Wizard’s year of commander hasn’t gone as we’d all hoped and expected (Thanks Covid! – Matt). However, that doesn’t mean there’s not reasons to still get excited about the format. Commander groups online are still a hive of activity from people discussing new cards to offering to host games on webcams.
With Commander Legends spoiler season now in full swing people are busy brewing new lists, updating their old favourites and falling in love with the new cards being shown off. I’m firmly on the hype train for this set so I thought I’d take a look at 5 of the legendary creatures spoiled so far which have got my attention to sleeve up for when we eventually return from our hibernation.
I love Enchantments. I love graveyard decks. I love commanders with really unique and quirky effects. This card, therefore, ticks all my boxes!
Looking at this card there’s instantly a few ideas that come to my mind: Being able to change the targets of ETB enchantments like Oblivion Ring and Grasp of Fate as to suit your needs is fantastic, being able to reuse and abuse Parallax Wave seems like great fun, but for me there’s only one thing I want to do: Do nothing, trigger constellation and cast some Gods. With an Athreos, God of Passage on the board sacrificing an enchantment creature means you may well get to activate Ghen’s ability and put a card in your hand, with a Doomwake Giant in play you can activate Ghen after blockers and make maths miserable for your opponent and you better believe Agent of Erebos will be a constant thorn in the side of any player looking to get their own graveyard plans going.
Is this the best way to build this deck? Probably not. Is this the first deck I’m building after opening the set? 100%
Commander is a format about doing weird things.
Archelos promises to play the game at his pace, if he wants your opponents to slow down, then they’re slowing down. If Archelos decides to let people play untapped in return for some favours later in the game, it might be a deal your opponents cannot afford refuse for fear of ending up too far behind. Pair him up with a copy of Opposition, tap everything your opponents controls down in their upkeep and Archelos will make sure everyone plays the game at a nice manageable pace.
Alternatively, you can just slow down the player furthest ahead and balance the game out, using the tempo as a political tool, and make some friends, commander is nothing if not a social format. Cards like Freed from the Reel, Pemmin’s Aura and Fatestitcher are musts in this deck and will go a long way to ensuring that everyone plays the game at whichever speed Archelos feels comfortable with. Bonus points to the first person to whoever alters this card into Master Oogway.
Sometimes you just have to play a big, no nonsense creature who gets the job done. Brinelin is that creature.
Many of the uncommons of Commander Legends are certainly unique but sometimes you just want to cast some 6+ CMC cards and crack in with some fatties. Brinelin fuels this strategy nicely, playing your big creatures removes blockers for your leviathan army to swing in.
Wizards love printing a big ol’ sea creature, going through from Lorthos, the Tidemaker (rest in peace) to Tromokratis and Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle. Brinelin having partner opens this deck to new possibilities. Green makes the most sense, providing the ramp required to hit these colossal creatures of the deep but maybe bringing in Black will allow the likes of Wrexial, the Risen Deep and Gyruda, Doom of Depths to join the armies of the inky depths.
Is this card the most powerful commander ever printed? Is this card going to excite everyone who sees it? No, but that doesn’t stop me being in love with the idea of sleeving up Brinelin, returning to commander’s roots and playing some big dumb creatures.
Some people just want to watch the world burn. Yurlok is some people.
Throwing back to the days of mana burn, this Jund shaman will be giving gifts and hurting people who don’t take him up on his generosity. Playing cards like Eladamri’s Vineyard, Magus of the Vineyard and Shizuko, Caller of Autumn will provide your opponents mana but ultimately end up sapping your opponent’s life total while cards like Mana Flare, Dictate of Karametra and Zhur-Taa Ancient will give your opponents an embarrassment of riches which will be their downfall.
Meanwhile, War’s Toll and Mana Barbs will make your opponent think twice about tapping their lands at all. Being able to build around this effect means you can play your game plan care-free, playing big creatures and huge X spells to ensure you won’t be burned by Yurlok’s sinister flame. Who knows, maybe this deck may even use Helix Pinnacle as a cheeky way to win the game and spend all that mana?
Oozes are a strange creature type. Dating all the way back to 1994 with Legend’s Primordial Ooze these slimy fellows have been a feature of magic all the way until 2020 with the latest being Zendikar Rising’s Oran-Rief Ooze.
Up until now we’ve had a few options for an ooze commander, but this feels a little more on flavour for me. Slurrk’s ability to continually grow all of your oozes with counters on them gives me the feel of a good that will grow to swallow everything.
Furthermore the option to partner him with any other creature with partner gives the chance to play with a whole host of +1/+1 counter strategies. Partner him in a white deck and play Cathars’ Crusade to grow your ranks or put him at the helm of a Gruul deck to make the most of cards like Grumgully, The Generous or Hallar, The Firefletcher. Slurrk is going to provide for a host of interesting strategies and along with his new friend Biowaste Blob, he’s sure to bring a good number of gelatinous mates with him.
The joy of Commander Legends is that it promises to bring so much to the format. The inclusion of partner opens up more possible decks that we can count while new cards such as Jeweled Lotus and Wheel of Misfortune are likely to be cards we’ll see a lot of going forwards. When we get back around those LGS tables we’re certainly in for some interesting games!
Matt has been playing magic for just under 10 years. Having dabbled in many formats he’s now mostly playing commander and pre-releases.
A lover of weird combos or grinding games out with discard spells, he loves nothing more than brewing up a new commander list.