Saturday, October 29, 2016

Commander 2016: White

I was not planning to do a detailed card by card review for this product. I was only planning a fast glance at it. I just wanted to take a look at all of the great reprints. But as I started going through the cards, I found myself wanting to write a note for each card, and soon enough I had a detailed review in the works. Here it is.

I am much more interested in getting all these cards and putting them into a cube, then adding more cards to have more fun combos. This, in my opinion, is the best Commander product to date, just because of all of the great reprints in it. There have been a few bombs in the Commander decks of the last two years, and for each one, I bought the one deck I thought had the best card (True-Name Nemesis and Wurmcoil Engine). Of these three years, this is the first product for which I want to get all the decks.

The sets like Conspiracy that are aimed towards drafting have a few awesome reprint bombs, and then a bunch of limited jank that is unplayable outside of limited. I can't imagine opening a Conspiracy pack looking for powerful cards in the common and uncommon slots. The opposite is true for this product. The commons and uncommons are solid, and some are just absurd broken-e.g. Treasure Cruise. I would love it if some day Wizards issued a side Commander product with packs for the cards in these pre-constructed (precon) decks. I would even change the distribution of those Commander packs to 7 commons, 4 uncommons, 3 rares, and 1 mythic rare in every pack. I would pay $10 for one of those packs.

A brief note of thanks to the designers: you get us casual players, you get us. We love counters and Johnny combos. They belong in Commander, and here they are.

Duelist's Heritage: I like the multiplayer focus of new Commander cards. Maybe someday I will be able to routinely play with six or seven people. I am not there yet.
Entrapment Maneuver: So you are being attacked by a 7/7 creature. At instant speed, you drop 7 1/1 tokens. It's a way to live to the next turn, and maybe stall for a few turns.
Orzhov Advikist: This is a 'group hug' card since everyone gets to do this. Of course, if you are the only one with a 'counters matter' deck, you will gain the most from this effect.

Selfless Squire: In Commander, you are more likely to have four unused mana. If your deck has other 'prevent damage' cards, this creature can get really big every time someone attacks you, or act as a deterrent for you to be attacked. BUT, all this means that this creature has a 'hit me with target removal' sign on it's forehead. And in Commander, all opponents can have a lot of unused mana, including your opponent.
Sublime Exhalation: Delve for multiplayer, I like it a lot! It would be awesome in a Standard set, even if we end up in a Treasure Cruise situation. I so want to play this at a table with six opponents!
Aban Falconer: Very useful. You get a counter on it, and you don't have to put in that many flyers in your deck.

Blazing Archon: Nice way to end games in Commander. Also, has a 'destroy target creature' banner on its forehead.
Blind Obedience: Great reprint. Very good in the early game, and not so useful in mid and late game. Extort is the real winner on this card if you have a way to cast many cards.
Brave the Sands: Very powerful for only two mana. Menace and Vigilance? I will take it!

Cathar's Crusade: In Commander, this is bonkers. Yes, in constructed it comes in too late in Modern, but we are talking Commander here. You are going to have the mana, and this comes in mid game in Commander. You can play a lot of creatures after you drop this in Commander.
Citadel Siege: Go counter crazy and tap the daylights out of your opponents. Play it!
Cusrodi Soulbinders: Wow. Play it when there are ten or more creatures on the battlefield. This card would be pure joy with six opponents all playing creature-heavy decks.

Dispeller's Capsule: Useful in some circumstances. Again, the way to enjoy all of these cards is to have a table full of players, and have each player on a different deck. Someone is going to have a bunch of artifact and enchantments and you can play this against them.
Elite Scaleguard: Mid game fun with counters.
Ghostly Prison: Awesome reprint. One awesome lock card.

Hoofprints of the Stag: You can play it early, and every time you get enough counters, you can drop a 4/4 Flying token? Awesome.
Hushwing Gryff: Great ability to hose Enter the Battlefield (ETB) abilities for your opponents. A card like this one will likely be in the next block to hose all those ETB Energy cards in Kaladesh.
Mentor of the Meek: One of my favorite creatures. So much card draw out of this guy! Pure joy.

Mirror Entity: Absurd fun, enough said. Well, I have to say more. So many ways to make this big... so many ways.
Oblation: A great way to take out a major threat. Oh, you played some big Eldrazi? Here you go!
Open the Vaults: Play it after you have exiled all or most of your opponent's graveyards. Black goes so well with this card. Have a sacrifice outlet and dump a bunch of goodies in your graveyard pronto.

Phyrexian Rebirth: Not the rare you want to open in a $10 New Phyrexia pack (I have experienced this exact bad feeling). In Commander? Absolutely bonkers.
Revellark: Great reprint. So many one and two drops to reanimate with this!
Reverse the Sands: Now, this is a fun decision to make. Make the player doing the best take the smallest life total. I like it.

Sanctum Gargoyle: Classic reprint. In Commander, you can play this mid game, this can be a gigantic artifact.
Sphere of Safety: Great lock-down card.
Swords to Plowshares: The Path to Exile of Legacy. Great in all format, and even better in Commander, where your opponent gaining 7 life isn't that big of a deal. Best artwork (Therese Nielsen, my favorite artist). Must have. Incidentally, one of the oldest cards in this product, going all the way back to Limited Edition Alpha.

Wave of Reckoning: Another great board wipe. A very creative design.
Windborn Muse: Part of the muse cycle (there is one for every color). Another great lockdown card.