Defending the Commander Social Contract

Category: C13

Three Cards Deep 2:4 – February 21, 2014 – Derevi, Empyrial Tactician


Three Cards Deep: The Good, The Bad, and the EDH Ugly

Errrybody loves Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, even the people who hate her (so much she got a spot on the French Banned List). Let’s RADBADSAD’er!

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Oloro, The Giant That Ruined Everything

I hate Oloro, Ageless Ascetic.

I have a bitter loathing for Oloro, and it’s not because I need to deal you two more damage every turn that you live.

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GDC Reflects on EDH in 2013

It’s been a good year.

As 2013 draws to a close, those of us who like to spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the format that we love have the opportunity to reflect on the year, and to offer our thoughts on what took place this year.

Before we get to the thoughts of Team GDC, we want to offer this chance for audience participation: if you’d like to share your thoughts, we’d love to hear them! As an end-of-year thought exercise, we asked each of the GDC writers to answer the following prompts. If you want play along, please copy/paste and share your thoughts on the following in the Comments section(spout off in the comments):

  1. What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
  2. What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
  3. Your favorite article about EDH that you read this year?
  4. One thing about the banned list (something that should be added, removed, changed, whatever)
  5. Thoughts on Commander 2013?
  6. Hopes/goals for the upcoming year?
  7. What was the best EDH experience you had this year?

Our answers to these questions follow. Thanks for reading, thanks for commenting, thanks for being awesome, and we’ll see you in 2014!

->Mr. P (and Cassidy, Dave, Imshan, and Sean)


What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?

  • Aurelia, the Warleader, because I like the beats.
  • Colossal Whale because obviously; it’s not that great, but it’s funny and interesting.
  • Gahiji, Honored One, because although he’s kinda dumb, Beast tribal having a viable commander that isn’t boringly linear is cool.
  • Oh, and Blind Obedience. I don’t know if this even counts as an EDH card, but it’s reallllly fun in the format without being toooo griefer-y.

What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?

  • Nekusar, the Mindrazer, because it’s boring and obvious and perhaps mildly oppressive.
  • Master of Cruelties. Snore. Turn three put you to one life for not having a blocker. Stupid. Fortunately most tables hate that person out really fast so the balance is maintained.
  • Debt to the Deathless – We didn’t need another, harder to cast but probably more powerful Exsanguinate. We really didn’t.

Your favorite article about EDH that you read this year?
I reallllllllly like Abe Sargent’s series of “the next 100 project.” Some are better than others, but the overarching idea is awesome both to reveal the depth of the EDH card pool and to point players towards more interesting decks.

One thing about the banned list.
The worst thing about the banned list is all the stupid conversations people have about cards that should be banned because they dislike said cards. The obvious example is comparing Sylvan Primordial to Primeval Titan. There’s so much info written by Sheldon on SCG and other RC people on, it’s pretty easy to see why PT got the ban and why Sylvia Plath fits 0-1 of those criteria. And yet, because they’re tired of seeing it and because it’s so oppressive with cards like Flash, players call for the ban. Ugh.

On the bright side, the shrinking of the banned list seems pretty sweet. Also, Trade Secrets?

Thoughts on Commander 2013?
I really like seeding more copies of things like Command Tower and Sol Ring because I don’t care if everybody runs one in every deck. Keeping the price down on some perhaps-signature cards in the format is rad. New players are also great. People who only 70% get EDH designing the precons that establish a format’s character for new players doesn’t make me super excited but EDH is wide-open enough that I can get over that and be happy about new toys.

Hopes/goals for the upcoming year?
I want to get back to playing more than once a month. I’d also like to shrink my stable of decks so I can focus on playing decks more often to really cut cards that aren’t fun/aren’t pulling their weight. I hope to trade more and spend less cash relative to new card acquisitions, which will keep me from just picking up more pricey staples, and I hope always for some sweet new generals, Jund ramp-hater being at the top of my list.

What was the best EDH experience you had this year?
Besides the great interactions with Team GDC and readers, I’d have to say getting a group of just five guys together to play in a way more relaxed, friendly setting has been repeatedly the most fun for me as far as EDH. The real secret to the game is playing with people who you like and roughly agree with about the best way to play the game.


What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
So many to choose from! Hythonia, the Cruel for sure.

