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Commander Review: Hour of Devastation Part 2 (Red, Green, Colorless, Multicolor, Lands)


Hour of Devastation has been spoiled, so it's time again to look over all the new cards and see which have the most potential to make a splash in Commander! Check out part 1 of the review if you haven't already; I've covered White, Blue, and Black cards there. Alright, let's get started on part 2!

 

RED

Firebrand Archer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

And here we have another "junk" common that may end up being a key piece in a specific deck! Firebrand Archer fulfills a similar role to Guttersnipe as a win con to burn out your foes, but while Guttersnipe is better in a Spellslinger deck due to double the damage output, Firebrand Archer triggers off noncreature spells, which may make it a finisher in a combo deck that deals with noncreature spell infinite loops. Eggs Combo?

 

Hour of Devastation

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

At 5 damage to each creature/planeswalker, Hour of Devastation is not the most reliable board wipe at 5 cmc, but it will still do what you need it to do in most situations. The interesting part is that it gets around indestructible, which means it takes out 3/5 of the Amonkhet gods (e.g. Kefnet the Mindful) and 9/15 of the Theros block gods (e.g. Xenagos, God of Revels), along with other pesky indestructible creatures such as Crested Sunmare's tokens. So if you want to add more ways to deal with problematic indestructible creatures/planeswalkers in your playgroup, Hour of Devastation is an easy inclusion.

If you're not in Black/White, Hour of Devastation does compare favorably to other available Red wipes: Chain Reaction and Blasphemous Act can be superior creature wipes for less mana but also have consistency issues, Earthquake is more flexible but costs an extra mana and doesn't hit flyers, Rolling Earthquake is a superior Earthquake but still doesn't deal with indestructible creatures and isn't as effective at killing multiple planeswalkers (Superfriends).

Basically, if you need a Red board wipe, Hour of Devastation is your best option if your playgroup runs problematic indestructible creatures / Superfriends.

 

Neheb, the Eternal

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Neheb, the Eternal has been zombified and no longer cares about leading his minotaurs to battle. Now he's all about hurting your opponents and generating more mana to hurt them with. I must say I like this shiny and chrome lazotep version! Neheb loves mass damage spells, from board wipes like Earthquake to slower burns like Sulfuric Vortex. He rewards the Burn mentality by giving you tons of mana to keep fueling (Comet Storm) and other giant spells (Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre).

As your commander, Neheb, the Eternal wants a ton of great Burn spells, and if you want to get nasty/effective, throw in land destruction cards like Wildfire which put your opponents behind in mana while you keep chugging along with Neheb's mana reward. He also fits as part of the 99 in Tribal Minotaur Neheb, the Worthy, or any sort of Burn or Group Slug deck such as Rakdos, Lord of Riots, Archangel Avacyn, and Kaervek the Merciless.

 

Wildfire Eternal

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Wildfire Eternal isn't the most consistent source of mana accel, but it can win games when it works. Blocking a 1/4 is easy in Commander: an opponent will often have something to chump or kill it, and losing 4 life isn't a huge deal when everyone starts at 40 life. However, there are many times that not all your opponents have blockers out, or you can make a deal with an opponent to let Wildfire Eternal through so you can cast something that is mutually beneficial to both of you. If those options fail, you can always find ways to give it evasion with Whispersilk Cloak, Iroas, God of Victory, Wonder, whatever works in your deck.

When Wildfire Eternal does attack unblocked, anything you cast is value, but obviously the bigger the spell the more worthwhile it is, so let's think BIG! Volcanic Vision? Extra combat steps like Fury of the Horde to keep the party going? Or maybe we swim into the deep end with Time Stretch to get groans from our opponents; that'll do the trick!

Wildfire Eternal works best in Spellslinger decks with high-cmc instants/sorceries to cheat out. Mizzix of the Izmagnus, Melek, Izzet Paragon, some versions of Narset, Enlightened Master are all great choices.

 

GREEN

Beneath the Sands

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Beneath the Sands is an alright option for a dedicated Cycling deck. It's not as good as Shefet Monitor, and you're better off running Cultivate and Kodama's Reach even in a Cycling deck, but if you want to stay on theme and don't mind spending an extra mana on Rampant Growth for the option to cycle, then Beneath the Sands is a fine inclusion.

