Altering Commander – Hot New Tech from Besieged by James Griffin

Altering Commander: The Sissay Project by James Griffin

It was only a small set, it was meant to have like one or two cards in it, the set wasn’t ever intended to change my plans for the deck in any real way.  What kind of craziness is this?  It turns out that Wizards are awesome, and have chucked a bunch of amazing cards into the set.  I presume that they did that so that new players would have a bunch of cool cards in time for the release of ‘Commander’ later in the year.  Well, what a good idea!

Let’s take a look at the best of them in some sort of colour order.  This week I’ll tackle White, Blue and Black, and next week I’ll do Red, Green, Artifacts and everything else.  While I’ve tried to make sure that this is well thought through, you can never be sure about these things until the sets actually come out and you test the cards, but what follows is a casual look at the cards and how they could play out in the most fun format, Commander.

What have we got here?  Well an awesome bunch of knights right off the bat – how many lords?! (yeah I’m counting Battle cry as a sort of lord in Commander).  Hero of Bladehold, Mirran Crusader and Accorder Paladin are both pretty nice in a low curve aggro.

We also get suitable flexible removal in the form of

[card]Leonin relic warder">Banishment Decree[card].  It’s difficult to describe how important it is to be able to spot remove enchantments and artifacts as well as creatures, but if you spend a lot of slots on cards that do just that, you can quickly have a hand that doesn’t actually do anything to affect the board state, and you get eaten by a bunch of tokens or something.  This card gives you options, and in multiplayer games it isn’t by any means an unfeasible mana cost.

[card]Leonin relic warder does the same thing here, arguably better by putting a warm body on the field.  On the down side it needs a solid investment in the colour, so maybe would work better in a mono white build rather than anything.  Lets move on to cooler cards,  three splashy white heavy fun spells:

Firstly Victory’s Herald – it’s going to win you the game if you have a bunch of creatures out, but only if it has a bunch of other creatures out to make use of the lifelink and flying she gives.  Still, Battlegrace Angel sees play, and I rate this girl much more in a vacuum.  Secondly, White Sun’s Zenith, for which I have one thing to say… Kemba, Kha Regent. Yeah, much casual fun to be had there.  Finally, Phyrexian Rebirth.  This is another (strictly worse) martial coup.  I’m going to be trying it out,  I like sweepers that leave a body such as this, the remaining dude get’s very much more threatening when he’s the only guy on the battlefield.  I know white is getting a bit of a toning down in Standard right now, but that doesn’t feel like too bad a haul for EDH.  Marvellous.

On to the best colour in the game (No, it really is – if you don’t believe me, tell me how many of the power nine are green, black, red or green.  Then ask yourself why that is!).

Hooray for Mitotic Manipulation! Lol, no I’m only joking, unless you’re mono blue and looking for a way to maybe get an Island into play for 3 mana that is.  In all seriousness though, there are some really good cards here.  Treasure mage is a tutor for a Wurmcoil Engine or even better a mindslaver.

Vedalken Infuser is redonculous in a blue artifact build, and mirran spy could be one half of a cool combo, but I’m not sure what off the top of my head.

On to the good stuff – corrupted conscience is a card that I really rate and others don’t.  Trust me it’s good.  You nick the biggest thing on the board, and give it infect, basically cutting down the opponent’s life total to 10.  If you can’t kill them in 2 hits, you didn’t take a creature that was big enough!  It creates a fun little mini game to see if the other players can deal with the threat before it starts taking casualties like Felidar Sovereign.

Next, it’s Blue sun’s Zenith (yeah all the zeniths are good).  Card draw.  Woo hah.  This almost always refills your hand in the mid to late game.  Finally, the best of the blues, Consecrated Sphinx

This thing is totally off the chain!  All your opponent has to do is to draw for his or her turn, and it’s already replaced itself in your hand and drawn you one.  Not a great return, but you’ve got a nice big defensive body on the table already, that counts for a lot right there.  It gets more mental in multiplayer, you’ll quickly bury them in card advantage.  They Jace? Ooh! A  money card! Ok, Brainstorm (+0) then… I draw six.  SIX!!  This card gets mental with Howling Mine and Temple Bell, basically it’s totally nuts with anything that draws each opponent one or more cards.  Mental.  This sort of interaction is what EDH is all about – it doesn’t matter if you win, only how, and this card sets you up for that entertaining ‘beat to death with Slippery Boggle‘ ending right there.

For black, in at the common slot you have two cards, Phyresis which is for much the same purpose as the blue infect Mind Control (but suckier).  You also have Morbid Plunder to return your creatures from the graveyard for more fun and games.  If they were threatening enough for your opponent to put them there in the first place, it would be rude not to Fling them at them a second time.

For an uncommonly good card, go no further than Gruesome Encore.  I thought this was ok, but then I realised that at the very least it takes that combo piece or troublesome permanent out of your opponents graveyard.  It only acts at sorcery speed which is it’s downfall, so druid combo etc. is a problem, but you might get some pretty good use out of the thing you take, so that seems a nice plus.

Rarely does such a fun black sweeper come along, and I really think this is going to make it into some pretty sweet decks.  Black has damnation, but the sweepers aren’t exactly in every set in black. So this Black Zenith should go a long way to making Drana, Skittles and co. better at dealing with aggro strategies.

Massacre Wurm truly is the stuff of myth and legend.  With a shiny orange badge to give him a premium on resale, this baby is damnation on a stick against some decks, and the stick is more of a plank.  6/5 is pretty good for a plank.  Not good enough?  Ok then, add a combo win built into the card.  Wiping tokens to drain your opponent could really ruin their day if you draw them into extending onto the board.  Now, that’s good!

There are some really cool cards there, now is a great time to get into Commander, so crack some boosters and start putting your favourite cards in a big pile with some land – shuffling is about to get a whole lot more difficult than normal!

Until next time, I’ll leave you with my latest alter for your viewing pleasure:

I can’t seem to break the painting on foil thing unless the colours are very dark like these.  Any ideas? let me know.  Until next week when I’ll conclude this meandering adventure through MBS and wish you all the most awesome prerelease ever!


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