- Welcome to the fifth Word of Command! A new set means a new look at cards from a Commander's perspective! Though a small set, Fate Reforged was quite generous for us with ten new legendary creatures. A new set also means a new ban list update, so we'll go through the news from Commander in general and the forum in particular, then start discussing the cards.
Ban List Changes
- With a new set comes a new Ban List Update. There are no changes to the list this time around, so you don't need to change any decks - but with manifest as a new keyword, the Rules Committee has given the following reminder of the rules for face-down commanders:
- A commander is always a commander, no matter where it is.
- Face down commanders must be identified as commanders.
- When a face down commander deals combat damage, it counts as commander damage.
Top 50 List
- Cryogen runs the Top 50 List - a user-driven list of the top cards in each color. This month's changes are to the lands section:
[Tiny Leaders] Tag
- With Tiny Leaders™ becoming a hit sensation, we've added a [Tiny Leaders] tag to the forums to make it easier to identify and search threads dedicated to this new format.
- Official Facebook Page
- Official Ban List Page (as part of the blogspot page)
- Introductory thread
- Be sure to check out threads starting with the [Tiny Leaders] tag in the Commander forums!
What is Tiny Leaders™? Tiny Leaders™ is a variant of Commander with 25 life, 50 card decks (including the leader) and where all cards must have a converted mana cost of three or less. It makes for faster games with more immediate action. We first got some discussion in the forums from this introductory thread, but the phenomenon has since spread and has become quite popular, especially among the 1v1 scene. If you're interested in learning more, you can look up decks in the Variant and 1v1 sub forums, or check out these resources:
Tiny Leaders™ has gotten a large boost from Fate Reforged, which has added three new leaders for the format. It has also opened up two color combinations, which previously had to have placeholder commanders.
Reforging Your Commander Decks
- Fate Reforged was exceptionally kind to the Commander format. It added a host of new legendary creatures, opened new strategic possiblities in various color combinations, and expanded the Tiny Leaders™ format. From small but deadly Khans to large and terrifying dragons, there's a lot to go over in this set.
- Casting cost - A converted cost of three means a lower-curve, aggro-style "kill out of the gate" build will be optimal if you want to kill with general damage.
- Prowess - Since we're going to want to capitalize on the ability, let's be sure to look at other cards with this ability, to kill two birds with one stone (spoiler alert: there isn't much). The other thing with prowess is that in order to get the full effect, we have to get the mana to cast the spell and have left over in order to trigger his second ability. I would personally want to keep the average cmc in this deck as low as possible.
- Double strike - I want to look for creatures and effects that do something when combat damage is dealt.
- Power/toughness stats - 3/2 isn't impressive, and granting him double-strike still makes him a three-hit general (don't forget he'll get a +1/+1 boost for every non-creature spell you cast). We need to find a way to quicken this road to victory.
- Dealing Combat Damage - Artful Dodge, Distortion Strike, Infiltrate, Outmaneuver, Shadow Rift, Veil of Secrecy
- Boosting Power - Reckless Charge, Rouse the Mob, Blazing Shoal, Haze of Rage, Uncanny Speed, Astral Steel
- Gaining Speed - Crimson Wisps, Accelerate
- Fun with Double Strike - Precinct Captain, Augury Adept, Cephalid Constable, Daxos of Meletis, Raven Guild Master, Thada Adel, Acquisitor, Blinding Angel, Medomai the Ageless
- Miscellaneous Synergy - Monastery Mentor, Banshee's Blade, Umezawa's Jitte, Sword of Feast and Famine, Sword of Fire and Ice, Grafted Exoskeleton
The set's legendary creatures are divided in two cycles: the Dragon champions, who are defined with tribal support, and the khans, who are defined with a hybrid ability. The hybrid ability makes the khans exceptionally interesting. Although they have a three-color identity, it makes them easy to build into a two-color deck as well. Small splashes are also possible, enabling even greater build diversity. While it would be quite rare to exclude a potential color from your deck, there may be reasons for consistency, theme, or focus.
