It’s no secret that Commander Masters is full of desirable cards every Commander player is looking for to power up their decks. Not only have these reprints amped up many tables, but the preconstructed decks, even at their high price point, seem to be everywhere with multiple pre-con commanders appearing in the top 100 for both the week and month.
With so many people playing the same cards, the overall casual LGS Commander meta game has shifted, noticeably. While that can lead to stale and repetitive games, the good news is it also allows for some interesting silver bullets to make a reappearance and help steal games. Here are just a few cards that can allow you to take advantage of the current game state.
It’s a Numbers Game
Every play is potentially amplified from the raw power of the cards in the set with many effects doubling, tripling or otherwise being massive. Whether it’s a Craterhoof Behemoth threatening to kill one or more players to a cascading Zhulodok, Void Gorger effectively turning each spell into three, everything is game shaking.
Furthermore, when you take a look at the precons for the set, you notice that creatures are very common in every deck. Even the Planeswalker deck has 17 creature cards alongside token generation. It’s very clear that the value of board wipes has gone up tremendously but there are multiple confounding factors.
Alongside all the value and power there are some excellent utility spells like Flawless Maneuver that defeats many wipes and it can be cast for free! It’s not just white because you also have to deal with Heroic Intervention in green as well. On top of all that both Enduring Enchantments and Sliver Swarm rely on cards going to the graveyard to have increased functionality, so merely destroying the board can actually enable current strategies in many cases.
This means that simple wipes are unlikely to do enough and you may need to clear the board multiple times to really affect the game state. This means your options are relatively limited for “solving” a board state.
One nice thing is that Cyclonic Rift is an excellent reprint that, in most cases, gets around things like Indestructible. The downside to Rift? Cards can end up in the graveyard from discarding to hand size so, once again, the problem is only solved temporarily if at all. You may even have enabled a graveyard based deck!
Some cards that do completely deal with massive boards or hard to handle cards are Terminus and Final Judgement.
This leads to the second problem which is the pile of enchantments in one deck, Planeswalkers in another and the abundance of artifacts in most of the precons. Further excellent answers are Merciless Eviction and Farewell which let you really solve just about any situation. Taken altogether, this means that white is a lot more powerful in the locus of a Commander Masters driven meta. Finally, white also has the answers to the answers in both Teferi’s Protection and Clever Concealment. Incidentally both white and green are in all three of the non-colorless precons.
A blast from the past, Ceremonious Rejection just says no to almost all artifacts for the low cost of one mana. It also just says no to virtually the entire Eldrazi deck. Right now this is a solid card that crushes many other powerful cards seeing play like The One Ring. If you’re playing blue and you know there are a lot of Eldrazi decks springing up this has become a significantly better counter than something else you are running.
On a similar note, Wash Away which we have talked about before is excellent for dealing with commanders and also cascaded cards, again for only one mana. Both of these cards prove that you do not need a lot of mana to deal with big threats, sometimes one mana and the right card will do!
Another extremely niche card, Nix is a one mana answer to all of the “Free if you control your commander” spells, cascade, many Planeswalker abilities, and even Darksteel Monolith. Right now this card is exceptionally viable, but only if you know your table will have consistent targets for it.
Speaking of one mana and the right card, Gerrard’s Hourglass Pendant failed to gain much traction in the Commander meta. The largest reason seems to be that extra turn cards are relatively frowned upon by most groups. However, now that a precon has Rise of the Eldrazi in it and they have reprinted Capture of Jingzhou there has been an uptick in Timewalk effects seeing play even at casual tables. Much like tutor effects, the prevailing feeling is that having one in a deck is alright, but too many is not.
In any case, not only does the Hourglass stop extra turns it gives you some board wipe protection that is colorless so it can go into any deck including Eldrazi decks. Furthermore, it’s Legendary and that does matter on occasion. Finally the most commonly added card to Planeswalker Party is undoubtedly Ichormoon Gauntlet and Hourglass beats extra turns from that as well. At only one colorless mana, this is about as good as it gets cost wise and both abilities are ultra relevant right now.
On a completely different angle entirely, Bedevil has been rising in the EDHREC ranks. Normally, a three mana removal spell in two colors is a hard sell, but it has proven itself to be exactly as flexible as necessary to make the top 100 cut and stay there. If a card like this has proven itself good enough to be a cut above can other cards like Fracture or even Utter End find themselves seeing even more play because of their wide reach, its a pretty good indication that removal needs to be able to deal with a swath of different threats.
More than ever, removal needs to work on several potential threats, not just creatures, and mana cost and color are seen as less important than ability to answer. With the influx of decks based on enchantments, Planeswalkers and indestructible creatures with a lot of artifacts, removal needs to be more capable than ever on multiple metrics.
The EDHREC top 100 really doesn’t care about the graveyard very much with only Rakdos Charm making the cut. That card has two excellent modes and one completely live mode so it’s definitely a great card. However, outside of Bojuka Bog few graveyard hate cards are seeing enough play. Graveyard based decks are always around and since two of the four new precons love to abuse the yard it’s important to consider cards like Soul-guide Lantern, Relic of Progenitus and Tormod’s Crypt if your local meta has enough decks that warrant the inclusion of some specific control.
The nice part about most of these effects is that they become “two mana, draw a card” just in case so they become a cantrip when not needed but are extremely effective in many cases and are colorless so they can go in any deck. Black has it the easiest here with game changing options like Nihil Spellbomb, Dauthi Voidwalker or Rise of the Dark Realms but at least every deck has the same low cost artifact solutions available.
Putting it all Together
In a high powered environment full of free spells, protection effects, massive monsters and easy recursion making the right choices to include in your decks can be difficult. However, there are always solutions waiting to be found provided you seek them. Rather than sit back and see what happens, push back against the meta with strategies that anticipate and counter your opponents obvious plays. When the other players are reacting to you instead of the other way around you end up driving the meta.