What’s up, friends? Welcome back to Cardsphere for some more Commander nonsense. The Brothers’ War is here! Well, the card previews are here, anyway. We’ve seen the whole set, we know what’s in it, and now it’s time to talk about what’s gonna get played. We’re starting today with creatures that can lead your decks. We won’t be talking about all the legends, because there are a lot of them, and neither of us have time for all that. Instead we’re just gonna talk about a handful of them, specifically the ones I think are going to get the most love in the Commander format. Without further ado, let’s review.
Let’s start with the Meld commanders. There are 3 mythic legends in the set that Meld with another card to form a super-mega-ultra-fancy commander. They are:
Titania, Voice of Gaea;
Mishra, Claimed by Gix; and
Urza, Lord Protector. Each of these 3 have an unmistakably large amount of power once Melded, but pulling off the Meld can be tricky, and only gets harder if the melded creature/planeswalker dies and the non-commander card goes to the graveyard. The question Commander players will be asking is: Is it worth it? I think a lot of people are going to try, enough that these will shoot up in popularity when the set first releases. But the hype will probably taper off once people see how herculean a task it is to not only pull off the meld, but to also keep the melded entity on the field. Regardless, these are all very strong, and very fun.
Add: lots of tutors and graveyard recursion. You’ll need them to get the Meld going.
Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea
We’ve seen plenty of legendary mana-makers before. Just this year alone we’ve had Magus Lucea Kane,
Cormela, Glamour Thief, and
Rivaz of the Claw, to name but a few. Gwenna stands out among these for a few reasons. One is that she’s only one color, so she slots into a higher percentage of decks. Also, she makes two mana of any color combination, which is certainly better than just one, or even two of the same color. However, there is that drawback of her mana having to be used on creature spells and abilities. That may prevent her from being a hit in the command zone, but we should definitely expect to see Gwenna making appearances in the 99 all over the place.
Sisay, Weatherlight Captain decks will be salivating for this kind of effect (I know mine is.)
Ruric Thar, the Unbowed,
Najeela, the Blade-Blossom, and
Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy are just a few more that will appreciate Gwenna.
Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor
Remember my last article about variability, and how one of the best ways to get a different experience from your decks every game is to play with your opponents’ stuff? Well, Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor is here with perfect timing to give you another option. In fact, from a variability standpoint, this might be one of my favorite commanders. Not only do you get to play with your opponents’ things, you’re also incentivizing people to swing elsewhere by giving them that card draw option. I mean, what’s one life in the grand scheme of things? But there’s a real struggle inherent with this commander that we need to address, and that’s keeping your hand filled enough for the activated ability to be meaningful. That’s not impossible to do in mono-black, but also not as easy as if he were blue. Also, the activated ability’s cost is staggering, and will certainly deter a lot of players looking for easy value. So maybe this is more of a personal favorite than a “gonna be big” commander, but it’s worth talking about either way. I love this card, and will definitely build the deck.
Archfiend of Ifnir,
Bag of Holding,
Big Game Hunter.
Drafna, Founder of Lat-Nam
As with Gix, I may be putting a little too much of my personal taste into this pick. Because if there’s something I love in Commander more than variability, it’s freaking artifacts. I love them, I love playing with all my shiny toys. And the only thing better than having a shiny new toy is having two of them (no, I won’t share). So many mana rocks! The only question is, what direction do you take this deck? How does it win? Could be giant artifact beaters, like
Blightsteel Colossus, or maybe a card draw/mill deck with
Teferi’s Puzzle Box, and
Psychic Corrosion. Drafna doesn’t tell you how to win the game, he just tells you to play lots of artifacts. And I love that.
Rise and Shine,
Myrel, Shield of Argive
Like Gwenna, Myrel is on this list because they're going to be a hot item in the 99 far more than the command zone. Although I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who’ve always dreamt of having
Grand Abolisher as their commander. And their time has certainly come.
