Theros Commander Set Review: The Gods and Their Toys
Theros has been out a couple weeks and I’ve played nothing but commander for the last few days, so I’ve had a chance to see the impact the set will make on Commander. Here is my set review for cards I think will make an impact, cards that have been hyped in other formats, and cards tested out in commander that weren’t as good as they first looked. I looked at each card for both multiplayer commander, where games typically go on longer and the average mana cost of spells is much higher, and for Duel Commander. Duel Commander is 1v1 commander with its own ban list to help make it a fair competitive format. If you are interested in Duel Commander, or just want to know more about it, I will be writing an Introduction to Duel Commander next week with some decklists, the ban list, and what some of the current Duel Commanders have to say about the format. But for now, on with the review!
Thassa, our blue god, is definitely potent. Scry 1 every turn will fix your draws indefinitely, scry is a powerful mechanic, especially when you do it every single turn. For 2 mana, you can make any creature unblockable, either to get a fatty through, or a utility creature holding a sword, a fish build headed up by Thassa will make good use of the unblockable ability. And when you hit devotion, you have a 5/5 indestructible God!
As a commander, I think Thassa could head up a potent fish deck in 1v1 or multiplayer, filled with cards like Stealer of Secrets to get value off of combat damage, and the Sword of x and y cycle. I imagine some people who already have Sun Quan, Lord of Wu decks will convert to Thassa, while not quite the same, the decks are normally built around creatures being hard to block, and Thassa’s unblockable ability serves a similar purpose, though mana intensive for more than a couple creatures. She could also be the leader of a combo build, using her scry ability to help fix your draws, where she is as good a commander as any in blue. I think we will see her head up some Duel Commanders soon, mono blue fish shows up from time to time, and Thassa could be the missing piece to make it stronger.
As one of the 99, I think Thassa will show up from time to time as a big, indestructible, evasive body that can make other creatures evasive, though due to the nature of Devotion, it would probably only be in 2 colour or mono blue decks, like in Edric, Spymaster of Trest as a cheap body and to fix your draws.
Coastal Piracy is already playable in blue based agro decks as a form of card draw, and this is the same with an extra ability and a couple more card types. Activating the ability will hopefully make your opponents tap all their creatures letting you attack into them and get some sweet draw triggers. It can also be used to force them into unfavourable attacks, and arguably most importantly, make your opponents attack another opponent in multiplayer if you have anything deterring them from attacking you. Plus its a Bident, arguably one of the cooler weapons to kill your opponents with. This will be all over casual tables for sure. In Duel Commander, it could be a nice addition to fish decks, as well as a way to force opponents to use utility creatures main phase or risk losing them in combat.
Clones are very popular in Commander, though with the change to legend rules they are no longer kill spells in blue. Still very powerful if you have a decent creature to clone, but unfortunately this one needs a bit too much support to trigger heroic reliably to make it useful in many decks. Decks with lots of spells that target, such as Aura’s could put it to use, but I feel it will be a strictly casual deck.
Now this hero will probably see a bit of play in EDH in Aura based decks, such as Aura versions of Rafiq of the Many, or in Bruna, Light of Alabaster decks. Triton Fortune Hunter is an early draw engine if you have lots of cards that target it, casting this and drawing some cards in the early game before swinging in with Bruna and moving the aura’s over to hit hard with your commander. Bruna shows up in competitive 1v1 from time to time, and having an early draw engine could help make it stronger.
Voltron decks, again like Bruna, Light of Alabaster or Rafiq of the Many, or any deck that wants its commander to be unblocked like Wrexial, the Risen Deep or Zur the Enchanter could use this to help get damage through and make sure they aren’t blocked by something bigger, as well as fixing your draws. I doubt it will show up in any competitive lists, but for casual tables that just want their commanders to get damage through could put it to use.
If Splinter Twin/Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker combo decks want a bit more redundancy in their combo pieces, they got another combo piece with Breaching Hippocamp. It could see a bit of play in other decks such as competitive Animar, Soul of Elements to untap mana dorks, especially as they often play Kiki-Jiki anyway, though its not often the main win condition. Redundancy is key in a singleton format, so I expect this Seahorse to show its face, but only as an extra combo piece, or a ‘free’ creature in Animar.
