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Commander Review: Guilds of Ravnica Part 2 (Red, Green, Colorless, Multi-Color, Lands)


We continue where we left off with our Commander review of Guilds of RavincaIf you haven't checked out Part 1 then click here, otherwise let's continue checking out the new sweetness:

RED

Arclight Phoenix

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

No, Arclight Phoenix isn't a good card in Commander, but I feel obligated to mention it for the sole reason that it is a Phoenix and I have a weird fascination for Phoenix Tribal. It's not one of the better Phoenixes since the tribe doesn't generally care about casting instant/sorceries, let alone three in a row, but when your goal is to fill a deck with flaming birdos you can't be too picky. Knight Tribal players can understand, right?

 

Erratic Cyclops

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Erratic Cyclops is an alright blocker in Spellslinger decks; as long as you have some untapped mana, opponents will have to think twice about attacking into a Cyclops that suddenly can become a 4/8 if you cast, say, Fact or Fiction at instant speed. It also does a good job as an attacker/finisher much like its bretheren Kiln Fiend / Nivix Cyclops among others. While previous iterations work best when you chain together a bunch of low cmc / free spells to get lethal damage, instead Erratic Cyclops gets the best value out of cards that let you circumvent paying their high cmc like Treasure Cruise, Blazing Shoal, Snuff Out, etc. In the right deck, the Cyclops can deal some crazy damage, but for your typical Spellslinger lists this creature ranks worse at defense/attack than the classic creature generators like Talrand, Sky Summoner, Young Pyromancer, Metallurgic Summonings, and others.

 

Experimental Frenzy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The moment Experimental Frenzy was spoiled, my Twitter feed blew up with tags. "Hey Tomer, look, card draw in Red! Yay!"

No.

NO.

NO! BAD CARD! DO NOT PLAY!

You want card draw in Mono Red? Run Outpost Siege, Vance's Blasting Cannons, Stolen Strategy, and Prophetic Flamespeaker for incremental card draw. Run Mask of Memory, Skullclamp, Grenzo, Havoc Raiser, and Dark-Dweller Oracle if you're creature-heavy. Run Magus of the Wheel, Reforge the Soul, Wheel of Fortune, Dragon Mage, and Runehorn Hellkite if your deck dumps your hand fast for a big refill. Turn your wheels and cycling cards like Cathartic Reunion into busted card draw spells with Alhammarret's Archive. You've got so many good options!

Don't run a garbage version of Future Sight in the name of "card draw."

There are plenty of acceptable reasons to run Experimental Frenzy, but generic card draw isn't one of them. For example, you can run it in your Zedruu the Greathearted -- or rather, Meanhearted -- to Donate away to a non-Red player. Then you can tell them, "yay, Mono Red card draw!"

 

Legion Warboss

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Goblin Rabblemaster has enlisted in the Boros Legion and has evolved into Legion Warboss! Both versions are sweet, with Warboss having less risk (only the created Goblin token needs to attack) but less reward (Rabblemaster can hit hard). Legion Warboss should fit easily alongside any deck that already runs Rabblemaster, so that includes Goblin decks (Krenko, Mob Boss), Tokens (Grenzo, Havoc Raiser), and Combat (Aurelia, the Warleader).

 

Runaway Steam-Kin

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Holy moly, what a gift for Spellslinger decks! Runaway Steam-Kin is an excellent source of ramp in just about any Spellslinger deck while also functioning as a decent blocker/attacker when needed. But the best fit for this elemental is in Spellslinger Storm decks, where you want to cast as many instant/sorceries in a single turn as possible to finish with Aetherflux Reservoir or similar, and the Steam-Kin can definitely help generate the extra fuel needed to cross the finish line. Very excited to try this out!

 

GREEN

 

Beast Whisperer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Wow this card is nuts!

Drawing cards in Green for casting creatures isn't a new concept: Soul of the Harvest and Primordial Sage are big creatures that do it, and I've played both a fair amount. Glimpse of Nature is great for big turns where you chain-cast a whole bunch of creatures in one turn, specifically Elfball decks. Zendikar Resurgent is one of the most popular options since it also acts as huge ramp.