Alesha, Who Smiles at Death
- Alesha gives
Bringing a two-power creature into combat doesn't seem the most inviting prospect at first, but cards like Bone Shredder, Solemn Simulacrum, and Siege-Gang Commander pile the advantage on quickly. This is on top of being in colors that make blocking difficult, or enable the use of Reconnaissance to pull the unfortunate creature out of harm's way. Cards like Immortal Servitude, Wake the Dead, and Rally the Ancestors can provide blowout potential, while cards like Tethmos High Priest will provide synergy.
Other builds may focus on commander damage, as white and red provide an excellent Voltron shell. Her triggered ability can be used to bring back creatures that will make her harder or less profitable to block, such as Archetype of Finality. Alesha can also be used to fuel Stax-style play, as she will continuously return resources for you to exploit.
Alesha will prove to be a quick and aggressive reanimation commander, an immediate threat capable of gaining resources very quickly in the game.
Atarka, World Render
- Atarka is one scary dragon. Six damage double strike makes this commander a immediate two-hit kill. With the extra combat steps in red, or various pump effects available in both colors, it can very easily be a one hit wonder. You could even knock out multiple people in a single turn with Seize the Day.
Atarka may see play as a non-commanding creature in a few decks, such as Mayael the Anima or various Dragon builds. Atarka also give Scion or the Ur-Dragon another powerful double-striker to use as a close-out finisher.
Daghatar the Adamant
- Daghatar gets a lot of immediate criticism for not being Ghave, Guru of Spores, who is able to move counters more cheaply. With no color requirement. And is a sac outlet. And makes creature tokens to boot...
Not everyone can be Ghave, though. Where Daghatar loses out in raw power, I feel he gains in subtlety at the Commander table. Ghave sends a very threatening message: "Kill me, or else the game ends." Daghatar opens up a more defensive angle where he doesn't give the message that both he and his player need to be answered quickly. Another difference in Daghatar's ability from Ghave is that he is able to steal and give +1/+1 counters from and to opponents. While not likely to be a large game changer, it allows you to interact with opponents more, and fiddle with their undying/persist abilities.
Vigilance is a highly underrated ability in multiplayer games, allowing aggression without leaving yourself open. I think this will a core part of the mentality of piloting a Daghatar deck, allowing the pilot to maintain constant aggression while holding a defensive stance. I see Daghatar's play style as drawing a lot of elements from Konda, Lord of Eiganjo and Tariel, Reckoner of Souls decks. You can keep mana open through opposing turns, deflecting attacks to other players and then using his resources to modify the combat math for a more favorable political vein. You can use his ability to entice players to attack others, or to suddenly shift the dynamics of blocks to remove those that are more threatening to you. Unlike Ghave, the gifts you give with Daghatar can be taken back when others refuse to play nicely.
I would expect a Daghatar build to be more focused on long term reactionary game play with a lot of answers, resilient threats, and the ability to utilize persist and undying mechanics to generate long-term advantage.
Dromoka, the Eternal
- Dromoka is another new commander that suffers quite a bit when compared to current existing commanders, notably Sigarda, Host of Herons. With few enough dragons in white and green, Dromoka's ability is most likely to be leveraged on an empty field, making her compete with Sigarda as a Voltron option. Where Sigarda gains a large boost in protective abilities, Dromoka gains the ability to three-hit kill with no outside assistance. This creates an interesting dynamic where Sigarda looks primarily for damage-boosting equipment, while Dromoka will look more for protective ones. Since Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots are practically staples in Voltron lists, Dromoka ends up being an acceptable alternative.
Dromoka also opens up other build options, or at the very least alternate win conditions. Since Mirror Entity can change the types of all your creatures to Dragons, swinging the army with Dromoka at the helm drops two counters on everyone in the list (since they all share the same toughness, thanks to Entity). Dromoka's ability can also be used to offset persist counters, allowing the use of Cauldron of Souls, or be used to turn on outlast abilities or other +1/+1 counter shenanigans.