 

Hour of Promise

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

If you pay one more mana than Explosive Vegetation you now get Hour of Promise, which lets you search for any two lands instead of just basic lands. That means all the broken lands available in Commander — Gaea's Cradle, Cabal Coffers, Dark Depths, and so on — are easily fetched up and dropped into play. Green has cheaper ways of fetching any land, such as Sylvan Scrying, Traverse the Ulvenwald (sometimes), Expedition Map, and Crop Rotation as some of the better ones, but fetching two of them and ramping you at the same time? The only card that comparable is Tempt with Discovery, which admittedly is amazing, but this is just as good.

Decks that want to consistently find their utility lands are going to love Hour of Promise.

 

Majestic Matriarch

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Usually I skip over big dumb beaters, but Majestic Myriarch is a big dumb beater with enough potential keywords that it caught my attention. The chimera wants to be best friends with keyword soup creatures such as Samut, Voice of Dissent and Chromanticore, and it loves big armies that Tokens often provide. I think the best fit for Majestic Myriarch would be a Samut, Voice of Dissent deck that plays like Odric, Lunarch Marshal, slapping your token army with as many keywords you can muster and smashing face.

 

Pride Sovereign

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Tribal Cats traditionally haven't had much support in Magic, but this is quickly changing with Regal Caracal in Amonkhet, Pride Sovereign here, and a recently spoiled potential Tribal Cats deck for Commander 2017. In a Cats deck, Pride Sovereign is a big efficient beater that can generate more cats. It works better if you can tack on vigilance or have ways of untapping; for now, its probably best run under Samut, Voice of Dissent Tribal Cats, but can then be switched over to the Commander 2017 deck if that proves to be real.

 

Ramunap Excavator

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Crucible of Worlds is in dire need of a reprint. Wizards has been holding out on doing so, but as we wait, we get a second version of it in Ramunap Excavator. This snake naga is even better than Crucible in Green decks since it's easier to tutor up with stuff like Survival of the Fittest and Green Sun's Zenith. Titania, Protector of Argoth and The Gitrog Monster are going to be overjoyed with this new instant staple.

 

Uncage the Menagerie

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Uncage the Menageries is a situational tutor that has the potential to be powerful in creature-heavy decks. For example, if you're running a Creature Combo whose pieces are the same cmc, such as Devoted Druid + Vizier of Remedies for infinite mana, spending 4 mana to get both pieces is amazing. Other creature-heavy decks that have multiple creatures at different cmcs will enjoy this flexible tutor as well; decks that have Eternal Witness, Reclamation Sage, Aven Mindcensor, and Ramunap Excavator all at 3cmc can set up a powerful tutor / hand refill, for example.

 

COLORLESS

Abandoned Sarcophagus

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Abandoned Sarcophagus is a new all-star in non-Creature variants of the Cycling archetype. While most of the cycling creatures are lackluster to hardcast in a game of Commander, many of the noncreature cyclers, from Cast Out to Sylvan Reclamation, are still great value spells in their own right and definitely worth casting from the grave. Yawgmoth's Will for cyclers is crazy good in my books!

 

Crook of Condemnation

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While I still prefer Relic of Progenitus, I do appreciate that Crook of Condemnation lets you target what card gets exiled with the first ability, which is more effective at combating graveyard strategies with a full yard, such as The Mimeoplasm targeting specific cards in a full grave. Still, the cheaper cost and card draw of Relic makes me choose it over this version.

 

God-Pharaoh's Gift

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

God-Pharaoh's Gift can be a powerful engine in certain decks. Since it generates tokens, Gift works exceptionally well in Token strategies that can double the amount of tokens, such as Rhys the Redeemed running the usual variety of Anointed Procession / Parallel Lives / Rootborn Defenses and so on to double up on the tokens you make. God-Pharaoh's Gift also works well in certain graveyard strategies: for example, in Horde of Notions Tribal Elementals, you can evoke your elementals to get value and put them into the graveyard, then bring them back as tokens with Gift. Finally, if you want to get really cute, you can run the handful of cards that can be cast from exile, such as Torrent Elemental and Misthollow Griffin.