But now we have Beast Whisperer, and he immediately has become the best at what he does. Beast Whisperer even sports two highly relevant creature types, Elf and Druid, the top two tribes that would most benefit  from this style of card draw: basically every Elfball deck (e.g. Ezuri, Renegade Leader) and Druid deck under Seton, Krosan Protector are going to auto-include Whisperer going forward since the insane card draw you'll get off this is vital to keep the ball rolling. This is a new staple in any Green creature-heavy decks.

 

Circuitous Route

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Circuitous Route is a sweet upgrade from Explosive Vegetation, giving ultra budget 2+ Color decks a great new way to mana-fix with the help of guildgates. Playing a Budget 4C deck and casting Route to fetch up Gruul Guildgate and Izzet Guildgate, for example, is awesome fixing. Circuitous Route alongside staples like Rampant Growth / Kodama's Reach is the way to go for Green-based multicolor decks on a restrictive budget. Once you're willing to spend some more money, the next step would be moving towards the cheapest Forest duals: Nature's Lore / Skyshroud Claim fetching up cycle duals (Scattered Groves) and battle lands (Cinder Glade) is just so good.

Route also ends up being solid for the Maze's End deck.

 

Hatchery Spider

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I think Hatchery Spider is overall a worse Gensis Hydra, although they go into different decks. Hydra has a flexible cmc and pairs nicely in Big Mana decks like Omnath, Locus of Mana or any deck running mana doublers like Mirari's Wake and Zendikar Resurgent, where X can easily reach the double digits; it also works well in +1/+1 Counter decks (Daghatar the Adamant). Meanwhile the Hatchery Spider clearly wants to be in a Graveyard deck, where I think it's reasonable to assume that it'll be looking at 5+ cards once you have the mana to cast it like you would when casting Genesis Hydra for 7 mana and does have the ability to dig super deep into your deck once your graveyard has filled with 10+ creatures. Spider is also more restrictive in what it can fetch, only getting Green permanents, while Hydra can get any nonland permanent. 

Hatchery Spider is always going to be a decent/good inclusion in any Green Graveyard deck like Meren of Clan Nel Toth. I'm personally not super excited about the card but it's never going to be terrible. However, there is one specific deck that this Spider is going to be a new staple in: Ishkanah, Grafwidow! The janky Spider Tribal players should be very excited for one of the best Spiders ever printed to join the swarm!

 

Impervious Greatwurm

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

10 cmc, 16/16, indestructible. Oddly enough there's no trample, so this city-devouring wurm can be chump blocked for days by 1/1 squirrels. Not a great card. Despite sporting convoke, Impervious Greatwurm isn't a great fit for Tokens, since as a finisher it doesn't actually strengthen your Token strategy and needs further support to ever manage to get damage through blockers. The Greatwurm is best suited in decks that either care about its high cmc (Nissa's Revelation, Ugin's Insight), can cheat it into play (Jodah, Archmage Eternal, Sneak Attack, Animate Dead), or abuse its massive size (Greater Good, Fling). I can't think of a proper home for Impervious Greatwurm at the moment, but like oldschool Draco, I'm glad it exists for future brews.

 

Vivid Revival

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Vivid Revival is most comparable to All Suns' Dawn and Restock. Which is best depends on what deck you're playing: All Suns' Dawn is amazing in 5C decks where you can consistently get back 4+ cards like Ramos, Dragon Engine, Vivid Revival is best in 2-3C decks with lots of multicolor cards where you can consistently get back 3 cards (I can't think of any), and Restock is best in Mono Green (but really you should never run Restock since it's a bad double Regrowth).

Realistically, I can't think of many decks where Vivid Revival would actually be better than All Suns' Dawn. The biggest deck that comes to mind is Ramos, Dragon Engine, the main Multicolor Matters deck, and I'd certainly prefer Dawn over Revival. However, running both Revival and Dawn in that deck wouldn't be bad at all, so even if Revival is generally worse than Dawn it's still a good/playable card in Multicolor decks.

 

COLORLESS

Guild Lockets

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

When the locket cycle was revealed, people on Twitter tagged me and said, "yay, card advantage in Boros! Aren't you happy, Tomer?"

