) can easily take you from being “on the ropes” to being a powerhouse at the table.
This card is politics incarnate; a mini Game of Thrones. Many people will argue that this card says: draw the 3 worst cards in your deck. But that is only the case when you are already winning the game. When the table needs answers to a high-priority target, you’ll get the answer (and 2 more cards to boot). This can also be a build around, where you only have creatures in your deck that seriously impact the game (e.g. Primordials, Titans, and Eldrazi). Normally I hate playing tutors in Commander because the players at the table need to wait for you to sift through dozens of cards, but this is very different. Choose an opponent at the table, flip your deck over, and have fun while everyone argues over what to give you. If you play your cards right (pun intended), that opponent could even end up as the “bad guy” even though you got the cards.
Consuming Vapors / Twisted Justice
Removal is good. Removal that gets Voltron and/or indestructible creatures is great. Both these cards have ancillary effects that make them great options. Even if you are playing against a token deck Twisted Justice will still replace itself. And having a card that says, kill Ulamog, draw 10 or 11 cards (or gain 10 or 11 life), is always a great inclusion. Sorcery speed removal is always playable, because the person you just angered has fewer resources for their retribution, and with both of these cards, you have more.
Fanning the Flames
Card advantage, check. Removal, check. Secondary win condition, check. This card is built for situations where you have lots of land. Many players have seen the power of buyback through the power of it’s instant speed cousin, Capsize. This card combines that kind of inevitability, and doesn’t let your opponents get the utility of the same enter the battlefield effects. I love this card, just make sure your deck is built so that you can accumulate the land drops to make this card useful. There are a number of commanders and creatures combos where this card is even more of a powerhouse.
Govern the Guildless
This is an odd duck. Govern the Guildless drips with flavor and can act as utility with any “color matters” cards. I really like the utility of the forecast ability and its primary spell effect is excellent and it has even greater utility now that devoid exists. Not much more to say about this spell. It’s probably an auto include in any deck with a commander who has a color word in their text: Llawan, Cephalid Empress, Animar, Soul of Elements, Lavinia of the Tenth (to name a few).
This card turns any land into the most powerful creature on the battlefield. Copy effects are always good in EDH, and repeatable copy effects are even better. The only reason this card isn’t higher up on the list is because when you use this card, it opens up the opportunity for any opponent to go infinite with Chancellor of the Spires.
A lot of powerful creatures grace the battlefield, and subsequently, the graveyard in the typical commander game. Gruesome Encore lets your opponent’s best dead creature for a test drive, then exile it. For only 3 mana, you’ll probably still have mana left over for another spell. This is one of those overlooked uncommon cards that your opponents will think is overpowered, after just a few encounters.
Wow. Just wow. That was the reaction the first time I ever cast Mana Geyser. This is Commander’s version of Vintage’s Mana Drain (and Mana Drain is so powerful it is restricted). This is one of those reasons we play expensive cards and mana sinks (cards with activated abilities that you can use extra mana with). Here is a short list of cards that love a mana geyser: Fanning the Flames & Buyback (see above), Pyrohemia, Akroma, Angel of Fury, Figure of Destiny & Level Up cards, Equipment, Soulfire Grandmaster, Aggravated Assault, Rings of Brighthearth, Mindshrieker, etc.
Depending on how your deck is constructed and what stage of the game it is, all of your opponents may be dead. This card shines when you have a lot of mana, and its positioned in the color with the most mana fixing. Have fun stacking your enter the battlefield triggers, and deciding which of your Garruk’s you want to live upon resolution of the Planeswalker uniqueness rule.
This is the card most likely to show up in the next commander set. Just like #6 on our list, copying things is good. The ability to repeatedly copy permanents is better. Stolen Identity expands its influence to the world of artifacts meaning that every Sol Ring or Sword of “Your opponents get frustrated and quit the game” is now within the realm of your power in addition to all of their creatures. Because of this lovely card, I once had 6 Solemn Simulacrums, and in another game I had a pile of Lux Cannons.
Death or Glory
When you play magic for a long time, it is inevitable that card will some cards will slip through the cracks. Death or Glory is one of those, except everyone missed it. If you have strong political partners at the table this card is great. Otherwise it is just very, very, good. Commander allows players to utilize everything as a resource. Death or Glory is there to mass reanimate a whole bunch of powerful creatures (preferably with enter the battlefield effects). I want to play with commanders that already make your graveyard a big deal. Here is a short list of some of my favorite options:
- Teysa, Orzhov Scion
- Teneb, the Harvester
- Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
- Ertai, the Corrupted
- Ghave, Guru of Spores
- Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
About the Author
Calexir AKA Nick Parenteau has been a board and card game enthusiast his entire life. He is an amateur game designer and frequent modder of existing games. Nick is your friendly neighborhood Dungeon Master, Brew-master, and Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none. A walking cacophony of song, puns, and nerd knowledge; he’s here to answer your questions, meet your challenges, and leave you wanting more: Doink1212@yahoo.com