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Raging Levine – M14 Commander Review (Part 2)

Hey folks! We’re back with Part 2 (here’s Part 1), which is sure to delight and excite your friends and neighbors as you read my dumb jokes and combos out loud to them through a P.A. system. Try it at the supermarket! (Don’t try it at the supermarket.) Here’s my review of M14’s black, red, green, and colorless cards!

Bogbrew Witch

[draft]Bogbrew Witch[/draft]

Totally hilarious, completely useless, and obviously awesome. Play this if you’re cool.

Dark Prophecy

[draft]Dark Prophecy[/draft]

When I look at this, this is what I come up with:

[draft]Dark Prophecy
Carnival of Souls
Apprentice Necromancer
Body Double[/draft]

Get both the Prophecy and the Carnival in play and either the Necromancer or the Body Double in the graveyard. (Let’s say it’s the Necromancer.) Play Body Double, copy Necromancer. Next turn, activate it (triggering Dark Prophecy) targeting the Necromancer. Necromancer enters, triggering Carnival. Activate it (triggering Dark Prophecy) targeting Body Double. Body Double enters, triggering Carnival. At this point, we are:

+2 cards
-4 life
Mana-neutral
Able to do this as much as we want!

This is a combo I came up with when I opened a box of Urza’s Destiny as a young person, except it was two [card]Apprentice Necromancer[/card]s and a [card]Carnival of Souls[/card] and the goal was just to kill yourself and also have the card [card]Carnival of Souls[/card] in play. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not that impressed with [card]Dark Prophecy[/card].

Grim Return

[draft]Grim Return[/draft]

We can bring this creature back but we gotta do it RIGHT NOW! Well, guess what? Sometimes we kill our creatures on purpose with things like evoke (and maybe we even sac them to something like [card]Greater Good[/card] with the trigger on the stack) and we can get huge value out of bringing them back with something like this!

Liliana’s Reaver

[draft]Liliana’s Reaver[/draft]

I don’t even know if people are talking about this card but I can already tell it’s overrated. I’m just not excited by this because I think you’re probably never actually hitting your opponent, especially in Commander where everyone at the table wants to kill saboteur-type creatures. Not Cubing it, not putting it in my Commander decks.

Liturgy of Blood

[draft]Liturgy of Blood[/draft]

Normally point removal is useful but not too exciting. If you’re doing something else with your turn, this is basically “destroy target creature” for BB, which is totally fine when you figure that it destroys any creature without worrying about it being black, an artifact, snow, a Spirit, or whatever.

Rise of the Dark Realms

[draft]Rise of the Dark Realms[/draft]

Umm.

Ummmmmm.

Okay.

Things just got dangerous.

You can do the usual stuff with decks like [card]Karador, Ghost Chieftain[/card], [card]The Mimeoplasm[/card], [card]Teneb, the Harvester[/card], and so on and reanimate a graveyard full of your own goodies, or you can start Whetstoning the table and then cast this. Maybe a [card]Life’s Finale[/card] would help the process along? Perhaps a large [card]Shared Trauma[/card] could fuel this? I feel like this card is insane and will prompt people to play more graveyard hate and counterspells. Or maybe people will just continue to forget about graveyards like they have for a while.

Shadowborn Apostle

[draft]Shadowborn Apostle[/draft]

Yes, you can play 99 of these if you want. Moving on.

Shadowborn Demon

[draft]Shadowborn Demon[/draft]

You can’t play 99 of these, but you might want to. In a deck like the aforementioned Mimeoplasm/Karador/Teneb or any other graveyard-y folks you might think of (the much-despised Xiahou Dun), it seems unlikely that you wouldn’t have six creatures in the bin, allowing you to cast this as a pretty strong [card]Shriekmaw[/card]. A 5/6 flying [card]Shriekmaw[/card] that hits non-Demons. Yeah, seems fine.

Awaken the Ancient

[draft]Awaken the Ancient[/draft]

Fellow writer Chas Andres is happy, because Wizards has finally printed the card he came up with in high school: the infamous 23/2 Count Mountain. (He wrote “COUNT” on a Mountain in play, drew a monocle on it, and made it a 23/2 so he could win the game. He, um, died. In the game.) This card may not be amazing, but I do so like beating people up with Count Mountain. Draw all the monocles you want on this card and play it for fun.

Burning Earth

[draft]Burning Earth[/draft]

If you’re into the [card]Heartless Hidetsugu[/card] kind of deck where you blow everyone up, this is a pretty great one. It’s also a way to punish people for playing nonbasics… but it’s the kind of way that gets you targeted by the whole table. [card]Ruination[/card] and be done with it! Just kidding, this is probably fine if you’re prepared to defend yourself.

Chandra, Pyromaster

[draft]Chandra, Pyromaster[/draft]

Chandra is a lot more awesome in one-on-one Magic than it is in Commander. Do you see Chandra living very long in Commander given that she can’t defend herself? Yeah, me either.

Goblin Diplomats

[draft]Goblin Diplomats[/draft]

This card is totally sweet. You can broker wars between different players—or you can get attacked a lot. Either way the card is hilarious and has awesome art. People don’t always want to attack into your [card]Ruric Thar[/card] or whatever. [card]Goblin Diplomats[/card] forces them to have your kind of fun! Bonus points for acting out what the Diplomats say/do without actually offending your friends or breaking state or federal laws.

Molten Birth

[draft]Molten Birth[/draft]

I’m legally obligated to be excited about coin flip cards, but I might just have to break that law this time. It’s just not even a cool coin flip card.

Ogre Battledriver

[draft]Ogre Battledriver[/draft]

Hasty Sand Warriors! Hasty Goblin tokens! Hasty big huge Dragons! With +2/+0! And with a lot less Bolting yourself with [card]Hall of the Bandit Lord[/card]! I can get behind this. And the [card]Ogre Battledriver[/card] can get behind your creatures and whack them so they do better. Being able to make a big pile of hasty tokens all at once is pretty great, and this helps with half of that.

