30, Jun, 21

Sen Triplets Is Dead, Long Live Xanathar, Guild Kingpin

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Xanathar is the new kid on the block, and we're absolutely ready to kick Sen Triplets out for them.
Article at a Glance

There are a lot of commanders who are almost exclusively designed to upset, irritate, or aggravate the people you’re playing with. Secretly, a lot of us like playing the most annoying Commander cards around, because how could we not love messing with our friends?

Well, thanks to Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, we’re getting a new card that’s clearly to upset everybody who is sat opposite it. This card is also very reminiscent of another classic commander designed to upset your friends. Well, move over Sen Triplets, Xanathar, Guild Kingpin is our new best friend.

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Meet Xanathar

In D&D, Xanathar is a Beholder the leader of a thieves’ guild called, prepare yourself, Xanathar Thieve’s Guild. Beholders are big old floating eyes with ten tentacles, each with an eye on the end of it, and each containing powerful magic. The only other feature, aside from looking kind of gross, is a massive mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth. Also, they fly, because why not.

There’s actually a lot of information out there on the composition of Beholders, from their stony skin to their blood sac, and it’s all fairly disgusting. It all aims to make one thing clear, Beholders are alien creatures that are so far removed from what we’re used to that it’s hard not to be a little wary of them. Aside from that, to human eyes, they all look rather similar.

In fact, because of this, Xanathar isn’t actually the name of a single, although it used to be. Instead, the name is one that’s been taken on by a few Beholders, because they either kill each other off, or get bored and retire. We’re not sure what they do after retiring, we’re assuming it’s not long walks along the beach and writing poetry, but we could also be wrong. Anyway, Xanathar is now a card in MTG, and they’re great.

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Xanathar, Guild Kingpin is going to annoy everyone except you

Xanathar, Guild Kingpin is a six mana Blue and Black 5/6 (without flying, which seems odd) that reads, “At the beginning of your upkeep, choose target opponent. Until end of turn, that player can’t cast spells, you may look at the top card of their library any time, you may play the top card of their library, and you may spend mana as though it were mana of any color to cast spells this way.”

Basically, congratulations, you can use someone else’s deck now as though you had Future Sight out, and that’s pretty damn cool. Because you can spend mana as though it were any color, it also means you can always just pick the best possible player at any given time. That means if you need board wipes, you can look to the control player, and if you need a big old Creature, then the person running Dinosaurs is your best bet.

It’s a great bit of design, and it encapsulates the leader of the Xanathar Thieves’ Guild really well. It’s also very reminiscent of another card called Sen Triplets, who does something similar, but they’re in Esper colors and you get to use someone’s hand, instead of their deck.

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Is Sen Triplets or Xanathar, Guild Kingpin better?

Sen Triplets reads, “At the beginning of your upkeep, choose target opponent. This turn, that player can’t cast spells or activate abilities and plays with their hand revealed. You may play lands and cast spells from that player’s hand this turn.” Now, they stop that player casting spells or activating cards, but it also reveals the cards to everyone, and if you run out of cards in their hand, then it’s not great.

Xanathar, on the other hand/eye stalk, allows you to pick players who have no hand, and therefore eliminate the possibility of never having good targets. Not only that, but you could talk someone into letting you use their deck to hit something that’s beneficial for everyone, which is always good when you’re probably annoying everyone else.

We’d actually argue that Xanathar is a little bit better unless you’re really trying to stop people doing things, but the obvious answer here is to simple have them both. If you’ve got both of these cards in play at the same time, you can choose two separate opponents and then basically get the best of both worlds. Or, you can choose just one player and really go hard on using their cards. No matter what though, you can guarantee that you’re the one who’s going to win, and that’s all that matters really.

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