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Commander Review: Eldritch Moon Part 2 (Red, Green, Multicolored, Colorless, Lands, and Meld)


We're back with Part 2 of our Eldritch Moon Commander Review. Be sure to check out Part 1 if you haven't already!

 

RED

 

Bedlam Reveler

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Bedlam Reveler wants to be cast late in the game when your hand is near-empty, and you want to draw into more gas. In a Spellslinger deck, it's likely that you'll have six instants/sorceries in the graveyard by the time you cast the Devil, making it cost a mere RR—but I don't think it's great even in this ideal scenario. If you're playing a Spellslinger deck with Red in it, you're almost assuredly in Blue too (Izzet), which means you have much better card draw options: Recurring Insight, Blue Sun's Zenith, Intellectual Offering, and so on. If you want discard with your draw, you've got Wheel of Fortune and Chandra, Flamecaller as superior options. 

If you're building a Prowess or Tribal Devil deck, then Bedlam Reveler is a good addition, but most other decks have better options.

 

Collective Defiance

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Wheel decks like Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and Nekusar, the Mind Razer may be interested in Collective Defiance. Pay four mana to wheel your hand plus kill a creature isn't bad. Not amazing, but decent.

 

Conduit of Storms

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Generating mana on attack is a very interesting ability. Savage Ventmaw is a superior version of Conduit of Storms, but it's still a neat card. Tribal Werewolves has low enough standards that Conduit of Storms is an easy inclusion, and these "pay mana to permanently flip" Werewolves of Eldritch Moon play really well with Geier Reach Bandit. If only that was our legendary Werewolf!

 

Mirrorwing Dragon

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Good or bad, Mirrorwing Dragon will soon be the centerpiece of epic Commander stories due to the crazy plays it enables. Sometimes you'll get amazing value from its abilities, and sometimes it will be your opponents capitalizing on it. The best home for Mirrorwing Dragon is probably as a backup for Zada, Hedron Grinder, in case her commander tax gets too high. Having a big ol' token army and then drawing a billion cards by targeting the Dragon with Expedite is super effective. Mirrorwing Dragon is a dope card and does dope things!

 

Nahiri's Wrath

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I was really excited about this card. Cast it, plus discard an expensive card to wrath all of my opponent's creatures and planeswalkers? Sweet! Then I realized you only kill one thing per card discarded. Ew, seriously? Pass.

 

Smoldering Werewolf

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Smoldering Werewolf isn't insane in Commander like it will be in Limited, but it still can pick off small utility creatures like a champ, making it a nice inclusion for Tribal Werewolves. Its perma-transformation makes it great with Geier Reach Bandit, the legendary Werewolf commander we should've gotten.

 

Stromkirk Occultist

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Another decent Vampire with madness for the Tribal Vampire deck! Huzzah! Stromkirk Occultist "draws" you cards in a similar way to one of my pet cards, Prophetic Flamespeaker. Unfortunately, her small size and lack of evasion makes her form of card draw not super reliable, but who cares. It's a playable addition in Tribal Vampires! Yay!

 

Thermo-Alchemist

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

In a vacuum Thermo-Alchemist is a worse Guttersnipe for the Spellslinger deck; not bad, but not great. I wonder if there's some easy combo with the fact that it untaps. Not sure if it exists, but if there is one, then the Alchemist gets a lot better.

 

Weaver of Lightning

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Weaver of Lightning makes me very excited to draft my favorite archetype in Eldritch Moon. It also has some limited use in Commander by letting you pick off small utility creatures. Worth a slot in Spellslinger decks? Probably not, but still neat.

 

 

GREEN

 

Crop Sigil

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Crop Sigil is a sweet self-mill engine that you can later cash in for card advantage. So simple, yet so effective. I'm excited to run it in decks that get value from the self-mill, like Sidisi, Brood Tyrant and The Gitrog Monster. I've enjoyed Nyx Weaver in those decks, and I think Crop Sigil is just as good.

 

Eldritch Evolution

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Eldritch Evolution is a slightly more "fair" version of Natural Order, one of the most powerful Green cards in the entire Commander format. No, you can't swap your Llanowar Elves for a Craterhoof Behemoth, but Evolution doesn't have the "green creature" restriction which makes it even more degenerate in certain multicolor decks. Plus it costs one less mana! Sacrificing your early game creature, tutoring for any creature of converted mana cost (CMC) X+2, and putting it into play is insane in Commander.

Eldritch Evolution is a crazy good card. It's an auto-include in creature-heavy Green decks, which is the vast majority of them.

