Hello folks! I hope that you are having a great day today and keeping yourself safe in our modern COVID-19 world! I really enjoyed my random top ten article from last week where I tossed dice and grabbed a random card from the spoiler for the set and then took some time to look at that card. It combines two of my favorite loves - talking about cards and random challenges. I love building a Commander deck around a randomly selected leader or running a Top Ten with 10 random cards from Wizards' Gatherer.
Let's do that again today!
Are you ready?
How many cards are in the spoiler as of 11/4 when I am starting to write this article? 234. That's 78 x3, so I'll toss a d6 and if I get 1-2 it'll be the first 78, and if a 3-4 the second 78 and if a 5-6 then it'll be the final 78.
For my first card I toss a 5 and a 45. That's card #201! What's that card?
10. Commander's Plate
It's this fun card! It's a powerful early drop and can really help a Voltron style deck where you are looking to build around your Commander. For example I once built an Isamaru, Hound of Konda Voltron deck when I got it in a random commander challenge (You can check it out here. In this style of build Commander's Plate is ideal as it's +3/+3 can happen as soon as you have the three mana on deck. You also want as small a color identity as possible, and Mono-White Isamaru is great since you'd have protection from every color save for White. A two-color leader like Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer would still have protection from three colors. I also like this in my Mono-Blue Voltron deck I just built around Zendikar Rising's Charix, the Raging Isle. (This card is pretty good!
I toss a 2 and a 99. We do have a 99th card, but that's not how we get it. Then my next toss is legal. My next card is...4 and 33. That's the 111st card. What's that?
It's this reprint! This bad boy was originally printed in Urza's Saga and it saw some solid play in casual formats at the time. If you dropped a dork with echo and an enters-the-battlefield trigger like Ghitu Slinger, Bone Shredder, or Avalanche Riders then you'd net the trigger, and then sacrifice it before you paid the mana cost and bring back two other dorks. It was very useful there. I've it in many builds. There is a fixed version that's one more mana but that doesn't bring them back tapped and tired from their journey so they can block, which is better in multiplayer so you won't get attacked by a wave of players. That card is Blood for Bones and it was just printed last year in Magic 2020. You could use either (or both) version well in your builds. Nicely done!
Let's do something fun. Let's wait until the full spoiler is out tomorrow (11/5) and get the rest of the cards!
Ready? Let's toss some dice. I get... card number 56. What's that?
8. Amphin Mutineer
Yet another Pirate, this time a Salamander. Awesome! This has value in Pirate builds, Salamander builds (if that's a thing), and more. Its nifty enters-the-battlefield ability will play into the typical Blue ability of exiling a target dork but leaving them with a dork, which we see in cards like Rapid Hybridization. Don't forget you can turn it on your own stuff if they have been enchanted with something that would keep them down, like Pacifism or Dehydration. It's very useful as an ETB ability and I expect to see it in a few places. It also can come back once with the encore ability, which is pretty useful as well. I hope that you enjoy it!
What's next? Card #310. What card is that? It's Bladegriff Protector, which I got last week. What next? How about #211? That's the last Red card which is...
7. Wild Celebrants
I enjoy Wild Celebrants as it's a creature with a powerful enters-the-battlefield trigger than can pop artifacts. They are more common at the multiplayer kitchen table in formats like Commander than enchantments, so you're more likely to have targets. If not, you can just ignore it since it's a "may" ability. It's much beefier and game-winning-er than other options out there in Red like Manic Vandal which is just a Gray Ogre in size and cost and must be used in case you don't want to if you are the only one with targets. Wild Celebrants is just a better class of card, and I run it in a few places!
Next? What will be my final one before the top 5? #148. What card is that?
6. Sengir, the Dark Baron
Hello Baron Sengir! This card was used to help sell the set in the intro article a long time ago and was the first card spoiled. And here we have it. There are a lot of Black triggers that will place a +1/+1 counter on a dork when something dies. Consider something like Swarm of Bloodflies or Scavenger Drake that nets a +1/+1 counter on others' deaths. But what makes Sengir, the Dark Baron sing to my mind is the double counter trigger, which could be an homage to original (see Baron Sengir). Netting two boosts is very powerful and quickly ramps up to lethal damage from a flying Commander that has partner to choose the best color to combo with to break (cough... Green... cough). He has a lot of potential!
Now what made the cut for my Top Five? The next is card...#244. What card is that?
