Throne of Eldraine Commander EDH Review

Commander Set Review: Throne of Eldraine in EDH

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Hey everyone! Throne of Eldraine is here, and it’s time for the Commander Set Review. I’m going to use the same rating system from last time with one new rating. Here it is:

Commander: You want this card in the command zone at the start the game. Its best use is to lead the charge as the cornerstone of your deck, but it can probably fit into your 99 as well.

Build-Around: This card can be a huge player in the theme of your deck. It either enables the theme by itself or is something you’re looking to take advantage of over the course of your ideal game. It’s probably worth dedicating other slots in your deck to cards that work with a build-around.

Powerhouse: This card’s not really about synergy, but it’s good all by itself. (This is the new one.)

Role Player: This card might not be the cornerstone of a deck list, but it’s an important part of the engine or strong enough on its own to merit potential inclusion. This category also covers cards that look good enough to try out but don’t seem like obvious winners.

Tech Card: Counterplay is important, and if a card doesn’t fit into one of the above categories but is good enough at countering other strategies, it’ll be included here.

Niche Inclusion: This card might make your deck if you have a deckbuilding restriction, whether it’s self-imposed based on theme, a power level consideration, or a card availability concern.

Remember, I’m not primarily a “competitive EDH” player, so you’ll hear about cards from a more relaxed perspective–I want the game to be fun for all, but I also want to have a good shot at winning. I’m also not going to talk about every card, because that would be a lot of “meh, this card is whatever” ratings and that’s not interesting. If I don’t review a card, assume I don’t see its value in Commander and then go ahead and tweet at me at @RagingLevine about your disagreement 🙂

Acclaimed Contender

Acclaimed Contender

Rating: Role Player

If you’re going to lean into Syr Gwyn and run a full Knights deck, a three-mana Knight that draws you a card almost all the time is worth a shot. It’s a good rate, and it’s on theme. It reminds me of Militia Bugler, but better.

Archon of Absolution

Archon of Absolution

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you are all-in on a tax deck and playing Grand Arbiter Augustin IV or something similar as your Commander, then you might enjoy adding this to your pile of combat preventers. Otherwise, it compares badly to cards like Windborn Muse.

Charming Prince

Charming Prince

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you are running a dedicated blink/ETB deck, Charming Prince makes sense, but otherwise his impact is too small to really make a dent. Noble Tribal isn’t exactly taking off either.

The Circle of Loyalty

The Circle of Loyalty

Rating: Build-Around

No part of this card, by itself, is powerful enough. When you’re going all in on Knights and this costs WW for an anthem that makes a 3/3 every turn and sometimes more often, then you’re getting a great deal. This card really makes the Knights deck tick.

Deafening Silence

Deafening Silence - Foil

Rating: Tech Card

If you’re up against decks that are storming out, this is a cheap and easy answer that forces them to do some extra work before they combo off. Also, the art is really weird, wonderful, and distracting, which is a plus.

Giant Killer

Giant Killer // Chop Down

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you are already reaching for a Master Decoy-type card, consider this instead. Being able to destroy a big threat for cheap makes this an attractive option in a deck that is reaching to play some cheap removal while not diluting its creature count too much.

Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After

Rating: Build-Around

It’s not a good build-around, mind you, but this is the format for it. Remember that you must get all the way to your upkeep to win with it, which is why it’s best cast in the end step before your turn via something like Vedalken Orrery.

Harmonious Archon

Harmonious Archon

Rating: Powerhouse

It looks symmetrical, and it is–unless your army is the biggest. If you have more creatures than the rest of the table combined, this will win the board, and possibly the game, for you on the spot. Otherwise, it’s just Godhead of Awe with a higher floor and more friends.

Hushbringer

Hushbringer

Rating: Tech Card

If you are struggling with all the Chulanes and similar in the world destroying you with tons of ETB and death triggers, this card does a lot of work. It’s not going to kill anyone, and mostly it’ll just be a speed bump, but as speed bumps go, it’s on the high end.

