I know, I know. I promised you a deck tech last time. Unfortunately, dear reader, the new product train never stops, and mere days after the release of The Brothers’ War we have another new set (two if you count the Commander starter decks). That’s right, Jumpstart 2022 has been released. Despite our cries of “Stop! Stop!” Wizards insists on treating us like Homer (the cartoon, not the author), strapped to a chair in Hell and having donuts forced down our throats. And, like Homer, we still seem to want more.
While the set is mostly a reprint collection, Wizards couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sell more product by enticing us insatiable Commander players with several new, and quite good, legendary creatures. So while that deck tech is still coming - pinky promise - today we’re looking at all 14 of the new legends printed in Jumpstart 2022. Who are they? Will they get played? What cards go with them? We’re going off the rails on the hype train. Chugga chug.
Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier
One of the coolest Boros commanders we’ve seen - and I’ll never get tired of saying that - is
Agrus Kos, Eternal Soldier the ghost of a legend whose pre-deceased form,
Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran, was the first Boros legend ever printed, hailing from the long, long ago of 2005, in Ravnica: City of Guilds. Most easily compared to the effect of
Zada, Hedron Grinder, that infamous eater of cantrips, this new Agrus shares targeted abilities with your army rather than instant and sorcery spells. But he doesn’t do it for free, which I think is crucial to keep this commander from being completely busted and out of control. That doesn’t mean you can’t still abuse his abilities.
For the 99, I’m including:
Delina, Wild Mage,
Jaxis, the Troublemaker,
Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice,
Lita, Mechanical Engineer
Over the course of like a year, we went from having 2 vehicle commanders to 2 dozen. While
Lita, Mechanical Engineer's ability to untap your mech dudes is really solid, I don’t see her stealing hearts from any of the more popular recent vehicle-centric commanders, like
Shorikai, Genesis Engine or
Greasefang, Okiba Boss. Being mono-white certainly doesn’t help her, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t worth playing. The mono-white EDH fandom grows by the day, and Lita does have a lot going for her, so I wouldn’t count her out.
For the 99:
Losheel, Clockwork Scholar (for the damage prevention),
Rebbec, Architect of Ascension,
Preston, the Vanisher
Preston, the Vanisher is an instant blink-deck classic. While it’s more likely to end up in the 99 due to its lack of blue, white has seen more and more effects printed to buff its solo blink capabilities, including the recent
Teleportation Circle. So a mono-white blink deck is not an impossibility, as much as a more challenging brew. And let’s not forget Preston’s removal ability. Illusions are, again, harder to make without blue, but you can fill the deck out with Changeling creatures and
Maskwood Nexus. And, as with any blink deck, the key is to run creatures with the best ETB effects.
Plays well with:
Mentor of the Meek,
Alandra, Sky Dreamer
Talrand, Sky Summoner’s days of drake-making supremacy are over. Enter:
Alandra, Sky Dreamer. I don’t know what relationship Talrand and Alandra have to each other, and frankly I’m too lazy to find out. But what I do know is that Alandra is way more fun than Talrand ever hoped to be. Drawing two cards a turn is a piece of cake. Drawing 5, however, is a bit more challenging. With all the flying drakes you’ll be making, damage draws will most likely be your best bet.
Flying high with:
Bident of Thassa,
Archetype of Imagination,
Isu the Abominable
Magic’s first legendary yeti has arrived. And even better, thematically speaking,
Isu the Abominable is a Snow creature. The unfortunate thing here is that, despite the supertype’s prevalence in Kaldheim, and a smattering of cards in the Modern Horizons sets, Snow still has a very small card pool from which EDH players can draw. A quick Scryfall search reveals that there are only 71 playable Snow cards within Isu’s color identity. Granted, not every card in the deck has to be snow, but it’s still nice to have enough options. Also, this isn’t any worse than the card pool for
Jorn, God of Winter // Kaldring, the Rimestaff, and Jorn was a very popular commander for a time. But coming from a Jumpstart set rather than a Standard set like Jorn did, I think we’re likely to see fewer Isu decks, since people are less likely to crack them in packs. Still, Isu is a lot of fun from a card advantage standpoint, and could be a cool, if slightly underwhelming, voltron commander with a blink sub-theme. Also, just to nitpick, how does Isu not have red in its color identity? It literally lives in the freaking mountains!
Cuddle up with:
Blessing of Frost,
Heidar, Rimewind Master,
Kenessos, Priest of Thassa
Move over Runo and Arixmethes, there’s a new sea-creature daddy in town. The amount of value you get from
Kenessos, Priest of Thassa for his 2-mana cost is incredible. Yes, you’ve gotta do a bit of work and spend a bit of mana for his abilities, but there are so many ways to make this easy. So get ready to cheat out all those big fatties and watch your opponents quake with fear of the dark and the deep.
Serpent of Yawning Depths,
Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm
Move over Jarad and Marrow-Gnawer, there’s a new rat daddy in town (whoa, déjà vu).
