An UNexpected Rules Announcement, and 10 Un-Cards to Put in Your Commander Decks!
Recently the Commander Rules Committee (A deeper explanation of which can be found on this FAQ) announced that until the 15th of January, silver bordered cards are legal in the format. This is to celebrate the release of Unstable and is done as the format is designed to be casual and social. Personally I have no problem with the majority of cards from Un-Sets as long as they don’t affect how Magic: the Gathering is played (like dexterity cards). Cards like [c]Three-Headed Goblin[/c] and [c]Earl of Squirrel[/c] are fine but in my opinion cards like [c]Chaos Confetti[/c] and ”Gotcha” cards have no place in Magic.
They added a short banlist consisting of cards that had similar effects to cards already banned and cards that would simply be a nightmare to play against (all of which can be seen below):
Enter the Dungeon
Once More With Feeling
R&Ds Secret Lair
With this announcement I decided to look at Un-Set cards and see which could be good additions to my own decks. Personally I’ll be adding cards like [c]Gleemax[/c] and [c]Strategy, Schmategy[/c] to my [c]Daretti, Scrap Savant[/c] deck (of course since the deck is mostly foiled [c]Super Secret Tech[/c] is a must) and I’ll also be adding [c]Greater Morphling[/c] to [c]Mairsil, the Pretender[/c], one I think may stay in the deck after the 15th.
While looking through cards to add to my decks I saw a number of cards that would be perfect to add to other Commander decks. So, here are…
Ten Magic: the Gathering Un-Cards to Put in Your Commander Decks!
10. Dr. Julius Jumblemorph
I’ve seen two completely different deck ideas for this commander. Firstly, the obvious host//augment deck with every possible host and augment card (a new mechanic from Unstable) in a deck with Julius allowing you to tutor for whichever one you need. The deck ends up looking like a weird mishmash of cards that actually act as quite a powerful toolbox with both the host and augment cards being good in a multitude of situations, adding the ability to combine the two simply means that you have even more toolbox options.
The other deck is one that a member of my playgroup is brewing is along the same vein as [c]Mistform Ultimus[/c] decks, essentially lord tribal. Unlike Mistform, Julius not only has two colours but also has, in my opinion, a far better combination giving access to the very powerful elf-matters cards like [c]Elvish Archdruid[/c] and [c]Priest of Titania[/c] as well as some very powerful lords from lesser played tribes like [c]Knight Exemplar[/c] and [c]Kinsbaile Cavalier[/c]. If you can’t actually get through with Jumblemorph just throw in [c]Mirror Entity[/c] and watch all your lords pump each other!
9. Modular Monstrosity
I want to start this by saying that this card is very, VERY weird and if you want a cheat sheet of all of the best keywords, go here. Someone else has done the work so you don’t have to!
Now, this card had to potential to get very silly (people immediately said that Annihilator 500 would be the first thing they named) but luckily Maro confirmed in his FAQ that you could only choose keywords from cards that have been printed in the past. I’m going to use the cheat sheet I linked above to go over the top 3 keywords to pick to ensure you win your Commander games:
3. Triple Strike – This one is easy. If you connect with this creature you’ll do triple the damage. Simply add [c]Sword of Fire and Ice[/c] or [c]Umezawa’s Jitte[/c] and you’re all set.
2. Infect – Similarly to Triple Strike this is just an easy way to win the game, in fact this is one point off of lethal if you’ve already given it Triple Strike.
1. Indestructible + Hexproof – This is probably cheating, but I figured I’d put both of these together. Protection from Everything should probably be here as it allows [c]Modular Monstrosity[/c] to also be unblockable, but the issue there is that boardwipes tend to be far more popular in Commander than spot removal, and these still kill a creature with protection from everything.
Hopefully this has helped with your keyword choices, but remember: only play the deck you put this into once a day! Commander games go on for a long time and a lot of spells are cast, you’ll likely use up all of the keywords you can think of in a regular 4-player game.
8. Hot Fix
This is a weird one. It certainly seems hard enough to do, but I also feel that it is too similar to [c]Doomsday[/c] for it to be fun for any one in your playgroup. Being able to stack your deck with a combo on top followed by a ton of counter-magic and other disruption just does not scream fun to me. That being said, Commander is a multi-player game and I’m sure you can work out a way to distract the person who plays [c]Hot Fix[/c] and turn their 6-mana win the game card into a 6-mana shuffle.
