- THE COMMANDER'S AUTHORITY: M13 REVIEW [PART 1] - by Jack Amy (Views: 590)Monday 30th July 2012
WRITER PROFILE: JACK AMY
Lifetime Pro Tour Points: 0Magic Achievements:2nd PTQ Return to Ravnica - CardiffFavourite Format: CommanderFavourite Colour: WhiteFavourite Card: Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite or Goblin Guide
Well, it's been a fun couple of weeks with the pre-release and release and getting to see some of the new cards in action, but now it's time to sit down and crack on with another commander article.
Last month I looked at the new legends and planeswalkers from M13, so this month I thought I'd have a look at everything else. Okay, not everything, but the mythics, the rares, and other notable cards (cards with an * are reprints).
*Captain of the Watch: While she brings 9 power to the table, her overall impact is quite low. She is however, also a lord for Soldiers, so if you have a Soldier tribal idea for commander, then you could do worse. Start by looking at cards like Decree of Justice and Martial Coup.
Recommended General: Odric, Master Tactician. Captain of the Watch provides all the bodies you need to start swinging in with an unblockable Odric, and also gives him +1/+1, making it that little bit easier to deal those 21 points of commander damage.
Recommended General 2: Rhys the Redeemed. Being able to double up on what Captain of the Watch brings to the table will soon provide you with a small army of soldiers.
Faith's Reward: I'll admit, I like wraths, and when it comes to Commander, they come in all flavours. Tuck wraths like Terminus and exile wraths like Final Judgment find Faith's Reward wanting, but basic Wrath of God wraths are the most common, and that is where Faith's Reward shines. Also, with correct timing, Faith's Reward allows you to reuse enters the battlefield triggers. Don't fancy paying the echo cost for a Karmic Guide, that's fine. Just sacrifice it, cast Faith's Reward, and you can use it again.
Recommended General: Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant / Rune-Tail's Essence. Loosing all my creatures in creature heavy deck to a single card often leads to a one-way trip to frown town. Faith's Reward is your return ticket.
*Intrepid Hero: There are a lot of big creatures out there, and Intrepid Hero deals with a lot of them. There is definitely better targeted removal available to you, but Intrepid Hero's reusable nature makes him playable.
Recommended General: Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant / Rune-Tail's Essence. This creature heavy decks of Rune-Tail call for a wrath-light build. Intrepid Hero gives you more removal.
*Planar Cleansing: Often in games of Commander you'll find yourself falling behind, and Planar Cleansing is often enough of a helping hand to bring you back into the game. Outclassed by some other wrath effects like Hallowed Burial and Terminus as they deal with opposing commanders, but Planar Cleansing does blow everyone's mana-accelerating artifacts and often tricky to deal with enchantments.
Recommended General: Avacyn, Angel of Hope. I've no issue shamelessly talking about my favourite general at the moment, but when your sitting there as the only player with permanents, it feels good.
Rhox Faithmender: When you start with 40 life, life gain cards are even more unexciting that usual. Pass on this.
Recommended General: Doran, the Siege Tower. Rhox Faithmender as an effective 5/5 is something I would consider playing.
*Serra Avatar: Yep, it's usually quite big, but has minimal impact on the game, has no form of evasion or trample, and doesn't help at all when you're behind. Strictly outclassed by powerhouses like Akroma, Angel of Wrath and Avacyn, Angel of Hope, or fantastic utility creatures like Eternal Dragon.
Recommended General: Avacyn, Angel of Hope. I personally don't run this card in my Avacyn deck, but you could do worse things than making it indestructible.
*Serra Avenger: Not a commander card, but if running some white weenies is your thing then let me introduce you to your new best friend, Serra Ascendant.
Recommended General: Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant / Rune-Tail's Essence. Creature card for a creature deck, but Serra Avenger is still bad.
Sublime Archangel: Phenomenal card that is perhaps limited in its uses in Commander. If your strategy is that of the commander beatdown, then this mythic Angel gets you there that much faster, otherwise you're probably better off just running creatures that provide a degree of utility around your 4-drop slot.
Recommended General: Rafiq of the Many. With just Rafiq and Sublime Archangel on the battlefield, Rafiq swings for 12 points of damage, enough to take a player down with just 2 swings, and that's without anything else pumping him.
