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Commander Review: Eldritch Moon Part 1 (White, Blue, Black)


Eldritch Moon has been fully spoiled, so it's time to see which cards are best suited for the Commander format and what decks they'll likely show up in. Let's get started!

 

WHITE

 

Collective Effort

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Collective Effort needs only a single creature in play to be a great spell, Killing a threatening creature and enchantment for 3 mana is an amazing deal. In the Commander format, there's always an enchantment and big creature around that are worth destroying. Sometimes you'll even use the third mode as bonus value if you have enough creatures, but it's not necessary for this card to be a great inclusion in many White decks. Collective Effort seems like a no-brainer inclusion in Token decks and other White decks that will reliably have 2+ creatures in play at any given time.

 

Deploy the Gatewatch

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A new auto-include in Superfriends decks. Just like See the Unwritten and Collected Company, Deploy the Gatewatch is often going to result in card advantage while saving you some mana on casting the two chosen planeswalkers normally. It works especially well with topdeck manipulation cards like Scroll Rack, Brainstorm, Sylvan Library, and others to ensure you're going to hit two planeswalkers when you cast this spell.

 

Repel the Abominable

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This neat combat trick may be worth running in Tribal Human lists. White has plenty of ways to make combat one-sided affairs, from protection spells (e.g. Prismatic Strands) to indestructibility (e.g. Rootborn Defenses). Repel the Abominable takes a slightly different approach, letting you either Fog an attack or blow them out if your Humans become locked in combat with non-Humans, but it doesn't protect against board wipes like Wrath of God.

Although a clutch Fog can win games in a spectacular fashion, my gut instinct is that I'd rather run cards that protect my board from wipes. Still worth testing, however!

 

Selfless Spirit

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I've long been a fan of Dauntless Escort to have insurance against board wipes. Selfless Spirit is an even better Escort, accomplishing the same thing for less mana. It's also a Spirit Cleric, which makes it an easy inclusion in those two tribal decks as well. Solid card!

 

Sigarda's Aid

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Casting your cards at instant speed is an often underrated boon in Commander. Leyline of Anticipation and Vedalken Orrery enable game-winning shenanigans by letting you respond to your opponent's plays in unexpected ways, denying a lethal combat step with an instant Wrath of God, or deploying your big threats right before the start of your turn so your opponents do not have an opportunity to respond to them with sorcery spells. 

Sigarda's Aid is powerful for the same reasons. One of your creatures is targeted with removal? Flash in Lightning Greaves. Your opponent has assembled a combo that is about to win the game? Dissassemble the combo with Song of the Dryads before he or she can go off. Not sure whether you should play Argentum Armor or Sword of Fire and Ice this turn? Wait until your opponents take their turns and use that information to make a better decision right before the start of your next turn. 

Speaking of Argentum Armor: it costs 6 mana to equip. Sigarda's Aid lets you immediately equip it for free. You just saved 6 mana! That's amazing!

Sigarda's Aid is a staple in Equipment decks and aura-heavy Enchantress decks as well.

 

Thalia, Heretic Cathar

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

New Thalia is a welcomed addition to White's arsenal of resource-denial cards. She's basically a mini-Loxodon Gatekeeper with the option of being your commander as well. She works best when you go deep on the resource-denial strategy, alongside other cards that also force your opponent's permanents to enter tapped (e.g. Gatekeeper, Blind Obedience) and then keeping them tapped with cards like Static Orb and Winter Orb. Add those all together and you've got a great deck at winning games and losing friends!

 

Thalia's Lancers

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A 4/4 with first strike is pretty good, even in Commander, but that's not the main draw of Thalia's Lancers: it's all about the legendary card tutor ability that has me salivating. Tutors are incredibly powerful in a singleton format with 99-card decks, and there are a ton of busted legendary cards in Commander to fetch—Gaea's Cradle, anyone?

Five mana is a lot for a tutor, even a powerful one, but thankfully it's an enter-the-battlefield (ETB) trigger on a creature, which means it's easily abusable. Cheat it into play with Animate Dead or Mimic Vat copies, or blink it with Brago, King Eternal, and you've got a mana-efficient tutoring engine.

In decks that can abuse the ETB trigger Thalia's Lancers is a no-brainer inclusion.

 

BLUE

 

Coax from the Blind Eternities

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

From my understanding of the official Commander rulings, you are not allowed to tutor for cards outside of the game. However, if your group is okay with it, Coax From the Blind Eternities can be a powerful and flexible tutor. Get All Is Dust if you need a board wipe, Kozilek, Butcher of Truth if you need some card draw, or Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre to destroy a permanent. It's a shame that it's not officially allowed because it's quite nifty and flavorful.

 

Court Homunculus

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Curious Homunculus is pretty much Goblin Electromancer #2 for Spellslinger decks, or #1 for Mono Blue Spellslinger. The front side isn't bad at all, but its flipside is terrific. Flipping is a trivial matter in Spellslinger decks as well, since you're often running cheap hand-filtering cards like Ponder, Preordain, and Faithless Looting. This creature is exactly the type of ramp you want in decks like Talrand, Sky Summoner, Melek, Izzet Paragon, and even Mizzix of the Izmagnus. Awesome addition!

