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New White Card Draw! Mangara, the Diplomat | Commander Quickie

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I've never done a super quick take on a new card like this before as I usually wait until the entire set is revealed to cover everything in a full set review, but Mangara, the Diplomat got me so excited that I couldn't wait to talk about it, so here we are!

It's a rare sight to see real, honest-to-goodness card draw in Mono White. Despite years of Commander player pleading for better card draw in White, Wizards of the Coast has stubbornly refused to do so, with Mark Rosewater straight up telling us over and over that White is supposed to be bad at drawing cards. Not being good at drawing cards may be fine in other formats, but in Commander it's an absolute necessity, so this outdated view of the color pie is a major factor in why Mono White struggles in Commander.

Thankfully though, the times they are a-changin', and WOTC is slowly coming around to the idea that White shouldn't suck in their most popular format. This is supported by Ari Nieh, a designer and White's representative in the Council of Colors, who had this to say about Mangara:

Mangara, the Diplomat signals the beginning of WOTC warming up to White getting some forms of good card draw, and I for one am extremely excited for it. But let's not daydream on future White card draw, let's talk about the card we just got!


Mono White Card Draw

Mangara, the Diplomat is generic card draw that can slip right into any White deck without any build around. It draws you cards two different ways: 1) whenever you get attacked by two or more creatures 2) whenever an opponent casts their second spell each turn. Getting attacked by multiple creatures per turn doesn't happen too often but it's still nice to have; you'll either get some card draw out of your beatings or you'll deter some would-be attackers. However, opponents casting more than one spell per turn happens fairly often, which means you'll likely draw some cards out of Mangara's second trigger. Either way, your opponents have control of whether or not you're drawing any cards, not you.

There isn't any good direct comparison to Mangara's abilities, but the closest thing that popped into my head is Runic Armasaur, another creature whose card drawing ability is entirely dependent on your opponents' actions, making the card inconsistent where it sometimes draws you zero cards and sometimes floods you with card draw. However, Runic Armasaur does require your opponents to be running specific cards -- creatures and lands that have activated abilities that aren't mana abilities -- which contributes to its inconsistency. Meanwhile Mangara, the Diplomat can be triggered by any spells being cast so it's more consistent in that regard. And yes, I do think Runic Armasaur should've been a White card, but this was back when White wasn't allowed to draw cards and Green was allowed to eat the entire color pie.

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EDIT: It was quickly pointed out to me after the article/video was released that a better comparison to Mangara is Kraum, Ludevic's Opus, which share the most important trigger. If you have experience with Kraum and have a rough idea how many cards it draws on average, you'll draw a similar amount with Mangara.

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So how good is Mangara at drawing cards? Unfortunately for people looking for a quick n' easy evaluation, the answer is a frustrating "it depends," because it really depends how often your opponents are casting two or more spells per turn. The card is very inconsistent: sometimes Mangara will draw you a ton of cards, sometimes it won't draw you a single card, it's all up to your opponents. I will say this about Mangara, the Diplomat though: if you draw just 1 card on average per turn, then it's worth playing in Mono White decks. Drawing 2 cards per turn on average would be utterly fantastic, but as long as it averages 1 card it's still good in just about any Mono White deck. And I do think averaging one card drawn per turn is a realistic assumption, but again, it depends on your playgroup.


Where to Play Mangara?

So where will Mangara, the Diplomat shine brightest? As the commander of a Mono White deck? Is this card playable in only Mono White decks, or is it a new White staple that goes into every multicolor deck that can run it like Smothering Tithe?

Well first, I much prefer Mangara as part of the 99 than as a commander. This is a generic card whose abilities are reliant on your opponents allowing you to draw cards. There are some cheeky ways you can build around this card to get a bit more value, such as becoming the monarch with cards like Palace Jailer and baiting your opponents to attack you. Or play as a Group Hug deck, giving your opponents free cards with Howling Mine so they're more likely to cast multiple spells in a turn.  However, I don't think there's enough here to build a focused deck around.

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My current inclination is that Mangara, the Diplomat is great in the 99 of any Mono White deck and some Boros decks too as generic card draw. As long as you aren't running a Stax deck that is actively limiting your opponents from casting multiple spells per turn with cards like Winter Orb I think you'll get enough value out of Mangara to justify its slot.

Outside of Mono White and Boros, however, I think the other colors have access to so many more reliable sources of card draw that I'd be more picky about recommending Mangara, though there are quite a few decks where it will shine. For example, since Mangara only has 2 power it can be a strong utility creature to cheat out in Alesha, Who Smiles At Death. Mangara is also a Cleric, so a Cleric Tribal deck like Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim. And finally Mangara rewards you for being attacked, which can make him excellent in Queen Marchesa. There are certainly other decks out there too that can make good use out of Mangara.

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What Do You Think Of Mangara?

And those are my initial quick thoughts on Mangara, the Diplomat! I love this new card and WOTC's clear signaling that they're listening to the Commander community and working to make the format better! But what do you think about Mangara? Will you be including it in any of your decks? Do you think this card is a new White staple, overrated, or somewhere in between? Let me know and thanks for reading!

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