Blue bending the colour pie but not quite breaking it with its new wrath effect, giving your opponents an army of pigs instead of whatever they had before. Exiling creatures is very important with all the graveyard shenanigans in Commander. This card will probably go in every Blue but not white control deck, and maybe even a few of the U/W ones too as it can leave your creatures unscathed while replacing your opponents with boars. Best of all, your opponents can’t really be mad, especially if you remind them you may be getting rid of their threat, put you’re giving them a new pet to play with. A permanent answer to annoying creatures is very useful in both multiplayer and Duel Commander.
Merfolk are a somewhat playable tribe in Commander, they have enough support if you are willing to play a couple of non-merfolk to bulk the deck up. Master of Waves is at least 4 power for 4 mana, but normally a lot more if you have a decent board presence. Outside of a Merfolk build, its probably not going to make the cut, as removing the Master will kill the tokens without outside assistance, though it could still work in an Edric, Spymaster of Trest deck or aggressive blue based aggro decks in Duel Commander.
A very political card that is likely to find a home in political control decks such as Zedruu the Greathearted, you can either use it to copy your own spells, or copy a spell of another player to help them out. Politics can be very powerful in some playgroups, so if you are the kind of player who likes to play the political game to get ahead, this could be a nice addition to a control deck.
A cheap, efficient creature that will find its way into decks such as Animar, Soul of Elements that could use the utility, or blink decks that can bounce and reuse the scry ability on this little guy. It probably won’t be seen in any slower multiplayer craziness decks, but more competitive decks with low curves will probably use Omenspeaker for its utility and low CMC.
Sphinx’s getting a lot of love recently, Prognostic Sphinx has the best beard in the magic universe, and as a bonus, he is actually quite playable. Scry 3 is very powerful, and it protects itself in a pinch if you have too. I’m not sure how much play it will see, but there are nearly enough decent Sphinx’s to make a casual tribal deck. It also plays nice with Enigma Sphinx, grabbing it back on top of your library if it dies. I also think a lot of people underestimate how powerful scry really is, and I know some people will be trying this out in tempo decks for Duel Commander to abuse scrying 3 each attack step.
I’m always excited for another target for Quest for Ula’s Temple! a 6/6 for 6 is reasonable, and with monstrosity to tap down a few creatures, this Kraken is reasonable in more casual decks, though blue has better finisher’s like Lorthos, the Tidemaker for similar mana costs.
A 1 mana counter that will definitely see play in more competitive metagames, it answers some of the formats biggest threats by turning them into birds. The number of games I have lost to a turn 2 Survival of the Fittest in 1v1, I can now laugh as I flip them the bird for 1 mana. In more casual decks, it’s probably not worth it, as countering turn 2 spells is probably not going to happen very often, and other than that it is a bit too narrow.
Erebos is a pretty sweet god, perfect for a good stuff mono black deck that is built around any commander. Stopping your opponents from gaining life will probably be surprisingly relevant, as even though lifegain as a strategy isn’t great in any format, incidental lifegain from Extort or things like Batterskull are all over the place in Commander. 2 mana and 2 life for a card at instant speed is definitely worth the cost, and Greed is already played, but now it’s attached to a 5/7 body. He will probably serve the same purpose in a deck as he will as commander, to beat face and draw cards, but I imagine he will be used to lead ‘Good Stuff’ or combo decks as there isn’t much to build around him. In Duel Commander, a 5/7 indestructible is pretty big if you can keep your devotion up, and the insane amount of card advantage this could provide could make this a very powerful commander, with cheap efficient creatures and removal to make sure they connect.
Whip it good. Its like a more expensive black sneak attack that you can only use once a turn cycle, so still pretty busted. Imagine both in the same deck, now that would be brutal. The lifelink will help you stay alive longer against agro decks and is definitely not something that should be ignored. The only bad thing about this is the exile clause which is pretty hard to get around (blink effects will still work). This will definitely see a lot of play to reuse enter the battlefield attacks, or get in a creature with haste after a wrath. This will probably see a bit of play in Duel Commander to replay threats and utility creatures, or just reanimate a Griselbrand for a turn, because to be honest, a turn is all you need with him.
Any deck with lots of sacrifice fodder and black mana symbols will probably be happy to play this, and its not like black doesn’t like sacrificing things. The drawback could even be turned into a strength in the right deck. Stax decks or decks built around sacrificing creatures could put the Overlord to good use, though 7 mana is pretty prohibitive, there are better options that high up your mana curve if you just want some sacrifice fodder.
