Commander 2017 Preview: Alms Collector


OK, that wasn’t too ferocious sounding, but not every Cat needs to be. Today’s preview card isn’t ferocious or primal. It isn’t cute or cuddly either. So what kind of catty card do I have to show you today? A feline of more dignified and elegant design.

Did that get your whiskers tingling? I know I’d be kitten if I said I didn’t like this card. For starters, it has the best keyword a creature can have: flash. Given the card’s disruptive elements, flash is the perfect keyword here to surprise the opponent and CATch them off guard.

A 3/4 for 4 mana is certainly a fine rate on a creature. For comparison, Alms Collector trades the flying and blink effect from Restoration Angel for a card-draw-hosing ability that only hurts the opponents. Comparing on the same lines as Restoration Angel is a solid place to start.

Let’s take a look at that flavor text.

“There is no justice when some profit and others go without.”

Well that’s a nice thought. But… the first thing I want to do with this card is abuse it in my favor. When it comes to the type of Magic I like to play, “There is justice when I profit and others go without.” That’s much better! And don’t blame me, the card’s asymmetrical nature helps me accomplish this.

Whenever a new card or set is spoiled, my favorite thing to do is go down my list of which formats the card will be viable. I have a multitude of Cubes, a Battle Box, a Type 4 stack, EDH decks, and the other Constructed formats all to consider whenever I look at a new card.

Alms Collector in Legacy

So what applications does Alms Collector have for a format like Legacy? You can play this card in response to a Brainstorm or Purrrdict to draw a card while simultaneously denying your opponent cards. Heaven forbid your opponent your opponent activates Griselbrand right before you let the Cat out of the bag. Talk about insult and injury.

Alms Collector survives Abrupt Decay and Lightning Bolt, but falls to Swords to Plowshares or a revolted Fatal Push. I’d say this is a fair trade-off, and with flash, it’s an excellent way of pressuring Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Liliana of the Veil. Cats may always land on their feet, but can the same be said for your opponent when you use this to ambush a Snapcaster Mage or Leovold, Emissary of Trest in combat?

What homes does this card have? I think the best home for a card like this would be a 1-of for Death and Taxes. Decks without access to Notion Thief or Chalice of the Void should look for other ways to get an advantage over Brainstorm decks. Alms Collector has respectable stats and has even greater blowout potential when played off of an Aether Vial on 4.

Additionally, due to the asymmetrical nature of its ability, Alms Collector could serve as an excellent threat in the U/W Control deck that has taken the place of Miracles. The ability to pressure Jace, as well as trumping any Brainstorm/Predict battles is quite valuable and there hasn’t been another option available for this color combination until now. I can easily see this card replacing something like Venser, Shaper Savant, Restoration Angel, or Vendilion Clique where those cards are played.

Alms Collector in Vintage

Vintage is a harder format to crack. I see Alms Collector being slightly too slow for Vintage, but I wouldn’t write it off entirely. With Brainstorm and Gush being restricted, this card’s effect doesn’t hit hard enough against a variety of cards. Dark Confidant, Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, Dig Through Time, and Preordain are all unaffected. So for Vintage, I only see this card being useful against Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Treasure Cruise, Ancestral Recall, Paradoxical Outcome, wheel effects, and Dack Fayden. That doesn’t seem like enough to me. Notion Thief, and Leovold do a better job (and are in better colors) and Spirit of the Labyrinth trades off some stats for a cheaper mana cost (which is ideal).

Alms Collector in Commander

Hey, Alms Collector is in Commander 2017, so let’s talk about that format! Commander is the format I foresee this feline friend here seeing the most play. 99-card singleton provides much less competition than 60-card formats, and this card is quite at home in many white decks.

Let’s start with casual, multiplayer EDH. Asymmetrical cards like Aven Mindcensor, Thalia, Heretic Cathar, Ghostly Prison, and Kismet all see play in EDH for years and this card should fall in line nicely with those.

Prison decks should enjoy the addition of this card to go along with Spirit of the Labyrinth. There are many problematic generals that draw massive numbers of cards, and this hoses some popular cards. Some of those generals include Nin, the Pain Artist, Prime Speaker Zegana, Damia, Sage of Stone, and Zedruu, the Greathearted. Once again, flash is a huge selling point, as it is a great way to allow it dodge sweepers and surprise opponents.

We’ve all played against that Nekusar, the Mindrazer player who just loves to play every wheel or draw-seven effect ever printed in their deck. Why not stop them from having all the fun? Granted, this card is a little mean in conjunction with Wheel effects. I’ll let that sink in for you…

Hey, wait a second! You can use this card combined with your own Wheel effects. Leovold got the hammer for multiplayer EDH, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be evil behind the wheel. With Alms Collector in play, once you play a draw-seven effect, your opponent discards their hand and draws one measly card while you still get to draw the whole kitten caboodle. Plus, you draw an extra card for each opponent. That is one feral Cat.

And of course, you can’t forget about Cat tribal. Whether it’s Kemba, Kha Regent, Brimaz, King of Oreskos, or Raksha Golden Cub, you can find a nice home for Alms Collector. In fact, there are already plenty of playable and strong Cats to join the fight…

All the makings of a fur-ocious deck right here. I know there are plenty of Cat lovers out there, and the more playable kitties they print, the better.

Alms Collector in 1v1 Commander

Let’s shift to the more competitive 1v1 Commander variant. Where do I think we will see Alms Collector? Despite costing 4 mana, I do expect this card to find a home in many decks. While there are no popular generals that are hosed by its ability, the respectable instant-speed body provides for excellent blowout potential on many commonly played cards.

As I previously mentioned, Alms Collector has huge potential with wheel effects. White doesn’t have access to many draw-sevens, but in conjunction with 2 or 3 other colors I could easily see this card finding a home alongside Notion Thief and Leovold in some 4-color partner combinations.

Alms Collector passes the test of “Is this card embarrassing on its own?” Most of the time, you need the card to function in the case where you don’t draw a wheel effect or can’t resolve one. Luckily, this card is worth its costs on its own most of the time that you won’t lose a game because you drew it.

Alms Collector in Battle Box

For Battle Box (Danger Room), a format popularized by CFB’s own Brian Demars, I see myself giving paws to consider this card. I’ve put the kibosh on big draw spells in my own stack, but others may not have. If your Battle Box has powerful draw spells like Mystic Confluence, Opportunity, and Jace’s Ingenuity, this card is a perfect addition as a way to combat those swings. Even without cards that strong, the 3/4 body for 4 mana with the occasionally relevant text should make this a worthy inclusion.

Rawr. This Cat looks quite ferocious indeed. If you managed to read the article before running away and checking out other spoilers, I commend and thank you. I know that personally, I can’t wait to check out more spoilers from Commander 2017 and am eager to pick up all the awesome cards I will need for my various decks and Cubes. Do you like Alms Collector? What kind of cards are you hoping to see out of Commander 2017? Let me know in the comments. Until next time, may your Nacatls be 3/3s and your Adorned Pouncers 4/4s.


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