Realm-Cloaked Giant

Realm-Cloaked Giant // Cast Off

Rating: Role Player

Cast Off is like Crux of Fate–sometimes, someone has a Giant and you’re not getting what you want. (Maybe you have the Giant, in which case, you’re getting exactly what you want.) It’s nice that it comes with a creature you can cast afterwards built into the card, but unless you have twelve mana, you’re still on the back foot in the same way you are with any Wrath.

True Love’s Kiss

True Love's Kiss

Rating: Tech Card

Slice in Twain, but it exiles? This could contend for the slots that are currently taken up by Return to Dust in many white-based decks. If there’s only one thing you really want to exile, drawing a card is obviously the better outcome than just whiffing on the second half of Return to Dust, and you can cast this one at instant speed without feeling bad.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch

Emry, Lurker of the Loch

Rating: Build-Around

She’s probably also a great Commander, but I think artifact decks really benefit from the addition of white, hence my rating. Being able to cast your spells from the graveyard is always powerful, and let’s face it–if you’re playing an artifact-focused deck, your permanents will always be under attack.

Folio of Fancies

Folio of Fancies - Foil

Rating: Role Player

If you’re a dedicated group mill player, Folio of Fancies will get the whole table to put plenty of cards into their graveyards. It will also get them to turn their attention directly on you well before they’re in danger of running out of cards, so be forewarned.

Gadwick, the Wizened

Gadwick, the Wizened

Rating: Commander?

I don’t find Gadwick’s tap ability terribly exciting, so I guess he’s all about being a sorcery-speed Draw X. I’m not sure that’s what makes a good Commander, but I’m interested in finding out. Maybe I should just play Oathbreaker with Blue Sun’s Zenith as my Signature Spell instead.

Into the Story

Into the Story

Rating: Role Player

2UU for Opportunity is a price I’m willing to pay, but the question is, how often will you get the good deal? It depends on how aggressive your table is about removing graveyards, I suppose, which is why this is going to need some testing.

The Magic Mirror

The Magic Mirror

Rating: Role Player

Cards that cost nine mana and don’t do anything until the following turn are usually pretty bad. This one doesn’t really cost nine mana, though–if you’re playing the dedicated spellslinging deck, you should be able to get this down to a reasonable price. At that point, it still does nothing until your next upkeep, but it’s going to demand some removal if it gets going. By then, you’ll have plenty of counterspells to wage war with.

Midnight Clock

Midnight Clock

Rating: Powerhouse

“Each upkeep” is very meaningful in multiplayer. This is a three mana draw 7 with “Suspend – ?” on it, and it’s just for you. Of course, it sits on the battlefield waiting to be destroyed, but at least it’s a mana rock too. If you’re into proliferating, it gets even better.

Mirrormade

Mirrormade

Rating: Role Player

Decks that want cards like Sculpting Steel or Copy Enchantment will be very interested in this. It’s another effect of an existing type, so its main role is to provide consistency, but being able to copy either an artifact or enchantment grants it additional flexibility.

Ayara, First of Locthwain

Ayara, First of Locthwain

Rating: Commander

What a card. This is a fantastic Commander to augment with cards like Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder, Piper of the Swarm, Abhorrent Overlord, Sengir Autocrat, and other token generators as well as your traditional suite of “dies” effects like Blood Artist. Mono-Black decks have come a long way from the old days–they’re getting much more interesting.

Bake into a Pie

Bake into a Pie - Foil

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you’re making a Food deck, or if you’re really digging for more unconditional removal, this fits. Otherwise, it sits (on the bench.)

Blacklance Paragon

Blacklance Paragon

Rating: Niche Inclusion

It’s a Knight and a combat trick. That’s about all I can really say about it that matters.

The Cauldron of Eternity

The Cauldron of Eternity

Rating: Powerhouse

This card is abjectly powerful if you already have a stocked graveyard–and if you’re casting it, well, you have one. Obviously, this is incredibly weak to graveyard removal, but if you’re milling yourself a decent amount, you can get around the downside.

