Commander 2018 releases next Friday (August 10th) and I am SO excited for this one. Commander 2014 was one of my favorites over the past few years because it allowed me to have a Planeswalker as my commander! The only real drawback I found was that I REALLY like to play more than one color, because it gives me access to more powerful cards. Commander 2018 fixes that issue by giving us multiple commanders in popular color combinations.
Today, I wanted to talk about the commander that I am most excited about: Aminatou, the Fateshifter. It’s the Esper deck (Blue-Black-White), with a really unique theme: the top of your deck matters. We’ve seen cards in Magic that care about the top card of your deck matter on and off throughout history. Recently, Green cards like Vizier of the Menagerie and Courser of Kruphix are have been the primary examples of this, but earlier there were cards like Counterbalance where this was important.
Here’s a link to the full deck (along with all the others), since I won’t be looking at everything individually, just the commander and a few cards in the deck that go along with it (or that you can add to it).
The Commander: Aminatou, the Fateshifter
This is my FAVORITE card in recent history, so I will be discussing each loyalty ability individually.
+1: Draw a card, then put a card from your hand on top of your deck.
This card obviously screams “Miracles,” which is probably why Entreat the Angels and Terminus is in this deck, but it think it works really well with other cards too. Future Sight is the inclusion that I feel this deck is missing. Use the ability with Future Sight, put your land on top, then play it for turn. Counterbalance, which I mentioned earlier, works well with this too, especially if you can conceal the information. If the information is revealed though, there becomes a lot of give and take, since you can probably draw cards at instant speed, in response to a Counterbalance trigger.
-1: Exile another target permanent you control, then return it to the battlefield under your control.
There is a TON of play to this ability. People will initially see cards like Mulldrifter as the best target for this effect, but the fact that it says permanent (and not just creature) is HUGE. You can reuse other planeswalkers, or reset them if they have taken damage, with basically no fear. It also resets your Oblivion Rings, which is a really powerful ability to have on hand. I am especially excited to play this with Declaration of Naught, since it lets you adjust which commander you want to lock down, or deal with specific glass canons if they are known information. You can also REALLY go off with Oath of Teferi, effectively letting you blink something and Aminatou without costing you any loyalty.
-6: Choose left or right. Each player gains control of all nonland permanents other than Aminatou, the Fateshifter.
Nobody plays planeswalkers for their ultimates, and this one can easily be useless. The upside is stealing someone’s entire board, and giving your opponent nothing. However, since all your nonland permanents are VALUE based, rather than ongoing effects, there is little downside. Passing an O-Ring doesn’t change the creature’s exile state, and trading a mediocre Mulldrifter for their giant dragons or armies of tokens sounds great to me.
The real interesting part of this ability is how it interacts with things like Illusions of Grandeur and Demonic Pact, where transferring your effects really become a detriment. Demonic Pact especially seems like a fun time, since you can reset it with the minus, then pass it over late game to KO a big threat.
I doubt Aminatou is ideal for cEDH (competitive EDH), so you should really not look to spike with it. However, in your casual groups I can’t see a more fun, rewarding commander to build around. Release day can’t come quick enough! Speaking of release day, you can support articles like this by preordering Subjective Reality and the other Commander 2018 decks at Gameology. Till next time!
~ Cassady O’Reilly-Hahn