One of the biggest aspects of casual Commander is having access to politics. Unlike two-players MTG, because Commander is a four-player game, it is possible to assemble temporary alliances. It’s not uncommon for one player to get far ahead of the others, especially with how rampant fast mana is in the Commander format. In order to keep that person in check, sometimes the rest of the table needs to gang up against them. That’s why a turn one Sol Ring, as powerful as that is, is sometimes a death sentence.
This allows you to use some interesting MTG cards that may otherwise be somewhat risky in single player games. Something that grants your opponent and yourself a benefit is really difficult to justify in a competitive game. Unless the benefit is heavily slanted in your favor, you’re essentially using a card for no benefit, which can be disastrous.
These cards in a political setting, however, become even more powerful – so long as you can get both sides of the card benefitting you.
Here are some of the most powerful political Commander cards that perform way better than their price tag!
Scheming Symmetry, when used correctly, can essentially become two Vampiric Tutors for the price of one. Not only that, but the card only costs $5, a fraction of the Tutor’s $30 price tag.
Tutor effects are some of the most powerful cards in all of Commander. Singleton formats generally host much less consistent strategies, so being able to find your best card at a moment’s notice is incredibly powerful. The issue with Scheming Symmetry is that both you and another player get to tutor a card on top of their deck. In a two-player game, you may not necessarily get ahead since your opponent gets to tutor alongside you.
In a political situation, you can make both sides of Scheming Symmetry work in your favor. Is there a must-answer situation on the board? Offer a deal to your opponent where they find an answer to the problem. Not only is that problematic thing answered, but you also get to find your best card!
Striking a political deal with Scheming Symmetry may not necessarily triple the card’s value, but it certainly makes it incredibly powerful. All the other options on this list, however, do offer triple the card’s initial value as a game piece in a game of Commander as long as the right deal is struck.
Wishclaw Talisman offers a similar situation to Scheming Symmetry, and depending on the political deal you strike with another player, you could benefit even more than the other card.
Wishclaw Talisman offers three different opportunities for players to tutor cards directly to their hand. After a player tutors a card to their hand, they are forced to pass off the Talisman to another. The upside on Wishclaw Talisman is enormous, and a lot easier to take advantage of than even Scheming Symmetry. Tutoring a card to your hand versus the top of your deck is a big difference.
A few different political deals can quickly make Wishclaw Talisman an absolute powerhouse. You can either strike a similar deal to Scheming Symmetry, offering a player an opportunity to tutor a card to deal with another threat on the board. Otherwise, you can also strike deals offering a player to tutor for whatever they want, as long as they give the Talisman back to you so that you can tutor twice.
Wishclaw Talisman is otherwise a strong build-around option that can have its parity easily broken. If you run a lot of untapping effects with Wishclaw Talisman, you can tutor a bunch of cards before passing the Talisman off, essentially making it a dead artifact. You can also use bounce or sacrificial tools to get rid of the Talisman before it passes off to another player.
Demonstrate is the political keyword in Commander. In exchange for allowing another player to get a free copy of your spell, you get an extra copy of it! If you can get the opponent’s copy of the spell working in your favor, you essentially get three spells for the price of one!
The most famous card that utilizes Demonstrate is Creative Technique, but it’s not because of Commander. Either way, Creative Technique is a great example of a powerful card that gets even more powerful when utilizing the power of politics. If you can strike some sort of deal with the player getting the benefit; maybe they have a big creature that you don’t want swinging at you, for example, then you get two spells and a benefit for the price of one!
Some Demonstrate cards, like Replication Technique, may not need too much political bartering to get a great deal out of it. Some opponents simply won’t have a great use for a copy of the spell being Demonstrated. That said, striking a deal with a card like Excavation Technique can be incredibly beneficial, essentially allowing you to remove three problems on board for five mana.
If the idea of using Demonstrate as a political tool is an interesting one for you, there is an opportunity to build an entire deck around it! The Twelfth Doctor allows you to Demonstrate with the first spell you cast each turn from anywhere other than your hand. All the other Demonstrate cards currently in existence are Instant or Sorcery cards, but The Twelfth Doctor could allow you to gift permanent copies to other players! If you’re confident in striking political deals to your benefit, having one card become three copies working in your favor is ridiculously powerful!
Politics Make For Fun Commander!
Politics remain one of the biggest aspects to a game of Commander. This aspect of the game is what drives some players away from it and towards two-player Magic, but making crazy deals with friends to witness absurd conclusions is a big part of what I love about Commander.
Commander also grants a lot of opportunity for cards that would otherwise not see play to make a big splash. All of these cards turn into the best cards in your deck as long as you can strike a good deal.