Clackbridge Troll

Clackbridge Troll

Rating: Role Player

I’m not sure this is quite as good as I thought it was initially. Anyone can sacrifice a creature, but that does lead to some weird table politics, which can be good. Even if this is just a 5-mana Phyrexian Arena that gains you three life instead of making you lose one before it gets destroyed a couple of turns down the line, it does a job.

Epic Downfall

Epic Downfall

Rating: Niche Inclusion

What you get for the cost is pretty fantastic, even if the restriction can be annoying. Obviously unconditional removal, especially at instant speed, will always be better, but if you’re reaching for an inexpensive or unusual kill spell, reach for this.

Murderous Rider

Murderous Rider // Swift End

Rating: Role Player

If you’re in the Knights deck, this is pretty good. Otherwise it’s just a weird Hero’s Downfall, which could be good–losing the two life off the bat gets mitigated by the lifelink. I’d play this in a Zombie deck too, but the trigger when it dies is a little unfortunate for any sorcery-speed recursion.

Piper of the Swarm

Piper of the Swarm

Rating: Role Player

It takes a long time for this to get to the point where you’re taking creatures… unless you’re playing a Rat deck. Are you playing a Rat deck? Probably not, but if you are, well, this is a huge gift for you, isn’t it?

Rankle, Master of Pranks

Rankle, Master of Pranks

Rating: Commander

This card is absolutely obnoxious. It has these symmetrical effects, but they’re never symmetrical, are they? They’re always at the whim of the Rankle player, who will find ways to systematically out-resource you at every turn. If you play this as your Commander, I will attack you on any vector I can find… but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it!

Syr Konrad, the Grim

Syr Konrad, the Grim

Rating: Commander

I love this card. I love it so much that I wrote an article about it. Go read that.

Wishclaw Talisman

Wishclaw Talisman

Rating: Niche Inclusion

Obviously giving your opponents wishes is pretty bad. You can do some work to break the symmetry, but at that point shouldn’t you just cast Demonic (or even Diabolic) Tutor? If doing that work is fun for you, sure, play this. Otherwise, just cast a different, better tutor.

Brimstone Trebuchet

Brimstone Trebuchet

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you are making Knight tokens left and right, you will want this. Otherwise, leave it at home with your other trebuchets. I keep mine in the hall closet. Where do you keep your trebuchets? Sound off in the comments.

Embercleave

Embercleave

Rating: POWERHOUSE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS

This card is going to be the best commander damage enabler in red for… ever? Forever. Yes. Instant-speed double strike and trample is just nasty. I suppose you can also use it to win some combats, but mostly it’s for killing opponents out of nowhere.

Embereth Shieldbreaker

Embereth Shieldbreaker // Battle Display

Rating: Niche Inclusion

There’s basically no reason to play this outside a dedicated Knights deck. In that deck, it’s a vanilla Knight with upside. Not great, not good, but maybe not terrible? It might actually just be terrible because the 2/1 has basically no impact.

Fervent Champion

Fervent Champion

Rating: Role Player

The equip discount, combined with first strike, makes this unassuming 1/1 for R much better than it looks. For the fortieth time this article, I’ll say “This goes in the dedicated Knights deck,” but it also goes in any Voltron strategy that includes red. Toss it onto the battlefield for cheap, equip absolutely everything for free or nearly free, and then attack that same turn. It can swing a game out of nowhere.

Fires of Invention

Fires of Invention

Rating: Build-Around

This card is nasty. It might not even be fun to play with or against. It’s very powerful, though–if you can work at instant speed, you can play lots of free spells every turn cycle because of how multiplayer works. You can do basically anything with this card and make it unfair.

Irencrag Pyromancer

Irencrag Pyromancer

Rating: Role Player

If you are playing Niv-Mizzet, Parun, Jori En, Ruin Diver, or similar, Irencrag Pyromancer is an incredible bolt factory. If you can reliably draw two cards on an opponent’s turn, this card is for you. You won’t be able to fire off multiple bolts per turn using this card, but you can pick off utility creatures, finish off larger ones, go to the dome, or–my favorite application–knock out some planeswalkers.

