Commander 2018 releases tomorrow and I am super hyped for it! I talked last week about my favorite commander from the set, Aminatou, but there are so many cool places you can go with these! I’m going to mostly ignore the big scaries, like Serra’s Sanctum, because I know most of you don’t want to drop that kind of money on a land, nor is that really interesting.
Since I talked in depth about this deck last week, I’ll shorten the speech, since there is some overlap.
5. Future Sight: The bread and butter card of this deck, this really lets you abuse the +1 ability of the commander. It’s a massive card advantage engine, and can take over games in its own right by letting you simply out card your opponents.
4. Temporal Mastery: The build-your-own Time Walk seems like an auto include to me, but for whatever reason WOTC left it off the list. Regardless, getting extra activations out of your planeswalkers is a big deal, and this lets you use them again.
3. Demonic Pact: WHAT? I love this card already, but being able to blink it over and over turns it into a repeatable removal spell or card draw engine. In a pinch, you can even use it to KO a player of your choice, by using Aminatou to pass it to someone with just the “lose the game” ability left. 10/10 meme.
2. Dissolve: This card is really subtle, but does a ton. It’s a decent counterspell, though a step below actual Counterspell in powerlevel. What it makes up is a masterful ability to filter with Aminatou. I’m using Dissolve as a placeholder for all scry cards, but being able to put your bad cards back on top, then push them to the bottom, is an effect comparable to Sylvan Library, a commander staple.
1. Treachery: The aura that breaks people’s backs. The fact that this effectively turns Aminatou’s -1 into +5 mana AND takes the opposition’s best creature is OUT OF THIS WORLD. It gives you the mana to progress your board while also holding up counter magic on your opponents’ turns to interact. That’s a really powerful effect, and not one to be taken lightly.
This blue-red deck packs a lot of punch. If you watched the SCG VS. Series video from this week, you know that Jonathan Suarez WENT OFF with Saheeli, the Gifted. X Spells seem like the place to be when playing with her, and I encourage you all to check out their match.
5. Goblin Welder: This seems like an easy place to start, but Welder turns your good artifact deck into an engine that ends your opponents quickly. Wurmcoil Engine is the best pairing with it that is not already in the deck, but
4. Hellkite Tyrant: Um. It says “win the game” on it. Saheeli already produces quite a few artifacts, and it while 20 is a steep bar, I think you can actually achieve it.
3. Phyrexian Metamorph: I’m a little confused as to why this isn’t in the precon. It’s high power, on theme, and kind of needs a reprint. Regardless, Metamorph is a versatile card with a low floor and a high ceiling.
2. Tezzeret, the Seeker: You know what’s better than Goblin Welding? Tutoring your cards to the battlefield. Almost all the cards I’ve mentioned reflect on you already playing artifacts. Tezzeret is only as good as the artifacts you have. That said, he has a VERY high ceiling. Being able to tutor a Gilded Lotus when you need mana, or an Ensaring Bridge when you need some defense, is what keeps these slow, clunky artifacts from getting run over in the early game.
1. Ugin, the Spirit Dragon: AKA, the Enemy. Ugin is the kind of card that gets you targeted by your play group. Fortunately, that doesn’t really matter because many of your permanents are colorless, and won’t even be touched by his minus ability. Powering this out with Saheeli on Turn 5 is an easy way to cement yourself an early victory.
Treachery is an honorable mention here, though it’s possible it’s even better than the cards I’ve listed. I just don’t want it to be at the top of two lists. J
5. Satyr Enchanter: Ha-HA! I knew he would find a place soon. Turns out it was commander. These enchantress effects are fantastic, and if you don’t already have this, you should pick it up. I chose this one because I wrote about it for standard, but really this is a placeholder for all of them.
4. Heliod, God of the Sun: Heliod is my choice of god because he does something extra—he creates more enchantments. That means, if you have something like Tuvasa, the Sunlit, you are getting extra value from the tokens. Many of your enchantments are going to be white, too, so he will regularly be active. Giving all your creatures vigilance is nothing to scoff at either, since you are likely going to be suiting them up with some powerful Auras.
3. Archetype of Endurance: You know what ability people hate? Hexproof. You know what this guy gives? Hexproof. Do I need to say more? Ok, fine. Archetype of Imagination was the choice they put in the deck, and it likely is more fun for your play group. But if you’re suiting up your team, you need to protect them, rather than simply push for damage. Hexproof does that, and well.
2. Faith’s Fetters: Somehow this wasn’t included in this deck. I don’t know why. It deals with planeswalkers, and it gains you life. Very few cards can boast doing that much. If your local playgroup is building around these commanders, you should put this card in first (even if it’s #2) because it shuts off their game plan down single handedly.
1. Idyllic Tutor: Much like Tezzeret in the previous deck, this tutor is one of the few that really gives your deck consistency. It’s not repeatable, unfortunately, but it gives you a level of flexibility that few cards offer. The fact that you can get it without costing yourself a card is a big deal too, and at 3 mana you’re just ahead of the curve for a modern tutor effect.
DON’T GET AHEAD OF ME ON #1 GUYS! Lord Windgrace is my second pick for favorite commander. Lands matter is an awesome build around, and being able to sift through your bad cards in the late game is a huge upside.
5. Dust Bowl: You’re going to lose friends playing this. That being said, you’re going to put your opponents on the grinding board. The fact that Windgrace rebuys lands is a huge deal. This is also a placeholder for Wasteland and Strip Mine.
4. Glacial Chasm: Another degenerate land, but this one does things very differently. In a political game, you can use this to incite violence between other players, simply by forcing them to not attack you! And against even more degenerate decks, it prevents you from dying sometimes.
3. Ramunap Excavator: Discard a land, play a land from your graveyard? This basically turns all your activations of Windgrace into a draw 2 at no cost, which will run over your opponents quickly. If you play this, be careful, because you can easily end up targeted if you show them a Wasteland.
2. Wildfire: You haven’t truly lived until you kill someone’s entire board with Wildfire. The fact that this works well with the minus ability means that you can both constrain your opponents while advancing your own board. I would highly recommend it.
1. The Gitrog Monster: HE IS HERE! You probably guessed this before you even began reading, because WOW is it a ton of value. Not only does Windgrace fuel it’s “put a land into the graveyard” part, it also mitigates the cost of sacrificing lands every turn! It’s already spiked in price, so you’re a little late to the party if you want to get it for cheap, but it’s probably not going to drop for quite a while.
This time around, the commander decks seem really well defined in their archetypes. I really like that they have so much room to improve, without seeming weak. That was my main complaint about the Cat tribal decks, since they don’t stand to well in cEDH environments, and are difficult to improve. These, on the other hand, are awesome!
Don’t forget, you can pick all these up from Gameology on Friday! <3 See you next time!
~ Cassady O’Reilly-Hahn