What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
Oloro, Ageless Ascetic is hands down the thing I hate most this year, bar none. Look for all the reasons why in an upcoming article.
Other than that, Emmara Tandris is the most disappointing. Basically, Emmara is useless to everyone. Some people play in ‘griefer’ environments where Kaalia is legit, and Master of Cruelties or Sire of Insanity are the best drops ever for Kaalia. Some people to play with softer threats. Emmara? No one wants her, and that makes her the saddest creature.

One thing about the banned list.
Stop treating it like a list of commandments. If you don’t like Sylvan Primordial, Lord of Extinction, Swords of Protection and Value, or even Kaalia of the Vast, stop playing with it, and talk to people about WHY you don’t play with it, and WHY you hope to never see it at an EDH table. Case and point: I played Jor Kadeen deck with all five swords and Umezawa’s Jitte. I talked with people after our games, and they said they didn’t like swords (because they reduced interaction through colour protections), and so I stopped playing all of them, so that others might find the games more enjoyable.


What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
Derevi, Empyrial Tactician. Bird Wizard Legend – It’s about time.

What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
Darksteel Mutation. I hate having conversations about why this card is the worst Arrest option.

One thing about the banned list.
We need to stop the inbreeding on the Rules Committee. Trade Secrets really?…really? REALLY? Just stop banning things at this point.

Thoughts on Commander 2013?
It gets harder every year to do anything that really excites me and makes me want to build and spend money building. However, I can tell Wizards has accepted that Commander is the #1 casual format.

Hopes/goals for the upcoming year?
Grow the local community. We have been bleeding players from students graduating and we need to get more people playing.

What was the best EDH experience you had this year?
The ongoing disagreements with Mr. P. It gives me hope in humanity that two people so far apart in beliefs can still get along and be civil. (Editor’s note: Who loves ya baby! XO,->Mr. P.)


What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?

  • Colossus of Akros – Card of the year for me. This goes back 19-odd years to my well-documented love of Colossus of Sardia, and it just hits on so many levels for me as a result. At my heart, I’m still a kid in love with big, shiny things, and this is the biggest and shiniest. I want to run this in every deck I own just because.
  • Erebos, God of the Dead – I’ve likewise been waiting a very long time for Wizards of the Coast to give us “god” as a creature-type. I love the flavor of the devotion mechanic, and I love that these things each have their own flavor (instead of falling prey to “Eldrazi Syndrome” by making the cycle all back-breaking. No one is running scared from Thassa, for example…) In a vacuum, I’ll always take the one that says “draw card” on it, so Erebos is my pick of the litter.
  • Strionic Resonator – I love techy utility cards. There’s nothing better than things that can subtly fit into many different shells and change games in many different ways as a result. Rings of Brighthearth has been missing his little brother for a long time.

What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?

  • Master of Cruelties – Dave nailed it with this one. Magister Sphinx is about as close as I get to life-fixing cards, and that’s a pretty borderline one for me. Dropping someone to one life is a pretty brutal way of invalidating everything they’ve done in the game, and while I don’t feel Master is broken, I do think it ends up being pretty groan-inducing.
  • Sepulchral Primordial – Again, well-documented, but this card takes the cake of the cycle (yeah…it’s worse than Sylvan by a longshot.) It never ends up doing anything fun; nine times out of ten, the caster gets to run off a chain reaction of effects that just end up being super-swingy, and worse, take forever to resolve most of the time. I’m hereby officially renaming this card “Everyone Check Your Phones And Start Trading While I Play The Game Alone For A Bit Primordial.”
  • True-Name Nemesis – Oh wait…you wanted EDH cards, not Legacy cards. Never mind this one, then.

Your favorite article about EDH that you read this year?

It’s hard to put a specific article in the limelight here. What I will do is say that I’m pretty happy to see EDH getting more coverage in general these days. It’s great to see the marquee sites branching out past the tried-and-true “deck doctor” articles (and yeah, I get the irony in that…), and sites like and keep upping the ante with great writing and more and more multi-media content. This is great to see.

One thing about the banned list.
Honestly, if I had to say one thing, it’s simply “Good Job.” I think the Rules Committee is doing a pretty fantastic job of keeping their hands off of things to let the format grow organically however it feels like growing. (The Trade Secrets ban aside, anyway…)

If I could then say two things, it would be to continue making the list smaller as things balance out. Metalworker isn’t any scarier than Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary, and Tolarian Academy isn’t doing anything that Gaea’s Cradle isn’t already doing in mono-green. Pulling things like Staff of Domination off show that we as EDH players are trusted enough to do the right thing, so ultimately, I’d like to see the list pared down to simply the cards that don’t do anything but make games suck – Worldfire, Biorhythm, Limited Resources, and the like.

