I’m going to level with you: The title is super-misleading. Sorry. If you’re interested in the origins of 75% Commander, you could try reading the first article or the one I wish people sent to each other when they send the first article after someone asks about 75% Commander. I am just trying to make a pun title to introduce an article in which I want to talk about cards from Magic Origins that I think are good inclusions in a 75% deck. I have quite a list, and I’m pretty excited to get into it. Why didn’t I do this last week before the set was prereleased? Well, it’s because I think most, if not all, Commander cards in the set are going to go down in price if we’re patient, so there’s no real hurry in identifying these cards, and I had an article I really wanted to write last week instead.
Speaking of last week’s article, man, did I make a minor error that’s pretty embarrassing to me! Did you read last week’s article? I helped a reader (hopefully) figure out why he draws so much aggro and even though I thought his build was fine, I still suggested some changes to the deck. A card I didn’t suggest? If you follow this series, it may surprise you because I always suggest this card.
I forgot to include Quietus Spike. Me. I suggest Quietus Spike a lot, and it is such a good inclusion in a deck full of unblockable creatures and Ophidians that it was ridiculously obvious. Maybe you all don’t think it was a big deal to miss that, but I feel pretty silly. I feel that I’d be remiss if I didn’t point that out. We can move on now, comforted by the knowledge that I’ve only made one mistake in my writing career. So what do I like from Magic Origins in 75% Commander deck? Quite a bit. Let’s get into trouble.
Archangel of Tithes — Pillow-fort Angel? Punishing on offense? This card does it all. Serving to help punish token strategies including the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker/Zealous Conscripts combo I like to use in my Maelstrom Wanderer deck and generally making it tough on your opponents to attack and block, this card does it all. Wait a bit for the price to come down (that is, unless this impacts Standard, in which case you will wait a long, long time), but this card is the real deal and is very 75%.
Hallowed Moonlight — This feels like a bit of a sideboard card for Standard, but I think this solves a lot of problems out of a lot of decks in Commander, and being a cantrip means it’s never truly dead. Whether you’re preventing a Kiki combo from going off, preventing a player from using a reanimation effect, nerfing Rhys the Redeemed, or doing anything in between, this is a versatile hoser, and I’d like to see it find a home. This is an effect worth knowing about.
Relic Seeker — Renown can be good in Commander, especially on a 2-drop that can connect on a turn when at least one person on the table went, “Land, Sol Ring, go,” or tapped out for Cultivate. It’s not as good as Stoneforge Mystic, which is fine since this will be much more affordable. Why pick? Play this, Mystic, and Stonehewer Giant. This set gave us an Equipment I’m very excited about after all.
Tragic Arrogance — This is the perfect 75% Cataclysm because it couldn’t hit opponents’ lands if it wanted to. I’m really excited about this card, and being able to pick the stuff opponents keep rather than them pick is even better than Cataclysm in some scenarios. I think this is a solid card.
Disciple of the Ring — This card can do a ton of work in a deck that has a lot of instants and sorceries, such as a Melek, Izzet Paragon deck. Anything with this many abilities is going to solve a lot of different problems in a lot of different scenarios. I’m pumped.
Displacement Wave — Tokens got you down? With X set to 0, it should set the board state right. This is a very good reset button, but with it being more symmetrical than Cyclonic Rift, it may be too situational to see play. I’m still a fan of the utility and am going to at least test this, although I imagine Curse of the Swine is currently occupying the slot this card wants and will be hard to budge.
Jace's Sanctum — I was unkind to this card in my set review for Brainstorm Brewery, comparing it to Arcane Melee, a card I don’t see being played. The smaller benefit on casting cost is more than mitigated by the scry, which can grab lands off the top and throw them on the bottom and help you keep the advantage train going. I think this can see more than mere niche play. I like it more and more every time I think of more decks it can go into.
Mizzium Meddler — Countermagic in Commander can annoy people, which is why I advocate running expensive or narrow counters. You’re less inclined to waste a Desertion on a mana rock than you are a Mana Leak. I like Hindering Light a ton as a 75% counter, and this is pretty similar in a lot of scenarios. It’s probably going to die, but it can beat down or block in a pinch and can save the life of a better creature. This is a very 75% card irrespective of raw power.
Psychic Rebuttal — Again, here’s a narrow, 75%-friendly counterspell. I like it.
Talent of the Telepath — I think this card is trash in Limited, and when it was played against me and didn’t affect much (besides throwing Liliana in my ’yard for me to play Necromantic Summons on), the player who cast it ’boarded it out. I think this is a very different card in 75% Commander and can grab some saucy spells, especially if you manage to copy it with Mirari or Uyo, Silent Prophet or something. This is a great way to scale your power level to opponents’.
Thopter Spy Network — Look, Coastal Piracy and Bitterblossom had a baby. I’ll play a situationally-better Coastal Piracy any day. There are plenty of blue decks that have a lot of artifact creatures, and this can be a real advantage engine. And unlike Limited, you have a ton of mana rocks to switch this on.
Willbreaker — A build-around to be sure, this is very powerful, and in a deck like Nin, the Pain Artist’s, wherein the commander is a reusable source of targeting, this is potent. I like scaling my power level to opponents’ by virtue of swiping their dudes, and this does that in spades. Throw Swiftfoot Boots or keep counter backup though—this will be a kill-on-sight creature.