I feel that Sigarda still takes the more powerful Voltron slot, but Dromoka challenges it well enough, and opens more build versatility and diversity.
Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury
- To answer the immediate elephant in the room: Dash will not dodge your commander tax. Even so, dash makes for an interesting ability for Commander, as haste on the commander is extremely powerful for commander damage strategies. Dash also acts as a soft dodge to sorcery-speed removal, which can be valuable as well. Red and black also have the highest concentration of playable dragons, and Kolaghan's attack trigger scales up rather quickly. A dragon reanimator deck would be able to quickly add a lot of damage on multiple opponents.
Black/red reanimator is nothing terribly new to the scene, with Buried Alive and Bladewing the Risen shenanigans allowing for large resurrections. Kolaghan adds to this by making the next turn's swing especially brutal.
Other options include a more control-style build: use a heavy amount of board-wipes, removal and Stax elements to clear opposing defenses, then use Kolaghan as a commander damage Lava Axe type of victory condition by using dash to hide her back in your hand.
Kolaghan will also fit into a number of dragon tribal and reanimator decks, such as Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund and Scion of the Ur-Dragon. She will make a haste-enabled Patriarch's Bidding swing especially deadly, enabling a number of surprise kills.
Ojutai, Soul of Winter
- Ojutai gives you a vigilant partial-Frost Titan in the command zone. If you ever wanted a Frost Titan as a commander, Ojutai may be for you.
Most Blue/White control or lock-down decks I've seen tend to favor the cheaper commanders, such as Grand Arbiter Augustin IV or Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer. However, blue/white control usually tends to struggle the most with closing out the game, rather than controlling the board. Ojutai may be an acceptable alternative in these situations to give a sticky win condition.
This opens Ojutai to a bit more of a Voltron option as well. Vigilance allows him to remain defensive even when attacking, while the tap ability on attack allows for a secondary form of evasion by tapping down blockers. Since they can't untap on the next turn, he can effectively lock out two blockers every turn, one that remains tapped from a previous turn, and then a new one to tap down. You can even take advantage of defenseless opponents to tap down blockers another player controls. How many flyers do your opponents run?
While he lacks red for some extra combat steps, Ojutai can still use time magic as a form of extra combat to get extra swings in, and tap down even more blockers.
Ojutai can also repeat the Mirror Entity trick to lock down a fair portion of an opponent's board. The non-land clause means that it can't be a hard lockout though.
Cryogen reviews: Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest
Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest is the newest addition to the pool of Jeskai generals. Compared to our current options of ones that make you a target, make you a target, troll, or suck, Shu Yun is a breath of fresh air. He promotes an aggro-style deck by granting double-strike to a creature, but because of prowess you need to mix up your card types. And since there is nothing inherently broken about his abilities, the deck will only be as strong as you make it, not accidentally overpowered.
Let's examine him line by line:
We need to spend two additional mana on getting double strike, so our non-creature spells need to be as cheap as possible. We also will be casting a lot of them, so cantrip spells are even better since they'll keep your hand full. And with all that, we'll need mana. Mana rocks fill two roles, by triggering prowess and giving more mana over time. Some highlights I've found are:
Other thoughts I had were reactive spells such as counterspells and removal which get used on your opponents' turns. If you run vigilant creatures you can easily have combat tricks and give your blockers double strike. Unwinding Clock is a good pairing if you decide to run many mana rocks, as it will make sure you have plenty of mana each turn. Other potential includes are things like Sun Titan, since it will recur a lot of cards, and Skullclamp for any token generators.
The only thing I haven't touched on yet is that because the activated ability is a hybrid mana cost, you don't have to make it a three-color deck. This could just as easily be blue/white or blue/red, depending on your mana base, card pool, and desires.