Mad Ratter

Mad Ratter

Rating: Role Player

As above, except replace “bolt factory” with “rat factory,” an objectively worse phrase. “Goodbye friends,” they said, getting up from the Commander table. “I have to concede early–I’m headed on down to the rat factory.” Nope nope nope.

(I do think this card is worse than Irencrag Pyromancer, FYI.)

Opportunistic Dragon

Opportunistic Dragon

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you are playing red and having trouble finding ways to deal with other players’ humans and artifacts… look, I don’t know. I think this is just for people who want to play One More Dragon. If that’s you, then you’re in the right place, because this is a cool, flavorful Dragon.

Robber of the Rich

Robber of the Rich

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you managed to fit red into your Rogue Tribal deck with Prowl effects, then enjoy this bizarre depiction of Robin Hood. If not, I fear you will be disappointed by this bad Thief of Sanity. The good news is that it might be the real deal in Standard.

Sundering Stroke

Sundering Stroke

Rating: Niche Inclusion

It’s 21 damage for 7 mana in mono-red, but copying it doesn’t work so well. I’m not sure this is good enough for Commander, but I’ll be playing it in Brawl for sure. (Hello, Torbran!) If you are all-in on effects like Sulfuric Vapors and Pyromancer’s Gauntlet, this could be very interesting. Hmm, maybe I just started building Torbran for Commander…

Syr Carah, the Bold

Syr Carah, the Bold

Rating: Commander

Oh, hey, I wrote about this one too, in our Commander newsletter.

Thrill of Possibility

Thrill of Possibility

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you need to draw and discard, or you’re looking for more mono-red draw spells, this is better than Tormenting Voice. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

Torbran, Thane of Red Fell

Rating: Commander

I wrote an article about Torbran as well, but he’s not just for Brawl by any means. You can cast insane Arc Lightnings and Volcanic Eruptions or just attack with lots of Goblin tokens–no matter how you’re dealing damage with red things, Torbran makes those things look really, really good.

Beanstalk Giant

Beanstalk Giant // Fertile Footsteps

Rating: Powerhouse

I think this is a huge win for green decks. Sure, it makes a non-evasive creature, but it’s stapled to a well-costed card. If you’re already looking at cards like Grow from the Ashes or Search for Tomorrow, consider Beanstalk Giant instead. Untamed Wilds isn’t a terribly popular spell on its own, but this combination makes it look much better.

Gilded Goose

Gilded Goose

Rating: HONK

If you haven’t seen this Magic Arena highlight yet, this one’s for you.

The Great Henge

The Great Henge

Rating: Powerhouse

It’s not hard to reduce the cost of this one in a green deck, and the payoff is huge. If you have a 7-power creature, it’s effectively free as it generates two mana by itself. The real big deal is the triggered ability, though–that’s a lot of cards along with a little buff to your incoming creatures. This compares very favorably to cards like Soul of the Harvest.

Keeper of Fables

Keeper of Fables

Rating: Niche Inclusion

It only gets you one card per combat, in the style of Bident of Thassa, but it’s possible that could be good enough. Green has enough other options for card draw that this one might pale in comparison based on the cost. Cards like Garruk’s Packleader, Primordial Sage, and Soul of the Harvest are in pretty strong competition for the slot this would occupy.

Kenrith’s Transformation

Kenrith's Transformation

Rating: Niche Inclusion

Compares poorly to Song of the Dryads or even Lignify, but if you absolutely need “draw a card” on another 2-mana aura, here you go, Tuvasa. Yes, I’m calling you out, Tuvasa. This card is pretty much just for you.

Once and Future

Once and Future

Rating: Role Player

1GGG gets you Elven Cache at instant speed. That’s a great deal, so if you’re looking for Regrowth effects that provide card advantage, start here. You just have to be dedicated enough to green to get the 2-for-1 to make this reach its potential.