 

Docent of Perfection

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A sweet inclusion for both Tribal Wizard and Spellslinger decks, which are often both archetypes at the same time since there's so much overlap. Docent of Perfection poops out Wizards, which not only serve as chump blockers but also synergize well with cards like Azami, Lady of Scrolls and Patron Wizard. It also enables you to swing for lethal with your army of roided up nerds! This card is fun and I can't wait to play with it!

 

Identity Thief

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Of the many Clone cards available in Blue, Identity Thief is one of my least favorite because it doesn't enter the battlefield as a copy of a creature, which means no tasty ETB triggers. Blinking creatures when it attacks can lead to neat things, either removing blockers or triggering one of your other creatures' ETBs, but it's a little more situational than I usually like. I'd rather run Phyrexian Metamorph, Clever Impersonator, Vesuvan Doppelganger, Sakashima the Impostor, Sakashima's Student, and others before I run Identity Thief

 

Imprisoned in the Moon

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

It's a bit strange at how much amazing removal Blue has in Commander: Pongify, Rapid Hybridization, and now Imprisoned in the Moon. It's not quite as disgusting as Song of the Dryads, but it's close enough. The best use of Imprison is enchanting a commander, which effectively "destroys" it but notably does not allow it to go back to the command zone to be recast. The only way to get back the commander is to destroy the enchantment itself. Imprison, along with Darksteel Mutation and Song of the Dryads, are the best answers to pesky commanders since the tuck rule change. The fact that it can deal with problematic lands and planeswalkers is just gravy.

 

Mausoleum Wanderer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A sweet pickup for Tribal Spirits, Mausoleum Wanderer acts as an efficient attacker/blocker that has the added benefit of forcing your opponents to play around a potential counterspell on the board. Either mode is a win-win for you, especially for one mana!

 

Mind's Dilation

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This expensive, splashy enchantment was almost assuredly designed for Commander. In a typical 4-player game, you're getting a minimum of three chances per turn of casting at least one random spell from an opponent's deck. Add more opponents, or factor in times when your opponents play instants on other players' turns, and Mind's Dilation keeps going up in value. 

Mind's Dilation is far from broken, but it's casual goofy fun, and I absolutely love it. It's certainly going into my Enchantress deck!

 

Niblis of Frost

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Spellslinger decks often share one glaring weakness: defense. It turns out that, while instants and sorceries do a whole bunch of amazing things, stopping your opponents from attacking into you is not usually one of them. There are some neat one-off tricks available, like Aetherspouts, but you need something more permanent to deter repeated attacks. Talrand, Sky Summoner has been one of Blue's best ways of turning instants and sorceries into a respectable board presence. Now Niblis of Frost is another way to protect your life total, preemptively tapping down would-be attackers while potentially serving as a finisher on its own. Not a bad choice for Spellslinger decks!

 

Summary Dismissal

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

In most Blue decks, I try to avoid countermagic that have a converted mana cost (CMC) higher than two. I'll typically run Swan Song and Counterspell in my budget brews, moving to Mana Drain and Force of Will if I don't care about price. Four mana is simply too much for most decks to keep up.

However, in dedicated Draw-Go decks, keeping four mana up isn't as big of a deal, and flexible countermagic like Summary Dismissal can really shine. In such a deck, Summary Dismissal is probably the best 4-mana counter after Cryptic Command. No, you can't counter + draw, but it can shut down a Storm deck if there's one in your meta, and it can be used as a Stifle if necessary. There's nothing more satisfying than saying "No" to a giant stack of spells and abilities!

 

Wharf Infiltrator

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I've never ran Looter il-Kor in a Commander deck before. Looters certainly aren't bad in our format, but they need something extra to shine, like Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. Wharf Infiltrator may have enough extra going on to be worth investigating. It loots like the rest of them, but you can also make decent-sized tokens occasionally if you discard a creature and have two extra mana laying around. That's good enough for me to be worth testing.

 

BLACK

 

Collective Brutality

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While the three modes aren't the best in Commander, Collective Brutality seems like an interesting madness-enabler due to its cheap cost. Peek at a hand and take out a Counterspell, kill a Llanowar Elves, discard Big Game Hunter and cast it for its madness cost? Maybe.

 

Cryptbreaker

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Now this is a sweet addition to Tribal Zombies! Cryptbreaker is a cheap, mana-efficient engine for the tribe. It's a very different card compared to the other staple 1-drop Zombies (i.e. Gravecrawler). Early game, Cryptbreaker helps you fill the graveyard with Zombies to set yourself up for mass reanimation cards like Zombie Apocalypse. Later on, it starts drawing you cards to refill your hand. That's a ton of versaility and relevance for a 1-mana creature.