Demonic Pact — I like the idea of donating this with Bazaar Trader, flashing it out of play and back in, or other shenanigans. This can be a real liability, but also a really fun card, and 75% is about nothing if not fun.
Tainted Remedy — I love this card. So many possibilities!
Chandra's Ignition — Say what? This card is obscene! This was made to go in a Commander deck, and as someone who routinely kills people with Burn at the Stake, I’m already looking for the best way to murder a whole table with this card . . . As though Blightsteel Colossus needed any help being obscene.
Flameshadow Conjuring — I like this rather a lot, especially in a deck that doubles the number of tokens you put into play. This may be more cute than good, but I’m going to test it.
Pia and Kiran Nalaar — Maybe too weak to be your commander, but I love these guys in an artifact-based deck as another Bosh, Iron Golem that can make use of your tokens. For maximum fun, try equipping these with the Quietus Spike I sometimes remember to include in lists.
Animist's Awakening — Almost everyone else is more excited about this card than I am, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Kruphix, God of Horizons and Omnath, Locus of Mana players everywhere are excited about turning their decks into gas factories with all the lands removed, and pulling enough lands out to make this effectively cost 0 is pretty cool, especially with Ravnica Karoo lands untapping from the spell mastery trigger.
The Great Aurora — Nuts. Nutty nuts. You want this card.
Managorger Hydra — Hey, you know how Taurean Mauler is really good in Commander? What if we made it the right color, made it a Hydra, gave it trample, and made all of the Vorel of the Hull Clade players weep tears of gratitude? I’m buying $5 foils of this right now, and no one can tell me that’s wrong. It’s insane how happy this card makes me.
Nissa, Vastwood Seer — This is such a good Planeswalker and creature combo in Commander that I’m salivating. I’m excited to see this played.
Nissa's Revelation — Mayael the Anima decks are going to ruin lives with this card. I was unkind to this card in my MTG Price set review of the color green, but I’m warming to it. This certainly has a ton of upside even at its high mana cost.
Woodland Bellower — This is literally my favorite card in the set. I can’t wait to go ham with this in decks like Riku of Two Reflections’s and Maelstrom Wanderer’s. This with Deadeye Navigator is sauce. I even used this at the prerelease to fetch my second-favorite card in the set . . .
Shaman of the Pack — As a Nath of the Gilt-Leaf player, there’s a reason this is my second-favorite card in the set. This is the finisher we’ve been waiting for. Bounce it with Wirewood Symbiote, tutor for it with Elvish Harbinger, turn a million Nath tokens into a KO uppercut. I love this card.
Alhammarret's Archive — Do you like Sphinxes? Daretti, Scrap Savant? Selvala, Explorer Returned? This can go in a ton of different decks and impact all of them. Look at the price trajectory for Venser's Journal also. I see this getting cheap, but I don’t see it staying cheap. I love this card. It won’t draw aggro like Consecrated Sphinx does, but it is just as powerful in some situations and more versatile. This is a 75% Sphinx in my opinion.
Hangarback Walker — I don’t know if any decks other than Vorel want this guy, but Vorel wants him bad.
Orbs of Warding — No one seems as excited about this card as I am. You just took Urza's Armor and Witchbane Orb and turned them into a single card slot. If you would have played both or either, you should be happy with this card. Token strategies are being hosed quite a bit in this set.
Pyromancer's Goggles — If there is a place for this card, it’s in a 75% Commander deck. I like this a lot, and I’m already thinking of fun spells to double, such as Blasphemous Act (Stuffy Doll for the win!) and Prophetic Bolt. Fun times!
Sword of the Animist — Every Commander player I know was excited about this card and had an idea of how powerful it was. Most of them were surprised to learn they’d underestimated this card. This is bug-nutty, and you can even tutor for it with Relic Seeker. Deal!
This set has quite a bit of gas for 75% decks. I think all five Planeswalkers are at least worth testing out, and I think Liliana, Heretical Healer could be a solid commander. I’m really excited to see so much Commander goodness and a little sad that this is the last core set they’ll do. Still, with the Commander precons giving us sixty new cards a year and with powerful, but expensive spells and creatures probably in Battle for Zendikar, our decks will continue to evolve, and new archetypes will continue to emerge.
It’s an exciting time to play Commander, and this set being popular and powerful in Standard could make it sell well, which will lower the prices on all of the rares and mythics, thus making the patient Commander player save a ton of money by waiting for the right time to buy in. Anything I missed? Leave it in the comments or, better yet, also leave me a list for the deck you want to jam that card in. Am I overhyping something? Let me know that, too! Did I read a card wrong? Let me know! I’ve already added a few of these cards to my decks, and I’m really happy with how they are working out.
What the heck, let’s do my Top 5
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to jam all five in decks or build new ones to house them. Sword of the Animist and Relic Seeker make me want to crack open the white precon I got for Christmas, shell out for a Stoneforge Mystic, and get there in either a Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer or Nahiri, the Lithomancer shell. I’ll keep you posted! I don’t need to tell you I’ll remember Quietus Spike this time.