NO. BAD CARDS. DO NOT PLAY.

Boros Locket is just Boros Cluestone with a new name. The Lockets are just as playable as Cluestones -- they're fine if your deck needs more ramp and you ran out of better alternatives. They are not card draw in your deck; paying 7 mana total to go up +1 cards is not good value. If you're a Boros deck looking for budget-friendly ramp, I would first consider running Sol Ring, Wayfarer's Bauble, Knight of the White Orchid, Fire Diamond, Marble Diamond, Mind Stone, Commander's Sphere, Coalition Relic, Worn Powerstone, Burnished Hart, Thran Dynamo, Solemn Simulacrum, Kor Cartographer (if you have duals), and Hedron Archive before I would run Boros Locket.

If you want card draw, check out all the card draw suggestions in Red that I mentioned when talking about Experimental Frenzy, then add Mentor of the Meek / Bygone Bishop for Weenie / Token decks, and Sram, Senior Edificer / Puresteel Paladin for Equipment decks.

Just because a card combines mediocre ramp with the option to cash in for bad card draw doesn't mean the card is good as a whole. Just run good ramp and good card draw instead. When you construct better decks, mediocre cards like Boros Locket just looks less and less appealing.

 

Multi-Color

Assassin's Trophy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Everyone has been calling Assassin's Trophy the single best Commander card from the set. They're correct: this is a new staple for the format, a top-tier removal spell right up there with Swords to Plowhsares (and, in my less popular opinion, Nature's Claim). Being able to destroy any permanent (including lands!) at instant speed for just BG mana is insane flexibility, even if you give that person a basic land in return. Any deck in Golgari colors should seriously consider running Assassin's Trophy. There will be some occassions where I don't end up running Trophy, mostly due to thematic reasons, but running it is never wrong in terms of power level.

 

Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Swing and a miss, WOTC.

Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice is a fine card ... in Limited or Standard. All by herself she's attacking as a 4/5 flying trample vigilance for just 4cmc, which is game-winning stats in a 1v1 format where people start at 20 life. She also has mentor and her ability to pump a creature's power synergizes with mentor creatures, making it more likely that they can get a mentor trigger. All good stuff ... in other formats. In Commander, she's super meh. Really super meh.

I don't have a great list of demands for Boros commanders. I used to be on the "stop making Boros commanders that only care about attacking" train but honestly WOTC has been good about showing some diversity in Boros, with new options like Firesong and Sunspeaker, Tiana, Ship's Caretaker, Archangel Avacyn, and Depala, Pilot Exemplar showing the guild's other strengths. The only thing I want from Boros commanders is for them to be ... well, good for Commander. Make them scale well in a multiplayer format where you're trying to beat multiple opponents that start at 40 life. If the goal is to attack, make the damage output scale up based on the number of opponents, like you did with Adriana, Captain of the Guard and Anya, Merciless Angel.

Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice doesn't scale up for Commander. Her effectiveness was balanced around 1v1 Limited/Standard and only gets worse when the life totals are doubled and more opponents are added to the game. I don't know of any sweet game-winning combos that she can enable like her previous incarnation, Aurelia, the Warleader, can pull off. She could be a Mentor commander if that ever becomes a thing, or work into a Boros +1/+1 Counter deck if that becomes a thing, but until then ... meh. Not interested. Pass.

 

Camaraderie

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I run Shamanic Revelation in nearly all my Green Go Wide / Tokens decks, since those decks end up dumping their hands quickly and you need huge card draw spells to refill and keep the Elfball rolling. In those decks, my low-power creature almost gains me life from Revelation's ferocious clause, but that's completely irrelevant because all I care about is the card draw.

Camaraderie is the Selesnya version of Shamanic Revelation -- or more accurately, the OG Collective Unconscious, which is the worst of the bunch. You pay one more mana than Revelation to usually get more lifegain and a small buff to your attacking army that turn. If your Go Wide / Tokens deck has a Lifegain subtheme, as is often the case with some popular options like Trostani, Selsenya's Voice, then paying an extra mana for this is definitely worth it. If you aren't taking advantage of the lifegain, then Shamanic Revelation is often the better spell since paying one less mana can often make a huge impact on when you can cast it and what follow-up spells you can cast after.