Silumgar, the Drifting Death
- Six mana for a three-power commander is quite expensive, but with a proper build, Silumgar can be a novel blue/black control commander. He gives you some decent token clearing capabilities, and his high toughness allows him to survive several Mutilate variants while maintaining an imposing wall. Hexproof allows him to remain quite easily on the board, making him a sort of less aggressive Lazav, Dimir Mastermind.
Silumgar will also take good advantage of Polymorphist's Jest effects, and with another dragon, Sudden Spoiling.
Another interaction worth noting is using Conspiracy, Unnatural Selection or Xenograft to use Silumgar as a repeatable Mutilate effect, giving you free reign to attack anyone on the board. If you build under a different tribe, such as using him as a zombie commander, you can use cards like Artificial Evolution and Rotlung Reanimator.
Quote from Lycoris »Silumgar, the Drifting Death: As a commander, he's got an amazing combination of evasion, hexproof, and high toughness, which all adds up to make him a fairly durable base for equipment/aura shenanigans. And even without other dragons/attack steps, he can generally keep the skies clear of tokens. 's high number of quality clones/reanimators also gives you the chance to grab opposing dragons without tying up your high-end slots.
Tasigur, the Golden Fang
- Delve on a potential commander is excellent. The capability to reduce the commander tax makes him certainly playable, even into the late game and with his high cost. His delve ability can also be used to carefully prune your graveyard to make way for his second ability. This is of course on top of the sheer politics his ability allows, by activating it in front of a mutual threat and letting the other player 'choose' your answer for the situation.
It's also interesting how he is synergistic with our other recent commander in these colors, Sidisi, Brood Tyrant. Sidisi comes down earlier and will give several cards for you to delve away to cast Tasigur, as well as targets for his ability. In return, Tasigur's ability has a chance to flip some extra creatures to trigger Sidisi's zombie generation.
A number of control and combo builds already circulate around the forums, and use a number of synergies. Some are using Zur's Weirding or Chains of Mephistopheles to lock out draws, making you the only player with a form of card advantage. Others are doomsday combo lists.
Quote from luminum can »Tasigur interests me far more than other Sultai legends, he puts such an interesting twist on the usual gameplay of a graveyard-centric deck. Unlike, say, Karador, he doesn't want quantity but quality of cards in the grave, and encourages you to prune and manage what is available. A lot more challenging to maximize and build around, but also a lot less vulnerable to graveyard hate and disruption.
- Yasova was the first of the historical khans revealed, and was notabale in being another Temur commander who doesn't accidentally combo with everything. Instead she gives a solid early aggression and Voltron path for the colors. Her triggered ability can remove blockers in order to lay on the commander damage. She can be a source of repeatable removal with a sacrifice outlet or by sending the creatures into another opponent's blockers. Alternatively, she can simply be used to bolster your own army's damage output. Since she doesn't even need to attack, you can simply her ability to repeatedly send your opponents' creatures into each other, while keeping her back, though with the built in trample and aggressive power, it's more likely that she'll be attacking.
The power restriction on her ability will also skew the deck to have some power-boosting effects, which again moves deckbuilding towards an aggressive path. Equipment will likely be the more popular route of choice, skewing the deck further towards a Voltron path. As an alternative to arifacts, Temur does have some very good +1/+1 counter support with graft and evolve ability words, which can put her on a more army-centric path.
While Yasova builds will be predominantly aggressive, she can be used in a more controlling aspect. She should allow some amount of build diversity.
Other Notable Impacts
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
The posterchild of the set, this new colorless planeswalker gives us yet another source of removal to patch up mono-colored decks.