 

Mirage Mirror

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Mirage Mirror is an exciting card because it has a crazy amounts of synergy/combos that range from absurd jank to powerful win conditions. The card is so open-ended in its uses, and works so well with so many things, that it would be impossible to list them all. Here are some neat synergies that people have mentioned already

Those are just some of the tricks you can add to your own deck. Most importantly, Mirage Mirror can just be whatever the best thing on the battlefield is to help you out. Need a blocker? Copy the biggest creature! Need some mana? Copy the Gilded Lotus. It's so flexible!

 

MULTICOLOR

 

Bloodwater Entity

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Bloodwater Entity is comparable to Archaeomancer in that it returns an instant/sorcery from your graveyard. Archaeomancer costs more, but puts the card into your hand, which almost always is better and is more ripe for abuse with infinite combos (infinite turns by blinking it with Deadeye Navigator to return and cast Time Warp, for example). However, Bloodwater Entity is notable because it synergizes well with miracle cards such as Temporal Mastery and Reforge the Soul; in a deck full of miracle cards, Entity becomes very exciting. Plus it's a 2/2 flyer with prowess, small but will make opponents think twice about attacking you if you have a full grip of cards and untapped mana.

 

Driven // Despair

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

In a Tokens deck, Driven // Despair can be a powerful source of card draw while also destroying an opponent's hand; hitting with 4 creatures and casting this to draw 4 cards and make your opponent discard 4 cards is amazing value for 4 mana, four example. It has absolutely huge potential. Even a more modest attack, hitting with 2 creatures to draw 2 cards for 2 mana, is fine. Being sorcery speed means you can't surprise your opponents with it, but it's not hard to imagine situations where surprise isn't necessary. 

The biggest strike against this card is that both Green and Black already have fantastic sources of card draw and hand disruption, including Ambition's Cost, Harmonize, Sadistic Hypnotist, and so much more. While not all these options have the same level of blowout potential as Driven // Despair, they're more reliable. Still, I'm going to give the card a shot, perhaps in a Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons deck.

 

Leave // Chance

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Leave // Chance is another spicy card from the set that isn't in your face about its raw power or tells you exactly how to build around it — my favorite type of card! The Leave side can protect your permanents from removal such as board wipes, or just re-use ETB triggers (e.g. Duergar Hedge-Mage), or save your lands from your own Armageddon. Of course, it also sets the Chance side, giving yourself more fodder for the wheel. I'm excited to see what people end up using the card with!

 

Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh is a card that I'm lukewarm about in Commander but feel obligated to talk about anyway due to hype. Planeswalkers generally scale poorly in multiplayer formats because you have to protect them against multiple opponents that are looking to take them out; this is why you don't see many planeswalkers played outside of Superfriends, which is built entirely around them. So that's strike one against this Bolas.

The best non-ult ability is his +1, which exiles 2 cards from each opponent's hand. This scales wonderfully in Commander and exiling is far more powerful than simply discarding due to how prevelant graveyard shenanigans are in the format. His +2 is a big gamble, sometimes being amazing, sometimes being worthless, and that's too much variance for me in a 7-drop. The -4 ability not only costs a ton but only deals 7 damage to a creature, which doesn't even deal with all potential threats —  not good. The ultimate is powerful, of course, but doesn't outright win you the game.

All things considered, I prefer the original Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker card over this new version. That version can deal with any problem permanents, even things Grixis struggles to deal with like enchantments, and deals with creatures the best way possible —  by taking control of them!

 

Nicol Bolas, the Deceiver

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Nicol Bolas, the Deceiver is the worst Bolas of the bunch. His +3 is weak at best and beneficial to your opponents at worst if they have a permanent they want to sacrifice. His -3 gets the job done, sure, but you can only use it once before you have to use his bad +3 ability again. His ult is okay but hardly a blowout. This is disappointing for a 8 cmc planeswalker.

 

Obelisk Spider

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Obelisk Spider is a powerful addition to -1/-1 counter decks, specifically Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons, where it fulfills a similar role to Blood Artist, draining life from your opponents and acting as a combo finisher. Having a table full a creatures and casting Black Sun's Zenith with this spider out just screams value!

 

Reason // Believe

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Reason // Believe is mentioned here mostly because I love the Reason side; Scry 3 is very good — not exactly Preordain level of goodness, but still effective. Believe is quite pricey at 5 cmc, but in a creature-heavy deck and Reason's scry setting you up, it's still fine source of card advantage.