 

Grapple With the Past

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I love Sudden Reclamation for self-mill decks like The Gitrog Monster and Sidisi, Brood Tyrant. So it should be no surprise that I love Grapple With the Past for the same reasons. Fill your graveyard for shenanigans, triggering abilities while you do so, and then snatch up the best creature/land you want from the graveyard. A lot of great value here.

 

Ishkanah, Grafwidow

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Ishkanah, Grafwidow marks the first legendary Spider to ever be printed in Magic, and thankfully she's a good one! Not too high of a mana cost, good body, a powerful (and creepy!) delirium enter the battlefield (ETB) trigger, and a mana sink all wrapped into one card. That said, there's not too much support for Tribal Spiders out there, but maybe we'll get more support in the future if Ishkanah is well-received. 

While not the strongest Golgari commander out there, Ishkanah has one easy combo built into her: Ishkanah, Grafwidow cast with delirium active + Ashnod's Altar + Nim Deathmantle is an easy infinite loop that generates infinite mana. You can then win by adding Blood Artist or similar cards to the mix, or by spending the infinite mana on a lethal Exsanguinate or similar. The combo has many variations and is an easy way to win.

 

Noose Constrictor

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Noose Constrictor is probably a better Wild Mongrel, as having reach is often more relevant than changing color. Both won't see much play in Commander, but they are notably good combo pieces in The Gitrog Monster decks: The Gitrog Monster + Dakmor Salvage + Noose Constrictor = mill your entire deck while making a huge Constrictor to deal lethal or do other broken things.

 

Permeating Mass

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Permeating Mass is a hilarious card. I'm not sure if it's of any real use in Commander, but I'm glad it exists. Buffing it up with Revenge of the Hunted and then converting all of your opponent's blocking creatures sounds wonderful though I don't know where you'd go from there.

 

Primal Druid

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

In Sacrifice decks, Primal Druid can serve as a Rampant Growth with upside. It's pretty much a worse Viridian Emissary since it has no power and doesn't immediately die when equipped with Skullclamp. Still a decent inclusion in the right deck, however.

 

Spirit of the Hunt

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A neat little combat trick for Tribal Werewolves. Simple yet effective.

 

Splendid Reclamation

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Splendid Reclamation is an insanely good card, possibly the second strongest card in the entire set after Eldritch Evolution. It would've been an amazing card if it only returned basic lands. It would've been an amazing card if it cost five or six mana. But no, for a mere four mana, you get to return all lands from your graveyard to the battlefield. All those fetchlands, the strip mines, and all those lands you milled by dredging up golgari grave-troll—they're all back in play. Crazy. Crazy! Every single Lands deck, including The Gitrog Monster, Omnath, Locus of Rage, and Titania, Protector of Argoth are jamming Splendid Reclamation into their deck immediately. It's instantly one of the best cards for the archetype. Wow.

 

MULTICOLOR

 

Bloodhall Priest

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Bloodhall Priest had my attention until it said "if you have no cards in hand." If I have no cards in hand, then I'm losing, and Shocking something when it attacks won't change that. Pass.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

For creature-focused lifegain decks, Campaign of Vengeance could be an interesting inclusion. Karlov of the Ghost Council might like this, or perhaps Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter.

 

Gisa and Geralf

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Gisa and Geralf does exactly what all Tribal Zombies want to do: they fill the graveyard with zombies, then put them from the 'yard into play. They execute the strategy admirably and are mana-efficient at what they do. My only gripe is that they don't have the "Zombie" creature type themselves, which cuts down on the synergy of the tribe they support—no getting them back with Zombie Apocalypse, no casting them for free with Rooftop Storm, etc. Other than that, they're great inclusions to any Tribal Zombie list.

Should Gisa and Geralf be the commander of your Tribal Zombies deck, or should they be part of the 99-card deck instead? It comes down to personal preference. Grimgrin, Corpse-Born remains the best commander if you want to focus on combo'ing off. Thraximundar is still the best in terms of raw power in a vacuum, acting as both removal and a win condition via commander damage (plus he's a goddamn Zombie Assassin riding a Zombie Dragon!). Sidisi, Brood Tyrant is probably the best at self-milling for value due to efficient green cards like Life From the Loam. Gisa and Geralf is probably the best in terms of raw card advantage because it lets you cast a Zombie from the graveyard per turn, rewarding you for playing a grindier game that exhausts everyone's resources.

Wherever you place them, Gisa and Geralf are worthy additions to Tribal Zombies.

 

Heron's Grace Champion

Heron's Grace Champion [EMN]

Heron's Grace Champion is a neat little combat trick for Tribal Humans. Sometimes he'll lead to a blowout in combat or let you swing for lethal, usually netting you a significant chunk of life in the process. Not bad!

