Hey folks! The Dragons of Tarkir are almost upon us, and I’m really excited. Between the new tuck rule (more on that in another article) and the exciting new legendary creatures being printed, I think we’ll be having an extraordinary time at the Commander tables over the next few months. That being said, it would be really easy to talk about the Elder Dragons, and I’ll absolutely be doing so later, but I’d like to take an article to highlight my 10 favorite nonlegendary cards in this set. Let’s go!
Say hello to the blue Insurrection. Sure, you only get to copy one player’s creatures and they don’t gain haste, but honestly, this card is insane. You may not get to swing for the win that turn, but assuming you’re playing against people who like good creatures or creatures with strong ETB effects, you’ll be getting quite a bit of value for 9 mana.
High-impact sorceries in other colors to compare this to:
Let’s not overlook the win-more possibilities, though. Clone Legion doesn’t just target opponents—you can actually target yourself too!
More Eternal Witnesses are always good, especially if you are packing other strong morphs like Nantuko Vigilante, Ainok Survivalist, and Hooded Hydra that can run interference for Den Protector. While we certainly don’t have a card quite of the caliber of Eternal Witness on our hands here (we can’t immediately recur a just-cast Tooth and Nail, for example) I think that more recursion is good recursion, especially when it’s reasonably costed.
Descent of the Dragons
Got a lot of tokens from something like Hazezon Tamar? Why not Dragons?
Opponents have a lot of creatures that are better than 4/4s with flying? Why not Dragons?
I’ll admit that this one is a little bit speculative, but I can see this paying off (especially if you’ve got some ways to pump Dragons—Crucible of Fire? Obelisk of Urd?—as well as something to give them haste.)
Alternatively, follow this up with a Crux of Fate, choosing your mode depending on how you targeted your Descent.
A 2-for-1 removal spell that recurs a creature and dodges indestructible/regeneration? That sounds pretty great, honestly. It’s an instant, so you can fire this off at EOT or during combat and then recast the creature on your own turn (or sooner if it has flash!), I’m more fond of spot removal than many other Commander players, but I stick to my assessment that cards like this are necessary.
Unfortunately we don’t get full value out of this in Commander if our chosen opponent’s Commander has a different color identity than ours does, but at the same time, it means we won’t be missing many land drops, and if there are fetchlands in there, we should be very, very happy. Oh, and we get to have Yawgmoth’s Agenda privileges with their ex-graveyard until Hedonist’s Trove is destroyed. That’s pretty OK too.
As long as this is attached to a creature with a good ETB ability—yours or an opponent’s—this card is going to be pretty insane. I’d be quite happy to see this attached to something like Cloudgoat Ranger, Scourge of Valkas, Karmic Guide, Woodfall Primus, or even Terastodon.
Profaner of the Dead
Despite a strange name and even stranger art, Profaner of the Dead is going to make board states very simple as long as you have something big enough to clear things out. Make no mistake—this will be ending games all over the world if its exploit trigger resolves. Exploiting the Profaner isn’t going to get it done most of the time, but it will clear out a substantial percentage of tokens.
In a deck that already wants to play cards like Grave Pact, Attrition, Butcher of Malakir, and so on, Ruthless Deathfang stands to be incredibly strong. It turns Viscera Seer into a murder machine, and it breaks the symmetry on cards like Barter in Blood pretty hard. Often decks like this are G/B, but I think Sultai decks can enjoy this as well.
Swift Warkite brings a friend to the party! Only for a turn, of course, but if it’s something with a strong ETB trigger or trigger upon attacking, it should be great. Oh, and did I mention this can get something back from the graveyard? Hi there, Bone Shredder! Nice to see you again! Thanks for coming back to the battlefield from the graveyard—now come back to my hand and be re-cast!
That’s where that value is, by the way—the fact that you can pull off half of Cauldron Dance (also a good card!) with a Dragon attached is pretty sweet.
If Foul Renewal is nice because it’s a 2-for-1, this is amazing. I’m very excited to cast this and get back something like… well, not Clone Legion, because all the creatures are dead after Volcanic Vision resolves, but still, you know what I mean. I’d be more than happy to get back Genesis Wave. I’m also imagining this in a Wort, the Raidmother or Riku of Two Reflections deck where this is easily copied. I know it gets exiled, but I still can’t handle all that value! It’s just too much for my system.
That’s it for this one! I’ll hit you with some deck lists for our new Elder Dragon overlords at some point, and once the set hits Magic Online… well, first I have to finish my Vintage deck, actually!