// floating card image

Friday, January 19, 2018

Set Review: Commander – Mono Colors, Artifacts and Lands

June 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Review

As I was notified few months back by my friends in the West MtG group, during one of our usual gathering at BB Mac, about the release of the MtG: Commander, I was rather surprised that a fan created format could generate enough hype for Wizards to create a theme of it, with new cards added too. So from then, over the course of the next few months, as more cards are spoiled for the new set, I was quite thrilled by the new addition of cards added from the set. Since we are talking about EDH here at this blog, here is our review cards (excluding the new Legendary Creatures) in regard to their political and self value and also how each would fare in normal variant.

New Mechanic:

In line each time with all the new themes introduced so far (Archenemy, Planeswalk), various new mechanics or new rules are introduced too. For Commander it is no less the same. Here are the new mechanics, some keyword some abilities, added.

Join forces

  • Starting with you, each player may pay any amount of mana. Then the effect of this ability is determined by the amount of mana paid this way. This mechanic is the most political ability to be added to MtG. Allies is made instantly, allying everyone against a great foe.

War or Peace

  • Players choose war or peace as it resolve. Then players will get different effect according to the choice they made. Another ability which is made for multiplayer. Heavily political card as the effects are chosen by everyone and not you.

Commander and Color Identity

  • Not so much as a new thing to us but its printed as a real card now.



Starting with White, in total, there are 7 mono white cards in the set as follows:-


  • Free stuff is always good. This card works at that by using Join Forces to give everyone 1/1 White Soldier tokens, giving more with more mana pumped into it. Definitely a good political card, as it serves as your political means to stay in the game. Everyone could gang up on a difficult opponent by sending in their new gained army at him or her. Granted, he or she may be able to block one of the guy’s army, but the rest of the alliances’ army shall finish him or her off. Muahahahahahah~
  • Does not do much for normal variant as you mostly have just two people to pump mana into the spell, which most of the time your opponent could just sit there and do nothing, and reap all the rewards given.


 Archangel of Strife

  • The only card to feature War or Peace in the set. This Angel pushes the game to a faster pace depending on how one chooses when it enters the battlefield. The +3/+0 for those who chose war is definitely a powerful ability as you cast it and it sort of gives you a very expensive permanent overrun. For those who choose peace, this would be like a counter measure to war. In regardless of how you choose, you are paying 7 mana for either a 9/6 flying creature if you chose war, or 6/9 flying if you chose peace. The outcome of its ability is largely dependent on the number of creatures each player controls. A late game bomb card.
  • No impact on normal variant. There are many other creatures or spells which cost lesser to cast and gives the same or even better effects. A very nice and kinky choice for reanimator decks though.


  • A White equivalent of Green’s Verdant Force (except for color both has the same cc, power and toughness). Instead of giving you tokens every turn, this Elemental gives you 3 life. Pretty good for Life Gain. The life gain may not work much against General Damage, but what it can’t help with the life gain, Celestial Force compensate with its huge body (7/7). A beat stick which will help you to stay in the game. Not a political card as the effect is more centered for self.
  • A good consideration for reanimator decks in normal variant


  • Powerful effect which grows with each passing turn as you put strife counters on this political enchantment. Everyone’s attacking creatures get +1/+0 for the amount of strife counters on it. Added bonus of giving your blocking creatures +1/+0 for each strife counters help to prevent anyone from backstabbing you, good way to abuse Creatures with First Strike and Double Strike. As your blocking Creatures also get the bonus, this allows them to kill the opposing Creatures first in combat. With such a bonus provided, people will try to keep you in the game to get the bonus you gave to them. A mix between political and self card. Political as the bonus for attacking creatures is granted to everyone. Self as anyone who controls the most number of Creatures instantly becomes the largest threat at the table, probably forcing everyone to take the enchantment or even you out first.
  • Could be used for Weenies decks. Bonus grows each turn, easily growing out of control if left unattended.

  • An enchantment to discourage others from destroying your stuff. More of a self card than a political card as it protects your stuff more as everyone else must sacrifices a permanent which shares a permanent with your stuff which was destroyed. This will sort of discourage them from destroying your stuff. It could use politically though, as other players could target your permanent to destroy permanents with Shroud or Hexproof which are otherwise untargetable. Eg. killing your Creature to force the sacrifice on the player with the Shroud or Hexproof Creature.
  • Not really of any effect in normal variant as there are many other cards which does the same thing but cost much lesser to cast.