Questing Beast

Questing Beast

Rating: Role Player

It’s a 4/4, so it’s not huge, but the ability to attack a player and their planeswalker simultaneously (sort of) is worth looking into. If you’re having trouble handling opposing walkers in green-based decks, turn to this as a possible solution.

Return of the Wildspeaker

Return of the Wildspeaker

Rating: Role Player

Harmonize, Momentous Fall, Greater Good, and similar all do a good job of making this draw effect look silly, and there are plenty of Overrun effects that give trample and not just a buff, but it’s the flexibility at instant speed that makes this worth trying out. I’m not sure it’s good enough, but I pulled an extended art version from my Collector Pack when I bought a box at the prerelease, so I’ll try it and let you know.

Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig

Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig

Rating: Commander

Yorvo is here to get huge. His second ability tells you that he wants you to play big stuff, but really you should just make a lot of Saprolings or similar tokens and give Yorvo trample. Yorvo is going to do a lot of Commander damage after you play a lot of efficient token generation spells. (Just make sure the tokens are green.)

Dance of the Manse

Dance of the Manse

Rating: Build-Around

A spell that returns X things from the graveyard to the battlefield is pretty much always going to be powerful. You don’t even necessarily need them to be 4/4s to have a huge impact depending on what you’re returning, but if you can give the army of animated nonsense haste somehow (by, say, returning Akroma’s Memorial along with the rest of the stuff you’re getting back) you can really do some damage.

Doom Foretold

Doom Foretold

Rating: Role Player

This is one of those obnoxious Stax cards, isn’t it? If it wasn’t so cool and flavorful, I’d dislike it more. If you are trying to slow down games and make them grindier, Doom Foretold is here for you. Isn’t this why Braids got banned?

Drown in the Loch

Drown in the Loch

Rating: Role Player

It’s important to note that this requires the controller of the spell or creature to have the right number of cards in their graveyard, so while this can be pretty good late game, it’s pretty bad against the person who just got hit with Tormod’s Crypt. That being said, it’s a strong card.

Escape to the Wilds

Escape to the Wilds

Rating: Role Player

Yes, this looks pretty good with Fires of Invention, doesn’t it? It also looks pretty good if you have access to Seedborn Muse and can play them off-turn. Otherwise, you’d better have a lot of mana to take full advantage of this one.

Faeburrow Elder

Faeburrow Elder

Rating: Role Player

I mention this largely as a combo piece–cards like Umbral Mantle would love to have another Bloom Tender to combo within 4+ color decks. That said, it’s a pretty cool combo piece, and it’s a 3-mana 2/2 that taps for GW all by itself, which isn’t awful.

Garruk, Cursed Huntsman

Garruk, Cursed Huntsman

Rating: Powerhouse

The zero ability generating two wolves is good enough to defend Garruk after he comes down, and if the wolves die–and they will–Garruk will grow pretty quickly and give you a ridiculous emblem. The middle ability is nice, but honestly, I’m all about 0 and -6 for Commander.

Grumgully, the Generous

Grumgully, the Generous

Rating: Commander

Does it matter what kind of creatures go in a Grumgully deck? Well, yes, you shouldn’t put Humans in. You should put lots of cards that care about having or using +1/+1 counters in and be grateful that you have been given all these good mushrooms to eat or whatever is happening in the flavor of this card. You should build a Grumgully deck, mostly because of how good the art is to look at.

Improbable Alliance

Improbable Alliance

Rating: Role Player

If you’re all-in on drawing cards (a place I call the Locust God Zone) then this is for you. If you’re not able to draw cards absolutely whenever you feel like it, this won’t fit well in your deck.

Inspiring Veteran

Inspiring Veteran

Rating: Role Player

We saw this card recently in the form of Legion Lieutenant when it was on the Vampire side of things. Now it’s a Knight. Knights for the Knight God, I guess.

Lochmere Serpent

Lochmere Serpent

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you’re getting additional value beyond the textbox of this card by sacrificing lands, sure, try this one out. Otherwise, I’m sure there’s an Aetherling-type card that will serve you much better. Nezahal, Primal Tide is a huge upgrade for just one more mana, but if you’re in need of a third-string finisher, you could do worse than this monster.

