Greetings, readers. Since the Commander Rules Committee decided to do something fun and allow us all to play with Silver-bordered (un-set) cards in Commander until January 15th of 2018, I decided to do a review of all of the cards in Unstable that will fit into your 75% decks. This is all for fun, obviously, but isn’t 75% Commander all for fun anyway? Are you playing to . . . not have fun? Well, stop.
There have been some banned cards and there was even an emergency ban when the Rules Committee considered the ramifications of someone buying a 500 dart capacity nerf gun and raining down hellfire on their poor opponent’s decks (not to mention the ramifications of people running around with guns at conventions) so while this is a fake, fun joke thing they’re doing, let’s try not to be colossal jerks about it. No, you can’t make someone tear up their whole deck with Mirrorweave and Blacker Lotus, and also, why would you want to? The Rules Committee has said that you can’t use the threat of tearing up their cards to force a concession. Why did that have to say that? Don’t be the worst and let’s try to have some fun with these stupid cards.
I’m going to ignore the contraptions because while they’re cool, they are for Unstable Limited which is not really my purview. I’m strictly reviewing these cards with respect to 75% Commander. There are a lot of fun cards here, so let’s get to it!
By Gnome Means — THIS is exactly the kind of card I wanted. Ever since I first read Giant Fan back in Unglued, I have longed for a card that moved counters around without respect to what the original counter was. I want to turn -1/-1 counters from Torture into counters on Goblin Bomb. This card is almost better because while there is a middle step, sometimes you can turn useless counters into blockers or you can turn junk artifacts into a win condition. In a 75% deck, this kind of utility is invaluable. Play this in Nahiri, the Lithomancer.
Do-It-Yourself Seraph — I use the phrase “Build your own Baneslayer” to refer to cards like Mark of the Vampire. I really like the concept of using text boxes from other cards and Phoebe, Head of S.N.E.A.K. and Grusilda, Monster Masher are both great cards to build around. I would play this. Play this in Breya, Etherium Shaper.
Oddly Uneven — This is basically an Austere Command that’s easier to build around. Or harder? Look, it’s a board wipe that at minimum can spare your best creature but is way less predictable. Sign me up! Play this in Rhys the Redeemed.
Rules Lawyer — This card is ridiculous. Cards like this are one of the reasons I didn’t think they’d ever make these cards legal in Commander (and with the ticking clock on their legality, they mostly didn’t) and if you can play with this, you should. This is probably the most broken card in Unstable. Play this in Grand Arbiter Augustin IV.
Animate Library — There are a lot of fun ways to search for Aura cards and attach them, meaning your dream of a Library Voltron deck are going to come to fruition, finally. I wish they could kill your entire library making the card risky but good with Laboratory Maniac. Alas, we’ll have to resort to just regular 80/80 creatures that lose power and toughness the more you draw. Play this in Bruna, Light of Alabaster.
Clocknapper — This rewards thinking ahead and can also prevent them from some of their favorite shenanigans. Imagine stealing their upkeep and getting two yourself. I’m all about this card! Play this in Jhoira of the Ghitu.
Five-Finger Discount — Talk about power level scaling. We get their best creature AND we get its ETB triggers? I’m all about that! Play this in basically any deck with Blue — I’d suggest Memnarch because of all of the stealin’ you can do with Blue cards in Unstable.
Graveyard Busybody — This is more powerful than it may look at first blush considering anything that can be played from graveyards is now your property. This is a great way to fight the Sidisi players for the best stuff in yards. I don’t know how this works with Paradigm Shift, but I bet it’s ridiculous. Play this in a deck with Living End — Grimgrin, perhaps.
More or Less — I am not a great card designer and don’t pretend to be, but one card I always wish existed was a card that added an instance of the word “non” to the text of a spell or permanent. Think Magical Hack but way better. Destroy target non-non-Black creature, etc. You could fizzle good removal, shut down color hosers and generally throw a wrench in the works of their plans. This doesn’t quite do that but it screws up combat math and basically anything else that relies on an exact number to work. Play this in Baral, Chief of Compliance.
Spy Eye — This is a very cool card. A lot of the time you will get dead cards, but sometimes you’ll get artifacts you can use, lands, spells in your color or even just screw up their Vampiric Tutor plans. This is one of the most 75% cards in the set! Play this in Sen Triplets.
Very Cryptic Command — I just like modal cards in 75% decks because they do a lot of work for one card slot. This is pretty nasty since it can loop with other cards that bring spells back meaning you can windfall a ton. Play this in Mizzix of the Izmagnus.