  • A self card. This would serve as the warning to all to not attack you as it would exile that attacker. Not too effective against a horde but its usually one Creature which would be doing the final blow to you in EDH, provided that the Creature in question is not protected by Shroud, Hexproof or Protection. No surprise factor though since it will be sitting on the battlefield waiting to be activated.
  • A nice addition to the existing Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile. Could be used in Control decks along with Standstill. Now you could sit there all day and wait for your opponent to make the first move.


  • A cycle of very nice political card which comes with insurance to ensure that your opponent will not backstab you after you put this Aura on their Creature. Also could be put onto your own Creature, providing you with a Vigilance bigger (+2/+2) Creature to beat down your opponents if needed.
  • Nothing amusing in normal variant as it only targets one Creature which doesn’t make much of a difference.



Coming to Blue next, we are looking at 6 mono Blue cards in the set as follows:-

  • An at least 2 mana Force Spike for just one Blue mana due to its Storm effect, though only stopping Instant and Sorcery. Not that effective as mana is quite abundant most of the times in EDH games.
  • Powerful enough to be considered as a sideboard against Storm combo decks as whatever Storm count your opponent builds up, you could still be ahead of him or her by one more Storm count. Though not as effective as Mindbreak Trap, as opponents still could pay the 1 mana and keep their spell.


  • The Blue card which features Join Forces, this one giving out free cards. Very political card but consider a late game play. Potentially dangerous to cast too as you may be aiding the archenemy of the table instead of helping everyone to take him or her out.
  • As per Alliance of Arms this card has the same problem to be unplayable in normal variant as opponents could just sit there and reap the cards from you paying all the mana..


  • A self card as this would act as your preventive measures against Creatures hordes attacking you. The milling of two cards away could sometimes put an opponent off from attacking you as the way EDH decks are built (except for basic lands, the rest are one card per deck). Attacking you could mean losing a power card.
  • This could be used as an additional kill con for normal variant mill decks. Good defense too with a toughness of 4 to survive Lightning Bolt.


  • As with the way EDH decks are built, countering a spell and putting it on the bottom of the library could sometimes be a better solution than to let the spell goes to the graveyard as recursion is common and abundant in EDH. Spell Crumple even has the added advantage to go to the bottom of the library as well, where combined with ways to reshuffle your deck, double up the chance let you draw it again for reuse.
  • A nice addition to all control decks. An extra counterspell which could sort of recycle itself, combined with ways to reshuffle your library. Due to ways to recur stuff from graveyard, sometimes putting the countered spell on the bottom of the library is a better solution to the spell.



  • Not really a good Creature in casting cost and ability. Due to it being a Creature, it is easily dealt with, and with that, the exiled Lands would go to waste, further putting you in a bad position in the game. If this would to be cast, even in the late game as a finisher, you have to make sure that it would definitely kill your opponent or you will be seriously set back by it, if you decided to exile Lands as it enters the battlefield. Not too recommended for play.
  • The reasoning above applies here for normal variant. Too easily dealt with and huge drawback to play with unless some crazy combo is exploiting to kill in 1 turn. Otherwise, this Creature is not recommended.


  • Like its White counterpart, this Aura also serves as your political card, giving Flying and +2/+2 to the Creature. This may be the most powerful of this cycle as Flying is one of the better evasion ability for Creatures, especially in EDH.
  • As per its White counterpart, the same problem lies here to when this card is applied to normal variant.



Next up, we look at Black which has 6 mono Black cards in the set as follows:-

  • A very powerful late game play, clearing the way for your board for the all out strike after that. A self card which benefits only you, this could set you up as the target board for everyone else since you just clear everyone Creatures.
  • Not really that playable, unless you are playing a mono Black deck which uses Cabal Coffers or the likes to accelerate into it. Otherwise its casting cost is too steep to be considered for decks, The fact that you have to physically cast it for its Enter The Battlefield to work make this card not a choice for normal variant.


  • Another hate generating card. At the same time of dealing 4 points of combat damage to one opponent, followed by forcing each opponent to discard after that, the major insult to injury is that the opponents who discarded the highest casting cost card would loses life equal to the casting cost. This is really powerful in EDH due to the amount of big spells being used in EDH decks. As with many self cards, you could very easily be the most annoying player at the table when you start using it.
  • Too high casting cost to be considered in normal variant. There are many other Specters which do a better job than this one. Also the discard is chosen by the opponent, the life loss could be easily reduce to the lowest possible since he or she could just discard the lowest casting cost card, even a Land to avoid that.