Let me play with Power, dammit. I promise I won’t hurt anyone.

Thoughts on Commander 2013?
I’m still coming around on this one. On the one hand, it’s great to have new product and new players flooding into the format. New cards and new generals are always welcome.

On the other hand, more linear things like Nekusar, the Mindrazer aren’t helping anyone to diversify, and neither is making a pre-con nearly unavailable by printing cards that are crap in EDH and clearly plants for Eternal formats, making them ripe for speculator picking.

Hopes/goals for the upcoming year?
I hope that I get to play more games that leave me with a good feeling. I want more awesome interactions and big, flashy spells that make memorable – *good* memorable – games for everyone involved.

And I want to double-down on GDC as well. With the team we have in place, I want to blow it wide open in 2014. Bigger and better all around.

What was the best EDH experience you had this year?
I’ve had the luxury of some great games, some great conversations, and some great articles this past year. I’ve had the joy of hitting up GenCon, breaking into the podcasting game, and rolling out the upgraded website. Most of all, I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with a great group of teammates in Dave, Imshan, Sean, and Mr. P.

I think I can safely say that EDH in general has been the best experience this year as a whole.


What was your favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
Giant Adephage, because it is the perfect EDH card: big, dumb, splashy, powerful, and impossible to combo off or go infinite with (OK, I suppose you could do something involving haste effects and chaining attack steps, but I’m ignoring that.) I love him.

What was your least favorite new EDH card that came out this year?
Sylvan Primordial, partially because I’m so bloody sick of seeing it but mostly because I can’t understand why it doesn’t have the words “up to one” between the words “destroy” and “target non-creature permanent” on it. I mean, I understand someone is going to ramp into this thing on turn four every single game, but the fact that it manascrews at least one person every time leaves me totally cold. I currently have this thing in exactly zero of my decks.

Oh, and the black one also sucks.

Your favorite article about EDH that you read this year?
This article technically came out last year, but Pat Chapin’s “Words Mean Things” is one of the best articles I’ve ever read about the social aspect of the game, which is a huge component of EDH. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say everyone should read this.

One thing about the banned list.
I like the banned list, and I have no real desire to see anything added to it; I like that playgroups can use social norming as a means to excising cards that make the experience “unfun”, withough imposing those values on the larger community. I am glad that the Rules Committee is not fickle and impulsive in the way that people in forums seem to desperately want them to be. (Also, I’m writing this pretending that the banning of Trade Secrets never happened.)

Oh, but why on earth is Library of Alexandria banned? I understand it’s powerful, but there have been so many strong cards printed that it’s hard to make a case for it still being “overpowered.” I understand it’s expensive, but so are Moat, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, Timetwister, Imperial Seal, and a bunch of other legal things. People want to play with power, but Mr. P wants to go to the Library!

Thoughts on Commander 2013?
Mind Sleeze! Oh dang!

I personally don’t mind all that much that the Mind Sleeze precon is impossible to find, because it’s super easy to find people who want to trade the other 99 non-True-Name Nemesis cards from this thing. I also like the fact that they are supporting the format by reprinting older, obscure cards (hey, Foster!) alongside new, useful-if-not-broken cards (howdy, Bane of Progress!) Thanks for the support, Wizards! Now stop printing the damn oversized foils!

Hopes/goals for the upcoming year?
My goal, as ever, is to continue to work on being gracious, pleasant, and generally enjoyable to be around. My hope is that the format will continue to grow in a way that is positive and leaves room for everyone to feel as though they are having the experience they want while also allowing others to do the same.

Oh, and I want more Twitter followers.

What was the best EDH experience you had this year?
I love that EDH is a social format, and that the people who play it regularly end up feeling like part of a community. I love having EDH Night at Mr. P Manor, as well as my regular games Mondays at Off the Wall and Wednesdays at Worlds Apart. Getting to see the same awesome people every week is a delight.

I also continue to have a great time going to GenCon, and 2013 was awesome in that we added to our crew. In 2011 we had three, in 2012 we had four, this year we had six. I would love to have ten or more next year. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention how much fun I had playing in (and winning!) an EDH event at GenCon, something I never imagined I would do (or enjoy).

Finally, I’ve had a super awesome time being part of Team GDC this year. Thanks to all of the other writers, the people who post comments, and anyone who ever argued with me on twitter; y’all make this (more) fun.

