My multiplayer reviews are fairly straightforward: I look for cards that are better in multiplayer games than they would be in standard 1v1 games. Tibalt, Rakish Instigator is exactly what I’m talking about. Against one opponent, he is preventing a player who may have no way to gain life, from gaining life. In multiplayer, you will almost certainly find at least one player who is looking to gain a ton of life. Tibalt shuts that down and is a much better card in multiplayer as a result. No, Tibalt isn’t good enough to make the list since I’m not spending mana on a spell that does only that. And don’t talk to me about a 1/1 Red Devil that only makes it easier to get Tibalt off the battlefield. Tibalt may get his moment, but it won’t be with this card.
This list isn't the best cards for multiplayer games; I'm looking at cards that get better because of multiplayer. Then I take what I think are the best cards from those cards and talk about them here.
There are several cards I'm really excited about in War of the Spark, so let's get started!
8. Deliver Unto Evil
Fact or Fiction in multiplayer is such a fun card. Your opponent makes two piles, but you are choosing the opponent! When you and one of your opponents both need the same thing, quite often that opponent will give you what you want. Many times I’ve separated Fact or Fiction piles into a pile of five and a pile of zero, knowing all of those cards will be focused at our shared enemy.
Say hello to Deliver Unto Evil. Forget about what this card offers if you control a Bolas planeswalker for a second. If you don’t control a Bolas planeswalker, the card becomes a graveyard version of Fact or Fiction! This means that Deliver Unto Evil really needs a Bolas planeswalker to be powerful in one v. one games, but in multiplayer, you can get the two best cards in your graveyard if you can structure it properly!
7. Ajani, the Greathearted
Normally in lists like this, I look to find cards that do something to all opponents. More opponents means more damage or more creatures destroyed. These are obvious times when multiple opponents make cards better.
Ajani, the Greathearted demonstrates this a little differently. Creatures with vigilance are great in multiplayer games. It is awfully hard to attack with a creature that will be tapped, since it means you can’t use it to block. Since you are attacking one player and leaving yourself open to three players swinging back, in most cases it just makes sense not to attack. Vigilance allows you to take advantage of an opening in an opponent’s defenses without having to leave yourself open. You swing in and you still have your creature(s) back to block anyone else thinking to take advantage.
Is it worth it to play this card just for that? Probably not, but Ajani isn’t going to draw the ire of the table like other planeswalkers will. Ticking upward to gain three life is nothing, but adding counters to creatures and planeswalkers can make for a big swing, especially in a lot of the decks Selesnya colors tend to feature. Swaths of token creatures doubling in size is big, particularly in decks with ways to double those counters. Then there are the cards that give benefits to creatures with +1/+1 counters on them or benefits to other cards because of creatures with +1/+1 counters on them.
Ajani is great in multiplayer and will be a utility card in token decks for a while.
6.Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge
Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge runs like other Tezzeret cards; load your deck with artifacts and let him loose. For the purposes of multiplayer bonus, his +2 ability deals damage to each opponent. Forgetting about the surge in Treasure tokens lately, X could easily reach five or seven with almost no effort in a primarily artifact deck. With Revel in Riches and all the ways to accumulate Clue tokens as well, doing more than a dozen damage to each opponent shouldn’t be too difficult. If you can get that to go off a couple of times, you are just going to win games with that ability alone. Add in the static ability giving your creature spells affinity for artifacts, and you might never actually have to use a Treasure token! Expect to see this the next time your friend pulls out their Esper artifact deck!
5.Tamiyo, Collector of Tales
Many strategies involve opponents discarding cards or more frequently, sacrificing permanents. Black likes to get around the whole indestructible creature thing by forcing you to sacrifice them. How many times has Butcher of Malakir been the reason your entire army disappears into oblivion? Just last week, I suffered through this and wasn’t able to rebuild my army, as they would simply be sacrificed. Tamiyo, Collector of Tales shuts that down.
The question then becomes whether the rest of the card is strong enough. Spending four mana for a static ability that is awesome in the right game, but may not be needed in a game, is a lot. We want a little more from the card than that. Tamiyo’s +1 is good with a deck that is regularly looking at the top of its library. Brainstorm-style cards, Sensei's Divining Top, and Sylvan Library can all do the job. You get the best card of the Top 4, and the remaining three go to your graveyard, where you can use the -3 loyalty ability to get one of them into your hand! All of this for the +1 which will help keep Tamiyo alive a little longer.