Oko, Thief of Crowns

Oko, Thief of Crowns

Rating: Niche Inclusion

It’s so efficient and powerful… in Standard. In Commander, it’s just a collection of marginal effects at a table where multiple players can deal with it. The +1 is obviously the most impactful part of the card, but if you’re playing this to do that once and then have Oko die, just play Kenrith’s Transformation, or Lignify, or Song of the Dryads.

Outlaws’ Merriment

Outlaws' Merriment

Rating: Niche Inclusion

This card’s randomness is what makes it beautiful. It’s also the card’s downfall. If you’re in full Anointed Procession mode, you could try this out. You might even want to Strionic Resonator this trigger. I’m just not convinced it’s worth playing instead of something like Assemble the Legion.

The Royal Scions

The Royal Scions

Rating: Niche Inclusion

Three-mana planeswalkers are often too marginal for Commander, and I think this is one of them. The ultimate ability doesn’t say “win the game,” which is not what we need in a Superfriends-style deck, and the other abilities are just not powerful enough.

Steelclaw Lance

Steelclaw Lance

Rating: Role Player

Obviously, this goes in a Knights list as an incredibly efficient piece of equipment. I can’t say much beyond that, because there are no other applications.

Stormfist Crusader

Stormfist Crusader

Rating: Role Player

I can see applications for this in Nekusar, the Mindrazer or with any other Commander that wants a symmetrical draw effect. It also makes everyone lose life, which enables Spectacle and any similar affects you might be able to take advantage of.

Wintermoor Commander

Wintermoor Commander

Rating: Role Player

They are really pushing this Knight thing.

Arcanist’s Owl

Arcanist's Owl

Rating: Role Player

This is harder to cast than Glint-Nest Crane or Faerie Mechanist, but it digs deeper and can find enchantments to boot. As long as you’re not trying to branch into three colors (or support a Bird deck that wants to find Birds and not these various trinkets) you’ll be able to cast this reliably, which means you may want to employ the wisdom of this robot owl.

Covetous Urge

Covetous Urge

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If your theme is to cast other people’s stuff, this is a fun one. Otherwise, suppress this urge. Even Memory Plunder, a card I never see, lets you cast the card without paying for it, though I suppose it’s more restrictive.

Loch Dragon

Loch Dragon

Rating: Niche Inclusion

This is a pretty expensive way mana-wise to loot once, but the payoff gets better every time you attack. If you’re trying to fill your graveyard while keeping your hand powerful, this might be better than I think it is.

Thunderous Snapper

Thunderous Snapper

Rating: Role Player

I’m very excited for this one. See, I love playing expensive spells because I am a Commander player, and one of my favorite things to attach to anything I cast is “Draw a card.” It curves nicely into a 5-mana spell, so I’ll be trying it out in Simic lists. I wouldn’t try to cast it in three-color decks just because it’ll get stuck in my hand too often.

Golden Egg

Golden Egg

Rating: Role Player

Any deck that wants Dance of the Manse should probably check out this 2-mana artifact that replaces itself. You can’t play 4x Guild Globe and 4x Golden Egg in this format, but there are plenty of artifacts (some that are also eggs, even) that can help you stay consistent with this in Commander.

Castle Ardenvale

Castle Ardenvale

Rating: Niche Inclusion

Sacrificing a Plains to Kjeldoran Outpost has never felt so good. Castle Ardenvale provides a pretty bad rate for a 1/1 in my opinion, so it’s only at home in mono-White decks where you’re not losing value by playing a nonbasic.

Castle Embereth

Castle Embereth

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you’re some sort of mono-Red token aggro deck (Krenko, Mob Boss comes to mind) this fits the bill. Otherwise, it fits in Standard.

Castle Garenbrig

Castle Garenbrig

Rating: Role Player

It’s a land that produces two mana if you have enough mana to feed it. Wait… is this the good version of Temple of the False God? I think it is! Green players, rejoice, for you have yet another way to get ahead on mana.