Cryptbreaker is a welcome addition for every Tribal Zombie deck. It does everything the deck wants to do.

 

Dark Salvation

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Dark Salvation isn't a bad card, but I'm having trouble getting excited for it. If I want to make some Zombie tokens, I'd rather run Army of the Damned or Dread Summons. I suppose the closest comparison to Dark Salvation would be Skinrender: both put Zombies on the board while killing creatures. Skinrender is better early game when you're tight on mana and don't have a board state, but Dark Salvation gets better overall later on. I like Skinrender a bit more because it's a creature, which has more synergies in the Tribal Zombie deck.

If you're looking for a pure, 100% on-theme Tribal Zombie deck, Dark Salvation is a worthy addition. If you're more selective with your slots, I think we have better options.

 

Liliana, the Last Hope

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I think Liliana, the Last Hope will be a powerhouse in Standard. I'm more skeptical of her use in Commander. Planeswalkers have a shorter life expectancy in multiplayer games. Opponents will typically kill them at the first opportunity, and you have to defend them from 2+ opponents per turn as opposed to just 1 in 1v1 formats. Planeswalkers must either have a payoff the turn they're played (e.g. Elspeth, Sun's Champion) or they must play nice in the Superfriends deck, where the entire deck is devoted to protecting planeswalkers. I don't think Liliana, the Last Hope fits either of those categories.

 

Noosegraf Mob

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While Dark Salvation doesn't tickle my fancy, this Zombie is a different story. In a multiplayer setting, Noosegraf Mob will quickly churn out five Zombies for six mana, which is great value. The only better Zombie token generator than I can think of is Army of the DamnedNoosegraf Mob has the advantage of being a creature, which opens it up to much more synergies in Tribal Zombies. The Mob can be cast for free with Rooftop Storm, triggers Diregraf Colossus, and can be reanimated with cards like Zombie Apocalypse and Balthor the Defiled. It's definitely going to be sleeved into my Tribal Zombies deck.

Noosegraf Mob has interesting synergies decks outside of Zombies as well. As a 0/0 base creature, Alesha, Who Smiles at Death may enjoy cheating it into play. Maybe there are sweet synergies with its +1/+1 counters? If you have any ideas, let me know in the comments section!

 

Oath of Liliana

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Fleshbag Marauder has long been a staple removal card in Black's arsenal. This enchantment is more desirable for certain decks, notably Enchantress like Daxos the Returned and Superfriends. For the latter, not only does it remove creatures that may potentially attack your planeswalkers, but it even makes Zombies to further protect your 'walkers. Oath of Liliana is very nice addition to those decks.

 

Stromkirk Condemned

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Stromkirk Condemned is a good discard outlet for Tribal Vampires. It's free, repeatable, and can be used at instant speed. Giving your creatures +1/+1 isn't that great in a tribe that isn't known for going wide, but it's something. The problem is that we've got all these discard outlets, but not a whole lot of great madness cards. We'll see if people can cobble together some solid Tribal Vampire cards from what we've got.

 

Tree of Perdition

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

It seems like Wizards of the Coast is serious about pushing Triskaidekaphobia in Standard, though I'm skeptical of how effective it will end up being even with Tree of Perdition as a blatant setup for it. The tree doesn't need Triskaidekaphobia to do work in Commander. It can drop an opponent's starting life total from 40 to 13 all by itself, which is quite significant in the format. With a bit of building around, you can do shenanigans like lowering its toughness to 1 with Mirror Entity before life swapping and finishing the opponent off with combat damage or an extort trigger from Crypt Ghast.

I think Tree of Perdition falls in the category of "feelbad" Commander cards, similar to how Sorin Markov can drop someone to 10 life out of nowhere. Playgroups that don't like Sorin Markov won't want the Tree either. However, for groups where Sorin Markov is fair game, Tree of Perdition does the same job but even better since it can swap with an opponent each turn and is open to more synergies as a creature. Give it haste with Lightning Greaves, lower its toughness with Mirror Entity, maybe even have some untap shenanigans so you can hit all opponents with it on the same turn. There's a lot of ways to abuse Tree of Perdition. I like it!

 

Voldaren Pariah

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Finally, we get a good vampire with madness to make use of all our discard outlets! Voldaren Pariah has a devastating flip trigger while also being a big beater. Sacrificing three creatures shouldn't be a big deal in Black, even in Tribal Vampires, with cards like Bloodline Keeper, Pawn of Ulamog, and Call the Bloodline. A solid inclusion in Tribal Vampires!

 

Coming Soon: Part 2! Red, Green, Multicolor, Colorless, Lands, and Meld

Of the cards reviewed so far, my favorites in no particular order are:

That's a great haul so far! I'm excited to review the rest of Eldritch Moon. What do you guys think of the set for Commander? Do you agree or disagree with my assessments? Any cards you think are good that I left out? Which cards are going into your decks? Let me know in the comments section below! Thanks for reading!


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