Today I'm going to kick off the new card bonanza for the Magic: The Gathering Commander Theme Decks!
We have quite a few new cards, all of which come from MTGSalvation.com to make getting images easier (MTGSalvation.com gets theirs from different sources).
But first, about the "rarities" you'll see as I post up previewed cards: You'll look at these cards and go "But if they're 1 per deck (since Commander is a Singleton format), how does that make them any more or less rare than other cards in the Commander decks?"
Well, the Commander decks do things a bit differently. They have cards designed mostly for multiplayer play. To facilitate that, they made new cards for these decks. And since some decks share colors 2 or 3 times over, it allows new cards to go in multiple decks.
So here's how the "rarity" for NEW cards in the Commander decks will work:
Mythic Rare: These are the new "wedge legends", Legendary Creature cards that have all 3 of their wedge's colors in their cost.
Rare: Appears in only 1 of the 5 Commander decks (like the new enemy pair (ex: UG) Legendary Creatures).
Uncommon: Appears in 3 of the 5 decks.
Common: Appears in all 5 decks.
Note that this is only for new cards. Sol Ring, although it's an Uncommon, is in all 5 decks because it's not a new Uncommon. Therefore, Wizards of the Coast has discretion to put it in as many decks as they want (in Sol Ring's case, all 5 decks will have one).
Lastly, tournament legality on these is very limited. The cards deubting in the Commander theme decks are Vintage and Legacy legal ONLY! Standard, Extended, and no block formats will have these legal. Of course, the reprints are fine and are legal in whatever format(s) they are normally legal in.
Today, I'll introduce to you 2 of the new Commanders for the under-represented "wedge" color trios (like White + Red + Black, so if you tried to group 1 color and their two enemies together on the color wheel they'd make a wedge-looking shape), 1 new Ability Word making its debut in the Commander theme decks, and 1 new cycle of Enchantments that all have Pacifism-like abilities...depending on whose creature your enchant. That's what's in store the next few days. Today, we'll look at the new Commanders! (Because, after all, that's what these decks are based on. :p )
We'll start off with a patriotic Legendary creature. It's no flying angel, but for its mana cost it could be a bear...about 3.5x bigger than one, anyway! Introducing Ruhan of the Fomori!
Okay, so maybe it's a bit unimpressive at first. He's a 4-mana 7/7 creature that doesn't even have Trample! But here's how I look at it: He's a 1RWU 7/7 creature that could put your opponent(s) on a very tight clock.
You see, I'm looking at some of these cards not from a multi-player standpoint (because with his effect, random chance goes from 100% in a 2-player game to 50% in a 3-player game to 33 1/3% in a 4-player and so on and so on) but a one-on-one perspective. So what if Mr. Fomori here must attack each turn if able? 7/7 attacking Turn 5 is not something to sneeze at! Lack of evasion hurts it, true, but he'll probably draw out removal or destroy chump blockers that otherwise could have been very helpful to you.
In multiplayer, this is a non-political card. You can't just choose 1 player and he attacks that player each turn if able. Instead, it's random each time. (Well, assuming you're not using loaded coins/dice. *COUGH!*) I like this card just for that reason: It's fair. It doesn't let the controller say "Well, I know you're getting beat up on a lot SOOO I'll swing in for the final 7 points." It says "Hmm...eenie meenie minie moe!"
Our next "Wedge General" will get your Green blood going. He can get pretty big and can help save on the cost of your other creatures based on how big he gets. Proliferate will like him, too, btw. I'm pleased to announce one of the first URG Legendary Creatures in the game, Animar, Soul of Elements!!!
So I guess you saw the first abilities? Protection from Swords to Plowshares and Doom Blade? haha. No, seriously I like the protections. It helps make Animar stick around a little more easily. And he needs to stick around for his second and third abilities to matter.
When you cast a creature spell, he gets a +1/+1 counter. If you're playing Green and Red, you may already have cheap creatures to cast (Noble Hierarch, Llanowar Elves, Mogg Fanatic, etc.). As a 1/1 he may not be a pain in the butt early, but if he draws some removal I guess that's okay since it'll help keep your bigger creatures going, huh?
I love the second ability. For each +1/+1 counter he has, you reduce the casting cost on your creatures by 1 when you cast them for each counter on Animar! Who says blue and red can't dabble a little bit in mana reduction? This will help your Commanders out very well. If you use Animar as a non-general and you can help offset your General overcome the "2 mana additional for each time it comes back" drawback.
Although I want to look at this and go "Hmm...is there a casual deck that could use this guy outside of Commander?" The -1 to casting costs of creatures is very appealing! To get an ever-increasing creature with protection from some of the more dangerous colors in the game is even more tempting.
What do you all think? Do you think these 2 could see any kind of constructed play, even if it's casual-only? What about Commander-based? Are they worth the effort to even try and play?