->Mr. P

Sydri, Galvanic Metal Beats Stomp Out Louder

I love metal.

…Let me start again.

Flash of Iron, Leather, Spikes, and Swords!  (OK…so what you have to imagine is me and my homie at Amherst doing our radio show and jumping on the desks and indie rock couches head banging to this song by ourselves once a week. That’s about how pumped I am for this deck.)

So I’ve never brought the brown beats, and Sydri was all it took to get me on the rock-metal plan. The Esper Terese Nielson 2/2 was spoiled, and I dreamed of hitting in with Darksteel Ingot for exactsies. Ported Sharuum the Hegemon I knew this would not be.

They’d throw parties for me, I’d have a giant float in the Thanksgiving parade, and all the cool kids would high five me for fighting the good fight and winning while adhering to a strict, and arguably weak theme.

Thus was born Galvanic Metal Beats.

There are a bajillion good artifacts, and an Esper artifact deck may be the actual easiest shell in which to accidently go combo, so I expanded on my dreams by establishing a restriction: no “dudes.” I ultimately relaxed that a bit for Karn, the Original Sad Robot, and Hannah, whose captain flavor has very little to do with her card mechanics.

Then of course, the restriction of no unbounded loops (infinite combos) was a must because snore. None.

I spent about two weeks on Gatherer, Excel, and TappedOut trying to put something cool that worked together. A bunch of cuts later, here’s the list.

[Deck title=Galvanic Metal Beats]
1 Blinkmoth Urn
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Clock of Omens
1 Crystal Shard
1 Darksteel Forge
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Howling Mine
1 Ichor Wellspring
1 Icy Manipulator
1 Illusionist’s Bracers
1 Krark-Clan Ironworks
1 Meekstone
1 Memory Jar
1 Mimic Vat
1 Mind’s Eye
1 Mirrorworks
1 Mycosynth Wellspring
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Noetic Scales
1 Planar Portal
1 Portcullis
1 Prototype Portal
1 Reito Lantern
1 Rings of Brighthearth
1 Sculpting Steel
1 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Sol Ring
1 Spine of Ish Sah
1 Staff of Nin
1 Strionic Resonator
1 Surveyor’s Scope
1 That Which Was Taken
1 Thopter Foundry
1 Thornbite Staff
1 Thran Dynamo
1 Trading Post
1 Vedalken Orrery
1 Ward of Bones
1 Bident of Thassa
1 Blind Obedience
1 Crackdown
1 Dream Tides
1 Leyline of Anticipation
1 Overburden
1 Spreading Plague
1 Tainted AEther
1 Tempered Steel
1 Austere Command
1 Beacon of Unrest
1 Black Sun’s Zenith
1 Decree of Pain
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Frantic Salvage
1 Return to Dust
1 Spin into Myth
1 Swords to Plowshares[/spells]

1 Sydri, Galvanic Genius
1 Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
1 Karn, Silver Golem[/Creatures]

1 Academy Ruins
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Buried Ruin
1 Command Tower
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Godless Shrine
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 High Market
7 Island
1 Marsh Flats
1 Mystifying Maze
1 Phyrexia’s Core
5 Plains
1 Strip Mine
5 Swamp
1 Temple of the False God
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Thespian’s Stage
1 Vesuva
1 Watery Grave[/Lands][/Deck]

For a deeper look, check out this TappedOut link. The “sideboard” contains the combo pieces and creatures I deliberately excluded. Aside from completeness, this ensures I don’t brilliantly “rediscover” one and jam it in thoughtlessly. When a combo popped up by accident, like Basalt Monolith and Rings of Brighthearth, I kept the cooler or more useful of the two and benched the other. (Although this deck can actually do zero things with infinite mana anyway.)

The “Maybeboard” is a bunch of other random stuff that was in but got cut for being weak, a non-bo, unnecessarily redundant, or something else.

I think it’s fairly obvious what the deck does. My metalhead dorks swing for two, but they aren’t creatures – oh and by the way, yours all don’t work like you want. There are some synergies to draw cards and recur stuff, and my muddy rocks can kill a fatty. I’m gonna need a LOT of blue mana. [Card]Crackdown[/Card] and [Card]Spreading Plague[/Card] look just not-staxy-enough that playing them won’t get me blacklisted. At least that’s my hope. I’m really excited about Noetic Scales. I also enjoy the subtheme of getting housed by the first spell-based combo deck that sits down.