Castle Locthwain

Castle Locthwain

Rating: Role Player

This obviously shines when you’re hellbent, but it’s even stronger if you have a way to replace the draw with another effect–that way, you get value but don’t lose life. The “Words” enchantments from Onslaught are an obvious hit here.

Castle Vantress

Castle Vantress

Rating: Role Player

If it didn’t cost so much mana to activate, this would be almost as obnoxious as Sensei’s Divining Top. It’s still pretty strong as a mid/late game mana sink–the card quality it provides can put you over the top of the other players in a grindy resource battle.

Fabled Passage

Fabled Passage

Rating: Powerhouse

In the early turns, it’s just like Terramorphic Expanse or Evolving Wilds, but it’s Prismatic Vista with upside if you’ve progressed a little further. Fetchlands are always good ways to get more value out of Landfall effects and similar, and this one provides both flexibility and speed.

Mystic Sanctuary / Witch’s Cottage

Witch's CottageMystic Sanctuary

Rating: Powerhouse

Recursion is very powerful in a singleton format (have I said that before?) so effects like this that are tacked on to cards you’d already play–in this case, a fetchable Island or Swamp–make them even better. It’s insane that you can just go get these with fetches that don’t ask specifically for nonbasics.

Tournament Grounds

Tournament Grounds

Rating: Role Player

Only Knights need apply.

Kenrith, the Returned King

Kenrith, the Returned King - Collector Pack Exclusive

Rating: Commander

A five-color Commander with five relevant activated abilities? We’re going to see this one a lot. Kenrith is a particularly powerful political tool, given that all five abilities can be used to help any player at the table. I’m considering building a deck around this one that just to see how well I can direct the flow of a game.

Oko, the Trickster

Oko, the Trickster - Collector Pack Exclusive

Rating: Role Player

There’s something about the 0 ability that makes me think this one might be good. I know it’s one of the high-CMC Planeswalker Deck exclusives, but abilities that let you copy something temporarily and then change what you’re copying each turn tend to be pretty powerful. Just remember that, on other players’ turns, Oko is just Oko.

Mace of the Valiant

Mace of the Valiant - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you’re looking to make something huge while playing a token deck, pick up this mace and swing away. It seems a bit counterintuitive, and the mace doesn’t provide any kind of evasion, but I’m sure there are decks that want to turn a 1/1 Soldier into The Abyss.

Silverwing Squadron

Silverwing Squadron - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Role Player

If you are in the Knight deck, you are going to make so many Knights. I think generic token decks will want it to just based on its power ceiling. The problem with this one is that, the turn you play it, it’s a 6-mana do-nothing unless you give it haste, which means the floor on this card is very low.

Faerie Formation

Faerie Formation - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Niche Inclusion

Another slow card. If you’re doing a Faerie theme or don’t have a better way to draw cards, check this one out, I suppose.

Shimmer Dragon

Shimmer Dragon - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Role Player

I’m looking alllllll the way down at the bottom of the text box–no, not the flavor text! Up just a little! Yes, right there, where you can tap two untapped artifacts you control to draw a card. That’s any artifact, so clues, treasures, and food are all great options. I think this could generate an irresponsible number of cards in artifact decks.

Workshop Elders

Workshop Elders - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Role Player

If you have a noncreature artifact that entered the battlefield sometime before this turn, this makes a 4/4 with haste every turn. If you have enough artifacts, that’s a consistent way to generate a good-sized evasive creature every turn–if the Elders stay on the battlefield, those artifacts are going to have flying.

Chittering Witch

Chittering Witch - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Niche Inclusion

With Phyrexian Plaguelord available, this one looks a lot better suited for Brawl unless you’re all in on a Rat theme.

Taste of Death

Taste of Death - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Niche Inclusion

When Barter in Blood just isn’t enough and you want to spend six mana to not wrath the board for some reason, Taste of Death is here.