5. Natural Reclamation
Hello fans of destroying artifacts and enchantments at the kitchen table! It's weird that I did a deep dive into potential targets of opportunity for these effects in Wild Celebrants above and now we get an instant that can destroy both targets. This thing is pretty pricey compared to other Naturalize effects. But coming with cascade? That's arguably an advantage not a disadvantage. That's especially true if you have used some in color effects like Sylvan Library or Mirri's Guile to give you a more expensive drop to cascade into. I know that we have a lot of fans of those in Commander, and cascade slides right into those builds. I hope that you enjoy it!
And now what's next? #310. Okay! What card is the 310th in the set?
Bladegriff Prototype! Again! Man, that thing really wants to be talked about again!
I toss... #195.
What's the 195th card in the spoiler?
4. Ripscale Predator
I know that's probably not something we see that often, but I enjoy seeing Red with some beef like Ripscale Predator at common. Preferably without being cheap to cast but rocking a disadvantage. You can see how useful this six-drop Dinosaur is in Limited with its 6/5 body and menace that can serve as evasive if your foe only controls one dork. It's on curve and you aren't getting something too powerful for the cost or something too pricey. I have run it in Limited before, and I'd be happy to do so again as it's a fine top end. Who's a good Dinosaur?
All right, top 3 time! What's next? 50. What's the 50th card in the set?
3. Squad Captain
It's this lover of go-wide strategies. Unlike the previous card, this one is much harder to find a home for. You can fit the Dinosaur into any ramp, control, midrange build, and only something like Boros aggro won't like it. But here? Only decks that go wide are going to want this, as it'll be big enough to warrant its casting cost. Imagine topdecking Ripscale Predator on a naked board. You are likely to win that game. This? You just got a 2/2 vigilance for way too much mana. (Note that it doesn't count itself) It's less likely. Where this really shines are builds like Selesnya Tokens or a top end in Boros Aggro that will have at last three bodies when this arrives making this an adequate but unexciting 5/5 for 5 mana. I could also see it in Limited in a +1/+1 counter deck, but that would be a big stretch with weak value. But there you are, Squad Captain for the win!
What's going to be my #2 card?
2. Abomination of Llanowar
This is my first gold card in these two articles, although we only had a handful of options last week. Let's take a looksee at Abomination of Llanowar. Now I came into this starting on Thursday fresh as I have not looked at the spoiler yet in case, I got something I haven't seen before. Let's unpack this together shall we? We have a three-drop with two very useful abilities that can help in Commander and other multiplayer formats. Its menace can make it difficult to stop and its vigilance can let you swing at open players (including those with just one dork able to block) while not allowing yourself to be open to a counterattack. Both of those are good. It sort of combines their abilities of the previous two randomly selected cards which is a fun connection. This fun Elf Horror clearly wants to lead an unusual sort of Elf deck as its size is based, not only on your Elves you control, but also those in your graveyard. That's usual. That would work well Token Elves and also with effects that sacrifice Elves or that self-mill many of which you'll find in Golgari colors. This Elf Horror isn't bad!
Now our #1 card!
#304. What's that?
1. The Prismatic Piper
This fun Shapeshifter! It can add any color to your Commander deck-build as you can run pretty much anything. It serves as a common brake on colors in case you drafted Blue and Green but never saw a Green partner. This way you can still get your deck to work. I like that. However, I have an issue with the card. Why would you run this in other build outside of the color-matters Limited scenario? It needs one more word add to its ability line and then it would be so much better and more flexible! It's even a word that matches its flavor and mechanics.
What line is that?
Think about it. We have tribal builds here like Salamanders and Elves and such that this could lead in order to give you a guaranteed leader that works with your tribe. it might give you a reason to run this!
For example, if you are running Golgari Elves and your Mono-Black partner might be (looks at the spoiler) Falthis, Shadowcat Familiar or Armix, Filigree Thrasher that give you the color but don't work with the tribe. But this would be better for you as it's on tribe if it had changeling. It's not just an escape valve in the draft but an actual tool with changeling that you might choose over others. It also gives decks outside of this draft to run it in normal Commander. No matter how weird your tribe you can get the right color and type for your build. With the in-flavor Changeling this would have been a much better tool.
Ah well. Missed opportunities abound. That's the nature of things.
And there you have it! Anything in here that inspired you? Just let me know!