But let’s not overlook the soldier bit. Mono-white soldier tribal isn’t exactly a powerful, or popular, archetype, and I think if that’s your plan you’re better off going with
Harbin, Vanguard Aviator as your commander. Still, the token generation can be very relevant. Especially when you throw in cards like
Divine Visitation and
Goes in: Really any white deck that’s looking to combo off or make tokens.
Urza, Prince of Kroog
Would you like a 3/3
Sol Ring? Or a 3/3
Darksteel Forge? Or you can turn everything into an artifact with
Mycosynth Lattice so you can copy your whole board! As I said before, I freaking love artifacts, and this version of Urza absolutely has me jonesing to do some brewing. In fact, I’ve already got an infinite combo for ya. Use Urza to make a creature copy of
Basalt Monolith. Have
Training Grounds out, and once your creature copy isn’t summoning sick, it can make infinite colorless mana by tapping for 3 and untapping for 1. Feed that into Urza for infinite creature tokens. Enjoy!
Like Gix, this guy suffers from a high-cost activation. But it’s oh-so worth it.
Queen Kayla bin-Kroog
It’s always refreshing when we get a Boros (white/red) commander that does something unique. Queen Kayla is definitely that, and she has a lot of people hyped. What’s really exciting about her, aside from the value, is that she’s clearly a challenging build. You need to really sculpt your hand, and your deck, well in order to get the most value out of her, and there’s no easy-mode way to do that, outside of maybe
Scroll Rack. But thankfully there are plenty of ways to get benefits from drawing and discarding a lot of cards. And there’s no shortage of ways to untap her to go again. Just keep in mind there’s no
Laboratory Maniac in red or white, so make sure to run your graveyard shufflers.
Zirda, the Dawnwaker,
Brallin, Skyshark Rider,
Mishra, Eminent One
Let’s just start this one off with another combo, shall we?
Chromatic Orrery and
Aggravated Assault. On your combat, you make a copy of Chromatic Orrery. Then back in your main phase, tap it for 5 mana to activate Aggravated Assault and go right back to combat. Repeat over and over for infinite combats and infinite enters-the-battlefield triggers. You’ll also have infinite death triggers, since your Mishra’s Warforms will die as soon as you make another one because the Orrery is legendary, which means you won’t be able to have two of the copies out.
There’s plenty of other fun stuff to do with this commander, and that’s why he makes the list. Also, he’s the leader of one of the new Commander decks, so go pick up that deck if you want to see what all he’s capable of (or if you’re just really stoked about all the retro border reprints).
Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth.
Urza, Chief Artificer
The leader of the other precon for the set, this version of Urza adds black to his identity and churns out a huge construct every turn to wreck your opponents. The menace ability is far stronger than it may seem at first glance, especially when you drop other large artifact creatures on the board with evasion abilities like flying or trample. The casting cost looks pretty rough, but the Affinity discount should be easy if you’re running plenty of mana rocks, which you should be.
Aven Wind Guide.
Titania, Nature’s Force
Yes, another mono-green legend has made the list. And yes, it’s another Titania that cares about lands. It’s her whole schtick, apparently (although “stick” seems the more appropriate word here). What sets this one apart and gets her on my radar is the ridiculous amount of value you get for just 6 mana. Also, she’s the only one on the list that I believe will be popular as both a commander and as an addition to the 99, finding a home in almost every green+ self-mill or lands matter decks.
The Gitrog Monster decks are looking at this one really hard, as will
Lord Windgrace and all of the Omnaths.
Yedora, Grave Gardener,
Alright friends, those are my picks for the new legends to watch out for from The Brothers’ War. What do you think? Any I missed? Any on this list you think are a putrid pile of garbage? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know. You can also catch me making budget content with the Scrap Trawlers over on YouTube and Twitch.
Be sure to check back soon for my full review of the new set, when we’ll pick out all the best cards to put in the 99 for your Commander decks, and discuss the set as a whole. Until next time, take care. And play lots of games!