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Commander Spice: Hidden Gems for White Guilds

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I like to look back at some of the older cards in Magic that you may not have heard of but would want to add to your Commander decks. This time around I took a look at some multicolored cards that would fit in your white-aligned guild decks. Let's get right to it!

Righteous War

Righteous War

When Visions came out, this card had limited value. Ravnica didn't exist and the idea of multicolored creatures was just starting to take hold. This meant you were paying three mana so your creatures would have protection from White or protection from Black because you certainly didn't have any creatures that were Black and White! This meant your Black creatures could not be Swords to Plowshares'd away or chump blocked if one of your opponents was playing with White creatures, or it meant that your White creatures could not be Terror'd away or destroyed by your opponent's Sengir Vampire. Your opponents weren't playing with multicolored cards either, so the odds you could stop them were minimal as well.

Our current world is all new, and a card like Righteous War gets a whole new lease on life. Suddenly your Orzhov creatures can't be targeted or blocked or take damage from more than two-fifths of the creatures out there. While there are plenty of Orzhov decks that aren't looking to swing in and deal significant damage, all those Aristocrat builds would likely enjoy seeing their creatures protected from much of the removal available in the game.

Teysa Karlov and Karlov of the Ghost Council will like this card while Daxos the Returned will appreciate the experience counters and the boost given to the White and Black Spirit tokens that didn't have any evasion before Righteous War appeared. With Hall of Heliod's Generosity around, opponents will be reluctant to even waste their precious enchantment removal on it.

Soltari Guerrillas

Soltari Guerrillas

Shadow creatures are something you don't see much of any more in Commander games. They don't make good chump blockers and getting in for a point or two of damage just isn't all that exciting. The difference with Soltari Guerrillas is that it offers so much more than a few points of combat damage. Doing three points of damage to any creature is such a valuable thing!

When you swing with your team, is your opponent going to block your 2/2 with their 5/5? They are choosing their blocks before they know where the Guerrillas will hit, so their combat math is just miserable. Swing in and take out those creatures that never attack or block. Gaddock Teeg is destroyed out of nowhere! Ezuri can get snug in the Command Zone with a big tax on his head. And you don't even have to swing at the player with the troublesome creature. Swing at John and take out Jen's miserable creature instead! And if you happen to run into someone actually playing with shadow creatures, swing at someone else and do the damage to the shadow creature!

With all of that, my favorite move is playing Phyrexian Splicer. The Splicer allows you to take shadow away from the Guerrillas and give it to another creature. Swapping Shadow off the Guerrillas to give it to a truly massive beatstick is delightful! Giving shadow to an attacking creature that gives you a bonus when it attacks is delicious! Phyrexian Splicer is a gift that keeps on giving! It can also be a curse that makes life miserable for opponents. The Splicer doesn't say that you have to target your own creature! Give an opponent's only blocking creature shadow until the end of the turn, then attack with everything for serious amounts of damage! Soltari Guerrillas are pure utility!

Purgatory

Purgatory

Mirage provided a few curious enchantments, and Purgatory is one of them. Pay four mana and two life and you can bring any nontoken creatures back to the battlefield. Back when it came out, there weren't many creatures with abilities that triggered when they died or entered the battlefield. You were paying the costs just to get bodies back on the battlefield. While paying that price would have been fine for a Sengir Vampire or Baron Sengir or even a Serra Angel, for many others, it just seemed like a big price to pay.

Now, virtually every creature has some ability that triggers and for the low low price of four mana and two life, you can do it again. There are certainly better ways to recur your creature cards once, but getting repeated returns is a little harder. Adding this to your recursion suite can be a good thing.

It should be noted that the creatures do hit your graveyard before being exiled, so those triggers happen. It should also be noted that it isn't optional, so when your creatures die, the cards are exiled, whether you want them to or not. Finally, the biggest downside is that the recursion has to happen at the beginning of your upkeep. There is no holding the mana back or paying it at the end of an opponent's turn. If you are hoping to abuse Purgatory to get back a creature that attacks for serious damage, it better have haste. The best way to use Purgatory is for those enter the battlefield triggers. Gary (Gray Merchant of Asphodel for the uninitiated) will love Purgatory!

Prismatic Boon

Prismatic Boon

This is one of my favorite cards on the list and it is an uncommon! Everything I said about Righteous War also applies here. With more multicolored cards, getting protection from a color is more valuable than it was when the card first came out.

The obvious Boon is swinging with your team and making them essentially unblockable. If you want you can pick just the creatures that get bonuses when they hit an opponent, or lack some other evasion. It is a flexible card. The other relatively obvious Boon is targeting your creatures when an opponent attacks you. Your creatures can block with impunity and wreak havoc on your opponent's forces. Both seem like vicious options!

The path less taken with Prismatic Boon is using it on your opponent's creatures! You can mess with combat when your opponents attack each other, either making attackers unblockable or blockers take no damage. This is a surprise every time you do it, as opponents never think you are going to play a spell that effects combat you aren't involved in.

Finally, there is the truly devious Boon. Giving your opponents creatures protection from a color to prevent them from getting a bonus. That White aura is just graveyard bound with a well-timed Prismatic Boon. When Mother of Runes is trying to target a creature to give it protection from Red to save it, Prismatic Boon jumps in and gives it protection from White so Mom can't target it.

Being an easy to cast spell that you can use at instant speed means there is just so much this card can do to help you out!

Hunting Grounds

Hunting Grounds

When most people see Hunting Grounds for the first time, they tend to think it is a card of limited use. It does nothing until you have at least seven cards in your graveyard. The cheap cost is cute, but if you aren't going to get the benefit until there are seven cards in your graveyard, it may never do anything for you

I remember playing Hunting Grounds early in a game. I only had one card in the graveyard at the time. Once Hunting Grounds hit the battlefield, suddenly only one player was willing to attack me. I had a few small blockers on the battlefield. Almost everyone was afraid to attack, for fear I would chump block and get closer to threshold. The guy that was still attacking was hitting with flyers that I couldn't block, but Hunting Grounds, even without threshold, does wonders for your defense. Given that, Hunting Grounds just gets a lot better!

Assuming you get to use Hunting Grounds when you have threshold, consider the benefits. You are playing a creature on an opponent's turn. This means surprise blockers. This means creatures that can attack on your turn. This means that even when you are tapped out, you are still a threat. If you can recur your creature, this can give you repeated ETB triggers!

The only real downside to Hunting Grounds is that you really want to be able to draw a lot of cards. And I mean A LOT. Think about Rhystic Study. When it is in play, how often does the controller ask, "are you paying the extra for that?" This isn't how often they draw the card from Rhystic Study, just how often they ask the question. Now realize that every time they ask that question Hunting Grounds lets you put a creature card from your hand to the battlefield. If you want to take full advantage, you will need a LOT of cards in hand.

I hope you enjoyed our walk through some of the hidden gems from the early days! There are plenty of wild cards for your White guild decks to abuse from early Magic!

Bruce

@manaburned