7. Mana Screw
Ah, the perfect card to epitomise the bane of every Magic player. You know those opening hands that would just be busted with one more land, this card is definitely an homage to those moments. While it does parody the idea of not having enough mana, it is also an incredibly good card (half of the time). Allowing you to sink all of your mana into this to potentially double it is fantastic and could facilitate some very explosive early turns, once you throw in [c]Krark’s Thumb[/c] the fun factor of this card starts to steeply drop potentially turning it into infinite mana for the low cost of 2. With that in mind, I think that this card is fine but if you build a deck around it be ready to lose friends very fast (but add [c]Chance Encounter[/c], it’ll probably make the win much quicker than trying to make enough mana to [c]Fireball[/c] everyone[/c]).
How bad does [c]Necropotence[/c] need to be before it doesn’t find a place in a black Commander deck? Turns out this is not bad enough. Having to pay life to untap does not seem like that big of a drawback for decks that can run cards like [c]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/c] and [c]Kokusho, the Evening Star[/c], especially not while being able to technically draw twice as many cards as a regular [c]Necropotence[/c]. In addition you don’t even need to untap all of your permanents, just the ones that you need to use the million cards you drew the turn before. Fantastic card, essentially a second copy of the original card.
Oh [c]X[/c] not only is your rules text hilarious to read but you’re such a unique card I simply have to brew a deck with you as the General. This card seems like a slamdunk in terms of cards that were designed for Commander/Cube (something Maro has admitted to on his blog multiple times). Run cards like [c]Lantern of Insight[/c] and [c]Telepathy[/c] to know what your opponents have in hand, and then put [c]X[/c] into the best hand you can see. Worried about your opponent casting those instants before you have a chance? Simply add [c]Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir[/c] to shut that down before it happens. I really can’t wait to show you what storm I’m brewing up for this Un-Commander deck.
4. Sword of Dungeons and Dragons
The only one of the three Hascon promos that made its way into the actual set. While the protection from Rogues and Cleric may not be very relevant based on your playgroup, being able to create one (or more on a “critical” roll) 4/4 dragons means that you can build up a huge flying board very quickly – just imagine this on a creature with triple strike. Make 3 4/4’s every time you hit an opponent! P.S. The token for this card looks phenomenal.
3. Yet Another Aether Vortex
As well as a list of cards that the Commander RC banned, they also put out a list of cards that they didn’t think people should play with. Both [c]Johnny, Combo Player[/c] and [c]Yet another Aether Vortex[/c] made it onto that list. It’s pretty easy to see how this card can just do silly things. Being able to have a free planeswalker or huge artifact like [c]Blightsteel Colossus[/c] on top of your library has the potential to make this card incredibly broken. On the other hand, I think that there are a lot of ways to have fun with this card. The ability to have utility creatures in your deck that, while they can gain you some advantage, don’t immediately win you the game seems completely fine. I think that this comes under the same umbrella of a lot of silver-bordered cards. Play them for fun, don’t be a jerk.
2. Very Cryptic Command
I was going to talk about Very Cryptic Command since the version they spoiled seemed like a completely reasonable card. Since then people have been finding out that cards are being printed with differing art/flavour text and in the case of [c]Very Cryptic Command[/c] different rules text….
Instead I’ll just leave some images of the different versions people have found below:
1. Split Screen
This card is perfect. I’ll take you on a walk down memory lane. I used to have a very fun [c]Melek, Izzet Paragon[/c] deck that just played a ton of big spells that I thought were fun or had cool art, the deck had a very Izzet mentality. Unfortunately the deck came apart as it always felt like it was missing something. A little boost that would make the deck that much more enjoyable that I would be willing to play it over and over. This card seems like it might be that push. I can definitely see how this card could make Melek too oppressive or unfair, but if the deck is built with fun in mind I honestly think this could be a blast for the Melek player and those playing against it. This card isn’t just for Melek of course. Azusa would love this deck, add a [c]Courser of Kruphix[/c] or an [c]Oracle of Mul Daya[/c] the the fun ”is it a land on top” lottery. Spoiler: You have four libraries so yes.” Don’t even get me started on this card with [c]Future Sight[/c] and [c]Yet Another Aether Vortex[/c].
So there we have it. These are what I think will be some of the silver-bordered cards to look out for, and add to your own decks to spice up your Commander pods for the next month or so, and who knows, your playgroup might enjoy playing with silver-bordered cards and make a house rule saying that you can keep playing with them after the 15th. After all, Commander is meant to be a fun and casual format. Let me know which cards you plan to add to your Commander decks from the Un-Sets!
Or, if you fancy a new brewing challenge, why not check out my colleague Kerry Meyerhoff’s article on the new legendary Un-Commanders and see if you can find a fun new silver-bordered general to build around? Examples below!
Thanks for reading,