The primary +2 ability is Ugin's iconic Ghostfire. This can give some clearance for small creatures, or as damage to the face in a pinch. The real power comes from the -X however, as Ugin pulls off a a hybrid Pernicious Deed/All is Dust - exiling permanents that have a color and whose converted cost don't exceed the loyalty cost you put into it. This is a useful ability for clearing most problematic permanents off of the board, including Gods and other permanents that have a tendency to not stay dead. This will also sit well with aggressive equipment decks, as it will leave most artifacts untouched. Finally, his ultimate ability can be used to refuel if you run low on gas, or to fill up the board. You want to be careful of overextending though, as most situations where you manage to reach his ultimate are those where you are already in a winning position.
While his secondary ability doesn't play so well with other planeswalkers, the ability to immediately use his ultimate with a Doubling Season on the field means he may still make the cut in some superfriends decks, where his ultimate will be a cheap way to call in your superhero team.
Ugin shines in patching up removal in color-combinations that have been lacking. Alongside Perilous Vault, he gives those decks another sweeper that can deal with indestructible and undying permanents. While his +2 ability doesn't raise his loyalty as quickly as Karn Liberated - meaning it takes less damage to keep him down - his abilities are better suited to self-protection.
- Six mana is a lot to hold open for a combat trick, especially for a giant fog effect. The key difference in being one-sided means this fog can serve as a conditional board wipe for an attacking opponent, and the redirection allows it to eliminate a strong threat elsewhere. It can even be used politically, by casting it targeting a mutual threat before an opponent declares a combat, allowing redirection of damage to kill it off. It also has minor potential as protection from Blasphemous Act and most other red wraths.
- I've seen a few comments that this is one of the weaker Sieges. While the modes aren't flamboyant, it still holds a niche set of utility, and I think it'll make some decks. At four converted mana cost, the khans mode compares rather badly with other anthem effects. This is only if looking at tokens or weenie strategies, though. If you're looking to gain value on few creatures, the permanent bonus can be very helpful, more so if you are using +1/+1 counters in other ways. Even so, it's hard for it to go up against Cathar's Crusade at one converted mana cost higher, but it may still find its niche.
The dragons mode is reminiscent of a Martial Law type of enchantment, but in reverse. You get to choose on their turn, instead of yours, allowing you to shut down even creatures with haste. Tapping is less reliable than detain, but the dragons mode also scales up in multiplayer games, taking down a threat from each opponent. If you manage to defend yourself adequately in other ways, you can use the ability on one player to tap down their available blocker, and then choose not to tap down the creatures from other people on their turns, allowing them to take advantage of your intended victim.
- This creature may be seen in a number of token or other early aggro decks. The capability to turn small threats into large ones is quite potent.
- The cost on this creature is likely to be a bit prohibitive, but the ability to remove blockers for commanders that make use of +1/+1 counters may be quite tempting. Jenara, Asura of War may want to experiment with him.
- The mystics give us another creature to recur enchantments with, while being a more useful body than Auramancer or Monk Idealist. Since prowess also triggers off of enchantments being cast, this creature may take the place of one of the other two in some Enchantress decks.
Mastery of the Unseen
- Manifest is an ability with a decent amount of potential, but is still untested in Commander. The density of spells and creatures with value upon entering the battlefield makes manifest generally less useful in Commander, but if any color could use it to gain advantage, white would be it. The ability to flood your board with 2/2 creatures, coincidentally triggering Mentor of the Meek, turns this enchantment into a form of card advantage, which white is more than happy to gain. The ability to flip up your bigger threats as a surprise make blocking difficult, and white's anthems will help get more value out of your faceless horde. You can almost think of Mastery of the Unseen as a token generator which can double as minor card advantage with life gain to add icing on the cake.
- Young Pyromancer and Talrand, Sky Summoner say hello to the newest addition to the Team America spell slinging token challenge. Even alone the ability to sling a few spells off for surprise blockers should make this creature see play in a few builds at least. Add in that they create tokens even on artifacts and enchantments, and they fits into even more deck types. That the tokens have prowess as well make them even that much more deadly.