Unlike the blue and white heroic guys, black has fewer decent aura’s and other targeting spells to really make this guy work. I’m sure someone will put him in a stacks deck and make me eat my words, but I haven’t figure him out yet.
Competitive 1v1 decks could start using this guy for the extra discard, especially decks that benefit more than just stripping your hand, such as decks playing The Rack and Shrieking Affliction, or a Nath of the Gilt-Leaf deck. Karador, Ghost Chieftain could put him to use sacing and recasting him to strip an opponent of their hand.
Destroy a Planeswalker at instant speed is definitely worth the extra mana over Doom Blade, black based control decks will definitely be playing this, even agro decks will probably want it to take out annoying walkers or creatures when they have to. I imagine any black deck in an even somewhat competitive meta will be running this as an answer to planeswalkers and creatures alike, both in multiplayer and Duel Commander.
Gorgon’s are pretty cool, though far from the best tribe. I don’t imagine Hythonia will see much play as a commander, but in other Gorgon decks like Damia, Sage of Stone or Sisters of Stone Death, you can use her to wrath everyone but your commander and start beating in with a 7/9 deathtouch! A strictly casual card, but who doesn’t love Gorgons.
By the end of a game, this guy is probably going to be pretty large. Bestow this on a creature, sac that creature to Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord or Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter and leave behind another large creature to sac again? Yes please. It’s a very niche creature, but it fills that niche well. Definitely could lead to some huge plays in multiplayer where games go on longer, or in a dedicated graveyard deck. You can also cast this for its bestow cost from your graveyard with Karador out. If Jarrad decks start seeing play again in Duel Commander, this could be some interesting tec for them, though they fell out of favour when Varolz, the Scar-Striped came out.
Competitive 1v1 decks already play Sign in Blood and its ilk, this is twice as good for 1.5 times the mana. It will definitely see play in fast combo decks or just 1v1 decks that want the early card draw and filtering. 2 life is tiny in Commander, and digging potentially 4 cards deep is pretty strong.
This is my favourite black card in the set. The flavour is spot on, it enables your leaves the battlefield and enters the battlefield triggers, it’s a great reanimation spell, and an instant no less. Just don’t get blown out with the additional cost by sacing a big creature and having it countered. I am absolutely going to start brewing around this card, i feel it could have a strong place in the Duel Commander meta in decks like Karador or The Mimeoplasm, or even in Sedris, the Traitor King to sac a Pestermite and bring it back with a Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker!
Purphoros is pretty crazy, a 6/5 indestructible for 4 is very powerful if you can get devotion on, and boosting creatures for 3 mana is pretty good itself, but neither of these are what make Purpheros so good. Once Purphoros is down, you can start spewing creatures and tokens to shock each opponent, and being indestructible, he’s pretty hard to get rid of. In a deck built around him, you can cast creatures that bring in multiple bodies like Siege-Gang Commander and deal lots of damage to EACH opponent. While I normally like building decks that utilize the commander, but don’t rely on them in case they get destroyed too many times, being indestructible is huge, if didn’t already have a mono red deck, I definitely would be building around this for multiplayer.
In 1v1, you can play many cheap creatures that bring in extra bodies to swam your opponent and deal damage when they enter once Purphoros is out. This could be what agro decks were looking for to make mono red viable in Duel Commander.
In red token decks such as Rith, the Awakener or Hazezon Tamar, Purphoros is a nice addition to help close out a game. Even in decks like Kiki-Jiki, a one sided mini pandemonium will add up damage over time, and when you have enough devotion, slamming in for 5 is still a good plan.
3 mana to give your creatures haste seems pretty standard, and red agro decks could probably use that anyway, but late game, or when you have more lands than you need, you can turn them into an army of Golems. It plays nicely with the red god, shocking each opponent as well. If you are playing Crucible of Worlds, or in a R/G deck, Life from the Loam, you can recycle lands over and over to amass an army of Golems. It will find a home in Red Agro decks as a haste enabler early game, and source for creatures late game, as well as in land decks such as Borborygmos Enraged.
Red already has plenty of pseudo wrath effects, but exiling creatures is very relevant. 1v1 decks will probably play this to help fight aggro decks or decks like elves. Exiling will help against any graveyard decks like Karador as well. In multiplayer, its probably very meta dependant, if you are afraid of lots of small creatures like elves, goblins, or tokens, its going be useful, but the creature tend to be larger in multiplayer games.
