// floating card image

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Commander Review: Gatecrash (Previewed Guild Leaders)

January 17, 2013 by  
Filed under Review


Gatecrash Fatpack

Angel in the City, New Kid on the Block

Gatecrash, the second expansion of the Return to Ravnica block is upon us. Presenting the rest of the guilds, new mechanics along with new (and some old) guild leaders were added too. So continuing from the last Commander review of Return to Ravnica, we shall now proceed to review each of the new legends previewed so far from the set.


The Legends:

Continuing from where Return to Ravnica left off, Gatecrash feature the rest of the guilds which were left out. As before, Legendary Creatures in this set are the Guild Leaders of the remaining guilds that were not featured in Return to Ravnica, namely Boros Legion, House Dimir, Gruul Clans, Orzhov Syndicate & Simic Combine. Following the trend, each guild also has a mechanic tied in to them which more or less represents what the guild does. Here are the new mechanics introduced for each guild.

  • Boros Legion – Battalion: Keyword ability which triggers the Creature with the ability attacks with at least two other Creatures. The trigger varies from each Creature.

  • House Dimir – Cipher: Keyword on various Instants or Sorceries which enable the caster to encode the spell onto a Creature the caster control after the spell resolved. After that, a copy of the encoded spell may be cast whenever the Creature with the encoded spell deals combat damage to a player.

  • Gruul Clan – Bloodrush: Keyword ability which allow the player to discard the Creature with the ability to give a temporary power and toughness boost to target attacking Creature. The power and toughness boost usually refers to the Creature with the ability and sometimes give other ability boost too.

  • Orzhov Synicate – Extort: Keyword ability which allows the player to pay additional W or B as they cast spells and create a small Life Drain effect.

  • Simic Combine – Evolve: Keyword ability of Creatures which put a +1/+1 counter on the Creature with the ability as another Creature with higher power or toughness than the Creature with the ability enters the battlefield.


Leading the five showcased guilds in Guildcrash are the following guild leaders.


Guild Leader

Boros Legion

Aurelia, the Warleader

House Dimir

Lazav, Dimir Mastermind

Gruul Clan

Borborygmos Enraged

Orzhov Synicate

Obzedat, Ghost Council

Simic Combine

Prime Speaker Zegana


Aurelia, the Warleader

Aurelia, the Warleader

“If we keep attacking, the enemies shall not have time to attack back…”

Where we last left off Boros Legion, Feather, a Boros Firemane Angel and friend to Agrus Kos, had taken over the guild becoming its leader. Her tenure was however challenged and overthrown by Aurelia. Now as the new guild leader, Aurelia proves a more up front leader unlike Razia, keeps a closer relationship with her guild members. This is shown in all her abilities; with Flying, Haste & Vigilance. She is ready to attack the moment she enters the battlefield and then defend you after that. The other fact of her keeping a closer relationship with her guild members is shown in her “Relentless Assault” attack trigger. Every time you attack with her for the first time each turn, you get to untap all your Creatures and an additional combat phase thereafter. This could play two ways. One, the upfront way, is attack with everyone and then attack with everyone again in the bonus combat phase. The other way is to use up all your mana Creatures (Gold Myr & Iron Myr) before attack phase, and then get more mana from them after the attack phase. This could also be used with Creatures with tap abilities. Since Aurelia only cares about the Creatures you control when she untaps Creatures, you could tap those Creatures and used up their abilities then get to use their abilities again after the combat phase. It will become even more deadly if you used the upfront method and has an army of Double Strike Creatures, surely to end the game earlier for one unlucky opponent. Aurelia’s color identity is not short of Creatures with Double Strike thus making the upfront method very possible and easily achieved. If used as a General, the battle could be easily won as Aurelia will serve as your 2RRWW “Relentless Assault”. Another neat combo she has is with another card in the same set, Five-Alarm Fire. As the Enchantment requires your Creatures to hit home base in order to gain blaze counters on it, attacking more with Aurelia is definitely gonna help it reached five blaze counters in no time.


Borborygmos Enraged

Borborygmos Enraged

“We Crush and Eat them!!!”

The Gruul do not really has an official ruling guild leader but separated clans which live by the code of the whole guild. Leader of the largest clan is Borborygmos, and also being the largest and angriest of them all; his orders are always happily followed by the rest of guild as it goes in line with the guild thinking. Now back and even angrier than before, good O’ Borborygmos of Gruul had changed a lot since last we saw him. He has a swap of power and toughness, plus 1 to his casting cost, but still maintains his Trample ability true to his Gruul nature. Borborygmos v2.0 is more useful by itself as compared to v1.0. As v1.0 trigger benefits more only if you have more Creatures. Although it is scary to see your army grow in size whenever Borborygmos v1.0 hits on your opponents, but that situation could easily be dealt with by the combined effort of all your opponents. Creature swarm tactic is just too easy to deal with in EDH since everyone has board sweep. V2.0 on the other hand provides you with an alternate way to deal damage with the extra Lands as you discard them and turn them into Lightning Bolts. Also instead of growing your army size, v2.0 allows you to dig three cards into your library top for Lands as you connect him to a player. Now combining the discard ability with ways to return Lands to your hand, like Life from the Loam, suddenly Borborygmos v2.0 does not even need to attack to kill off your opponent. Green, one of Borborygmos color identity, is also full of ways to get Lands into your hand. Since Trample is still with Borborygmos, dealing combat damage to a player is not a difficult thing, so as long as you attack, you be bounded to hit your opponent. Even if you do not hit any Lands with the top three cards, it is still a good set up for Flashback; Retrace; or even reanimator if you so choose to play it. V2.0 is one of those Generals which serve both roles of attacker and controller (with the Lightning Bolt ability).


