This is a Commander set, people. Not a set for Standard or a set for eternal formats, but one that is ripe with legendaries, unique abilities, and overall awesome high mana bombs.
This could also be a really interesting Limited set. Having “spell lands” is quite unique, and a common land cycle is important for deckbuilding and picking late in a draft.
Back to the Commander discussion. All the gods can come back to your hand, so you will always have plenty of time to recast them after all the EDH board wipes. Do you like Doubling Season? (The answer is obviously yes, because that casual card is $60.)
Samut the Tested will probably be UNtested in Standard, because Arlinn Kord is a much better card and doesn’t see play. What happened to the Red/Green ramp deck? Red/Green monsters was a better name, and it played lots of fatties and efficient planeswalkers.
EDH players have mana problems right? Well then, meet Razaketh, the Foulblooded. I think this card combined with Cryptolith Rite could be good in standard, too. It’s a lot of mana, but its ability alongside his stats are reasonable.
Specific commander cards I like are:
- Djeru, with Eyes Open. Everyone loves planeswalkers and this is a helpful tool that attacks and blocks.
- Hour of Revelation, because everyone loves cheap board wipes.
- Solemnity. So many cards are spiking with this card being printed. See: Glacial Chasm, Decree of Silence, the noncreature known as Mystic Remora, and who knows what else.
- Plenty of good legendaries to play as new generals with the gods.
- Cool abilities like Abandoned Sarcophagus, Mirage Mirror, and Crested Sunmare.
The “overexertion” cards have a very real drawback of not allowing your lands to untap. Are their effects constructed playable enough for Standard? Maybe. Modern and Legacy, probably not. Most games don’t last that long and you need every mana you can possibly generate.
Rhonas’s Last Stand is a trap. Yes a 5/4 on turn two is great. You know what else can be cast in the first two turns? Fatal Push, Grasp of Darkness, Harnessed Lightning, Cut // Ribbons and Declaration in Stone. Uh oh, it dies to every removal spell in Standard. Hazoret’s Undying Fury is EDH playable; that’s about it. Cool design, very flavorful too, but just not strong enough for Standard.
Hour of Devastation could secretly be the best card in … Hour of Devastation. It makes U/R better, as it doesn’t kill Torrential Gearhulk. Look for that card to get better in the standard metagame with more spells to re-cast. The Locust God is a good blue card, but at six mana for a 4/4 I don’t think it’s big enough to affect the board immediately.
In the Limited format, Hour of Glory is the best. It’s a blank kill spell and it can be cast easily with a black splash. Simple, yet effective.
The secret tech Modern card could be Uncage the Menagerie. It can get Vizier of Remedies and Devoted Druid for the infinite mana combo. It could see play in a pod like style of deck with many silver bullets. That way, the deck doesn’t have to focus on just assembling the combo early. It can play hate cards such as Gaddock Teeg, Ethersworn Canonist, Qasali Pridemage and the like.
I also really like Claim // Fame in the Death’s Shadow deck. Its another spell for Snapcaster Mage; it competes with Kolaghan’s Command at three mana, but in some ways it’s more efficient. It makes Thought Scour less scary, as you can mill your threats without hesitation. Before, the deck was threat light, and without a way to close games, Death’s Shadow couldn’t get the W.
From Amonkhet, I think Vizier of the Menagerie will find a home. It’s not too expensive to buy today, and it has very unique abilities. The foil price has a 5x multiplier which isn’t that bad for an EDH staple. I also think Censor gets better. People will want to tap out to cast big mana spells, and you can get ‘em with Censor. Don’t pass on or cycle this card too early!
Since the set is focused around this guy, and giving us ways to kill him, let’s talk. First off, for 7 mana, he has to do something backbreaking instantly. Which he does, kind of. His -4 ability is very good, but it’s not an immediate board wipe. His +2 ability is very good in EDH; not sure how many haymakers Standard will spit out. His +1 ability says each opponent. Clearly this card was designed for EDH and should fit well into the planeswalkers superfriends deck.
The only mark I have against him is the high casting cost, and he should be able to ultimate after two turns. He doesn’t, but I still think this could be a one-of in a control shell. Blue-red clearly have plenty of synergies in Standard, but it’s getting the black part in that’s the hardest. Black does give us access to the best removal and I think it could be worth it. Keeping him alive turn after turn is important, and he has many ways to attack the opponent. Price wise, he is too expensive right now. Look for him to go down to $8-10 once people and stores open their boxes. His price is prerelease hype right now.
Invocations, aka Reprint Central
Pretty much a whole slew of reprints with awesome art. I’m still not a fan of the serif they used on the lettering but it does look better in person. The art is incredible, it matches the storyline well, although it doesn’t exactly match the cards that well. Like, what does Nicol Bolas have to do with Omniscience – Foil?
Best reprint to hit the invocation market is Choke. OK, not really; I just don’t like Islands or control decks in general. The best finance reprint is probably Blood Moon. It didn’t really need a reprint, and the cheapest foils are still around $40. The invocation is $70 — not a bad upgrade. I also really like Omniscience as this is the only other printing. The M2013 copy quietly gained from $5 post rotation to $20+ today. Foils are $50 and the invocation is $90.
Jordan Pollack is a Tax Accountant and Magic player from suburban Chicago. He holds an accounting degree from the University of Kansas and is currently pursuing CPA certification. He enjoys watching the Blackhawks and doing manly things such as fixing a leaky sink, grilling, and making sure his girlfriend has everything she needs (and wants).