It cycles itself and is a nice mana sink, but will probably only see play in Uril, the Miststalker decks, and they already have better Aura’s to play, though replacing itself is pretty important for some of the more competitive builds. It’s probably not good enough to be played anywhere but Aura decks like Uril though, if you really want to give your creatures firebreathing, there are better ways.
If your playgroup doesn’t like land destruction, you might just about get away with this as you can use it more politically than just destroying all lands, but its a nice way to fight against ramp decks, or keeping decks like Damia, Sage of Stone off the 7+ mana they need to combo out on the spot, whilst being a pretty potent threat itself. With no trample or haste, its just a big creature though, so unless you want to punish players for ramping too much, its probably not worth it. Its a nice way to test the waters before putting mass land destruction in your deck.
In 1v1, this could really help aggro decks stay ahead. It’s a great way to spend mana if you get flooded, and a 4/5 for 4 is aggressively costed even if you don’t get to make it monstrous.
This will see play in fast aggressive Duel Commander decks like Radha, Heir to Keld or Krenko, Mob Boss, despite not being a goblin. It can do a large amount of damage cheaply in certain decks, though it probably wont see much play outside of Duel Commander.
Dragons are fun, and this one is actually pretty good. In Duel Commander, it can top off your curve, and go monstrous if the game goes on longer than expected, while having protection from some of the most important removal (Path/Swords in U/W control). In multiplayer, getting to monstrous is easier, and people are more likely to have large hand sizes. Its a nice screw you to the guy who played Consecrated Sphinx, or the guy who flashes in a Notion Thief for a Wheel of Fortune.
Is Human Tribal a thing in Commander? I’m sure it could be, and this could be an okay finisher. The mana cost of the ability stops it being too easily abused, but in a deck heavy on humans, this could be a decent addition.
Nylea is the god I find least exciting, but she still has her uses. With lots of mana, her pump ability could power up a creature pretty highly, though as a 6/6 indestructible, she could even be a decent voltron commander, killing in only 3-4 hits with her pump. Trample works will with the Sword of x and y cycle, another decent addition to any voltron deck. With enough green permanents for utility to reach devotion, and some equipment, you could build a pretty potent green Voltron deck. As one in the 99, Nylea probably won’t see much play unless you really want to be giving your creatures trample, but a lot of big green threats have trample anyway. An okay ability and a nice mana sink, but nothing too special.
Nylea’s Bow however, is a different story of utility and awesomeness. Deathtouch is very powerful, and giving it to all your creatures for 3 mana is nothing to shake a stick at. Not only will the bow mean you win in combat with your new found deadly touch, the bow has the added utility of boosting a creature, gaining life, removal for small fliers, or playing around with your graveyard. Its pretty flavourful, with each ability of the bow representing a season (Growth/Spring, Hunting/Summer, Harvest/Autumn, Resting/Winter).
Animating lands can be risky and open you up to coincidental land destruction, and to build around Anthousa you’d need to play a bunch of spells that target him, and I’m not sure how many decent ones there are. A 4/5 body that makes 3 lands 2/2′s seems to be outclassed by our other land animator, Kamahl, Fist of Krosa. I can’t think of a reason to play Anthousa over him.
Flashy bestow guy might be used to catch some people out in certain decks, such as enchantress decks, Rafiq of the Many Aura’s, or Uril, the Miststalker, but he’s not terribly exciting otherwise. Its aggressively costed so it could be of use in green Duel Commander decks, and Rafiq decks will probably like him as a aura that turns into a creature when they kill Rafiq.
Graveyard decks like Karador, Ghost Chieftain and The Mimeoplasm already play cards like Mulch and Grisly Salvage, if its an enchantment heavy build this could be an okay addition. Its a nice turn 1 play if it gets something useful and fills your graveyard with goodies.
It’s not an elf, but it’s definitely going in elf decks. This guy can tap for a lot of mana if you have lots of green permanents. He also goes infinite with a couple cards, mostly Staff of Domination. In Duel Commander, at 4 mana, he is a bit expensive for some decks, especially because if he is tapping for more than 3 or 4 you are likely already ahead on board, and he does very little on an empty board if you are behind.