Also, you’ll note just Demonic Tutor. No others. This is because I wanted every non-artifact to have a very good reason for its inclusion. This spot was actually Enlightened Tutor, but those are $12 and I have a few copies of DT so budgets won out.

So the question is, what now? I haven’t sleeved it up because I’m short a few cards and not ready to drop the dough on what I’m missing – yet – because it just doesn’t feel quite right. Goldfishing it online, it seems like it doesn’t do anything. So without obliterating my restrictions, help me out.

1. What tech am I missing?
2. Are there imbalances? Where?
3. Would you throat punch me after playing against this?
4. How can I make it hum a bit more and still be weird and fun?


@ MdaveCs

Black Sheep – Evasive Maneuvers


It’s the most wonderful time of the year – Commander Season!  New products mean new players and new friends.  It also means new opportunities and new cards. I don’t want to distract you too much which my unaccustomed giddiness so, let’s talk about the new stuff.

I was tasked with reviewing Evasive Maneuvers.  This was my deck of choice as I believe it is the best constructed deck for what Wizards wants to accomplish with these Commander decks.  It gives just enough of a taste of what you can do with Commander while leaving you wanting to do more with the deck.  It has a halfway-usable manabase and plenty of cards I am happy to see reprinted.  More than anything, it contains two new Commanders that exactly represent what people want to do in Bant.

New Cards

As with many reviewers, I have my own personal rating system for cards from a Commander perspective.  On a 1-5 scale cards rate as follows;

5 – These are what people call staples.  It’s a card that if it is on theme you 100% should be playing it and if it’s off theme but in your color identity you should consider it.  These are usually utility cards like Sol Ring, Wheel of Fortune, Demonic Tutor, Swords to Plowshares, Krosan Grip, and Hinder.

4 – These are cards that primarily see play in themed decks, but often work their way into familiar goodstuff type decks as well.  You need a reason to play these, but not much of one.  These are usually either type specific tutors or alternative win conditions. Examples: Sunforger, Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker, Mikaeus the Unhallowed, Stonehewer Giant, Green Sun’s Zenith, and Palinchron.

3 – These cards are theme-specific role players.  They are always considerations when on-theme, but won’t see play in decks that aren’t specifically built to utilize the card.  Examples: Mycosynth Lattice, Skirk Prospector, Corpse Connoisseur, Armageddon, Elvish Archdruid, and Patron Wizard.

2 – These are cards that won’t see play outside of very specific combo and synergy applications.  Even when they do have applications they aren’t usually strong enough to build around.  These are cards that appear useless in a vacuum but may find some purpose in the future.  Examples: Coretapper, Mogg Fanatic, Executioner’s Capsule, Auriok Salvagers, Quillspike, and Tunnel Vision.

1 – These are cards I can’t imagine myself ever using.

A. Opal Palace

a. I am really not sure why this card would be good. It’s just not an effect I see being useful. Maybe in the rare case of Skullbriar you can have him come out pumped and actually use artifacts to help accelerate into him. Outside that, there is so much good mana fixing that bad mana fixing (fixing without adding mana) is just not worth a slot.
b. Rating: 1

B. Angel of Finality

a. This is something a bit new. There aren’t many creatures that have the ability to blow apart a graveyard. Those few all see play. The fact that it’s an angel and that it is an ETB (enters the battlefield) trigger mean that Angel themed decks and blink decks will both be considering. All in all a very effective card.
b. Rating: 4

C. Bane of Progress

a. This card was built on the ‘staple a good utility card to a fattie’ principle. This principle has worked time and time again to give us cards that are so good we have to use them and then we all get bored of seeing them. Bane of Progress is ridiculous just for being a Creeping Corrosion (or Fracturing Gust) that mono green can tutor. You will be hard pressed to find a reason to exclude this from your Gx decks.
b. Rating: 5

D. Diviner Spirit

a. The card lets you draw two cards a turn. Since you are only hitting one player a turn its downside is a full 100% downside. Consecrated Sphinx can turn this into a draw-six spell. Not terrible all around and fits nicely into a spirit themed deck.
b. Rating: 3

E. Djinn of Infinite Secrets

a. Stealing is generally better than switching control of creatures. However, in the last expansion Zedruu the Greathearted showed us that there is a place for swap cards. Outside of Zedruu, I don’t think this card will see much play. The swap is permanent so that blink decks can abuse this by swapping control and then blinking the creature they gift away to keep control of both. Inside Zedruu, this feels like a solid contributor, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few shenanigans from this Djinn.
b. Rating: 3