Generally speaking I'd rank them as: Shamanic Revelation is the best, Camaraderie is second best unless your deck has a relevant Lifegain subtheme, and Collective Unconscious is the worst. But really, if you're playing a Go Wide deck in Selesnya colors, I'd recommend running all three cards. They're some of the most powerful card draw options available to you.

 

Chance for Glory

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The spice is strong here! I love these Red Extra Turn Spells That Kill You After The Extra Turn (Final Fortune). I'm going to coin them as Final Turn spells. Can I do that? Whatever, I'm doing that.

Chance for Glory is the strongest Final Turn spell ever printed. Note that the creatures gaining indestructible don't lose it at end of turn, so if you have a way to not lose the game at the beginning of your final end step -- Sundial of the Infinite, Platinum Angel, Gideon of the Trials -- your army gets significantly harder to deal with. While it's not an optimal card to run in most decks, it's certainly a fun one, and in decks already running ways to prevent losing (Gideon Tribal?) it can be a legit powerful inclusion.

 

Deafening Clarion

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I almost never play mini-board wipes like Slagstorm in Commander, instead going for more flexible options like Austere Command for complete wipes like Blasphemous Act. Deafening Clarion's ability to make your creatures lifelink adds just enough power to a mini-wipe that it at least has caught my attention. I can imagine in decks that run lots of big creatures, most notably Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas, will love wiping the board of small chump blockers while also swinging for a sweet lifeswing. This can also do serious work in Firesong and Sunspeaker since that deck is all about burning away opposing creatures while putting lifegain to good use. I'm eager to try Deafening Clarion in those two decks at least, and I'll keep an eye out for this card in the future.

 

Disinformation Campaign

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Disinformation Campaign is a card that I really like but struggle to find an appropriate home for. A 3cmc enchantment that draws you a card while making each opponent discard is decent (not great), but the potential of repeating this effect multiple times turns it into a sweet grindy value engine that excites me. The most obvious answer is a Surveil deck, which I never even mentioned in my review: while a lot of the cards with surveil are actually pretty decent, I don't think there's enough of those cards to make a full Commander deck. So we need to find other ways to bounce/blink enchantments, and while there's quite a few ways to do that, there's not a lot of good ways to do it. The only deck I could think of would be Aminatou, the Fateshifter, where blinking Disinformation Campaign is pretty decent but nothing insane. Perhaps someone else can figure out a better use for this enchantment?

 

Emmara, Soul of the Accord

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

WOTC made sure to correct their famous mistake with Emmara Tandris by giving us a far more playable version this time around with Emmara, Soul of the Accord. At a mere 2cmc, this Emmara has a ton of potential as a token generator, clearly designed to give you extra value when convoking (Conclave Tribunal), crewing (Smuggler's Copter), or tapping for other things (Cryptolith Rite). This Emmara is an easy inclusion in the 99 of just about any Selesnya Tokens deck as a cheap token generator.

Emmara, Soul of the Accord also has some interesting potential as your commander, allowing you to start playing with untap shenanigans. She's part of an infinite damage combo with Thornbite Staff and Ashnod's Altar, possibly others too. Sword of the Paruns, Reconnaisance, Umbral Mantle, and of course Paradox Engine offer more ways to generate tons of tokens per turn or just outright win the game. It will be interesting to see what combos people come up with!

 

Etrata, the Silencer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Etrata, the Silencer is undeniably a unique card with a wacky alternative way to kill opponents. She's definitely a build-around-me card that you can't just jam into any deck and expect good things to happen; you want her as your commander and figure out how best to get those 3 hit counters on each opponent. Some ways to get extra hits in is with Strionic Resonator to copy her trigger, Helm of the Host to make extra Etratas, Crystal Shard to bounce her back to our hand instead of her being shuffled away, or stylishly bounce her with ninjutsu options like Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow.