  • Good self card which could be use as your finisher. Since it grows with the chosen player’s graveyard, the added ability of it milling the chosen player as he or she casts a spell only works to make it bigger. Not to mention the fact that cards are restricted to one per deck, milling that player could also serve as disruption to him or her.
  • Quite a playable card in normal variant as it counts every card in the chosen player’s graveyard. Possible kill con in combination with Dredge or any graveyard theme since you could choose your graveyard to power it up.


  • The Black Join Forces political card which sparks serious thinking among players to make it work. The effect of milling everyone is not something to dismissed as everyone will be cursing and swearing at you for milling them. Unless the combined effort of milling could take out the arch enemy of the table, it is very difficult to convince everyone to pump in mana for its effect.
  • As per the other card in this cycle, this is not too much of use in normal variant. May be of some use to put cards into the graveyard for recursion while at the same time milling your opponent.


  • Like Syphon Soul and Syphon Mind, this card works best in multi-players games, providing more benefits with more players involved. This card is more rewarding as it does not affect you. Take for example; our EDH play group games usually consists of 4 players. Each time this is cast, there is at most 3 Zombies coming your way, not to mention them being 2/2, though the other players may not be so happy about losing a Creature with you gaining 3 in the process. A very, very self card as everyone lost something but only you gain in the process.
  • Too high casting cost to be considered in normal variant since it is only your opponent and you in the game. This would then normally be a non-targeted single removal which gives you a 2/2 Zombie for a converted mana cost of 6.


  • Like its Blue counterpart, this also provides a good evasion in the form of Intimidate. Though there is the problem that if this is used on the General it would become quite ineffective as Generals share the same color (just our play group alone spots 2 Green Generals) or are mulit-color Generals (Reaper King is all colors…..).
  • Not as effective in normal variant as well…



Like White, Red has 7 mono Red cards in the set as follows:-

  • An all out card which you must ensure that victory is on your side before casting it. The Double Strike given to every Creature including your opponents’ could act as your Overrun to kill your opponents or your ticket to the bus stop. Since the ability is given to all Creatures, this is actually a political card for you to let everyone gang up against the arch enemy of the table.
  • Another reanimator target for its power and toughness plus the Double Strike it gives to every Creature.


  • The unpredictability of the card makes it very hard to work properly as you either got rid of the permanent or change it into something even more powerful. You could use it on your own permanents, though it is not really recommended unless you have lots of permanents in the deck. And even with that, you could still have the chance of running into non-permanent cards. Although it could be used also as a foil against opponents’ bounce spells (like Capsize with Buyback) as you cast Chaos Warp in response to their bounce spells causing it to lose its target and fizzles.
  • Quite playable combine with Warp World decks. Since normal variant decks are smaller than EDH decks, this could be used as your mini Warp World. Like above, this could be use to disrupt the removal aimed at your permanents, possibility of changing them into something more powerful, or fizzle off as you reveal a non-permanent card… Though work had really need to pour in to make a really workable Warp World deck in Legacy…


  • Definitely the political card. This would be what you are using to gang everyone up to take out the arch enemy at the table.
  • This is just a Dragon in Sorcery form, as there is only your opponent which would be the one who is not getting the Dragon. There are other much better Dragons available.


  • The Red Verdant Force which dish out Lightning Bolt each turn. Your political card to let you negotiate with other players to “help” them out with dishing out the Lightning Bolts. Though you would fast become the hot target to be removed when there are no other targets available for it except itself, your opponents and you….
  • Quite playable. Either to be ramp out or use in conjunction with reanimator. The free Lightning Bolts each turn is nothing to sneeze at. Not to mention that it has a 7/7 body to beat your opponent with.


  • The most political card of the Join Forces cycle. You will be the one to attack the most hated person, with everyone helping to pump its power to lethal damage. The best card that show that no one stand alone in Multi-player games; and no foe is too hard if everyone Join Forces.
  • Since you have only one opponent to attack with it in normal variant, this would just become a 4RR Dragon with Flying, Trample, and the Join Forces ability would just be a X: +X/+0 whenever it attacks.


  • Self card which would definitely make you a public enemy once it hits battlefield. A very good anti-control card though. Could be used as a way to counter against Control Decks. Not too good news for your opponents who could search their library or need to search so they could win.
  • This could be a sideboard card against Control decks. Not to mention, this is also a foil against fetchlands and the immense amount of Tutors which could be used in the format this card could be played.