Over My Dead Bodies — This could be seen as a bit of a worse Living End, but if you’re greedily dredging and not really killing their stuff, you could end up with a huge advantage in terms of how many more creatures you have and you can quickly overwhelm them. Play this in Sidisi, Brood Tyrant.
Summon the Pack — I love this card. It’s likely to stick around as a Cube staple which I’m super OK with given how much fun Booster Tutor is. I think you buy Legions packs and play the “Die to Phage” lottery, which is just too funny. This is expensive mana-wise but has a nice payoff. Play this in Sidisi, Undead Vizier and cast this spell early and often.
The Big Idea — I think this card is hilarious. I wish it worked with Krark’s Thumb effects as well but it specifically references die rolls and not coin flips. If you wanted to play a Krenko-style deck with access to black, this is your Commander. Get those Brainiacs multiplying then dome them with Burn at the Stake or Goblin Bombardment. I might even jam this in my Prossh deck for a week or two just because I have a ton of token doublers, Food Chain, Purphoros…
Remix to Chandra's Ignition
Dealing infinite damage
Now their bodies are twitchin
Play this in Brion Stoutarm.
Three-headed Goblin — Triple strike is fun and I want to get all of the triggers. This with some equipment, maybe some buffs, maybe both? This is a real bruiser. Play this in Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer.
As Luck Would Have It — I don’t think Commander can support this card. It’s too bad because this is another Helix Pinnacle. I like it, I just couldn’t find enough die-roll cards to support it. I’m sure I’m missing something, but I don’t want to have to jam cards like Elvish Impersonators just to pad my list. If you’re going to go for it, run this in something goofy, I don’t even know what.
Earl of Squirrel — If this connects, you’re going to be neck-deep in squirrel tokens if you built the right way. Parallel Lives, Primal Vigor, Anointed Procession — there are a ton of ways to go hog (squirrel?) wild with this mighty earl. Play this in Trostani, Selesnya's Voice.
Ineffable Blessing — This card is pretty much bonkers. In a deck with a ton of elves, it’s basically a Glimpse of Nature that lasts all game. How many elves have flavor text? Like all of them? Play this in Ezuri, Renegade Leader.
Baron Von Count — Nate Burgess put a lot of thought into this card so I didn’t have to. Spells with buyback, creatures with “gating” and creatures with leveling are all solid. Nate found a very excellent creature in Lava Zombie that is pretty savage in conjunction with Baron. If I’m not putting him at the helm of an existing deck, I’m running him in Jeleva, Nephalia's Scourge.
Grusilda, Monster Masher — I love the idea of combining creatures. From Dracoplasm, to Bioplasm to any of Magic’s many plasms, I think this is a great concept. If she’s not at the helm of her own deck, I would put her in Kaalia of the Vast. Angels, Demons and Dragons stack a ton of abilities and you’ll make a monster that’s nearly impossible to deal with very quickly.
Ol' Buzzbark — This might be a good home for As Luck Would Have It after all. I certainly like the idea of casting this repeatedly from the Command zone. Dexterity cards are fun so have fun with it. If this isn’t in its own deck, I like the idea of including this in Omnath, Locus of Rage but I’m not sure why.
Phoebe, Head of S.N.E.A.K. — Stealing the text “permanently” means a lot of different things to a lot of different players. I would like to think it is until the end of the game and not just while she is in play. Jam this right in The Mimeoplasm.
Urza, Academy Headmaster — I think this is going to be a Momir Vig type card and I love that. Put this in a 5-color Planeswalker deck (not Atraxa, sorry).
Entirely Normal Armchair — This set’s Cheatyface. Don’t even register it in your decklist — if you’re going to cheat, cheat. Try making a playmat that is all pictures of this card to make it harder to spot.
Sword of Dungeons & Dragons — This card sure is good. Making 1, maybe 2 Dragons per attack and having some non-trivial protections is good. I mean, we could have done this all along with Moonsilver Spear and not too many people are doing that, but I won’t let you dampen my enthusiasm for this. Play this in Kemba, Kha Regent.
That’s what I liked. I think if we can put these cards in our decks for a while and have some fun, it’s a good thing. We won’t be doing this after January 15th (unless your whole playgroup really wants to and I’m sure the RC is fine with that outcome, hence the “taste” they’re giving us) so get it in now while you can. Have some fun, make some friends with people outside the game, high five people (or don’t), summon some squirrels and Nerf not lest ye be Nerfed. Given the choice between Nerf or nothin’, choose nothin’. Get it? Like in the commercials? Whatever, I don’t have to impress you.
Join me next week where I’ll be discussing boring old black and white-bordered cards. We have a lot of exciting new stuff to brew with still and with Rivals of Ixalan on the horizon, we’ll be doing another one of these very soon. Thanks for reading. Until next time!