Commander 2018, Return of the ‘Walkers
Another year, another set of Commander Precons with sweet legends, new powerful spells and players scouring the spoilers for cards to tune their current decks (and sometimes finding new staples for Legacy). This year we’re welcomed by some new Planeswalkers that are played as Commanders, bringing the total up to 10 (8 from Commander precons and the Kenrith siblings from Battlebond). Some of these are new planeswalkers entirely, but we also get a new Saheeli, luckily this one won’t cause a banning, touch wood…..
I know a lot of people thought that these decks didn’t live up to their expectations after Wizards announced the archetypes. For me personally, since I normally buy the decks, tear them apart and rebuild them, I think that they have knocked it out of the park with the new cards and have done for the last few years – in terms of both power level and enjoy-ability. Even in the case of Breya and Kess, which immediately stood out from the rest of the cards in their respective sets, people have now adapted to them and have found ways to deal with those two very powerful Magic cards.
So as with every other year, and some standard sets, I’m going to cover the top cards that I think will end up being the cards to look out for in your local playgroup. Just a reminder, this list is my opinion, but if you disagree/think I missed any out, let me know!
So here they are, my top 8 Commander 2018 cards:
8. Whiptongue Hydra – Bane of Progress has been a staple in green commander decks and flying creatures are some of the best creatures in the format. Mix the two together, give it reach and you have Whiptongue Hydra. This card not only destroys all fliers in play but also becomes big enough to stonewall basically all of the most popular flying creatures in the format. Play this in conjunction with Dovescape to counter all noncreatures and create a huge, lizard hydra.
7. Windgrace’s Judgment – Another fantastic removal spell, this not only kills creatures but also allows you to remove those pesky enchantments and artifacts (which two of the precons are focused on). This card is very reminiscent of Sylvan Reclamation, another 5 mana flexible removal spell, something that is very powerful and popular in the format due to the wide variety of potential threats.
6. Myth Unbound – As soon as I saw this card I thought of Yisan and Rhys the Redeemed. This card looks completely insane with low CMC generals, allowing you to cut your commander tax in half, it also acts as a deterrent to your opponents removing your general as their removal spells will allow you to draw cards.
5. Vedalken Humiliator – A card that could also be have been named ”Magus of Humility”. I honestly think that this card fits into more decks than its enchantment counterpart. Humility is an incredibly powerful card but does not work very well in decks with creatures, restricting it to Stax or Planeswalker focused decks, while Vedalken Humiliator fits into any deck that runs a few mana rocks and doesn’t affect your own creatures.
4. Entreat the Dead – I’m more excited to put this card into my cube for the miracles archetype then I am to put it into a specific commander deck; that being said, I think that this card could fit into basically any graveyard/reanimation deck with a black base. After a few turns dredging or discarding powerful reanimation targets either topdecking into Entreat the Dead or casting Vampiric/Mystical Tutor to get it on top of your deck and then proceeding to put a mish-mash of Magic’s most powerful fatties into play.
3. Animatou’s Augury – A classic commander card, a huge mana cost for a powerful effect. I probably wouldn’t play this in just any blue deck, this card is insane in a general ”good stuff” deck but not so much in any deck with a specific theme, due to the lack of card types in those decks. Casting Animatou’s Augury into Omniscience, Enter the Infinite and Nexus of Fate seems like a pretty solid way to win most games of Commander.
2. Treasure Nabber – Probably my favourite general card from the new set. This card does so much for the low, low cost of 3 mana. Allowing you to temporarily steal mana rocks to ramp into earlier powerful plays. On top of the ramp that Treasure Nabber allows, it also counters a lot of the powerful artifacts in the format including the Dramatic Scepter combo – one of the most popular and consistently played combos in blue decks at the moment. There is also the potential that people have pointed out with Mycosynth Lattice and your opponent’s lands. This is not even mentioning vehicles and the fact that as more and more artifacts are printed this card will just continue to get better and better. Also; that art and flavour text are fantastic.
1. Lord Windgrace – While probably not the best card on this list, it’s the one that I’m personally most excited for. After my first time casting Life From the Loam I’ve been in love with the lands archetype. The only reason I’m not playing that deck in Legacy is the unfortunate price of Tabernacle of Pendrell Vale. I’m not planning to ultimate this card, ever. The most important mode on this card is the first ability, being able to discard Dakmor Salvage, dredge and then draw a card is one of the best card advantage engines I’ve seen in a long time. Another great card in this deck is Squandered Resources, cast Resources on turn two, makes three mana, sacrifice two lands to cast Lord Windgrace, and then minus to return the lands sacrificed to cast him. If one of these lands was Dryad Arbor that also leaves you a chump blocker. The only disappointment is the lack of blue in the colour identity for Tatyova, but access to Borborygmos Enraged and The Gitrog Monster is perfect for this archetype.
This set has a ton of powerful cards. Saheeli the Gifted allows you to give one card in your hand Affinity for Artifacts (a mechanic so powerful it drew a ton of bans in Modern), Tawnos another card for the Paradox Engine decks that have been insanely popular since the card was spoiled and Coveted Jewel Goblin Welder’s new best friend. There is also Magus of the Balance, another banned card that’s been balanced by adding it to a creature, Saheeli’s Directive which is Genesis Wave for Artifacts and Estrid’s Invocation, Copy Enchantment with upside.
This set honestly seems fantastic, there are some great new planeswalkers, some interesting unique legendary creatures, a ton of powerful spells and of course some sweet reprints. All of the things I look for in new Commander set.
If I missed any new cards, let me know what you think and of course let me know what you’re most excited for!
Thanks for Reading,