While Etrata is cool and attacks the table in a unique way, please keep this in mind: revealing her as your commander will paint a giant target on your head. Nobody wants to lose the game to Etrata and boy oh boy will you be the target of pre-emptive attacks/disruption to make sure you don't succeed in your assassinations. That's just part of playing a commander that is so transparent on how they plan on winning the game. You have to accept that you'll often be the archenemy, even if you know that you are not the scariest threat at the table! If you can't handle this truth and will get upset at your friends for being hated out, then. Do. Not. Play. Her. Me, I like to live dangerously, so as long as I kill Seth with Etrata then it doesn't matter if I get killed immediately after! (Thankfully Seth doesn't read these reviews, BECAUSE I'M GUNNING FOR YOU, FRIEND!)

 

Firemind's Research

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I wasn't a fan of Firemind's Research when it was first spoiled but I've since softened up a little to it. It's not a busted card, or a great card. It's fine. Dropping this down early in a Spellslinger deck is a great way to help you through the early/midgame: the card draw lets you smooth out draws and hit land drops, while the removal is a great deterrence against potential attackers and can pick off threats. I certainly like Firemind's research a lot more than, say, Sphinx's Bone Wand for this reason. The relatively high activation cost of its abilities keeps it from being truly exciting in Commander though and it doesn't have as good of finisher potential when you want to combo off as something like Aetherflux Reservoir or even Talrand, Sky Summoner.

Firemind's Research is fine. Maybe even good. I won't run it in all my Spellslinger decks, but I won't feel bad running it either. Also if you're looking for a more fair, less, combo-y version of Spellslinger, then cards like Research are exactly what you want.

 

Golgari Findbroker

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Take Eternal Witness, a Commander staple. Make it Golgari. Make its mana cost more restrictive and increase it by 1. Increase its toughness so it can't be Skullclamp'd. Make it an Elf. Don't let it get back instants or sorceries.Welcome, Golgari Findbroker.

Okay, so Findbroker is a significantly worse Witness. I can't imagine a situation outside of perhaps Elf Tribal where you'd prefer Findbroker over Witness. But as I've said many times in my reviews, just because a card is a worse version of a Commander staple doesn't mean it's bad; in this case, Findbroker is still a very good card and I totally expect to see it played in many Golgari decks as a second Witness! The same decks that like Witness will like Findbroker -- in Golgari this usually means Graveyard decks where being a creature with a powerful ETB trigger is highly sought after, so something like Meren of Clan Nel Toth is an obvious home for him. It's a good card and cheaper than Eternal Witness by about $7 USD at the time of writing this.

 

Ionize

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Ionize is bad countermagic in Commander considering how many better options are available to us, but in very niche decks it might be worth playing. The one deck I could think of is Tibor and Lumia, where being both Blue and Red is an advantage and you can run this as a second (inferior) Counterflux.

 

Izoni, Thousand-Eyed

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Izoni, Thousand-Eyed is a neat way to swarm the board with Insects: in a dedicated Graveyard deck I could see her easily creating 10+ Insects once you've started filling your grave with the help of staples like Satyr Wayfinder, Buried Alive, Life From the Loam, etc. It's also nice that you can start eating your creatures for sweet card draw if you haven't found your Skullclamp yet. The main problem with Izoni, however, is that she costs a lot of mana for what she does: 6cmc for her first cast and BG every time you activate her ability. I think that prevents her from being truly great but she's still a fine inclusion in the 99 of a Golgari Graveyard Sacrifice deck or even as a commander, where she'll be BFFs with Phyrexian Altar and Nim Deathmantle.

I think most importantly, Izoni will be a big player in Insect Tribal. We're biding our time, but soon the Swarmyards will be big cards in the Commander scene!

 

Knight of Autumn

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Reclamation Sage sees tons of play in all sorts of Creatures Matter decks, from Gaddock Teeg to Meren of Clan Nel Toth. Knight of Autumn, the Selesnya version of Sage, does the exact same thing at the exact same cmc but also has extra options that you'll probably never use but it's nice to have anyway. Knight of Autumn also has less relevant creature types, which might matter in a few decks like Selvala, Explorer Returned, but otherwise it doesn't matter. Anyhoo, what I'm saying is that Knight of Autumn is a second copy of Reclamation Sage in Selesnya and that's awesome.

