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Friday, October 20, 2017

Set Review Commander 2015 – Arjun, the Shifting Flame

July 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Hello fellow EDH-ers and welcome back to another Commander review for the Commander 2015. Today we are looking at the other Blue and Red Commander of the set. Coming from a yet to be known plane, we have a Sphinx who is as much eccentric as the Izzet guild scientists can be. Now before going too further with what it is, let us look at its stats.

 

Sleight of Hand

 Arjun, the Shifting Flame

 Card Name: Arjun, the Shifting Flame

CMC: 4UR

Types: Legendary Creature – Sphinx Wizard

Card Text:

Flying

Whenever you cast a spell, put the cards in your hand on the bottom of your library in any order, then draw that many cards.

P/T: 5/5

Residing in an obscure corner of the Multiverse. Arjun is revere as a godlike being by a school of philosophers who it share its wisdom with. The mind of a Sphinx is commonly being described as a living puzzle and ever-shifting maze of enigma and paradox, rooted in the wisdom of the ages. Arjun as the revered God of its home plane shares its wisdom and inspired its followers by speaking directly into their minds; using fiery words to inflame their thoughts and incite their passion.

 

Teferi’s Puzzle Box

A Fresh Hand Every Turn.

 

Putting his abilities onto card form, I feel that Arjun shows its flavor with a very top down design. Like how it inspires its followers, Arjun refresh your hand every time you cast a spell. The first time I read the text, it reminds me of the Artifact Teferi’s Puzzle Box but the Puzzle Box does the same thing to everyone at their draw step instead of Arjun just doing it to its controller whenever he or she cast a spell. Although it is to be noted that Arjun is in fact a Mindmoil with wings. In terms of a Control deck, this hand refreshing trigger can be a double edge blade. On one hand if you have a lousy hand to begin with, Arjun give you a chance to change that hand into something better. On the other hand, the ability can also mess up any future plans you may have planned with your current hand should you cast a spell. If the latter is a concern to you, then do consider the below options to retain some control over what you want to keep in the hand refreshing process.

 

Gustha’s Scepter Artifact which keeps cards from you hand until you are ready to use them again.
Parallel Thoughts Tutor for seven cards and put it aside to “draw” later on. The Enchantment also prevents you from decking yourself as it can replace draw with the cards you tutor aside with it; even when there is no more cards exiled by it.
Scroll Rack Keep the cards you want and refresh those you do not want away.

 

scrollrack3

No Information Lost.

 

If you have no qualms of losing the hand, Arjun can be rather powerful too as it gives you a fresh hand every time you cast a spell. Think of it as a form of tutoring by drawing through your deck. As long as you have a fat hand, you will be able to cycle through your deck in no time to find the cards you want or combo pieces you lack. Point said, Arjun is not without drawback. If one mind is not full, he or she cannot be inspired by the Sphinx. If you do not have a big hand to begin with, the benefit you get out of Arjun will also be small. Worst case scenario is you will eventually run out of cards as you cycle through your deck with Arjun as it requires you to cast spells to trigger its ability. To solve this you can consider using Future Sight / Magus of the Future / Melek, Izzet Paragon. Those three cards allow you play the top card of your library if it fits the category; although Melek is a bit more demanding on this as he only allows Instant or Sorcery to be cast from the top. Unless you really need something in the hand it should always be the top priority to cast spells from your library top to keep your big hand.

Magus of the Future

“Your Future is safe with me.”

 

The Power of the Draw

Looking at Arjun from another perspective, it can generate a major amount of card advantage with its hand refreshing trigger as the trigger is in fact allowing you to draw a new hand after you refresh your old one. Focusing on that, Arjun can be a combo enabler with anything that has to do with drawing cards. Together with Mindmoil, the Enchantment it is based on, you can easily cycle though your whole deck and kill everyone while doing it. Let’s look at some of the ideas of how you can actually do that.

 

First off, Arjun’s hand refresh trigger requires you to cast a spell in order to trigger. This can go either way with you unable to cast a spell anymore or having no spells to cast anymore. Casting spells require mana and unless you have some infinite mana combo (Palinchron + Phantasmal Image perhaps) in your deck, you are going to eventually runs out of it. If you do not have an infinite mana combo then maybe Dream Halls and Omniscience can help you with a continuous casting spree. It is to be noted though that Dream Halls can be rather tricky to play as it can really destroy your hand size as you use it; use with caution. As you cast spell from your hand to trigger Arjun your hand of cards will get smaller by one spell each refresh. Even if you will able to keep on casting spells, you will eventually have no cards in your hand. Luckily for that, Arjun’s trigger is a card draw ability thus if you can double your draw you can keep the combo going. Below are some cards which double your draw ensuring you be able to have a big hand of spells to cast.

 

Alhammarret’s Archive Double life gain and extra card draws. A must have if you want Arjun’s combo to keep going.
Thought Reflection The original card draw doubler. Serve the same purpose as Alhammarret’s Archive.
Tomorrow, Azami’s Familiar A library manipulator that allow you to dig deeper into your library. Kind of a win-more addition to the combo.

 

Tomorrow, Azami's Familiar

“Safekeeping your visions, My Mistress.”

 

With all the card draw combo going on, you still need to win the game somehow. Below are some of the ways which can combo with Arjun to win the game.

 

Chasm Skulker Pump itself up as you draw cards. Splits into smaller islandwalking bodies when it dies.
Diviner’s Wand Pump equipped Creature for one big attack.
Jace’s Erasure / Sphinx’s Tutelage Mill your opponents as you draw.
Laboratory Maniac The alternate way to achieve a win with so much draw power.
Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind / Psychosis Crawler Win by damage triggers with all the card draws.

 

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind

Kill with the Power of Draw.

 

Conclusion

Arjun, The Shifting Flame

“Thou shall know when Thou Asked.”

Arjun has a very unique combo-ish ability that makes it a powerful build around Commander. Using the right card combinations, you can easily cycle through your deck into your win cons. Arjun is not without drawback though. With a high cc, it is not going to come out early in the games. Going into the mid or late game, your hand size might be too small for Arjun to abuse. Draw doublers are needed in this case then to enable your combo. Looking at it from another perspective, Arjun can also be used as a normal Creature as a support in form of draw source. Regardless of how you use it, Arjun is arguably a powerful draw source but in terms of the mad eccentric Izzet mages; fast results but risky process.

 

What do you think of Flying Mindmoil? Do you consider it to be worthy as your Commander? Will you employ its help to get your card advantage? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below. That is all I have for the great enigmatic Sphinx. We hope you have gained some insight on how to use him. Do stay tune for more reviews for Commander 2015. Till our next article.

 

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

:D~

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