Hello folks! I hope that you are having a great day today and keeping yourself safe in our modern COVID-19 world!!!
Have you had a chance to review the Commander Legends spoiler to check out the new cards? I have! It's been out for a few days now and I've gotten a chance to review it a few times. I've looked at the cards in question and I have chosen the ones that I think are the most impactful. Then I have created my list of the Top Ten cards in order, and then I sat on that list for day and came back to my list fresh. Then I moved things around and jettisoned some assumptions I had made after a new look.
Today I want to look at the (new) cards that I think are the best in the set. Ready?
Let's do it!
Honorable Mention #1 and #2 - Liesa, Shroud of Dusk AND Dargo, the Shipwrecker
The problem with these two potential leaders is very powerful. Whenever a Commander breaks the rules of the format, then it tends to be overly potent. Take as two good examples Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, who has an alternate play cost, and Oloro, Ageless Ascetic that always nets you life even when it's in your Command Zone. Both new cards are a bit abusive in similar ways. I think both Liesa and Dargo could prove to be equally problematic given their potential cost reduction. Dargo will sacrifice artifacts as well as dorks for a cheaper cost. Cheap artifacts like Treasure, Gold, Food and Clues are in abundance and with that partner ability, Dargo can team up with colors that give him a lot of said cheapness. And don't sleep on him either. He can kill in three Commander hits if unblocked and will trample over any blockers, so he's very powerful early in the game. Meanwhile Liesa will drop down without the problem of Commander tax, just like Derevi would. No matter how many times you take her out. All you need is some life, which you have in abundance. Her natural lifelink you'll get from every Commander battle is a natural break on that payment, and you can add in more life gain here and there without batting an eye in Orzhov. Both are trouble.
Now let's turn to my list proper.
10. Bladegriff Prototype
Look at this amazing removal opportunity. In a multiplayer game, suppose you swing with it at Player X. It has flying to slip on through, so it hits and trigger. Now Player X has to choose to destroy any target nonland permanent that you do not control. They aren't going to be choosing to their own! Likely, this will be Player Y's or Player Z's. Here's the thing. In any multiplayer game, someone will be ahead and have a nasty board position. Let's suppose its Player Z's Stasis deck. You need to off the Stasis, and everyone else agrees. So, you swing at Player X knowing they'll let it through and then destroy the card that matters to each of you. Boom! Dead. This will also add politically based removal to every deck that needs it, like Black's inability to handle artifacts or Red's enchantments or Green's creatures (typically, although there are exceptions). You can also tag team. Bladegriff Prototype can take off a Lightning Greaves so they can Swords to Plowshares it. It works either way.
9. Sphinx of the Second Sun
This is a very unique card! You get free untapping, so that doubles your mana. You get another card so that's mad card flow. You get another set of upkeep triggers. It's broken with #4 below as it'll ensure you get the most powerful game-smashing upkeep trigger. This Sphinx is powerful on its own, but it really abuses upkeep triggers common in Commander like Phyrexian Arena and Graveborn Muse. This thing is the ultimate upkeep breaker but even without it is a powerful, nasty, force that doubles your mana and draws a card every one of your turns. That'll win the game on its own! Plus, you are getting a mana doubling effect in Blue, when these are usually in Green!
8. Apex Devastator
The more expensive a card is, the more powerful it is with cascade. Here you get...let me count...four cascades. Folks? That's a lot of cascades for maximum value. You are in the color of Sylvan Library or Mirri's Guile for library manipulation to ensure massive cascading. Cascade is a cast trigger so you cannot cheat it out, recur it, or blink it and net the cascades. But that won't matter. Green is the color of ramp, and you could easily cast this on turn six and then break the game. This thing is just nasty.
7. Archon of Coronation
I love the Archon of Coronation. It nets you card drawing in a color that really needs it. And when folks invariably swing at you to steal the Crown? No worries mate! You won't take any damage at all! They'll still get the monarchy from you, which is sad, but you won't take any damage. White is also the color of pillow fortery so you might be able to last a full battalion of attacks due to cards like Kor Haven, Commander Eesha, and Ghostly Prison, ensuring you draw card after card after card. This also can protect you from all burn from Red or Black, so enjoy!
