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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Commander Review: Core Set M13

June 15, 2012 by  
Filed under Review

“Feel my power, you lowly worms~!!!”

The new Core Set, M13, is around the corners and a lot of cards had already been previewed and sneaked. Of all these new cards spoiled so far, the ones which really caught my attention are the new Legenary Creatures. As always, new Legendary Creatures mean new Commanders so it’s time for another round of Commanders review.

 

Featured Old Keyword Mechanic:

Since M11, Core Sets had been made to featured keyword ability which was in past sets. This was a move by Wizards to intro old Keywords to new players. M11 gave us Scry, first introduced in Fifth Dawn of the Mirrodin Block; then followed by M12 with Bloodthirst, which was first intro in Guildpact of the Ravnica Block. This time they had brought back Exalted, which first appearance was from Shards of Alara from Shards Block.

 

The Legends:

 

Odric, Master Tactician

“Fear holds no place in faith’s battle plan.”

The White Legend clearly can be seen from the symbol on his sword is from Innistrad. His ability reminds me a lot of the Land, Windbrisk Heights. Both require a lot of Creatures to attack for their ability to trigger. As a Commander, Odric plays into a very Tokens style. Decks utilizing him as Commander need to find ways to produce a lot of tokens at once. A similar strategy was played recently in standard. That could be adapted into EDH too since White is not short of token producers, it is not hard to create a big army to trigger Odric ability. But as with every Creature based strategies, one board sweep effect will render you powerless, which unfortunately are very common in EDH games. Odric’s support card, Crusader of Odric, also plays very well into his theme of having many attacking Creatures as it power and toughness grows with the number of Creatures you control. Below are some effects which could be used to produce huge amount of tokens in a short time.

Spell or effect Number of Tokens produced
Captain’s Call Three 1/1 White Soldiers
Captain of the Watch Three 1/1 White Soldiers
Elspeth Tirel Three 1/1 White Soldiers
Elspeth, Knight-Errant One 1/1 White Soldier
Even the Odds Three 1/1 White Soldiers if you control less Creatures than opponents
Martial Coup X 1/1 White Soldiers
Midnight Haunting Two 1/1 White Flying Spirits
Shrine of Loyal Legions Charge counters grow with White spells cast and at upkeep to produce 1/1 colorless Myrs
Timely Reinforcements Three 1/1 White Soldiers if you control less Creatures than opponents

 

“We are Odric’s sword. We strike without fear, for his mind has divined how our foe will be slain.”

 

Talrand, Sky Summoner

“The seas are vast, but the skies are even more so. Why be content with one kingdom when I can rule them both?”

The Blue Legend mentioned in his support card flavor text that he rules in the Planes of Shandalar, setting of the Mtg MicroProse game and its expansions. As a General, this guy packs some serious punch. Not only is he in the best control color, he is also effectively an army all by himself. Instants and Sorceries are not a rare thing for Blue, and in fact packed full of many useful ones too. There are many good ones to choose from but the ones I strongly recommend are those with Buyback. Its like a one for two deal when you cast spells with Buyback and get an attacker along with it, and not just any attacker but a Flying at 2/2. That is one sweet deal if you ask me. Here are some of Buyback spells you could consider to abuse Talrands ability. 

Spell Effect
Capsize Bounce a threat and get a 2/2 Flying Drake at the same time
Forbid Counter a spell and get a 2/2 Flying Drake at the same time
Mystic Speculation Library manipulation and get a 2/2 Flying Drake at the same time
Spell Burst Counter a spell and get a 2/2 Flying Drake at the same time
Walk the Aeons An EXTRA turn and a 2/2 Flying Drake… A bit harsh on the Buyback though
Whispers of the Muse Draw a card and get a 2/2 Flying Drake at the same time

Talrand also has a support card in the form of Talrand’s Invocation, which gives you two Drakes. In addition to Talrand’s ability, that means the spell is giving you three Drakes for just 2UU.

“After Talrand conquered the depths of Shandalar, his ambitions drove him skyward, joined by servants whose drive and curiosity equaled his own.”

 

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis

“There are some secrets so dark no human mind should ever contain them. Interested?”

