Altering Commander – Hot New Tech from Besieged Part 2 by James Griffin

Altering Commander: The Sissay Project by James Griffin

Last week we began our journey through the best of the new set, Mirrodin Besieged.  I pointed out some of the cards in blue black and white that you should be happy to see passed you in a draft or peeking out of a newly cracked pack.  This time we’ll contine that journey and evaluate some of the best of red green and the coolest colour in Besieged, grey.  I hope you enjoy it, let me know what you think.  Lets go…

Concussive bolt has value as a finisher if you need to make up the numbers, and Hero of Oxid Ridge hoses small token strategies in limited applications (nah maybe I’m being mean and it’s better than I think, which wouldn’t be hard because right now I think it’s pretty lame).  Hellkite Igniter is superb if you have mana, and with haste it could alter the playing field all in a flash (bear in mind that the ability can be activated multiple times).  That said this still only has application in decks that can lay down a bunch of artifacts.  Finally Red Suns Zenith is going to see play as a fireball that exiles it’s creature victims, but there doesn’t seem to be much to see here, so let’s move along.  Oh no wait, I forgot Galvanoth:

Awesome!  This could be superb in the right situation, with the right deck, we all like playing uncounterable spells for no mana, and that’s what this guy does.  Marvellous!  I want to drop show and tell with this baby!

The spoilers for green are why I’m dusting off my fauna shamans and Vengevines, the cards in this colour are great for standard, and pleasingly they are pretty awesome for edh too.

Hooray!  Lead the Stampede gives a really nice amount of draw for a colour which is usually devoid of it.  Phyrexian hydra is a lot of fun as a splashy card for the more casual player, and Viridian Emissary is pretty good for that same player who wants cheap ramp.  Finally in the cool but not blow your mind crazy category is Thrun the last Troll.  I’m not sure about him to be honest, although he does seem good against Zur, blue and control.  Captain Sisay can find him though (good for me!), and he could be a really awesome general in mono-green, tons of flavour.

speaking of flavour, have you spotted him on Asceticism?   Nice work Wizards!

Now then.  That’s the preamble in green out of the way, the two big hitters are… drum roll please… Green Suns Zenith and Praetors Counsel.

Yaay! These two cards are basically ridiculous.  Any deck that plays Worldly Tutor wants this Zenith in it, surely.  I know it’ll be going in my Captain Sisay deck, no doubt.  Pay one mana extra for any green creature in my deck? Err ok!  It’s good early for ramping elves, its good late for Myojin of Lifes Web…man, when is it not good?  I suppose it doesn’t fetch me Iona, but hey, it does get Fauna Shaman, and she gets Iona, so I cant’ complain – the key thing here is that it doesn’t slow you down – it puts that card into play rather than on top of your library, so your opponent doesn’t have the opportunity to see it coming or anything.  Superb.  Oh sorry, did you want to Condemn[card] my Sisay? Fair enough, I’ll recast him for five, and you don’t know whether to counter, because I could be getting anything out when the spell resolves.  The more I read his card, the better it gets to me.

[card]Praetors Counsel.  Ok, yes thanks, I’d like to play Yawgmoths Will in green.  Oh wait, it doesn’t last until the end of the turn? Awesome!  How much mana? Well this is EDH, that’s hardly a big problem, and I like having my Sol Rings, mana dorks, and Mana Vaults, not to mention anything big enough and scary enough to have been removed by another player in earlier turns back in my grubby little paws for a bit of eco friendly recycling.  It’s not often that  you have abilities this good on the same card (cough, skullclamp, cough), and I for one am excited to see what it does.  I think I’d put it in an Omnath deck first and see where to go from there.

And so we come to it.  Artifacts.  The focus of the set.  Before we delve in though, check out our two multicolour treats, Glissa and Tezzeret.  Tezz goes in a pretty specific build, but if you have the right one he could be a really fun and powerful card to play.  Glissa is general material for sure, competitively priced, multicoloured and has a graveyard abuse ability which just makes me smile!  I’ll be picking her up at the prerelease tomorrow, even through the other dude goes in my new Bant standard deck, I just like her too much.

Blightsteel Colossus? Yep I’m happy with a 22/11 for 12 mana with protection from destroy spells and a way of recycling my library if that’s the sort of game I want to play.  Too broken? Going the way of Emrakul, and getting banned?


Either way he’ll make an impact when he comes down, he makes me want to play him in Vintage on turn one!

How about Bonehoard then?  Oh yes please! This guy gets fetched with a number of cheap cards, such as quest for the holy relic, stoneforge mystic and steel shapers gift, and if you drop him onto an empty field, he doesn’t just sit there saying ‘I’m a hammer’ until some lucky guy comes along and stumbles across it on the battlefield.  Hoorah!  I can see some nice decks winning off this guy.

Mirrorworks out you get the rather tasty privilege of playing out twice as many artifacts as you normally would (just don’t ‘works your general now!).  That seems pretty sick.  Oh wait, it is – how many things can you think of which are better in multiples?  Yeah if you’re anything like me, many! It makes me want to play Karn!

Phyrexian Revoker is cool, if you like Pithing Needle for beating … err… Captain Sisay and colleagues, then this guy gives you the sort of redundancy that Fauna Shaman did for Survivine.  Nice card.  Small body, but a body nonetheless.

Signal Pest will be good in constructed (mark my words) but he has limited application here in the wonderful world of EDH I think.  Something that has massive application here as well as elsewhere however is Sphere of the Suns.  Mana artifacts are good, and this one seems relatively quick too.  Particularly if you are looking for a budget alternative to mana crypt/sol ring etc., then this one is slower but very cool.  It’s much bigger and badder brother Spine of Ish Sah is also hanging around the set, and while we all like vindicate, I think it’s fair to say that vindicate every turn is even cooler.  Gotta tie up your mana on it though, so maybe it’s not going to be for everyone.

Omnath can’t wait to get Sword of Feast and Famine – what a combo! Nuff said – this card is going to have applications like the rest of the cycle before it.  I can’t wait for the next one – it’s going to deal with so much removal.

Titan Forge gets you a real threat down quickly (turn 2) by many decks, and technically turn 1 is possible too, making a turn 3 big dude.  Cool.  Competitive? Nah I don’t reckon so (although I may be wrong), but definitely cool!
Finally, lets end this run through of good Besieged EDH cards with a card that embodies all the craziness of this unbelievably mental format – Knowledge Pool.  I’ve  sat and looked at this card for a while, and I can’t think how to put it.  I think it basically says  – each player plays with one hand of cards, shared between all players.  Maybe not quite, but anything that changes the game beyond all recognition is the sort of card that would be unbelievably cool in this more casual format.  It sort of feels like Shahrazad, in that everything you thought you knew about magic is turned on it’s head.  Remember the first time your mate played a counterspell against you? Yeah that feeling.  Lets put it to the litmus test – ask yourself this, if someone casts this in a game  you’re a part of, are you going to be telling your magic-playing mate about it tomorrow with lots of raised tones and arm flailing?  Well I am, and I think that means that it has to be EDH star of the set.

Which concludes our run through of Besieged.  I can’t wait for the Commander release now, if this set is anything to go by, then the format could be even more awesome than it is.

I’ve been painting! (of course), so I thought I’d share my first altered besieged card:

A Subtle one to be sure, but hopefully effective.  Until next time, when we’ll have a bit of a gallery of the collection so far, including about ten so far unseen alters,


Please let us know what you think below...

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