 

Refuse // Cooperate

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I like Refuse // Cooperate mainly for the Cooperate side; having a Twincast castable from my graveyard seems amazing. Refuse is more niche, but if your playgroup has infinite mana combos that end with giant Exsanguinate / Comet Storm / other X spells, then you can answer it with Refuse and kill them instead.

 

The Locust God

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The most comboriffic of the new gods, The Locust God is a crazy value engine that can end games in a hurry. Pair it with Skullclamp and you are drawing 2 cards and making a token for 1 mana per activation. Add Ashnod's Altar to the mix and now you have infinite card draw, infinite mana, and infinite tokens with haste. Even played "fairly," The Locust God is amazing value in Wheel decks, making 7 tokens off a Wheel of Fortune, for example.

The death trigger is highly relevant, since as part of the 99 you don't have to worry about it staying dead for long, and as your Commander you almost never have to pay the commander tax so you can build around the card without worrying too much about it. 

Finally, the activated ability is okay; it's fine if you have nothing better to do with that mana and makes chump blockers in the process. Honestly, the card would be fantastic even without this ability, so just consider it a neat bonus.

 

The Scarab God

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The Scarab God is an excellent addition to Tribal Zombie decks and is just a good card in any deck really! In Tribal Zombies, you'll get even more use out of its upkeep trigger, scrying to your best card while draining out your opponents in the process. It's activated ability is incredible too, animating any creature in the graveyard at instant speed. At worst, you're getting a zombie that fuels its upkeep trigger, but more realistically you'll be animating small creatures with ETB effects like Eternal Witness, big game-enders for a mana discount like Sheoldred, Whispering One, or anything in between!

In Tribal Zombies, The Scarab God is excellent as part of the 99 or as the commander. Zombies have plenty of commander options already, including Gisa and Geralf, Grimgrin, Corpse-Born, and Thraximundar, and which you run your commander is up to personal preference. If you want to combo out with Gravecrawler and Blood Artist shenanigans, go Grimgrin. If you want to self-mill and maybe combo out with Laboratory Maniac, go with Gisa and Geralf. If you want a more aggressive commander that is powerful by itself, go Thraximundar. If you want a flexible, reliable commander, go with The Scarab God.

 

The Scorpion God

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The Scorpion God is a powerful new alternative to Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons for the -1/-1 Counter archetype. While the majority of good -1/-1 counter cards are in Black, the swap from Green to Red provides some different cards to play with, including Soul-Scar Mage, Kulrath Knight, and Everlasting Torment. The Scorpion God is best suited as a sort of Punisher version of -1/-1 Counters, perfect at machine-gunning down all creatures while drawing tons of cards in the process.

The Scorpion God is powerful, viable, and fun, but the most common question I see is whether it or Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons is the better commander. The answer here is Hapatra: Green is better than Red for the deck, Hapatra is cheaper to come into play, and she has more explosive turns and combo potential. But again, both are great, both are strong, so I recommend playing the one that is more interesting to you.

 

LANDS

Dunes of the Dead

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Dunes of the Dead is a neat inclusion in Titania, Protector of Argoth and The Gitrog Monster decks, as you usually want to sacrifice lands, so might as well get a token out of it!

 

Endless Sands

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Safe Haven got a sweet redesign with Endless Sands, and now it taps for mana! I feel it's worth running in Mono Colored decks and especially Colorless decks as it's an easy way to "save" your creatures from removal and eventually bring them back.

 

Scavenger Grounds

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Graveyard hate is criminally underrated in Commander, but the fact is that there's just as many scary graveyard shenanigans happening at tables as there are scary enchantments/artifacts, and you need answers to deal with them! This is why Bojuka Bog is a staple, but for people outside of Black we need other options. Scavenger Grounds is one such answer! Very low risk in Colorless, Mono Color, or even Dual Color decks, and you can always pop it to exile all graveyards! It's a super powerful effect that I can't recommend enough.

 

That's All, Folks!

Hour of Devastation has brought us so many new toys, I can't wait to start brewing with them! The three new gods look so much better than the previous ones in Amonkhet, and so many archetypes got sweet additions. What's your favorite card from the set? Let me know in the comments below!


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