Rating: 8/10 (I think it's just that good in some decks)
Touch of the Eternal: *Shudders*
Recommended General: -
Note: I may be completely off in my very thorough analysis of this card, and please, let me know if I am wrong.
Archaeomancer: Izzet Chronarch for one less mana and in one colour, yes please. While on the surface Archaeomancer may not look all that much, cards like Riptide Laboratory and Deadeye Navigator turns this gal into a spell casting engine. In some instances, I prefer Archaeomancer to Snapcaster Mage (although I see no reason to not just run both if you have a high instant/sorcery count.
Recommended General: Azami, Lady of Scrolls. Being able to do everything I just mentioned while drawing a card seems quite good. Note: You may start noticing that I will keep mentioning Azami when looking at blue wizards. This may be seen as wholly unimaginative, and that's because it is. But Azami is a powerhouse, so shush.
*Battle of Wits: No… just… no
Recommended General: Barrin, Master Wizard. He gives you something to do with your useless enchantment I suppose.
*Clone: Serves two purposes. The first allowing you to copy the biggest threat on the board, and in commander, you can pretty much guarantee a big threat. Secondly, and I cannot stress this enough, it kills Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre and other hexproof/indestructible legendary badasses. Clone is however one of the weaker creatures of it's ilk when compared with the versatile Phyrexian Metamorph or reusable Vesuvan Shapeshifter.
Recommended General: Any
*Jace, Memory Adept: If you want a planeswalker that draws cards, then Jace, the Mind Sculptor and/or Jace Beleren are probably more suited to you. The mill strategy is always a tricky one to apply to games of commander given the 2-4 99 card decks that you're against. Where Jace, Memory Adept really shines from my own experience is in Reanimator. His (+1) nets you card advantage as well as the potential for reanimation targets, and his (0) ability assists you further in finding targets. His ultimate (-7), well, lets just call it card advantage.
Recommended General: The Mimeoplasm. Jace, Memory Adept is just highly synergistic with everything The Mimeoplasm wants to do, and in the correct colours for it.
Master of the Pearl Trident: A very good card, just not in this format.
Recommended General: Sygg, River Guide. You get to run Mirror Entity, one of the best Merfolk in Commander.
Omniscience: This is the kind of build around me Commander card that makes this format what it is. 10-mana may be a bit of an ask, but cards like Academy Rector or Show and Tell can help you cheat it into play. From there, the world is your oyster.
Recommended General: Grand Arbiter Augustin IV. In the correct colours to allow you to cheat this card into play while at the same time he's an overall strong commander.
*Redirect: Probably too situational for a reactive spell to be effective in Commander. You're probably better of just running Counterspell as it deals with far more.
Recommended General: Any mono-blue.
Spelltwine: A card that is only ever as good as it's targets, and if you can't find two in a format with the biggest, flashiest instants and sorceries with multiple opponent graveyards to choose from, then your doing it wrong. Naturally, only play this card if you have enough targets of your own.
Recommended General: The Mimeoplasm. If your milling yourself and your opponents then you can give yourself plenty of targets for this card. Example of a decent use, Wrath of God stacked on top of a Rise from the Grave.
*Sphinx of Uthuun: Fact or Fiction is one of the better cards in Commander, and giving it wings and a 5/6 body is not a bad thing. Possibly a little too much mana for what it does, but it's definitely a fine way to top out your curve.
Recommended General: The Mimeoplasm. Yep, this guy again, but putting cards into your hand and into the bin is a good thing, and it's also a Fact or Fiction that can be reanimated if necessary.
*Stormtide Leviathan: A bit too much mana for a Moat on legs, and spells at this cost should do so much more. Tidespout Tyrant and Kederekt Leviathan are much better 8-drop blue creatures.
Recommended General: Braids, Conjurer Adept. You'll have no trouble getting this big'un into play with the help of a timeshifted Braids, Cabal Minion.
Void Stalker: A little bit too slow perhaps, but it can shuffle irksome commanders into their owner's library. Follow up with a Bribery to add insult to injury.
Recommended General: Any non-white. The reason I say non-white is that white has much better effects that mimic this available to them, such as Banishing Stroke and Terminus.