Lazav, Dimir Mastermind

Lazav, Dimir Mastermind

“The Question is not Who Am I but Who You Want Me to be….”

Taking over control for House Dimir after Szadek’s death is the Shapeshifter, Lazav. Little is known of him or her though he claims he takes orders from some greater power. Being a Shapeshifter by nature, Lazav has the ability to copy any Creatures which go to your opponents’ graveyard from anywhere. This makes him/her very versatile since he/she could be anyone or anything as long as you could get Creatures going into your opponents’ graveyard. This could be done fairly easy since Lazav’s color identity provides many hand disruptions, milling, and removals; all methods to get opponents’ Creatures into the graveyard. To top all that off, Lazav comes with Hexproof regardless of what Creature he turns into. A Sun Titan or Sheoldred is already a headache, now your opponent will face one with Hexproof once you take down his or hers Titan or Sheoldred. The only weakness to Lazav would only be that he is dependent on your opponents. If your opponents do not have any good or no Creatures at all in his or her deck (a rare sight in EDH), you have no good targets or none at all for Lazav. Be noted that as much as you like to copy your opponent’s Commander, you are not able to do so if he or she decide to send his Commander back to the Commander Zone when it dies, as that is replacement effect. Still as a Commander, Lazav is pretty awesome as he/she could be anything or anyone your opponents have in their decks.


Obzedat, Ghost Council

Obzedat, Ghost Council

Ghost Daddy’s back in Town

Although seemingly killed by Teysa in the events during the last visit to Ravnica, the Ghost Council is actually still around and in control of the guild but with some changes to their stats. This time round the Obzedat is slightly bigger than before with an increase of 1 in both power and toughness. Their enter the battlefield trigger is also increased from losing (for the opponent) and gaining (for you) of 1 life to 2 life. There is a slight twist on their blink ability this time round. Instead of the requirement of 1 and sacrifice of a Creature to blink it now you could just choose whether to blink them at the end of your turn. If you so chose to blink them, they would only come back at your next upkeep, keeping it safe from all board sweep during your opponents’ turns. All this changes are summed up with an increase of 1 to its casting cost. Aside from the increase in casting cost, power and toughness; Obzedat is considered to be quite a powerhouse. As most board sweeps are Sorceries, Obzedat will avoid all those as you choose to blink them at the end of your turn, coming back only at your next turn and ready to attack too as they gain Haste when they blink back in. That would be a total of 9 life loss on an opponent from the moment you cast Obzedat to the moment it attack and was not blocked (first cast enters battlefield 2 life; blink back in 2 life; attack 5 life). Obzedat’s color identity contains a lot of board sweeps for control so you could control the board should things get out of hand, though this is much better done with the old Ghost Council as they could avoid your board sweep as you cast them during your turn. Do take note that although both cards depict the same characters, both Ghost Councils can still be on the battlefield at the same time as both are of different names. Commander-wise, the old Ghost Council provides a bit more flexibility even when it requires a sacrifice of a Creature. As long as you could supply them with Creatures, you could blink the old Ghost Council out of harm’s way but the new Obzedat will still died if you are the one casting the board sweep, as most board sweep are at Sorcery speed. Thus the new Obzedat serves better as one of the Creature in the deck rather than being a General if you decide to play both in your deck.

Ghost Council of Orzhova

Daddy Retro Style


Prime Speaker Zegana

Prime Speaker Zegana

“One does not simply just get a BIG ASS Creature, they shall get a BIG FAT Hand too.”

