I have been so consumed by writing about the many decks I want to build that I neglected to do a set review right when Midnight Hunt came out. It seems like it may be a bit late to do it, now, but I also think there is a lot of merit in reviewing the cards after I've had a chance to play with them a bit, something set reviewers don't typically get to do that often. Is it too late for a set review for a Commander set? Not really - Commander is an eternal format, which means we can come across a card like Tombstone Stairwell in AD 2k21 and find a home for it after failing to do so for nearly 3 decades. Even if you have your decks built with commanders from Midnight Hunt, you can always make some modifications if something we cover in this set review strikes your fancy. I think this is worth doing, I think it's worth doing now and I wish there were a third thing because the rule of 3s is a rule for a reason. There are a lot of cards in this set I think are great in 75% decks and I waited weeks to talk about them, so let's not wait any longer.
OK, I lied. One more small bit of disclaimer - I am not going to talk about cards that are obviously good because you don't need me to do that - everyone who writes about Commander has that covered. I'm also not going to talk about fringe playable cards, even if I like them. I'm only talking about cards that I think strengthen decks that are built according to the brief list of guidelines enshrined in this article. That's fringe, but you're reading this, so you must care what I think at least a little. Besides, no one else writes about 75% deck-building, so I'm all you've got. Let's get into it!
Curse of Silence
I'm glad I did this set review after masticating the set for a bit, because I'm mentioning this card now after I've had some time to cool on it. I initially thought this was cute to delay a powerful or expensive commander or a card you hate (like my personal bete noire, Merciless Eviction) but the more I play games where I might want to cast this card, the more I think it's pretty aggressive to target a specific player early in the game, possibly making an enemy. This is no Nevermore and games where you draw it late it's basically useless. It's an inflexible piece of prevention and it's a VERY inflexible cantrip. This isn't the most auspicious start to this article but I go WUBRG order and alphabetical order, so this is the first card we got to. Let's hope the next one is one I do like.
Not having a maximum hand size is non-trivial, but my love of cards that say "you win the game" is well documented in this series. Introducing this card, especially when your hand size is nearing 13 introduces a subgame called "stop these shenanigans" that your opponents can work together to win. Sometimes this is your plan B when they remove your ability to win another way or that seems hard or boring. Sometimes this is a decoy to have them focus on while you enact your true master plan. Sometimes this is a Treasure Trove with feet that is also a Spellbook (If you're not a Magic Boomer, these are references from pre-2000 and you don't know these cards for a reason, probably). I like "you win the game" cards and as far as those cards go, you can do worse than this one. This is flavorful, potent and very cool. It's also super duper easy to interact with on multiple axes. I'd call its weaknesses a reason to play it as much as its strengths. 13/13 - would recommend.
Gisa, Glorious Resurrector
I kind of wanted to write an article about just this card, and I almost did so this week. The thing is, Abe absolutely nailed it. While Abe doesn't build 75% per se, if you're a long-time reader of this series, what would you add to Abe's list to make it more similar to something I'd build? My answer to that same question is basically pet cards. I'd add pet cards that I like to play in a 75% deck, but this is pretty close (give or take 25%) to how I'd build it. Instead of devoting a whole article to this monster of a magical card, I'm going to give her an (albeit lengthy) paragraph expressing my love for it. This is very, very similar to Draugr Necromancer. I maintain that this is a very good thing, I won't cut Necromancer or any of my beautiful Snow-Covered Swamps to put this in a deck, rather I'll have some redundancy which is always nice.
As much as this appears somewhat similar to Draugr Necromancer in the "Leyline of the Void on a stick" department, this evokes Tergrid, God of Fright // Tergrid's Lantern a bit more, and I think this has a lot of the punch Tergrid has without much of the feel-bad energy Tergrid brings to the table. This only gets creatures, doesn't let you attack or block with them more than once and it is easier to interact with than Tergrid. I wish they had printed this instead of or, at the very least, before Tergrid, because the similarities between the two cards will cause people to overreact when they see Gisa. Gisa can't get non-creatures the way Tergrid can, can't keep the cards around as long as Tergrid, and doesn't reward you for forcing them to discard cards. I think Gisa would attract far, far less hate if Tergrid hadn't ever been printed, but I still think Gisa is fantastic in the 99 and in the command zone. This is the most 75% card in the whole set. Borrow their creatures and don't look back. Make sure to run a ton of Grave Pact effects to build your army back up when you inevitably have to lose the first wave you stole to decay. What a card.
Liesa, Forgotten Archangel
Much like Gisa, Liesa does double duty, keeping your board full and your opponents' yards empty. This is a bit more niche than something like Gisa or Draugr Necromancer and, indeed, I don't personally have a deck beside Teysa, Orzhov Scion that could use this. However, this is still a card that fits capably into a lot of Orzhov 99s and could have a very potent deck built around it. Keeping your hand full and their graveyard empty wins games and shuts down a lot of very potent strategies, especially with Zombie decks being so hot right now. Liesa also makes them whiff on "death" triggers since the exile replaces the death, rendering even more strategies null. That said, you may be preventing them from doing their master stroke, but they can still play lands, tap them for mana and play spells. 75% decks don't prevent them from doing anything at all but it rather prevents them from doing the thing they need to do to win. This is why we eschew cards like Armageddon and stick to cards like this. It can be frustrating for them, but they get to still play Magic, just not on their terms.
I might hold off on including this in any decks until in-person play kicks off again as this is pretty awkward on webcam. That said, this is a very 75% card and being able to re-buy it for even more fun is very attractive. Casting their spells feels very good, and while this is a bit awkward for webcam and you should consider a different spell, I'm absolutely coming back to this if I ever play in person again.
Red and Green didn't make much of an impact on this list, and that's to be expected, I guess. Make no mistake - Red and Green have some fantastic cards in this set, and there are cards I'll be including in some of my 75% decks, but I feel like you'll figure out what you want in those colors on your own. For this list, I stuck to cards that I feel exemplify the way we build or play 75% decks. I'm sure by now you've figured out what you like from the set and if you ever have any questions about 75%, hit me up here or on twitter @jasonealt.
That does it for me, readers. Thanks so much for sticking with me all these years. Until next time!