 

Lazav, the Multifarious

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Lazav, the Multifarious reminds me a lot of Mairsil, the Pretender, in that you can clearly build them a whole bunch of ways and the card itself doesn't spell out the exact way it should be built. I love open-ended commanders like this, especially when they are obviously powerful as well!

Most people right now are focusing on playing Lazav as Voltron/Infect. For example, you could attack with Lazav, turn into Vector Asp and activate its ability to gain infect, then turn into Phyrexian Dreadnaught to hit for 12 poison counters. Or just turn into Phage the Untouchable. There's a lot of nasty attacks you can do with Lazav and plenty of cheap ways to protect him, either becoming hexproof/unblockable by copying Invisible Stalker or indestructible in the face of a board wipe by copying Bontu the Glorified. Or perhaps you forego attacking altogether and opt for some combos, such as blinking Lazav infinitely to mill yourself out and then win with Laboratory Maniac. The possibilities are endless!

Lazav is adaptable to any situation and has huge flexibility in how you want to win with him, which is fitting for a Shapeshifter. He reminds me very much of Scion of the Ur-Dragon in terms of playstyle and I imagine he will grow as fearsome of a reputation as the old Dragon, so that's something to consider when bringing him to your table. While he's an okay inclusion as part of the 99 of pretty much any Creature-heavy Dimir deck, his true potential is shown when he's built around as a 2cmc commander so you can take full advantage of his abilities.

 

March of the Multitudes

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Instant speed token army! And it has convoke! Whee!!! This card is AMAZING for Token decks! This is the way I love winning games in my Token decks: waiting until the end step before my turn, spending all my mana to make an instant army (ideally with Cathars' Crusade out), then going into my turn with a big ol' Overrun type card (Triumph of the Hordes if you're a cool kid) and taking everyone out! I've done this tons of times with Decree of Justice and White Sun's Zenith, but this is the best one in Selesnya colors that I can think of. Wonderful!

 

Mnemonic Bretrayal

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Mnemonic Betrayal is just amazing. Even casting the single best card in one of your opponents' graveyards is going to be worth it in most cases, like casting an opponent's Return to Dust to get rid of enchantments that your deck normally couldn't handle, or just casting a Wrath of God when it's needed. Later on in the game as graveyards continue to fill and you can generate more mana, Mnemonic Betrayal just scales up in value as you can cast multiple powerful spells off it. 

I plan on trying out Mnemonic Betrayal in just about every Dimir deck I make in the near future just because the card looks so fun. You'll get the most use out of it in decks that can generate tons of mana to cast more spells, and Mill decks that put more cards in opponent's graveyards (Phenax, God of Deception). You'll also have better selection against opponents with big Graveyard themes (Meren of Clan Nel Toth) and expensive decks ("yes, let me cast your Mana Crypt, and use that mana to cast Sol Ring, then Dimir Signet, then Demonic Tutor ..."). It's fun!

 

Molderhulk

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I think I'd be happy spending maximum 4 mana to cast Molderhulk, aka have five creatures in my graveyard. That's pretty easy in a dedicated Graveyard deck like Meren of Clan Nel Toth, and then you get back a good land like Strip Mine or Verdant Catacombs while also getting a strong creature in play. Molderhulk's land recursion is also an ETB trigger, so if there's any Graveyard decks out there with a Blink subtheme then this gets even better. Overall this is a solid/good card in Graveyard decks.

 

Niv-Mizzet, Parun

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I'm a big Niv-Mizzet fanboy. Izzet is my guild and Dragon Wizard is my favorite two tribes mashed together, so yeah, I kinda love our huge genius, bigger ego, dragon overlord. His first card, Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, was one of the original boogeymen of the Commander format and one of the most popular competitive Combo decks during the format's beginnings. His second version, Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius, consciously stayed away from the competitive Combo reputation of the former iteration, offering a fairer version for Izzet fanboys to play.