Polukranos is a fairly aggressively costed creature, but its really appeal is monstrosity. With enough mana you can make him huge and wipe your opponents board. Now how likely you are to get enough mana for that to make a big difference is another story. It could be a nice wrath effect in decks like Azusa, Lost but Seeking, though I doubt we will see many decks with the World Eater as the commander.
A hexproof mana dork is still a mana dork, and one with a big body to defend with as well. Ramp decks will like this as a nice addition to their roster. Duel Commander decks will be all over this, as killing a mana dork can really punish you if you kept a mana light hand, and this one is hard to kill.
Untapping Gaea’s Cradle seems like something I want to do! In decks with utility lands, this guy could be very powerful. At worst he is a 2-mana mana dork, but with any utility lands, he gets very powerful. Both multiplayer and Duel Commander decks will love this guy if they are playing the utility lands to support him, or even if they just have heavy colour requirements, and untapping a dual land could help them out.
Heliod, God of the Sun is a powerful token maker, pumping out 2/1′s that count as enchantments too, as well as giving them vigilance. The tokens are Cleric enchantment creatures, which means that while they will be destroyed by enchantment destruction, they also help pump effect like Serra’s Sanctum and Sphere of Safety. As a commander, Heliod could be good in both a token build, pumping out tokens and playing effects to make them more powerful like Intangible Virtue, or in a enchantment deck using an army of 2/1′s as the win condition.
As one of the 99 in a deck, Heliod is a great token maker for decks like Rhys the Redeemed to abuse, and giving all your creatures vigilance is very strong in decks with lots of creatures, like white weenie decks. Pumping out some tokens then tapping Serra’s Sanctum for a bunch of mana to make more tokens could be powerful in any deck with enough enchantments to make Serra’s Sanctum worth running. Its annoying that it fits so well in a token deck, because tokens don’t have mana costs to boost your devotion!
I’m not a huge fan of Glorious Anthem and similar cards in multiplayer commander as they don’t really do enough, but having Glorious Anthem with an upside is certainly pretty good. White Weenie decks that were playing anthem effects anyway will definitely love this new weapon. 3 mana for repeated removal is pretty strong, and it definitely acts like a rattlesnake card, your opponents are unlikely to attack with a creature they want to stick around, though it does mean you have to leave up 3 mana to activate it. Combined with Bident of Thassa to make your opponents attack this could turn games very political, as your opponents might just attack each other to stop you killing their creatures with the spear.
In Duel Commander, white weenie builds already run a couple anthem effects, Spear of Heliod will at least replace one of them, if not be run along side them. Repeated removal is great in Dual Commander, and this can stop certain decks from attacking you for a while for fear of losing important creatures.
Few decks play Angelic Destiny, which gives a similar effect as an aura for 4 mana, so casting this for 7 mana seems way overcosted, even in multiplayer commander. It does un-attach as a creature when the enchanted creature dies giving you something post wrath, so it might be of some use in White control decks, but I doubt it will stay in decks for long. Even decks that care about Auras like Uril, the Miststalker will find the cost too prohibitive, and it doesn’t play nice with Bruna, Light of Alabaster as it’s only an aura when its already on the battlefield attached to something, it won’t return from graveyards when you attack.
If you are playing White and Red, then this is a great 1 mana exile spell to go along with Swords to Plowshare‘s and Path to Exile. Just watch out for any land destruction to get their creature back as even in playgroups where land destruction is against their style, blowing up a land to get your creature is pretty justified. In Duel Commander it only gets stronger due to the lack of Strip Mine in the format.
Planeswalkers in general are pretty powerful in all formats, though in multiplayer they put a big sign on your head and demand the rest of the table to deal with them. Elspeth , Sun’s Champion is amazing from what I have seen of her in commander. Her +1 makes 3 tokens to help protect her if you don’t have other ways to protect her. Her -3 can ruin your opponents board, especially if you are keeping some larger creatures in hand to cast afterwards. If you ever get to ultimate her, +2/+2 and flying on an emblem will end most games fairly quickly. Its not the most exciting ultimate, but it can certainly close games. She is great in token decks and control decks alike, and due to being able to protect herself well, the ultimate isn’t all that unlikely to reach.
In Duel Commander, she is probably a bit slow, and many deck would rather run Knight Errant, but if you can afford another ‘walker at a high mana cost, this Elspeth is as powerful, just comes down a bit later in the game.