 

Spell Queller

Spell Queller [EMN]

Spell Queller makes me tempted to play UW Spirits in Standard right now. It's much more vulnerable in Commander, where it can be a casualty of a random board wipe, but it also has some really cool play options. First off, Spell Queller is worded in the same way as Oblivion Ring, which means that you can do the "bounce trick" to permanently exile a card. In other words, when Queller's first exile trigger is still on the stack, respond by removing it from the battlefield (bounce, blink, or sacrifice it), which causes the second "cast that card" trigger to be put on the stack on top of the first trigger. That trigger resolves (casting nothing), then the first trigger resolves, exiling the spell forever.

Another neat trick is that you can "protect" your spell from an incoming counterspell by exiling it with Spell Queller in response to the countermagic, thus saving the card for later. 

I really like Spell Queller for Tribal Spirits. It's one of the most interesting cards we've seen in a while!

 

Tamiyo, Field Researcher

Tamiyo, Field Researcher [EMN]

Tamiyo, Field Researcher has two notable homes in Commander. The first is Superfriends, obviously. Many of the best planeswalkers make creature tokens to defend themselves. Tamiyo's +1 lets you turn those tokens into amazing card draw. Her ultimate is Ancestral Recall + Omniscience and just so happens to be immediately useable if you have Doubling Season out, and she even survives afterwards too because why not? I feel like whoever designed this card has a Superfriends deck and wanted to give their deck a huge power boost. Instant auto-include in Superfriends.

The second home I foresee Tamiyo potentially showing up in is Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. Derevi loves to fill up with cheap utility creatures, including all the mana dorks like Llanowar Elves. She also has a penchant for going Stax, keeping the opposing boards locked with cards like Stasis, while having a workaround for untapping her own stuff. It just so happens that Tamiyo, Field Researcher can turn the mana dorks into card draw and her -2 taps down whatever opposing stuff isn't already tapped. Seems like a great match to me!

 

Ulrich of the Krallenhorde [EMN]

And now we come to the most disappointing card in the entire set, Ulrich of the Krallenhorde. Werewolf fans have waited five years for a good legendary Werewolf to lead their Commander decks, and this is what we've ended up with. Ulrich of the Krallenhorde isn't a steaming turd. He's actually one of the better Werewolves printed (sadly), but he's just a bland, safe, unappealing leader for a tribe that could've really used the help. Werewolves do not translate well into the Commander format where they have issues flipping and staying flipped, and most of their "good for limited" features don't translate well into multiplayer. We needed some pushed tribal support to make Werewolves more appealing in Commander, and instead we got . . . this. I feel like this was how the design process went for poor Ulrich:

Mark Rosewater: So we just wrapped up our "Return to Innistrad" set! Happy that's over.
Mark's friend: Sweet! Hopefully you didn't forget to include a legendary Werewolf this time. People were so pissed when you didn't include one in original Innistrad! Hahaha!
Mark Rosewater: Ha ha! Of course we did! And it's a really good one. They'll love it.
later on...
Mark Rosewater: YOU GUYS WE FORGOT TO ADD A LEGENDARY WEREWOLF! We're signing off on the project tomorrow morning! We need to make one right now! And make it super safe too; we don't have time to playtest it for balance!
Intern Bob: Uhh, how about this? It's kind of big but not really, does a Giant Growth, and uhh.. fights non-Werewolves?
Mark Rosewater: Great! The plebs love their big do-nothing fatties. Make sure it doesn't have trample or anything in case it's accidentally good! And increase its mana cost by one or two! Okay, good job gang!

Let's break it down: Ulrich of the Krallenhorde is a 4/4 creature for five —OH BOY, great start so far—that gives a creature +4/+4 when he enters the battlefield or flips. No trample, but okay. That's underwhelming. But look, when he flips, he becomes a 6/6 (still no evasion!) that fights a . . . non-Werewolf? That's okay, I guess? But that's all we get? Where is the, you know, Werewolf support?

Ulrich doesn't do much, and most importantly, he doesn't do much for Werewolves. The most frustrating thing is that Shadows Over Innistrad gave us the perfect Werewolf support card that addresses the tribe's biggest problem in Commander:

Geier Reach Bandit [SOI]

Geier Reach Bandit is what Ulrich should've been! Flip Werewolves immediately? YES PLEASE! She also synergizes so well with the new Eldritch Moon Werewolves, which perma-transform after paying a ton of mana. The Bandit's ability saves you a ton of mana and turns those "meh" Werewolves into something worthy for the high-powered Commander format. That's what is so tragic about this whole thing: Wizards already designed a perfect legendary Werewolf and then messed it up! Gah!

Oh well. Maybe we'll finally get a good legendary Werewolf in five years with Return to Shadows Over Eldritch Moon's Innistrad.