F. Curse of Inertia

a. This has some potential, but I’ll have to think on it for a while. Maybe you could do something with Stonehewer Giant. The only real is that Wizards will be printing more curses. That could end up making some of the better curses playable over time.
b. Rating: 2

 G. Curse of Predation

a. This curse actually paints quite the bullseye on an opponent. I think a few Edric, Spymaster of Trest decks in particular are going to give this curse a shot. The Andrew Magrini enchantress Edric in particular may benefit.
b. Rating: 3

H. Curse of the Forsaken

a. Wow…white doesn’t really understand the concepts of a curse, I guess. I honestly can’t think of a good reason to put this card in a deck.
b. Rating: 1

I. Darksteel Mutation

a. As I mentioned during the short Commander set review, I think this is a waste of a new card. People will mostly use it for removal with the occasional person using it to have a card survive an Akroma’s Memorial. There are just better things you can be playing.
b. Rating: 1

J. Restore

a. This is another card that looks like it could have been good if there weren’t better options out there. Maybe someone will figure out some sort of niche use. Until then, I’ll be leaving it out of my deck lists.
b. Rating: 2

K. Surveyor’s Scope

a. I guess this is a card for decks that plan on being mana screwed? Maybe five-color bounce land/lair mana bases? Ooh, oooh I know. You play this with all the fetches and then crack two fetches and break this in response. Value!
b. Rating: 2

L. Tempt with Glory

a. Um, I’m not tempted. Why would they be tempted? This is a great example of how giving your opponent the choice doesn’t usually work out for you. I mean why would they choose to do what is bad for them.
b. Rating: 1

M. Unexpectedly Absent

a. I’ve already written a bit about this card. Let me reemphasize how utterly amazing it is. This won’t directly win you games, but it’s such an incredible utility that you need a really good excuse not to be running this. If I had limited room for removal and the choice was between this and Path to Exile, I would choose this. It is removal with zero downside. Crazy.
b. Rating: 5

N. Roon of the Hidden Realm

a. I look at legendary creatures in a slightly different light than other new cards because they can perform very differently as a role player in a deck than as a Commander. In the case of Roon, he should be instantly popular as a Commander. Many people already love UWx blink decks so a dedicated blink commander was a real gift from Wizards. As a roleplayer in a deck, he is overcosted and less effective than other blink effects.
b. Rating: 2
c. Commander Rating: 4

O. Derevi, Empyrial Tactician

a. Bird Wizard in bant colors. Can I get a Hallelejuh?!? Anyone who has ever gone through the effort to put together a bird deck knows this is exactly what we were missing. The card does some cool stuff with flocks of creatures that have evasion as well. The tapping and untapping ability works effectively with the Wizard theme. His second ability also makes him uncounterable by all conventional means and he can be put into play at instant speed. This can be used as a fog if you’re worried about being one-shot by something like a Blightsteel Colossus.
b. Rating: 3
c. Commander Rating: 5

Playing the deck

New cards aside, players will most likely want to take their newly purchased deck for a test drive. I highly recommend giving the deck a shot, as long as you are ok with losing a few games. I don’t mean that in a snarky or degrading way. The deck gives a valuable sampling of some of the better tactics you can use in a Bant deck. However, because it is made up of a bunch of micro tactics and don’t revolve around a strong central theme, the deck will fall short of victory against most independently built Commander decks. I still recommend playing it however, because you will be able to get a good feel for what you want to do with the deck in the future.

The land base is solid enough that it won’t need much tweaking, and land bases are nearly half the battle when building a Commander deck. Regardless of the tactic you take, you should be able to use about a dozen or more non-land cards from the deck in your final build. Needing to get 30-50 cards for a usable Commander deck may seem like a large chore. Think of it this way, you are getting 50-70% of a deck completed for only $30. If you could finish the rest of the deck for the same cost, that would be a legitimately budget deck.

The deck looks like it should have a favorable match up against the other preconstructed decks.  This is mostly because they seem to have bloated land bases lack card draw. This deck has just enough of both land and card draw to keep you going throughout games. I don’t concern myself too much with playing with the precons, so it’s more of a guess than anything else.

Upgrading the deck will take an entire article in itself, because of all the different directions you can take this. I recommend picking it up and giving it a try.


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