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Did They Reprint Black Lotus?!? | Jeweled Lotus | Commander Legends Preview

I was minding my own business working on other projects when suddenly WOTC drops this bombshell of a preview card:

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So, um, okay. Wow. This is a lot to unpack, and the online Commander community is on fire yelling about this card, so I'm going to put my other stuff on hold for a second to talk about this card real quick.

Obviously Jeweled Lotus is a callback to the most powerful Magic card ever printed: Black Lotus. They're both 0cmc artifacts that you can sacrifice to add three mana of any one color. The difference here is that Jeweled Lotus can only be used to cast your commander. It's definitely a significant difference, but what does that mean for the card as a whole? How strong is it? This card has definitely generated the most buzz out of anything in this set so far, and it seems most folk think it's way too strong while some are arguing that it's actually a trap most of the time which, I mean, okay -- so I decided to give my two cents on the card.

Is The Card Strong?


So let's cut to the chase here: yes, Jeweled Lotus is incredibly strong and what I'd consider a staple in a lot of decks. But, like a lot of powerful cards, its power scales relative to the rest of the cards in your deck. In this case, Jeweled Lotus gets stronger the stronger your commander is. What you're ramping out with Lotus matters a lot. For example, I've got a Tibor and Lumia deck and I can confidently tell you that ramping them out early with Jeweled Lotus doesn't really matter. It's still good, sure, but it's hardly a game-winning play most of the time. Other commanders have multicolor casting requirements that can't utilize Lotus effectively, like Breya, Etherium Shaper or Omnath, Locus of Creation.

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However, modern Commander design is hyper-focused on printing out super efficient value engine commanders. Commanders like Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, Chulane, Teller of Tales, and Najeela, the Blade-Blossom either generate so much value the moment they're cast or outright win the game if they are allowed to untap. These are some of the strongest commanders in the format, and highly popular ones too. And these are the commanders where Jeweled Lotus will be the strongest in. Being able to cast your game-winning engine up to three turns earlier is absolutely insane, letting you get way ahead or outright win the game way earlier while also decreasing the window of opportunity for your opponents to stop you.

That's why I strongly disagree with arguments like Gavin's saying that commander rituals are not traditionally not very good in Commander. Perhaps in 2010 this would be a correct statement, but after a decade's worth of power creep and this emphasis on printing more and more powerful value engine commanders, this is simply not the case in 2020. Jeweled Lotus is AMAZING with modern Commander design. You just need to pair Lotus with a powerful value engine commander, which are a dime a dozen these days.

Is Jeweled Lotus always more powerful than 2cmc mana rocks like Arcane Signet? No. Like I said, some commanders just aren't that impactful if you ramp them out early, or their color requirements don't work well with the Lotus. But in the decks that really want to get your commander out as quickly as possible, or cast your commander while still holding up protection, Lotus is way better than most mana rocks out there. And that list of decks where Lotus is a new staple keeps growing.

Personally, if I look at my personal commanders:

I would only add Jeweled Lotus to Niv-Mizzet, Gargos, Purphoros, Chandra, and maybe Siona. So about half my decks. The others I don't think benefit enough to warrant a slot.

But that's a reflection of what power level I play at. If I had more decks led by powerful commanders like Tatyova, Benthic Druid, Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, The Gitrog Monster, Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded, and so on, then I'd want Lotus in a whole lot more decks. Its power scales with the power of your commander.

Will It Be Banned?


The Rules Committee made a quick announcement saying they knew about the card before release and that they're keeping an eye on it.

But I'm 99% sure this card won't be banned. Remember, this is a format where cards like Sol Ring and Mana Crypt are both legal. I think we can all agree that these two cards are stronger than even Jeweled Lotus and the RC has made it very clear that they'll never ban them. So the chances of Lotus being banned are slim to none.

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I don't think Jeweled Lotus should be banned. The nice thing about the Commander format is that at the end of the day, playgroups self-regulate their own power levels. Despite being one of the most powerful cards in the format, most people don't actually run Mana Crypt for various reasons. And despite easily accessible knowledge on how to construct CEDH decks these days, most people play more casual decks. So I doubt a card like Jeweled Lotus will show up everywhere, despite being objectively an upgrade to a lot of decks. It'll make the powerful decks even more powerful, but you can always choose not play with them, same as always.

WOTC And Power Creep

One last point before I head off though: WOTC's involvement in the Commander does worry me about the long-term health of the format. Commander is by far the most played constructed format in all of Magic, and WOTC seeks to capitalize on that market by going all-in by churning out Commander products at an unprecedented and ever-increasing rate. In the past different sets were aimed at different formats, but lately every single set is focused on Commander players first and foremost. This hyper-focus on the format leads to a skyrocketing of power creep in the format that keeps going up at an astonishing rate. I do think that WOTC's current trajectory of squeezing its golden goose for as much quick profit as possible will kill it eventually though, making it unrecognizable from the past version of the format we fell in love with.

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That is a rant for another time, though. For now, I'll end by saying this: I wish Jeweled Lotus wasn't printed, but I don't think it's going to ruin the format.

So what do you think about Jeweled Lotus? Let me know in the comments section below, but please keep things civil! I'm trusting y'all!

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