6. Emberwilde Captain
Getting to draw a card by giving yourself the monarchy is great! Especially for a color that has normally eschewed card drawing in its raw form. But with the Emberwilde Captain you will get one card at the end of your turn for free. And then it protects you from folks swinging back to take the crown from you. You'll shoot them for some damage, and that could keep someone with a low life total for daring to attack, although I think most will trade some life loss for the monarchy and a crown. Enjoy it!
This thing is in the wrong color, but ah well. It should be White. It's a Pirate, which is great for those decks, and a Merfolk as well, for those that care about one of the first tribes in the game. It's a decent guy on curve for 3/2 and flash so you won't lose anything by playing it. And then it turns opposing card draw effects into Lotus Petals. Did they cast Opt on your turn? Here's your Lotus Petal! Did they cast Ancient Craving on their main phase after they drew in their draw step? Here's your three Lotus Petals! Did they draw a card from punching your face with Lu Xun, Scholar General or Hystrodon? Here's your Lotus Petal! You get all of the Lotus Petals! Not only is that a lot of ramp in a format that loves its card draw, but they are all artifacts so you can also play into artifact loving themes.
4. The Court Cycle
We've already discussed above about the value of the monarchy and card flow especially in the non-Blue colors that normally don't get it save by discarding cards first, paying life, or interacting with a creature. Most of the monarch makers are creatures that are easier to deal with as every color can answer a dork from burn to exiling to stealing to countering to destruction. Even Green can destroy flyers, or use Desert Twister or Beast Within. But enchantments are different to answer. Blue's stealing effects are reduced. Black has a single answer printed in color. Red has nothing save Chaos Warp. White and Green are the only colors with reliable answers. Given that, the Court cycle is much more likely to stick the landing. They also all have triggered effects that are downright nasty if you have remained the Monarch. But even if you didn't? They can still trigger with value. Getting a free land drop from Court of Bounty? A free Shock? A free 1/1 flyer? These will still matter. But if you are the Monarch? Dang that's nasty! Enjoy this fun cycle.
3. Reshape the Earth
I don't care how much this thing costs. A ramp deck that combines Sol Ring, Ancient Tomb and Mana Crypt with the powerful ramp spells of Green could easily cast Reshape the Earth on turn five. And then they get 10 lands to the battlefield. They aren't even restricted as basic lands or Forests! You could get the Urzatron for 7 mana from those three lands. You could get Gaea's Cradle if your deck cares about creatures for a few mana. Temple of the False God? Ancient Tomb if you didn't already get it? You could easily net 20 mana from your 10 lands. Then, in addition to the 9 you already had available...I think you might win that game! This spell is arguably one of the most broken in the set and will win games.
2. Tevesh Szat, Doom of Fools
As we have learned previously, getting a planeswalker as a Commander can be rough to deal with by many builds. You killed it? Okay I'll just bring it back better than ever. It makes minus loyalty abilities less painful because normally that might mean your 'walker is heading toward a dangerous place, but now? If it dies, then you can just recast it. Netting partner on top of that is downright nasty! You can combine it with another color (or two) with the right partner. Given how game-winningly nasty that ultimate, might I suggest Green for the counter adding and manipulation of Doubling Season et all? Or Simic for proliferating and Blue's counter manipulation loving? You can easily blow it up early and then steal all the Commanders and shut down most players. This thing? Nasty!
1. The Player Check Duels
Having lands that come into play untapped is key in figuring out which ones to run in your Commander deck. You have cards like the Pain Lands that come into play untapped, or the Shock Lands that you can use untapped if you need to. These are heavily used. But this cycle? It's even better! Any game of multiplayer sees these get dropped untapped without any complications or requirements. No life lost. No requirements for you to have a land like a Check Land, nothing. That makes this cycle one of the best for any Commander game specifically or other multiplayer formats generally. Enjoy this powerful cycle!
And there you have my choices for the top card from the set. Know what? Let's do this again next week! How about I look at the Next Ten Cards next Friday? If your favorite card isn't in today's list, it could be next week's!
Keep yourself safe!