Diabolic Revelation: Tutors are good when you have a deck with 99 cards and no duplicates (exceptions of basic land and Relentless Rats). I also hear that card advantage is quite important. So you'd think that Diabolic Revelation would be good wouldn't you? Well, it is.
At it's worst it's a 6-mana Demonic Tutor (technically, at its worst it's 5-mana to shuffle you library), but beyond that it gets pretty good. When combined with cards like Cabal Coffers in a mono-black decks, this card has some real potential, not to mention annoying your friends as you hunt through your deck for the perfect hand.
Recommended General: Nicol Bolas. I don't know about you, but spending 7-mana to find Splinter Twin and Deceiver Exarch and keeping it all very hush-hush seems quite good.
Disciple of Bolas: When I first skimmed over the spoiler list, I completely disregarded this guy, mainly because I missed this bit about him drawing cards. I feel like he needs a little help from red and blue to use alongside cards like Dominus of Fealty, creating a very devastating 1-2 punch of kill your guy, draw lots of cards. A little difficult to set up perhaps, but is also fine when sacrificing creatures that have served their purpose. Mulldrifter anyone?
Recommended General: Nicol Bolas. Two reasons, firstly, because he's in the correct colours to support this card, and secondly, flavour.
*Mutilate: A powerful wrath effect when used in mono-black as it can deal with a lot more that Damnation can, but unfortunately loses all playability in multi-coloured decks (this card becomes usable with an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth in play, but that is probably too unreliable, and you will have access to other wrath effects in a multicolour deck).
Recommended General: Any mono-black.
Rating: 9/10 (mono-black), 1/10 (multicolour)
*Phylactery Lich: Awkward to play creature that has minimal impact on the game. Pass.
Recommended General: Geth, Lord of the Vault. He's mono black so the mana is much nicer and it's a lot easier to find an artifact for your Lich.
*Shimian Specter: About as good as Counterbore. If forced discard is your thing, there are a lot of Spectres out there better than this one, Scythe Specter probably being one of the better ones for multiplayer magic.
Recommended General: Haakon, Stromgald Scourge. Useless general, meet near useless card.
*Vampire Nocturnus: One of these days, I'll look to see if Vampire tribal is viable in Commander, but until I do I have no idea how good this guy is.
Recommended General: Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief is probably a good place to start.
*Wit's End: Rather unexciting, but can be used to hose players trying to draw into their combo pieces. Myojin of Night's Reach is, however, strictly better for one more mana.
Recommended General: Nath of the Gilt-Leaf. Cast Wit's End to acquire a small force of elves.
Xathrid Gorgon: A lot stronger than I first thought, she allows you to shut down commanders with irritating abilities, and unlike Linvala, Keeper of Silence, this persists when Xathrid Gorgon is no longer on the battlefield. Better than strait removal in a lot of cases, preventing people from being able to recast their general.
Recommended General: Any
So that rounds up part 1 of my Magic 2013 Commander review. Check back later in the week when I'll be reviewing red through to land and giving you a deck list to mull over.
[Editor's Note: Thanks to everyone that entered the name the article competition. Sam Amy was the eventual winner with “The Commander's Authority”. Congatulations to Sam who wins an M13 Fat Pack]
- Sam Amy - July 30, 2012, 17:28 Good fun to read as always and like the idea of Faith's Reward being the return ticket from frown town :)
- Daniel Waine - August 1, 2012, 13:06 In a format where Test of Endurance and Felidar Sovereign exist Faithmender is much higher than 1/10.
- Jack Amy - August 2, 2012, 23:42 1/10 may be a little harsh, but I wouldn't rate cards like Beacon of Immortality highly either. Faithmender is vulnerable and too low impact.
Test of Endurance and Felidar Sovereign can be great alternate win conditions in decks that can gain life just doing what they do, but any deck dedicated to gaining vast quantities of life essentially volunteers to become the table punching bag.
What it really comes down to though, is for this card to be worth it, I need to be running other cards that gain life in support, and if I'm running enough to justify playing Faithmender, then my deck isn't going to be doing much, and if I'm not running much support, then why run the Faithmender.
- Daniel Waine - August 3, 2012, 14:11 There are, especially in white based decks numerous cards you can play that gain life you life whilst being quite quite good. I'm not saying it's the best thing ever but it's far from terrible, it's win more but if you can't play win-more in cmdr where can you. It's also stupid with True Conviction.