Now we come back to busted Combo with Niv-Mizzet, Parun. The core card remains the exact same as the original: whenever you draw a card, Nizzy-Poo pings something. So already the vast majority of the deck is the same: still combos with Curiosity, still synergizes well with Wheel of Fortune cards. The total cmc is the same (6), but the new version is more color-intensive, which doesn't really matter if he's your Commander -- which he should be, because the more restrictive mana is used to justify making this version even more absurd than the first. Can't be countered, beefier, and oh yes, you draw a card every time you cast an instant or sorcery whaaaaaat! Being able to turn your High Tides and Turnabouts into cantrips is absolutely insane in dedicated Spellslinger Storm decks, making this Nizzet one of the top candidates for that style of play. I think the only thing the OG Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind has is the Mind over Matter Combo, but I'm happy exchanging that for what new hotness Niv-Mizzle brings.

Niv-Mizzet, Parun is the best version yet. He's strong. Very strong. He's going to develop a reputation and you'll be targeted right off the bat when you reveal him, and rightly so. I don't care. This is the deck for me. I'm building him. It's gonna be Nivtastic!

 

Ral, Izzet Viceroy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Any self-respecting Spellslinger Storm deck is going to immediately win the game if you ever ultimate Ral, Izzet Viceroy. The trick will be getting to that point, and then deciding if the juice is worth the squeeze. His +1 ability to start ticking him up is quite good, and if you're running the typical token generators Young Pyromancer, Talrand, Sky Summoner, Metallurgic Summonings etc. then you should be able to defend him long enough to get to that point, but basically you'll be archenemy at the table for four turns until you can ult and win the game. Worth it? Probably not, but if you do get there it'll be glorious!

 

Swiftblade Vindicator

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Boros Swiftblade got some upgrades with that rarity promotion! The big difference here is that Swiftblade Vindicator picked up trample, which makes it way better at holding equipment with damage triggers like Sword of Fire and Ice and Mask of Memory. That's good enough to be worth trying out in Equipment decks, though my favorite double strikers bring a bit more value to the table like Prophetic Flamespeaker. Now if only we could get some more options for Boros Equipment commanders! I'm still bitter than Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith is Selesnya ...

 

Tajic, Legion's Edge

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Tajic, Legion's Edge is another Boros Earthquake Commander; probably the best Earthquake commander ever made, actually. Basically it's a deck loaded with Earthquake cards and ways to protect your own creatures from them via Tajic, Mark of Asylum, Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant, and other methods, so you get one-sided board wipes that can also act as finishers dealing lethal damage to opponents. It's a really fun way to build a Boros deck that I most recently explained in my Budget Firesong and Sunspeaker article, so if you're interested in the archetype go check that out and just replace F&S with Tajic and bingo bango, deck done.

 

Thief of Sanity

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Hello, way better Nightveil Specter! Choosing one of the top three cards is a sweet upgrade. I can see Thief of Sanity being fun in decks that want evasive beaters, most notably Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow.

 

Thousand-Year Storm

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

As if Storm players didn't have enough goodies. If you ever get to untap with Thousand-Year Storm in play, you basically win the game. It probably costs too much mana for the very most competitive Storm decks to play it, but for people like me who play durdly suboptimal Storm lists, oh boy it's PERFECT! I'm sorry in advance for my poor opponents who will now have to wait an extra 15 minutes as I track and resolve all these extra triggers.

 

Trostani Discordant

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Trostani, Selesnya's Voice has long been a popular Token commander. The new Trostani ... will not be. It lacks all the qualities the original Trostani had that inspired being built around, instead making a couple tokens and offering a generic weak anthem effect. The only cool thing about Trostani Discordant is its Homeward Path effect, but I'm having difficulty trying to come up with a Selesnya deck that can build around that trigger.

I think Trostani Discordant is more of a "sideboard" card that you bring in when you face a Blue/Black meta that's heavy on stealing other people's creatures, either with Bribery effects or Animate Dead ones. Then Trostani can be a sweet meta-specific tech in a Token deck against those would-be creature thieves.

 

Truefire Captain

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Hello, worse Boros Reckoner! Let's suit you up with a nice Darksteel Plate and throw you into a Blasphemous Act and Star of Extinction. Works just as well! Redundancy is good!