  • Another card from the Vow cycle which is both an offensive and defensive card at the same time . First Strike would mean that if you put it on your Creature, it would be able to block other Creatures and kill them first as long as its power is bigger than the toughness of the attacker it is blocking. And as per the rest of the Vow cycle, this also help you politically deal with your opponent’s Creatures.
  • Not effective in normal variant.



For Green, there are 6 mono Green cards in the set as follows:-

  • As with the other cards of the Join Forces cycle, this card is also the best way to make friends at the table. Helping out the weaker players, giving them an equal fighting chance. This is so as EDH games are mainly about big spells. And not to mention your decks size are pretty big too. It is not uncommon to run into problem of not getting enough Lands to operate properly. This would then help with the mana problem…. which is unless your whole deck consists of no basic Lands….
  • Not that effective in normal variant. As with the other Join Forces cards. This would be just a Rampant Growth for everyone….. since your opponent could and would always not pay for the mana.


  • Cost effective Creature as this is practically 7 converted mana cost of 6 power. Not to mention that those damage flies and have Deathtouch. Since it is producing tokens as it enters the battlefield, this becomes more powerful when you could repeatedly makes it enters the battlefield. What you be looking at for this task would be cards which could blink it (exile it and then return it back to the battlefield later); or keep recurring it from the graveyard back to the battlefield; or just simply bounce it and recast it again and again.
  • As per EDH, this could also be abuse in normal variant, in combination with cards which could let it enters the battlefield repeatedly.


  • A self card as this Creature actually attacks every opponents. And because of that, the time you attack with it had better be when you are winning. Or else this Hydra would be the first Creature to go once anyone found a removal or you be the first one to go as you are the controller of it.
  • Still a decent Creature with 6 converted mana cost of 8/8. Other than that, the other ability does not do much for normal variant.


  • Your card of choice against any graveyard theme decks. Depending on your play group, this could be either self or political card. Self as you could make it grow bigger by just exiling Creature cards; or political card as you will be the “go to” guy if anyone needs graveyard removal.
  • The same applies here too for normal variant. A good foil against Tarmogoyf 


  • A self card since it does not targets you. One way to deal with Artifacts or Enchantments which has Shroud or Hexproof, since it is not targeted. This would not be so effective if your opponents have many Artifacts or Enchantments to sacrifice when you cast this.
  • Nothing much affected in normal variant with this card. Shroud or Hexproof Artifacts and Enchantments are not that common. Targeted removal is more welcome as it is very easy for players to build up with lots of Artifacts and Enchantments on the battlefield, allowing them to not sacrifice the Artifact or Enchantment you really wants to destroy.


  • The one which gives the most power of the Vow cycle (+3/+3) and with Trample to boot. As with other cards of the cycle. The same applies here for its other benefits.
  • Since all of them are a cycle, it is the same for it in normal variant…


Artifacts and Lands:

There are only 2 Lands and 2 Artifacts in the set as follows:-

  • A political card as the 1 damage usually does not hurt much whether you are shooting the Creature or player. The true intention of that 1 damage is really to pass the Squirrel token to him or her. Though this is quite a good way to get rid of those Creatures with powerful abilities, as most of their toughness are usually just 1.
  • Quite useful in normal variant with its 1 damage as a lot of good Creatures have just 1 toughness (Birds of Paradise, Dark Confidant, Mother of Runes, Grim Lavamancer) but the casting cost is still too high to really make this a card a choice. The tokens provided, though minor, could still pose a danger to you as you are building up your opponent army as you use it. Though you could just shoot your own Creatures or yourself to get the tokens. Kinda kinky way to build an army of Squirrels…

  • This is your extra way to protect your Commander with the Hexproof. Since cards are restricted to one per deck, this could increase your chance of drawing one when used in combination with other Artifacts like Lightning Greaves and Whispersilk Cloak to ensure you could at least draw one in time..
  • Not really that useful due to its casting cost. Still uncomparable to Lightning Greaves and now Swiftfoot Boots.



  • A must add if your General is not mono color. Smooth out your mana color.
  • Not applicable in normal variant.


  • The anti-steal card which is a welcome addition to any decks since it has no color identity.
  • This could also be used in normal variant as per EDH, to protect yourself against steal.

With that we had looked at all the non-Commanders cards of the new added cards. Do leave a comment or maybe share a way you had found to break the cards.

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



2 Responses to “Set Review: Commander – Mono Colors, Artifacts and Lands”
  1. Steven says:

    Hi Edward
    its been good browsing your weblog and simply thought I would say many thanks and wished I could write like that.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!