 

COLORLESS

 

Emrakul, the Promised End

Emrakul, the Promised End [EMN]

I don't often see Mindslaver played, even though it's still devastating in Commander as it is in other formats. How does a more "fair" Mindslaver stapled on to a 13/13 flying, trample, protection from instants monstrosity fare in Commander? Well, I expect it will be used more, since creatures are the most abusable card type, and the body ends games. I expect to see Emrakul, the Promised End usually cast for 9 mana, or cheated into play in various ways. Target the Control player, waste his/her hand, then smash face.

Is new Emrakul good as a Commander? Probably not. I still prefer one of the Kozileks, like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, to lead a Colorless deck. Part of the 99? Absolutely.

 

LANDS

 

Geier Reach Sanitarium

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Geier Reach Sanitorium is an interesting card but I'm not sure which decks want it. Perhaps Wheel decks, like Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind? Madness decks? Discard decks? I dunno. It seems efficient for what it does though.

Side note: I thought Wizards said they didn't want to make legendary lands anymore for some reason?

 

Nephalia Academy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Nephalia Academy is sweet tech for people who are looking to protect themselves from Wheel and Discard decks like Nekusar, the Mindrazer. You're still losing your hand to cards like Wheel of Fortune, but let's say you have a Wrath of God in hand you don't want to discard it, you can instead put it on top of your library to redraw. Controlling what you get to keep is a huge boon against these decks.

 

MELD

 

Brisela, Voice of Nightmares

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Individually, Gisela, the Broken Blade and Bruna, the Fading Light are decent cards in Commander. They could fit well as part of the 99 of, say, a Tribal Angel deck. But the big payoff is getting out Brisela, Voice of Nightmares, an enormous powerhouse that is well worth the investment of setting up the meld. A 9/10, flying, first strike, vigilance, lifelink? Yikes! Then she also stops opponents from casting spells of CMC three or less, blanking the most popular targeted removal. That's what I like to see on my big bombs!

Another key thing about her is that she's exciting! Melding two big Angels into an even bigger Angel horror is friggin' sweet! I'm giddy at the thought of pulling this combo off, regardless of how janky it ends up being.

Probably the most interesting angle to utilize these Angel Horrors is using one as your Commander. The official ruling is if either Gisela or Bruna are your commanders, the melded Brisela also counts as your commander. As a 9/10 monstrosity, Brisela kills via commander damage with only three hits. So which Angel sister should be your commander? I'd pick Gisela, the Broken Blade. She's relatively cheap to cast, so you can safely recast her a few times before the commander tax gets too high, plus she's great at establishing an early board presence and both attacks and blocks well. If you hit an opponent once with Gisela then Brisela only needs two hits to be lethal. 

Mono White is probably my least favorite color, but maybe I'll enjoy it more with Gisela, the Broken Blade in the command zone.

 

Hanweir, the Writhing Township

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Hanweir Garrison is pretty much a mini-Hero of the Bladehold, which is one of the best aggressive token generators out there, so not a bad start. Yes, I do like making two tokens a turn for a three-mana initial investment! 

Hanweir Battlements is even more interesting to me. I love lands that can give creatures haste, and Hanwier Battlements may be the best one overall. Both Hall of the Bandit Lord and Flamekin Village come into play tapped. The Battlements comes into play untapped! If your deck can afford a land that doesn't mana-fix, Hanweir Battlements is a strong candidate for land-with-upside.

And what an upside! As the game goes on, you've got more than enough mana to meld your two cards into Hanweir, the Writhing Township! It dishes out 13 damage the first swing and then your opponents better pray they've got removal in hand or else.

I love this meld combo because both these cards are individually awesome, and I don't feel rushed to meld them. Then, when the time is right, the melding can seal the game. So good!

Lots of Red decks should consider running Hanweir Battlements as a haste-enabler. Token decks, like Purphoros, God of the Forge, will love Hanweir Battlements. As for me, I'm going to run both in my Zedruu the Greathearted deck. I love the haste-enabler. I can donate the tokens to draw cards, and late game Hanwier, the Writhing Township acts as a finisher.

 

Wrapping Things Up

Of the cards reviewed in this article, my favorites in no particular order are:

Green decks everywhere got a new staple powerhouse card in Eldritch Evolution. Many Red decks will like Hanweir Battlements, while Red Token decks will love Hanweir Garrison. Superfriends walked away with the most goodies with Deploy the Gatewatch, Tamiyo, Field Researcher, and Oath of Liliana. Land decks just got the greatest gift in Splendid Reclamation. The best supported tribe continues to be Zombies, which got Cryptbreaker, Noosegraf Mob, and Gisa and Geralf.

Good hauls overall! 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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