 

Underrealm Lich

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Underrealm Lich is a new instant staple for all sorts of Graveyard decks: The Gitrog Monster, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, Muldrotha, the Gravetide, Meren of Clan Nel Toth, literally every Graveyard deck that I can think of that can play this will want to play this. You get so much card selection while filling up your graveyard so fast! The cherry on top, of course, is that mana-free, instant-speed indestructible to keep it safe from most forms of removal, so your opponents can't interrupt your degenerate behavior. Beautiful!

 

Connive // Concoct

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Connive // Concoct is definitely playable. Connive is a poor alternative to Control Magic, especially in a format known as Battlecruiser Magic due to its high concentration of big creatures, but there's still plenty of utility creatures to snag like Oracle of Mul Daya. Concoct is more reliable, since almost any deck will have some good targets to reanimate in the mid/lategame. The flexibility of having both makes this very appealing to me and an easy generic fit to most any Dimir deck.

 

Discovery // Dispersal

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I really like these split cards! Discovery is at worst a Preordain that costs an extra mana, but at best it's setting up some sweet Reanimateion plays. I really don't mind using Discovery most of the time whenever I have 2 extra mana on a turn and want to filter a little. Dispersal is no Cyclonic Rift, but it's instant speed and hits each opponent's most expensive permanent, which will often be what you'd want to bounce. I like both sides: you'll use Discovery more, but Dispersal can be clutch as well. Again, great generic Dimir card.

 

Expansion // Explosion

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Expansion // Explosion is fantastic flexibility. Expansion is a sweet utility spell at a fair Twincast cost that I'm happy to have in hand. Meanwhile Explosion looks most suited as a finisher when you've generated tons/infinite mana, able to take out up to two players if X is high enough. Having both utility and finisher in the same card is amazing. I expect to see this played in a bunch of Spellslinger decks, most notably Mizzix of the Izmagnus but also Niv-Mizzet, Parun, Kess, Dissident Mage, any of them that can generate infinite mana to make Explosion a true finisher.

 

Find // Finality

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Again we have another split card with two very useful sides. Find is card advantage and welcome extra recursion, especially in Graveyard decks. Finality is an overcosted Languish that helps your creatures survive the mini-wipe. Neither are incredible by themselves, but the flexibility of having both is amazing. The biggest strike against Find // Finality is that it's not a creature, something Golgari Graveyard decks are really big on, so I don't expect Meren of Clan Nel Toth to run this too often even though it's a fine card in any Graveyard deck. I think it will be more suited in other Golgari decks that aren't entirely focused on Creatures, perhaps even running a +1/+1 Counter theme: my favorite choice off the top of my head is Skullbriar, the Walking Grave.

 

Response // Resurgence

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Response // Resurgence isn't one of my favorite split cards, but it's good enough to mention simply because of Resurgence, which isn't a bad extra combat step. It's basically a Relentless Assault that costs an extra mana (that first strike isn't worth too much on offense in Boros). Not great, but not terrible. The nice thing is that you can use it as removal in a pinch with Response, at least sometimes. Again, not my favorite split card, but worth a nod.

 

Status // Statue

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Status // Statue is another generic split card that is solid enough to be worth running in most decks. The big selling point is Statue, which is a more flexibile and more expensive Putrefy -- not a bad place to be! Status is far more situational, but surprising an attacker by turning a would-be 1/1 chump blocker into a deathtouch creature that can trade is a neat bonus option to an otherwise straightforward removal. No, this isn't as good as Assassin's Trophy or Windgrace's Judgment but it's still solid.

 

 

LANDS

Guildmage's Forum

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Opal Palace but for all your multicolored creatures. All multicolor decks with a +1/+1 Counter theme should consider adding this: Marchesa, the Black Rose, Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave, and many others are going to love this.

 

That's All, Folks!

Hope you all enjoyed my quick and dirty rundown of all the new Guilds of Ravinca cards I'm excited to try out in Commander. Let me know your thoughts on my analysis and if I missed things / got stuff wrong, and also what cards you are most excited about! I love reading the comments section and hearing what you guys are thinking about the new set. Next up will be more Budget Commander since I'm super duper late on those, so I'll be back soon with more stuffs!


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