As you can see from the name alone, you probably guessed correctly that this Black dude is from Alara. Bringing a little twist to the color pie, Wizards had given Black a little taste of Exalted here. The set of abilities for this big guy are; Flying; Exalted; and defending player sacrifices a Creature when Nefarox attacks alone. All of these together with a 5/5 body makes it a very Voltron Commander since Exalted only truly shines with one attacker. So as a Commander, evasion is already provided in Flying, with a little pumping from Exalted, now you just need to find a way to protect it from harm’s way. The usual Voltron Equipments like Lightning Greaves and Swiftfoot Boots are a must here. There are quite a decent number of mono-Black Creatures in M13, like the Servant of Nefarox, which have Exalted, so by using all of them you may have yourself quite a well pumped lone attacker, making a mono-Black Exalted EDH deck possible. But praises aside, in my opinion, Nefarox feels more like a normal Creature than a Commander. 

“My cause is power, and at the altar of power I will gladly forfeit my soul.”

 

Krenko, Mob Boss

“He displays a perverse charisma fueled by avarice. Highly dangerous. Recommend civil sanctions.”
—Agmand Sarv, Azorius hussar

This Goblin lord from Ravnica has a very similar ability to Marrow-Gnawer from Kamigawa. Both double the number of Creatures of their respective races. Although by comparison, Krenko does lacks a bit more impact from Marrow-Gnawer as the Rat gives Fear to all his kins. But what Krenko lacks in the impact, it makes it up with the speed of production as Marrow-Gnawer

“Goblins are eager to follow orders, especially when those orders involve stealing, hurting, annoying, eating, destroying, or swearing.”

 

Yeva, Nature’s Herald

“I can call an army to my side in the blink of an eye. Best not blink.”

This Elf girl from Ravnica would by far be having the most broken ability ever given to a General. Flash can really throw your opponents off guard as your opponents cannot anticipate what would happen at the end of their turns. Being able to cast spells at your opponents’ turns is a very power effect. This had been proven with the Enchantment Aluren, which gives all your Creature spells with cc3 or less Flash and for free. Now as the walking Aluren, even though her ability is only restricted to Green Creature spells and those spells ain’t free, it actually is even more powerful than Aluren. On a simple note, those Creatures you casted at your opponents will not have summoning sickness when your turn comes thus all are ready to attack when your turn comes by. The real power in her ability though is when you combine it with Creatures with enter the battle effects. As with her support card, Yeva’s Forcemage, is like a mini Giant Growth with her on the battlefield. Every Creature you cast then is a spell and a Creature to boot. Need to kill an Artifact, Enchantment, or Land, throw that Acidic Slime out at the end of your opponent turn then. Suddenly you having untapped mana becomes a dangerous thing to everyone else.

“Nature can’t be stopped. It rips and tears at Ravnica’s tallest buildings to claim its place in the sun.”

 

And the Winner is….

Of all five of these guys, Yeva, Nature’s Herald is the most broken of them all as a Commander. As a walking Aluren for Green Creatures, you can throw out a big fattie at the end of your opponent’s turn and then whack them when your turn comes by. Even better, you can cast a blocker to block attackers; or cast a solution Creature with enter the battlefield effects to deal with a threat and still block an attacker at the same time. Coming at second is Talrand, Sky Summoner, who thrives in the color of control and is an army all by himself. Using him as the Commander gives you good control cards and as you cast those spells you get your army at the same time. At third we have Krenko, Mob Boss with its army doubling ability. If not for the huge amount of board sweeping spells in EDH games, Krenko might be better than the rest of the gang here. Otherwisekit still proves to be very good if you can generate many Goblins in short time and start doubling them for the kill. Odric, Master Tactician stands at number four as his ability is rather high to fulfill. On top of the three Creatures needed, Odric himself has to attack too to trigger his ability. That makes a total of four Creatures to activate the ability which most of the time in EDH may not even be used since most of the time people will be attacking the guy with no blockers fi2st. And again board sweep is killer to his ability too. Finally Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis comes to me ranked as the lowest of the five as there are many more powerful mono-Black Commanders out there . It may have the necessary power as a Voltron Commander but as compare to the rest on this list, Nefarox still lacks the impact to rank higher.

 

A New Set

Very soon M13 would be upon us, and new power may or may not be added to your decks. Regardless are there going be any new addition, EDH is all about innovation, what you see in certain cards may not be what other see in it too. So there is no hard and fast rule to how one like to use these new guys. Hope that our humble opinions of each of them would give all of y/u a heads up as to what is coming. Thus till the next article.

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

 

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