Hello and welcome one and all to the next installment of everyone’s favorite card centric article series, Cards n’Flux. I am Corlando, your happy guide to Magic the Gathering strategy, cards, and flavor. This week we will be discussing the brand new set called MTG Commander and let me tell you I am so excited for it. Why don’t we take a look?
Before we get into some of the new cards, let’s talk about the rules and how to play Commander. The way a typical game of Commander works, originally known as Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH), is that each player will have a deck of 100 cards and duel it out with a total of 40 life. The real differences, other than deck size, between Commander (EDH) and any normal magic game are that each player will have a general. A general is a legendary creature who serves to essentially lead your deck and starts each game in the Command zone from which it can be played at any time. Should your commander die, it goes right back to this zone and can be summoned once again by paying two extra mana of any color. And since your general is leading the deck, you cannot have colors in your deck outside the colors your general has in its mana cost. For example, let us say I am running a Rafiq of the Many deck, one of the more prominent and awesome generals, I can have any manner of Artifact, Green, White, or Blue card in my deck. However, I cannot have any Red or Black cards in the deck. This rule also extends to mana costs within the card. So if I want to play Rafiq, I could not play Foxfire Oak because inside the card there is a Red mana symbol. Another point concerning Commander (EDH) decks is that you can only have one copy of a card in your deck. Basic lands are excluded from this rule, but only one of everything else, including non-basic lands. Other than that, the last man standing is the winner.
When I first sat down to play EDH, it was in a more of a harrumph and slap together way. The Magic club I usually play with is pretty centered on the EDH format. They love the idea of playing with their older cards and seeing whose general is superior. I used to look at EDH as just a spin off and that it just seems annoying and inconsistent. How are you ever going to draw the cards you need if your drawing through a 99 card deck? The night I decide to try, I was tired of waiting for all my friends to be done playing their EDH games and after the prodding of a few of my friends I stood up and declared, “FINE, I’ll play a game!” Few minutes later, I was left alone against one of our senior players and only lost by a fraction of life. It was thanks to this that I became an EDH fan and now I have three decks and I jump at each chance to play. The fact is that a 99 card deck offers a lot of variety and no game is ever the same. Your deck never really plays the same way twice, which I think is the fun part of EDH. If you are thinking of trying this new game, I would recommend borrowing someone else’s deck and playing a few games to see if you like it. The game type is not for everyone, but those who like it always walk away with a smile on their face.
Enough of the set up, lets get into some cards! MTG Commander has given us quite a few fun cards, but today we will be focusing on some of the generals. One of the first generals to be spoiled was a bit of a unique guy. Animar, Soul of Elements seems like a cool color combo as . Gives you access to counterspells, big creatures, and damaging spells and he’s a 1/1… wait. Okay a cool color combo, but there has to be more to this general. Well, you will be happy to know that there is. First he has protection from White and Black. Good. Whenever you cast a creature spell you can put a +1/+1 counter on Animar, Soul of Elements. Better. Creature spells you cast cost 1 less to cast for each +1/+1 counter on Animar. I think my heart just stopped. Are you kidding me? A creature that not only gets stronger the more creatures you summon, but one that actually makes them cheaper as well. Yes I would love to play my Terastodon for , my Stormtide Leviathan for , and my Bogarden Hellkite for . Animar is a real example of a general. Easy to get out, assists the deck beyond comprehension, and eventually can take it to the opponent if he really needs to. I love Animar and I have to say he would be a great general to build around.
The next commander that I feel I should talk about is for those people who like to bring the quick, sudden pain. Kaalia of the Vast is one bad (meaning good) Human Cleric. By just paying , players get a 2/2 flyer that whenever you attack with her you are allowed to play from your hand any Angel, Demon, or Dragon card without paying its mana cost. That is cool, but it gets even better because you are able to but said Dragon, Angel, or Demon into play tapped and attacking. It is one thing to play a creature for cheap… it is an entirely different thing to play something for free and essentially give it haste so you can bash your opponent severely. As soon as this girl went up, the forums I visit were alight with the idea of bringing Akroma Angel of Wrath into play for free. I will admit that is a pretty cool idea, however I think I would rather play the new Mana-Charged Dragon for free and have everyone, except the person I am swinging at, essentially pay to kill off one of their enemies. I like Kaalia and I seriously would not be surprised if her deck becomes really hard to find over the next few weeks.
Moving along we have yet another wonderful general in the creature simply known as The Mimeoplasm. I want to meet the sick, twisted, mad, evil, demented, scientist who created this monstrosity… and buy him a drink. This part T-Rex, part ooze creature comes into play with . Now here is where the fun happens. When Mimeoplasm enters play you can exile two creatures from any graveyard. If you do, Mimeoplasm comes into play as a copy of one creature and gets X +1/+1 counters equal to the power of the other exiled creature. How much fun could that be? “Yes I will exile your Dread Cacodemon and your Baneslayer Angel to create an 8/8 with first strike, Lifelink, flying, with protection from Demons and Dragons,” or, “I will create a 5/5 that when it enters play destroys all creatures you control and taps all of mine.” See what kind of damage you can wreak with this thing. This guy will never be the same thing twice. Primeval Titan and Mana-Charged Dragon, Wurmcoil Engine and Artisan of Kozilek, Ghastlord of Fugue and Demon of Death’s Gate, there are thousands of possibilities all absolutely amazing. I bet you will never run out of combinations. In fact, I would not be surprised if you actually kill it yourself just to make something new.
Well we are getting a little longwinded so here is our last general and one that I am the most excited to build around. The general is Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter and he comes into play at a whopping . Yes he is the most expensive general we have talked about, but listen to what he can do. First off he is a flyer with lifelink, always a wonderful combo, and you can sacrifice a creature to him and put X +1/+1 counters on him where X is equal to the sacrificed creature’s power. AWESOME!!! Think about it, you army of small tokens is about to be destroyed by a damage based boardwhipper, you can sacrifice all of the creatures to Vish Kal and suddenly you have a huge creature that is gaining you life every time you swing. Thing about it how big could this guy be? But wait, there’s more. You can remove all the +1/+1 counters from Vish Kal and have target creature get -1/-1 for every +1/+1 counter removed this way. It is nice to Doom Blade a creature and have it go to the graveyard, it is quite a different thing to just remove all the strength a creature has, withering it away into nothing by a simple little demand, “Die.” I love Vish Kal and I honestly cannot wait to build around him.
Well everyone it seems we have come to the end of our article meaning it is time for everyone’s favorite section, The Closing Questions Section:
1. Have you played Commander (EDH) before? Who is your general and why?
2. What is your favorite of the new generals we have thanks to Commander and why?
3. Do you have any critiques about the set, please explain why?
Well everyone I am absolutely ecstatic for the mini-set we have received from Wizards and I hope it becomes a success. Please tune in next week for another grand article concerning our favorite game. And always remember, “Etherium is Limited. Innovation is not.” This is Corlando signing out.