Ashcoat of the Shadow Swarm solves the two biggest problems with
Rat Colony: their low toughness, and their tendency to die. With your rats getting beefier and harder to keep dead, your Ashcoat deck is going to have no problem infesting your local game store.
Make ratatouille with:
Piper of the Swarm,
Move over Edg- Bah ha ha! Got ya. You thought I was gonna say Edgar, didn’t you? No,
Rodolf Duskbringer won’t be knocking any vampires out of popularity. Or any other commanders, for that matter. He’s not bad, necessarily, but I don’t see him inspiring too many brewers. For one thing, he costs a lot. 6 mana isn’t an obscene amount to pay for your commander, but it’s enough. However, the really glaring thing that will keep Rodolf from his true potential is the lack of green in his identity. If this had been an Abzan (white/black/green) commander , I think we’d be talking about him more. And that's because green is the best color for self-mill, or rather black/green is. Black certainly has ways of filling your yard with tasty creatures without green, make no mistake. But you’re losing out on some of the best ones. And better ramp, obviously. Also, we just got pretty much this exact same commander in the Warhammer decks with
Celestine, the Living Saint.
Sink your teeth into:
Kambal, Consul of Allocation,
Syr Konrad, the Grim,
Ardoz, Cobbler of War
Ardoz, Cobbler of War is basically
In the Web of War in the command zone, except for one crucial difference: it doesn’t give haste. And without granting haste…what’s the point? There are much better aggro commanders and goblin commanders. I’m really not digging this one. Better in the 99 of
Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer or
Samut, Voice of Dissent.
If you just have to play Ardoz because you're a hipster, use these:
Terror of the Peaks,
Auntie Blyte, Bad influence
Now for something a little more fun. Normally only black, or white/black, gets to play in the “life as a resource” sandbox, but
Auntie Blyte, Bad Influence has mono-red dipping its toes in the sand, and I’m here for it. And while it’s new, it’s also familiar, as it reminds us of the old days when red damage hurt you as well, like
Orcish Artillery. Definitely a fun build-around with lots of combo potential.
Feel the burn with:
Mizzix, Replica Rider
Holy hell, is this thing busted. This new iteration of Mizzix lets you copy any spell you cast from a zone other than your hand, which, I probably don’t need to tell you, is really powerful. Casting stuff from your graveyard with
Kess, Dissident Mage? Copy it. Cascading with
Abaddon the Despoiler? Copy it. Living a life of chaos with
Neera, Wild Mage? Copy it. Suspending with
Jhoira of the Ghitu? You get the point. You can run Mizzix with any of these commanders, or just run
Mizzix, Replica Rider as your lead singer and play all the red impulse draw spells. Either way, you’re gonna have a good time.
Makin’ copies with:
Errant, Street Artist,
Etali, Primal Storm,
Ignite the Future,
Kibo, Uktabi Prince
Kibo, Uktabi Prince if for no other reason than it forces Magic players to accept that apes and monkeys aren’t the same thing (sorry, I’m a bit snobbish about primates being classified correctly). But aside from that, this one’s gonna take a bit of time to figure out. There’s no clear plan for Kibo, other than trying to get your monkeys and apes bigger, most likely for attacking. There’s a bit of contradiction in Kibo though, because it wants you to tap it to make the nanas, but it also wants to attack, which requires you to tap it. You can’t eat your cake and have it too, unfortunately. Unless, of course, you give Kibo vigilance. I think this one will be popular for the meme-factor. Not because it’s great.
Hangs around with:
Visions of Ruin,
Well of Lost Dreams.
Runadi, Behemoth Caller
Runadi, Behemoth Caller does just about everything you want a green stompy commander to do. He buffs your monsters, makes them fast, and gives you a mana to help cast them. There’s nothing here that I don’t like. You can easily build up a massive menagerie of beasts with Runadi, so if smashing faces with big creatures is your thing, you can’t go wrong here.
Likes to booty call:
Champion of Lambholt,
The Great Henge,
Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma.
Zask, Skittering Swarmlord
The first commander with a true
Crucible of Worlds ability, which seems like a strange thing to say in a year when we got over 350 new options for the zone. Also, bugs. Also, self-mill!
Zask, Skittering Swarmlord almost seems too good to be true for Golgari (black/green) aficionados, but Zask is the real deal. I expect this one to be extremely popular with all the necromancers and entomologists.
Grist, the Hunger Tide,
The Gitrog Monster,
Tormod, the Desecrator,
Canoptek Scarab Swarm,
Alright, those are the new legends from Jumpstart 2022. What do you think? Will these new legends make you run out and buy packs? Or are you like the rest of us and still trying to digest Battle for Baldur’s Gate? Hit me up to chat over on Twitter. You can also catch me making budget content with the Scrap Trawlers over on Twitch and YouTube.
Check back in a couple of weeks for my full 2022 year in review! I’ll give some annual awards, tell you my top 10 cards of the year, and give you my opinion of the whole dang year. So don’t miss it! Until then, take care. And play lots of games!