With Momir Vig’s demise, the Simic Combine had once fallen and disbanded. Taking over are Zegana and her tribe of Merfolk who had been living in the sea covered benenth Ravnica city. Now returned to the surface and leading the Simic Combine, the guild is back to what it was tasked before; preserving health of all life of Ravnica. Comparing the old and new guild leader of Simic Combine, Momir Vig still stands out more with his tutoring ability while Zegana stands out more as another beatdown Creature in a Momir Vig EDH deck. She will always be the biggest Creature you control due to her entering the battlefield with a number of +1/+1 counters that is equals to your highest power Creature. Adding on to that, you also get to draw cards equals to her power when she enters the battlefield making her the best cantrip. But as always it is very dangerous for a huge Creature to be on the battlefield without Hexproof or Shroud. Zegana like any other Hexproof-less and Shroud-less Commanders are easily killed. Also her cantrip is dependent on you controlling another Creature, so it becomes pointless when you cast her alone on the battlefield. Paying 6cc for a 1/1 and drawing one card is a real anti-climax. As a late game play, Zegana is still pretty powerful as by then you would have cast a decent amount of Creatures or empty your hand; casting Zegana at that moment would help to refill your hand then. Take for example, you had ramp into an Eldrazi, say Artisan of Kozilek, casting Zegana then would give you a 11/11 Commander and net you 11 cards. Dreams aside, if you decided to draw tons of cards with Zegana, you had better have ways to clear them or keep your hand at the discard step; unless you are playing graveyard theme or Flashback and Retrace, drawing tons of cards only to discard at the end is another anti-climax. Regardless of how it is, Zegana is still rewards upfront for playing her. Her color identity gives all the protection in Blue and big power in Green. Worth mentioning is the neat combo of pairing Deadeye Navigator with Zegana; this becomes “1U: Draw six cards”, so you could refill your hand as and when you want to.

Best Guild Leader


Best of the Rest

Now we are done with the review of each of the new guild leaders, let’s look at their ranking within each of them. Number one is the new Simic guild leader, Prime Speaker Zegana, who although plays a better normal Creature in a Momir Vig deck, as tutoring ability still tops in EDH. But remember the fact that EDH is all about innovative to play out on your card choices. If your deck is accustomed to be able to cast a lot of spells within one turn, a timely cast Zegana will netted you a lot of cards to cast. Also Zegana has a very Voltron-build to her as she solves the power and toughness part of the Voltron-Equation; now you have to solve the protection and evasion part of the equation; something which is very common for Voltron decks. Furthermore drawing all those cards is the up most best reward for playing a Creature, as compared to tutoring power, card advantage is the next best way to get to your spells in EDH.

Ranking at second is the upfront attacker; Aurelia, the Warleader. Looking into her color identity, you will find many Creatures with Double Strike and First Strike, combat will not be a problem for you. You do not have to attack if you don’t want to during your bonus combat phase. In EDH multiplayer, anyone who attacks all out on one opponent always leave him or her open to the others; which is why most players do not wish to attack unless the other opponents have no Creatures on the battlefield. Aurelia negates that disadvantage by untapping all your Creatures leaving them ready to block if needed. If not, you could just go all out attack on two opponents. Otherwise, Creatures with tap activated abilities are also good choices to use along with Aurelia since she untaps them all after the first attack.

Coming up next is Borborygmos Enraged for his Land throwing ability. Although having a very high cc, Borborygmos v2.0 could single-handedly handle a lot of things with his Lands throwing ability. Since each Land in hand is effectively a Lightning Bolt; a Life from the Loam will be whopping 9 damage. If you are able to keep getting Lands into your hand, you may not even need to attack to win the game.

Although losing to their older version, Obzedat, Ghost Council is still a good Commander for their ability to avoid board sweep at your opponent’s turn. Most common board sweep are at Sorcery speed; therefore blinking out Obzedat at the end of turn will ensure they will never die to board sweep, all for free. The ever existing problem for v1.0 is that you need to sacrifice another Creature to blink them. But for v2.0 it is just deciding whether you want to blink it or not. For most part it is always beneficial to just blink them out as they would avoid all your opponents’ board sweep as mentioned before; followed it up by pinging an opponent and gaining you for 2 life respectively when they return at your upkeep.

Last but not least is Lazav, Dimir Mastermind. Although as wonderful as it may sounds of the fact that he/she could be anyone or anything you want him/her to be, that is still very dependent on what Creatures your opponents are playing in their decks even though there is no absent of Creatures in most EDH decks. It would be good if you are using Lazav as a Voltron General for the Hexproof, but most players in EDH Multiplayer use board sweep to deal with Creatures. It sometimes becomes rather pointless to even have Hexproof then. Just when you changed into one opponent’s toughness Creature, laughing maniacally for gaining the most powerful Creature combined with Hexproof on the battlefield, the next opponent just cast a Day of Judgment and everything is peacefully depressing for your side again.


Casts the BIGGEST threat in the world only to have the next guy casts a board sweeper…….

Close the Gates!! Let Loose the Titans!!!

Gatecrash will soon to be release to us, and like the previous set, there are some exciting new Legends. Though not all of them are Commander Material, some of them are still worthy of a good Creature to consider into your decks if they fit into the color identity. Trying out different combination to your deck is also part of the fun of EDH. So if you do have the card, there is no harm in trying them out in your deck. Till the next article, here wishing everyone is able to get their shocklands and good luck from whacking boosters or drafting.


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



One Response to “Commander Review: Gatecrash (Previewed Guild Leaders)”


Check out what others are saying about this post...
  1. […] power in check. Unlike a previous Commander, Aurelia, the Warleader, who could be set up into an infinite attack phases, Medomai’s clause stops infinite loops of extra turns, very much similar to the way the Land, […]