Rally the Ancestors
- Another one sided mass-resurrection spell to be taken advantage of alongside Wake the Dead and Immortal Servitude. It will be extremely powerful to reuse a number of enter the battlefield abilities, have a large number of surprise blockers or to use some sacrifice outlets or blink outlets for profit. Either of those would be recommended so as not to lose the graveyard options permanently.
- While auras are typically frowned upon as being open to two-for-one disadvantage, Sage's Reverie partially negates that by drawing large amounts of cards for aura-based decks. Bruna, Light of Alabaster and Uril, the Miststalker will both be happy to have this card as an addition to their lineup.
- As far as a pseudo-charm effect goes, two mana is a healthy spot for either mode, so having a kill spot in your deck able to save a creature, or a protection slot able to double as a kill spell helps make any deck more versatile.
- Preventing the defending player from attacking is a rather nice ability for this uncommon dragon, that is likely to be overlooked. Players will typically want to hold removal in case you would be attacking a different opponent. That is aside from the fact that this creature turns off Wing Shards and similar effects entirely. Wardscale Dragon is a decent threat for an aggressive deck.
Marang River Prowler
- You need to be playing multicolor for him, but another Bloodghast variant is always welcome for me. Even though blue decks shouldn't be hurting too much for card draw, additional Skullclamp targets are always potent, and this makes a good recursive equipment holder as well.
- Mistfire Adept gets a mention from me for being able to easily and cheaply grant evasion to a large number of creatures, even as a surprise for defensive purposes. For anyone else who has a Tibor and Lumia deck, this creature is your backup plan for getting your forces out of harm's way.
- This is personal looting in the form of half of a Ceta Sanctuary, or an extra protection tax for all of your creatures. I like both of the modes on this one.
- While manifesting a card can be potentially more dangerous than the token that Pongify gives, with the abundance of spells, lands, and creatures with enter the battlefield effects in Commander, the chance of this is quite low. This makes the 2/2 usually less threatening than the 3/3 tokens, though there is always the risk of having given your opponents a free card by giving something they can manifest. In general, though, the risk is more than acceptable, and this gives blue a cheap instant speed exile effect. This is a Commander staple.
- Six mana is a high cost for either a bounce spell, or a clone spell, even at instant speed. However, putting both on one card could enable a number of two for one situations. Plus, token copies are always fun to cheat around with, such as with populate or Parallel Lives.
- While it exiles itself and isn't likely to go off too early in the game, blue is quite capable of filling the graveyard quite rapidly, making the potential for a three-mana extra turn effect quite strong. Several aggressive decks will like this addition, not the least of which is Talrand, Sky Summoner.
Archfiend of Depravity
While the Archfiend has a powerful effect, it is tempered by being at the end of the turn, making it less useful against token swarms that populate on an end step, though it will prevent more than a turn's buildup of forces. It also opens it up to being removed by sorcery-speed removal effects before its ability takes effect. That caveat given, limiting opponents down to two creatures is extremely powerful, limiting many strategies that rely on the synergy between multiple creatures to really gain traction. The Archfiend is especially useful when combined with other Stax effects, in order to reduce the number of choices opponents get to make for them.
Crux of Fate
- Honorable mention as a budget black wrath, if you needed one.
- A mishmash of a Wheel of Fortune and Winds of Change, Dark Deal will be useful in disrupting opponents' hands, while serving to fill yours with reanimation targets. Given black's propensity for card draw, it can also be used to clear away some useless chaff while digging deeper into your deck. Discard decks will also enjoy getting the extra mileage out of Waste Not and Geth's Grimoire, and Notion Thief if you happen to also be in blue.
- As a functional reprint of Fleshbag Marauder, the Executioner will be welcome as an extra copy of that style of sacrifice effect for many reanimator decks.
- The Sureshot gives a mini-impression of Death Match, but without giving your opponents the same weapon. Decks that seek to reanimate large amounts of creatures in a turn or token based decks will like this creature for its ability to clear opposing threats.
