Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Commander 2014 Thoughts

A great deal has been said at this point about Commander 2014. I know; late to the party but better late than never, right? I can't help it; I really like to have the cards in my hand before I start to mess around and talk about them.

I've even managed a couple games with the decks and...

Man, do I hate Planeswalkers. Going back to the discussion that stonethorn and I had last week, the presence of Commander damage really didn't make a difference one way or another. The problem was...other people.

The red player decided not to destroy Teferi when Spine of Ish Sah came out. The Teferi ultimates and the blue player actually loops through the deck.. The green player doesn't have any creatures for the first 2/3rd of the game. The white player gets out a and proceeds to create a table of stupidly huge tokens from Cathars' Crusade which are thankfully wiped out by a Disk, but that let the white player ultimate Nahiri. I was playing black and Ob Nixis has the dumbest ultimate ever for a preconstructed moment, not to mention having a grip full of uncastable rares (I didn't get enough land or appropriate cards to play Magic until halfway through the game) and I had to try and shake myself out of discouragement. And then the red player got to ultimate.

There just aren't enough ways to deal with Planeswalkers and I hate it. Or maybe nobody really realizes what a problem Planeswalkers are? I don't know. Clearly they realize that there are some issues with the card type because cards like Song of the Dryads (which people want to insist is outside Green's color scope but they are wrong) is printed along with Magmaquake but there are tools to handle Planeswalkers.

Once. As commanders, Planeswalkers come back and that presents issues that I don't think the game is really ready to deal with. I could be wrong but I just foresee blowouts in the future.

But let's move on, before I get weird on the subject.

I have to admit, there's a lot to like here. Weird designs being shoved in because they are cool is a system that reminds me quite a bit of Magic Design of Ye Olden Days. Dulcet Sirens? Offerings for political positioning? Cards that have to be re-read multiple times in order to get what the hell they mean? Color pie bleeding away from green? It's allll there kids!

And you know what? It's pretty good, from a card perspective. I doubt I'll ever agree that making Planeswalkers usable as Commanders is a good thing but I do think that more of these cards offer some interesting paths to explore for 60 card decks, while also providing some more dynamic cards for multiplayer situations.

Some brief notes:

I wish Titania triggered off anyone's lands going into the graveyard.  That would've been pretty great.

I think Fell the Mighty is going to be better than people believe it is. That card scales very nicely with white's strategies.

I also think Malicious Affliction isn't as good as people are hoping. The nonblack restriction has always been hampering black's removal, so it's color appropriate but paying BB for creature removal in a format that is practically defined by multicolored decks means that this card just isn't that awesome, to me. Still useful, especially in the singular meta of the new commander decks! Just not great.

I really like Wake the Dead though.

Daretti, Scrap Savant is pretty rad and I hope that WotC continues to lightly explore the red theme of Trash for Treasure. Red needs some more dynamic ways to interact with the board! Unfortunately, after that there isn't much in the way of red good stuff, Dualcaster Mage and Scrap Mastery (continuing Daretti's themes) aside. Not terrible, just not interesting or really awesome.

And I'm going to find a way to get Crown of Doom in my Zedruu deck, somehow.

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