Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Commander 2016 review

Link to the card gallery is here!

So...what do I think? Well, I think that it's best to tell you up front that I'm going to talk about the set as a whole, not the individual decks. My personal recommendation is, as always, to buy all of them. WotC has a track record of making really solid Commander decks and I think this year continues that trend.

I think that most of the 4 color commanders are pretty bonkers. This is fitting, as producing four colors of mana isn't easy and rarely doable by turn four, even in Commander. Of them, Breya seems to be the weakest but there are absolutely ways to make her work.

I also want to give some credit to the designers of Partner, the big new mechanic that's allowing for more 4 color commanders. I think the color combinations will allow for people to really have some fun and create new decks. Few of those abilities seem overpowered but there are definitely some synergies to exploit. Or just weird combinations to try! This should be a cool chance to really get weird. I approve of that.

You know what else I approve of: That these mechanics don't exclude me from putting one of these cards in a 60 card deck. Akiri, Line-Slinger is a good card in a RW Vehicles deck, for example. Contrast this with Derevi, who really only makes sense as a Commander, and you'll see what I mean.

On Undaunted: another mechanic I appreciate. Still can be played in games that are not Commander, be they two headed giant, chaos, or regular duels, they just improve with more opponents. (Although these cards in 2HG? That seems like Really Good Stuff!)

But why are the Black and Red ones ( Curtains' Call and Divergent Transformations) so weak? White and Blue get global reset buttons, Green is a permanent boost across the board...Black and Red target two things? Divergent Transformations is a bit more versatile, I suppose but neither of these cards are ones I want to run that badly.

Oh well: they can't all be winners.

There aren't that many new cards, either; brushing aside the Commanders themselves, as they will be somewhat popular no matter what, other standouts for me include: Deepglow Skate, Manifold Insights, Orzhov Advokist. Entrapment Maneuver, Curse of Vengeance, the artwork on Magus of the Will, Frenzied Fugue (this is an effect I've been waiting to see executed in Red), Runehorn Hellkite, Stonehoof Chieftain, Ancient Excavation, Grave Upheaval, and Treacherous Terrain, which will become a finisher for every RG deck I can think of, then finally Ash Barrens, which has the cheapest landcycle cost. The new artifacts don't really grab me, for some reason.

Which leaves us with the reprints!

The first thing I have to say about that is: It's cool to see some Conspiracy cards (like Custodi Soulbinders) reappear here. Conspiracy isn't exactly a difficult to find set but it also didn't have the same rush to open packs as a Standard set, so I think it's great to have those cards reprinted and I hope WotC continues to keep these things coming.

In White, Reveillark and Wave of Reckoning are cool to see again. Blue getting another run of Evacuation is a positive. I like Beacon of Unrest getting a reprint for Black but it always bugs me when they don't reprint the cycle. It's a personal thing, I know. Red getting a reprint of Chaos Warp is great: it was getting expensive and it's effect is cool. Same for Past in Flames. Green's only notable reprint is Oath of Druids, which I have to admit is very surprising but definitely welcome.

For the multicolored cards, Baleful Strix, Edric, Spymaster of Trest, Ghave, Guru of Spores, and Zedruu the Greathearted are good to see again. In the artifact and land realm, Chromatic Lantern, Commander's Sphere, Forbidden Orchard, Homeward Path, and Murmuring Bosk are additions that work.

However, I am underwhelmed by the selection this time. Nothing genuinely surprising and Sol Ring again is a waste of a slot. Maybe I'm just spoiled by the cool things they did with Kaladesh and Take The Crown. Also, since none of these decks have been played yet, there are likely undiscovered synergies based around the cards provided and I don't want to knock them just yet.

Still, my impressions of last year's set were stronger. I don't think this is bad, by any means and I'm looking forward to seeing how they play!

No comments:

Post a Comment