- Five mana is expensive for an unrestricted Oversold Cemetery, but the Cemetery is still a powerful effect to have, and free card advantage every turn may be something you don't want to turn down if playing a creature-heavy game, after all, redundancy is good. This one also remains useful even after you eat a graveyard exile effect, as it can start immediately recurring the next threat you get.
The alternate mode is reminiscent of Subversion, a generally lackluster card. This version will give you less life in multiplayer, but does up the damage dealt. There has been talk of it for bleeder style decks, though I remain unconvinced.
It may be conditional, but a cheap instant speed wrath effect can be huge. Note that the creature deals damage, so you can also have some fun with deathtouch, lifelink, or unpreventable damage to kill things through protection. In a pinch, it can also be used as a pseudo-trample effect, or as that last bit of burn needed to finish someone off.
- Rush gives us a whole new set of Viashino Sandstalker effects, which brings happy tears to my eyes. I like the extra red token generation. Riku decks will certainly like this creature, as will any deck that enjoys Kiki-Jiki shenanigans.
- While this phoenix doesn't return for you on an empty board, we're playing Commander, so it shouldn't be too hard to ensure you have a creature with four or greater power. That makes this one of the cheapest self-recurring creatures yet. There are slight drawbacks in that it doesn't die on its own to Skullclamp, and the ability is only once per turn barring shenanigans, but then, Bloodghast's ability would also be only once per turn, barring outside influences.
- Hard draw in red is a nice touch, and two mana for two cards is a bargain deal, though the Defector needs to live a turn to work. Donating them to an opponent is less then ideal, as that player may then spite you by playing keep-away with another player, but you may be able to sweet talk someone into playing nice with you. Even if you just get one use before you nuke the board, they still do a nice job for red.
- Mob rule is a more "fair" Insurrection. Either way, this card is yet another that will end games, despite the limitations. If anything, the cheaper cost just means you get to close out the game sooner.
- Reliable red card draw for four mana mirrors Chandra, Pyromaster's zero loyalty ability, which is nice. The alternate dragon mode seems a bit weak alone, but as an extra option makes this card good for both developing resources as well as closing out a game.
Temur Battle Rage
- Many Voltron or other aggressive decks/commanders already like Psychotic Fury. While the Battle Rage loses the card draw, the addition of trample is an excellent addition to help punch damage through.
- Red looting has come a long way, and this creature helps keep up the aggression while doing it.
- While even Lightning Bolt makes it into few of my decks, I always have a soft spot for unpreventable also anti-lifegain effects. Skullcrack wasn't the one to really break into a deck for me yet, since it can't hit creatures, so I wonder if Wild Slash may finally be the one that just has enough of utility to make the cut. I'm just sad that it doesn't kill Prophet of Kruphix.
- Consistent card draw effects are always good to keep in mind. While this creature is conditional, they reward you for what green tries to do anyways: have the biggest creature out there. Omnath, Locus of Mana decks are sure to like him as their own personal Howling Mine.
- Limiting blockers is always good for aggressive decks. Despite their high cost, strategies or commanders that make use of +1/+1 counters will like this creature to ensure easy targets to trample over.
- Destructor Dragon is probably the most likely of the uncommon dragons to see play. Green is notably short of flyers, and the ability of this dragon makes it a rather nice rattlesnake, or a decent step on a Birthing Pod chain as a quick and dirty answer to something.
- A personal Eladamri's Vineyard with upside, or a flying fight machine seems to be pretty good. As with most of these, I expect the khans side to come down more often, as this enchantment will halfway pay itself off on the first turn then bypass on the next. I dislike things that force me to play things pre-combat, but a double Sol Ring is hard to say no to. Omnath, Locus of Mana will certainly love this card.
The fight mode is likely to be less used in mono-green, but once you splash in another color that can easily make flying tokens or drop massive amounts of flyers, and you suddenly have a powerful board control tool.