Embereth Skyblazer

Embereth Skyblazer - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Role Player

Three mana to give your team +3/+0 is a great payoff for any aggressive deck. This is a Knight, but luckily, the ability lets it stretch out into decks with other themes. If you are going wide and playing red, this is worth considering.

Steelbane Hydra

Steelbane Hydra - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Role Player

This is more than a tech card–it’s a repeatable Naturalize battery, and that’s a playable no matter how you think about it. Effects that let you proliferate or add more +1/+1 counters just add fuel to this turtle fire. That’s a saying, right? Turtle fire? Whatever.

Thorn Mammoth

Thorn Mammoth - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Build-Around?

If you can give Thorn Mammoth some kind of damage immunity or make it indestructible, you can have it fight something any time you generate a token without fear of losing your Mammoth. At a towering 6/6, not much is going to survive a fight with a Mammoth, so just give yourself a way to make some tokens at instant speed. Effects that generate multiple tokens simultaneously, like Elemental Mastery, are preferred.

Alela, Artful Provocateur

Alela, Artful Provocateur - Collector Pack Exclusive

Rating: Commander

This encourages the Golden Egg style of deck–it rewards you for just casting as many artifacts and enchantments as you can. Make sure as many of those have “draw a card” on them as is possible and you’ll really make opponents feel the pressure from your army.

Banish into Fable

Banish into Fable - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Role Player

If you have an artifact and an enchantment, you get an amazing rate on three Knights and three bounces. The copy ability triggers when you cast this spell, and it checks for artifacts and enchantments when that trigger resolves, so if your opponents remove your trinkets in response, you’ll be disappointed.

Chulane, Teller of Tales

Chulane, Teller of Tales - Collector Pack Exclusive

Rating: Commander

A one-card value engine that you can support with cards like Erratic Portal, Crystal Shard, and Portal of Sanctuary as well as effects that put lands into your hand–realistically, what more can you ask for? Chulane is a ridiculous amount of fun… but your opponents will know where to point their removal.

Knights’ Charge

Knights' Charge - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Role Player

Knights, charge! Charge out of the graveyard, or just attack and create a huge life swing.

Korvold, Fae-Cursed King

Korvold, Fae-Cursed King - Collector Pack Exclusive

Rating: Commander

Ooh, I wrote an article about this one already as well!

Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale

Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale - Collector Pack Exclusive

Rating: Commander

This is the Commander of the Knights deck I’ve been passive-aggressively building during this whole article. It is so obvious and so much better than the other options that I actually find it uninteresting. Naturally, that means I’m going to build it and see if it exceeds my expectations in terms of fun, but right now Knights just look like Slivers to me. That also doesn’t mean you won’t have fun with it–Commander is all about finding what you enjoy!

Arcane Signet

Arcane Signet - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Powerhouse

This is so much better than cards like Sky Diamond and Fellwar Stone that it’s almost painful. I’m not one for this gatekeeping attitude of “Commander was better when you had to discover the cards by doing inscrutable Boolean searches in Gatherer” that I sometimes hear, but I do get annoyed when the quirky cards that hold up the format get straight up outclassed sometimes. Maybe I’m falling victim to the thing I just said I don’t like. I guess I have something to think about here.

Tome of Legends

Tome of Legends - Brawl Deck Exclusive

Rating: Role Player

The earlier you draw this, the better it is. The same goes for the price of your Commander–if it’s low, and you’re going to be aggressive about attacking with and recasting it, you’ll reap a lot of card advantage here. This is also remarkably strong with Partner Commanders (and much weaker if your Commander is a planeswalker or otherwise not suitable for attacking.) You could get really weird with this and play Zurgo Bellstriker or Isamaru as your Commander to leverage its power… but that’s not necessarily how I’d do things.

Okay! That was… a lot of words. I’m pretty tired now, so I’m going to go build some Commander decks.

Wait, what did I say I was going to do? Oh, well, I guess I’ll get started. I’m also going to work on some Brawl lists–you’ll see some of that next time. Bye for now!

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