4.Ashiok, Dream Render
I tend to avoid tutors in my decks. I embrace the idea that my Commander decks should play out differently every time I play, and in that light, I try not to run tutors. Not all of my opponents follow my restrictions, so a card that forces them to play along sounds very appealing!
Not only do I force players to forego tutors, but I’m also preventing players from searching for lands. Kodama's Reach and Cultivate do nothing. Evolving Wilds doesn’t let you search for a land. Ashiok, Dream Render is a nasty card for a lot of decks.
Now this is a somewhat niche ability. Unless you play this in the first three or four turns, you aren’t going to hinder anyone’s mana production, so all you are doing is preventing tutoring. Thankfully Ashiok offers more. The -1 ability takes out graveyards. Not just one graveyard, all of your opponents’ graveyards. This means that you are the only one who can run graveyard shenanigans. You can even use the -1 ability to target yourself, loading up your graveyard for fun, while everyone else takes the hit. With graveyard recursion becoming a thing for virtually every color, this is an option that I can really get behind!
The one creature to make the list, Massacre Girl in one on one games can prove to be a board wipe or simply a 4/4 with menace. With only one opponent, you are never sure how effective her enter the battlefield trigger will be. If your opponent has a couple of 4/4 creatures, nothing happens. If your opponent has five 2/2 creatures, then you are looking to kill a single creature to light the spark that takes them all down.
In multiplayer games though, you are virtually guaranteed to see her take down entire tables. There is almost always at least one or two creatures with only one toughness in play. Most times you are playing against at least one opponent who is running token creatures. Once one creature dies, suddenly everyone has -2/-2.That usually can take out one or two more creatures. Suddenly everyone is looking at -4/-4 and that can remove the rest. Consider a board with two 1/1 creatures, two 3/3 creatures, two 4/4 creatures, a 7/7 creature and a 9/9 creature. Every one of those creatures is going to die.
I do recommend running her in a deck with some 1/1 creatures. Perhaps you can have a couple of vampire tokens? That loss means every 3/3 creature would die, and that is enough to set the creatures falling like dominoes. Even without the tokens, Massacre Girl works well in a deck that can destroy a target creature. Can you think of a card in Black that would be able to help? It is almost difficult to come up with a card in Black that wouldn’t!
Massacre Girl also doesn’t target so creatures with protection from Black are still vulnerable. And that indestructible army over there has no defense!
This will also be particularly fun during combat later on. Will anyone block a smaller creature if it means they might set off a massive board wipe again? If someone swings at you, their entire attacking force can be reduced by one piece of removal. Vona's Hunger, even if you don’t have the City’s Blessing, can give every creature -3/-3.That would likely take down most of the attackers and at the very least, reduce the overall power of the creatures attacking you. I can’t wait to try this in my Tombstone Stairwell deck!
2.Teferi, Time Raveler
For Teferi, Time Raveler, the static ability is what makes him a star in multiplayer games. Playing spells only at sorcery speed means no one is messing with your turn, and when you want to counter something, you don’t have to worry about opponents playing their own pesky counters! Everyone with their Vedelken Orreries can settle down and the game can proceed at a civilized pace!
When you add to this the fact that this two-loyalty ability planeswalker can add counters to himself without resorting to proliferate or other shenanigans, it makes it just that little bit harder for opponents to remove him from the battlefield. And the +1, while narrow for some decks, can still surprise many opponents. Most mass removal spells, and spells with big effects, are sorceries. This means you are always threatening some board wipe, no matter whose turn it is. Even the -3 offering to bounce a permanent and draw you a card will be nice in desperate situations.
1.Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God
Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God is the epitome of a card that is far better in multiplayer games than one on one. Every ability is better with multiple players. His +1 forces all opponents to exile a card, not just a target opponent. And before you discard this as a nothing ability, remember that you are drawing a card and your opponents are not putting a card in their graveyard, they are exiling it. That card is just lost to them. His -3 is better as there are more options. You are always going to have a juicy target in a multiplayer game for this ability. The -8 can take out multiple opponents. Sure, in commander it will be tough to win games this way with a legendary creature always just a casting cost away, but it can happen.
My personal favorite is the static ability. Copy effects are always great in multiplayer games because there are so many options, and that will be the same with Nicol Bolas. It may take a little time to see the number of planeswalkers in Commander games go up, but it will happen. As more planeswalkers are created, Nicol Bolas will only get better. You can use other planeswalkers with +2 or more abilities that you will be able to use to move Nicol Bolas loyalty count up faster than some opponents will recognize.
I look forward to seeing how players respond to the plethora of planewalkers permeating their playgroups.I hope the removal options available show up in decklists soon after!