Fruit of the First Tree
- Momentous Fall effects are nothing new to green, and this is another of the vein. While auras are typically prone to resulting in a two-for-one, the Fruit is at least one of the auras that benefits from the creature dying. Unfortunately, both removing the creature in response to the aura or using one of many exile and tuck effects in the format renders this aura useless. Even so, it may see play in some enchantress or aura-returning type decks.
- A strict upgrade to Collective Unconscious is always nice. This is quite a potent bit of green draw power.
- Aside from being an excellent Pauper commander, the Sabertooth is a resilient threat that also protects your battlefield and allows you to reuse enter the battlefield abilities, all in one handy package. Yeva, Nature's Herald decks will certainly love it, as will any deck that runs Prophet of Kruphix.
Whisperer of the Wilds
- I usually prefer my mana-producing creatures to cost one mana, and sometimes to be elves. However, the ability to come down early to help ramp sooner, and then turning on into larger ramp later makes this creature a decent mana man for the correct decks, placing themself well between Fyndhorn Elves and Fyndhorn Elder
- While I'm not terribly sold on the manifest ability for Commander use, the Whisperwood adds some potential card advantage, free bodies, and a fair amount of available wrath protection.
Winds of Qal Sisma
- Fog effects are not seen nearly enough, especially when there are so many one sided fogs, or fogs with some other upside. At a cost of two mana, this one-sided fog may break the mold and be a viable combat trick.
- Hellrider is a good card. Of course, the Hordechief loses the haste and the ability to snipe defending planeswalkers, but they gain a few ticks in return. The life drain will be welcome in a number of decks that aim to trade life for other resources, and the stapled Master Warcraft-like ability will ensure survival for the Hordechief, act as removal through unfavorable blocks, or just straight up grant massive alpha-strike power by throwing all the available blockers onto one hapless attacker.
But wait! There's more! You don't even have to be the attacking player. Once the Hordechief hits the field, you have the potential to take over any player's declare blockers step, allowing you to take value of trading off other players' creatures into each other, and possibly sweet-talking other players into killing off some threats with your help.
Shaman of the Great Hunt
- This creature impresses me. Two toughness is a weak body, but with haste they'll buff themself up immediately, and repeatable draw of this magnitude on a creature is quite impressive. Four mana is the typical cost for a card on a repeatable permanent, such as with Treasure Trove, which Shaman pulls off on their own, and once you mix in the rest of your army, they're pulling off mini Collective Unconsciouses for dirt cheap.
Soulfire Grand Master
- This creature scares me, and I'm not the only one to feel that way. They're immediately a two-card combo with most notable extra turn spells, as well as being a two-card infinite combo with the two most popular big ritual spells in Commander: Turnabout and Mana Geyser. Aside from that, just about any red wrath effect will bring you up to a healthily respectable life total.
Warden of the First Tree
- Abzan now gets its own Figure of Destiny! The big difference being that once Figure is done leveling themself up, they're done. The Warden can keep activating their last ability though and get fairly large. Overall, they end up being a dumb beater, but some dumb beaters are just dumb and beaty enough to be good. Scute Mob tends to be good due to the cost, and the lack of need for any further investment. While the Warden needs further investment, the lifelink and trample may make them good enough to suit up in an equipment deck, and the final ability may be a decent enough mana sink to make the cut.
- Instant speed army untaps provide excellent combat tricks, while the power boost allows this card to also be used as an offensive alpha strike.
- While expensive to equip to your other creatures, the Blade makes an excellent drawback-free version of Grafted Wargear for your Commander. Voltron decks may want to examine the possibility of inclusion as a quick, free power boost, especially for commanders with haste, such as Horde of Notions and Garza Zol, Plague Queen.
What Have You Reforged?
- We look forward to seeing the new discussion of Tiny Leaders™, and of hearing what changes Fate Reforged has brought to you and to your decks. Let us know what cards from Fate Reforged have made it into your decks on the forums and in the comments below.