An interesting heroic creature, but like all heroic creatures, you really need the right shell for him to work out. In Bruna, I’d rather run Mirran Crusader due to the relevant protection. In Rafiq Auras or Uril, I’d rather suit up my commander, but he could still be useful as a back up plan, but there might not be room for him, as the creature in those decks are typically utility creatures that can be turned into threats with Aura’s.
A very powerful aura that will probably annoy a lot of players. It will keep returning itself and the enchanted creature to the battlefield, so enchant a creature with a enter’s or leaves the battlefield trigger and let them die or sacrifice them and watch the table squirm. Good creatures to enchant are Yosei, the Morning Star or Kokusho, the Evening Star. Bonuses that it can come back with Sun Titan or be fetched with Zur the Enchanter (for any Zur player who actually plays Zur fairly) Whether or not it will find a place in Duel Commander it remains to be seen, but I know people will be testing it out extensively.
Hundred Handed One is a flavour overload. Is it good? No. Is it awesome? Absolutely. And that’s all that matters to certain people when they play commander.
A 2/1 for W with protection from a lot of relevant creatures and spells, this guy is going to be huge in draft, cube, and probably standard. But is he good enough for Commander? In multiplayer, definitely not. He doesn’t really do enough, especially considering there a plenty mono-coloured decks where this is just a Savannah Lion. In Duel Commander though, this could be pretty big at fighting certain decks. I expect to see it in white weenie decks or agro decks with equipment packages.
Akroan Hoplite can be quite the 2 drop in aggressive decks, but he’s too easy to chump block and kill to be powerful in multiplayer. In Duel Commander, this could make a nice addition to aggressive decks.
A relatively weak commander, this has all the problems of other heroic cards, you need lots of spells that target to make it work. You also need lots of creature in your deck to make the most of his trigger. If someone can find a decent balance, we might see a decent 1v1 deck show up, but I think its unlikely. There are enough decent cards to trigger heroic that its not impossible though.
Now this is an EDH card! It’s big, it exiles things, and the artwork is amazing. It’s an Angel of Despair‘s old brother, this will be insane in decks with lots of sacrifice effects and reanimation. Even in decks that can blink it in and out it will be crazy. Just hope no one soulbonds it with a Deadeye Navigator. In multiplayer, hardcasting it isn’t out of the question, but I think in multiplayer and Duel Commander, this is going to be cheated into play much more often.
Ashiok is an interesting Planeswalker to say the least. Her first ability doesn’t really effect the games state, though can be an amusing way to annoy a player who just cast a Sylvan Tutor or something similar. Its power is very dependant on what is in your opponents decks, and whether they will be helpful to you, and as such I think it is too unreliable to be decent in commander. Sure, sometimes you’ll exile something awesome and Ashiok will survive long enough to put it out on the battlefield with her second ability, but most of time you’ll hit creatures that you can’t abuse as well as your opponents or ones with activated abilities that you can’t even use, and she won’t do much. If you ever manage to ultimate her though, you’ll lose friends and win games quickly!
Now this is one of the better non-god legends of the set. Not only is he hard to block, meaning you can suit him up with some equipment and start swinging in. His combat ability is pretty awesome, though it does have the same pitfalls as I mentioned about Ashiok, the card you exile is less likely to be useful to you than it is to your opponent. That doesn’t mean it’s not useful however, it’s still effectively card advantage, and you can cast it with any colour mana, so it doesn’t matter if you’re stealing a card from a mono black deck. You can even try setting it up with cards like Portent.
Super Wolf isn’t much more than a Watchwolf, and unless you were playing Watchwolf already for some reason and want to upgrade, I doubt you will be playing this in multiplayer. In Duel Commander however, its a different story. This comes down early and when it becomes monstrous it becomes a hard to deal with threat that can block for days.
A nice little creature that I’m sure there are some cool combo’s with, like Drogskol Reaver. Incremental life gain can be pretty useful against agro decks, and I imagine a few decks might put this in to gain a little bit of life. It’s not an amazing card, but in decks like Edric that want cheap creatures that fill certain roles, it could be pretty useful.
Extra turns are nice, but they also get you ganged up on, even if it’s not possible to go infinite with Medomai. This could be pretty absurd as a commander in a control shell, using Medomai and equipment to kill your opponents and take some extra turns in the process. This could be a pretty cool commander for a sphinx deck. As one of the 99, Medomai is looking good with extra combat steps or double strike, and taking multiple turns.