Scourge of Valkas

[draft]Scourge of Valkas[/draft]

If you have lots of Dragons, this is pretty great. I really want to [card]Dragonstorm[/card] into this and a few other Dragons and just 16 someone or something. I’m not too excited about paying 5 for a 4/4 flying firebreather, but if you’ve got other Dragons, then this is probably a sweet one. This makes me want to build a deck that is just mono-Dragons. Good idea? No. Great idea.

Garruk, Caller of Beasts

[draft]Garruk, Caller of Beasts[/draft]

Garruk, Basketball Adept is back, and this time he is slamming all the dunks in Commander. His +1 lets us find stuff to do, his -3 is very [card]Dramatic Entrance[/card], and his -7 is completely insane and will probably never happen. In reality this guy is likely to be [card]Dramatic Entrance[/card] most of the time, but I can deal with that. If you can actually defend him for a turn or two to dig up cool stuff and then hurl it out there, great. If you ever ultimate him and don’t win, you should probably just bury your cards in a hole somewhere.

Into the Wilds

[draft]Into the Wilds[/draft]

Combos with [card]Mirri’s Guile[/card], [card]Sensei’s Divining Top[/card], and other cards you can use to waste your opponents’ time. A sweet one nonetheless, especially if you’re going full bore with cards like [card]Druidic Satchel[/card], [card]Oracle of Mul Daya[/card], and so on. Get those lands out there and do stuff! Don’t get ‘geddoned!

Kalonian Hydra

[draft]Kalonian Hydra[/draft]

This is the darling of the set in a lot of people’s estimation, and I can see that. The first time you swing with it you’re coming in with an 8/8, and that’s great even before all the [card]Fathom Mage[/card] triggers. If this creature lives for more than a turn, prepare to knock people the heck out with this ridiculous thing in a swing or two. If you see this somewhere else on the table other than your part of the battlefield, don’t hesitate. Don’t listen to the pleas of your opponents. Kill this thing immediately.

Primeval Bounty

[draft]Primeval Bounty[/draft]

This gives you good value no matter what you’re doing. I talked about it a little bit in my [card]Strionic Resonator[/card] article, but the point is that it gives you a small amount of extra juice whether you’re playing a creature, a non-creature spell, or a land. Note that it triggers no matter how lands enter the battlefield under your control, which means your [card]Boundless Realms[/card] (or even your [card]Scapeshift[/card]) is a rather potent life gain spell. I think the Beasts are the strongest part of the card though.

Savage Summoning

[draft]Savage Summoning[/draft]

This card isn’t really that Savage, but if the blue mages at your table are vicious, this might help you overpower them. The creature you cast also gets a tiny tiny boost, which is probably not great. If this card cantripped and cost some more mana I would be a little more excited and still probably wouldn’t play it.

Sporemound

[draft]Sporemound[/draft]

I mean, it’s cool to get some Saprolings when you cast [card]Ranger’s Path[/card] or something similar, but this Mound is best when you are getting Boundless or similar. It’s a cool incidental effect, but you’re probably better off not building a deck around this kind of thing.

Vastwood Hydra

[draft]Vastwood Hydra[/draft]

This is not the previous Hydra. This Hydra is not as good. It is still decent and allows you to evolve [card]Fathom Mage[/card] or whatever when it dies, but I’m not too excited about a medium boom-boom with no evasion.

Woodborn Behemoth

[draft]Woodborn Behemoth[/draft]

If you’re playing green, you probably control eight or more lands, and this is probably a discount [card]Force of Nature[/card]. Do you not love discount [card]Force of Nature[/card] at 1/6th off? I do. You do. We all do. This is a sleeper uncommon that won’t be worth anything but will whack people in Commander and also Limited.

Darksteel Forge

[draft]Darksteel Forge[/draft]

Thanks for reprinting this, Wizards! That is all.

Guardian of the Ages

[draft]Guardian of the Ages[/draft]

Was [card]Ageless Sentinels[/card] good? No, not to my recollection. I mean, it’s in my Kangee deck, but that doesn’t make it good. This card, I think, is also bad. 7 for a 7/7 trampler? There are better deals in pretty much every color.

Pyromancer’s Gauntlet

[draft]Pyromancer’s Gauntlet[/draft]

Costs too much for Standard, but probably pretty good in Commander if you’re feeling like casting spells at people. [card]Sulfuric Vapors[/card] is a similar type of card, and if you’re running one you should probably run both of them, but the Gauntlet is definitely the better of the two because it only works for your stuff.

Ring of Three Wishes

[draft]Ring of Three Wishes[/draft]

It ain’t no [card]Ring of Ma’Ruf[/card], that’s for sure! Seriously, though, it’s three [card]Demonic Tutor[/card]s in one card. It costs a lot but it’s effective. Not that exciting of a card, to be honest, but it will do the job.

Strionic Resonator

[draft]Strionic Resonator[/draft]

I think this is what you are looking for.

Notable additions: [card]Isochron Scepter[/card] lets us cast both spells, and [card]Duplicant[/card] got errata’d to refer to the last creature exiled with it.

Encroaching Wastes

[draft]Encroaching Wastes[/draft]

If you really need another [card]Tectonic Edge[/card]-type card, this is fine, but [card]Tectonic Edge[/card] will almost always be better, I think.

Okay, that’s it! Join me next time as I shoehorn weird old cards into crazy brews because there aren’t any legendary creatures in M14. Thanks a lot, R&D!

-Eric Levine
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@RagingLevine on Twitter
www.facebook.com/RagingLevineMTG

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