Seedborn Muse is already an absurdly broken card in the right deck, and Prophet is even more so. It lets you take extra turns on your opponents turns, untapping your lands and casting creatures. Prophet of Kruphix will probably be played in any U/G creature based deck in both multiplayer and Duel Commander.
Scry is a powerful mechanic, and in a deck with lots of sacrifice effects and creatures dying, this could cause you to scry a lot. It’s another card that just doesn’t do enough for most multiplayer decks to bother including, except for decks with lots of death triggers like Ghave, Guru of Spores. In Duel Commander, it’s aggressively costed, hard to block or attack into, and hard to kill, making it a very potent creature in the right deck.
I would rather run Fact or Fiction over this in any deck, your opponents will always pick the cards that they can deal with, or that they don’t care about with Steam Augury. With Fact or Fiction, they split the piles, but the choice is on you. Unless you want a similar effect twice, I wouldn’t bother running this one. It can get political however, and if you plan on making allies throughout your games, you can try to split it 5 and 0, and convince another player to give you them all. In multiplayer, whether or not it’s worth it to play this over Fact or Fiction is up to you on how political you want to get.
An interesting commander, if not a very good one. I’m sure someone will build a decent deck around Triad of Fates, but for the most part, the commander is a bit to slow. But if you can get some things out that let you untap Triad and use it again in the same turn, you could get a nice blink engine going, or exile some useless creature for card draw. In more casual groups, where Triad is more likely to stick around, then you could definitely build a white and black blink deck around this guy.
I think I’d rather use Lyzolda, the Blood Witch for a very similar, but better effect instead of using Tymaret as my commander, unless you want to go zombies tribal and stick with him. His second ability is pretty useless as well in commander, though it does save you if you have to cast him too many times.
A big dumb evasive creature that is hard to kill! But when it does die, the party starts. If you can set it up right, then this hound could bring you back an army (to your hand) and your opponents nothing, but at that point, I’d rather play Living Death or any other mass reanimation effect. It is nice that if an opponent wraths with this on board, all the creature that were on the board will die and come back to your opponents hands. If the creatures went back to the battlefield it would be playable in multiplayer, but as it is, its pretty bad.
Xenagos’s first ability can ramp up creature decks, his second ability gets you more bodies, and his ultimate, which isn’t that absurd to get to, can put you pretty far ahead on board, but is he good enough for commander? A hastey 2/2 is small compared to most creatures, and his first ability is only good if you have creatures already, and his ultimate is just a small Genesis Wave, and have something to spend the mana on. Outside of niche decks in multiplayer like Animar, I don’t think he does enough. In Duel Commander, where a stream of 2/2′s is something that really needs to be answered however, is where I think Xenagos will find a home.
I’m pretty sure this should just go in most non green multiplayer decks, right after Solemn Simulacrum, and even in some green ones. Not every deck will want it, but a majority of them will. Sure it will cost you 6 mana, possibly over 2 turns to ramp you up a bit, but its colourless ramp. Being a creature means its pretty easy to recur as well. Its a bit slow for Duel Commander however, but I’m sure some of the slower control decks like Damia might try it.
This just screams Commander. A huge defender for a couple turns, and if someone doesn’t deal with it, it turns into a 20/20 with trample. Sure, it’s a casual card, but when you see this guy hit your table, you’ll laugh, then cry, as he swings for game.
If you need to give something haste and already have Swiftfoot Boots and Lightning Greaves, then this is a mediocre third option. In decks that need their comander to swing in, such as Zur or Kaalia, these sandals might be useful, but the equip cost really stops them from actually being somewhat decent. I’d rather play the other two shoes over this, and leave this one in a box at home.
Look at your commander deck. How many permanents of each colour are there? Are you likely to have more than 3 of any colour out at any given time? If yes, play Shrine to Nyx. If you are likely to have enough devotion for this to tap for more than 3 of any colour, then it is definitely worth the inclusion, but in maybe 3 colour decks split between all 3 colours, it might stop being useful. Even so, if you have few utility lands, you could still work it in. Elf decks in particular are going to love this land, its like Gaea’s Cradle number 2, and might even produce more mana if you have creatures with double G in their mana cost!
Thats it for the cards I think will have an impact on both multiplayer commander and Duel Commander. Make sure you come back next week for my Introduction to Duel Commander, as well as look through the site for all the other great articles.
(Thassa Orion Nebula Credit: Ken_Lord)