With most reprint sets, Magic the Gathering sometimes has some older rares shifted to the uncommon rarity or even to common! In Eternal Masters, nine former rares became uncommons and one even became a common, Emperor Crocodile. Here, we will take a look at the new nine uncommons and see which of these will have an impact on their original printings.
This 5-mana flying Goblin originally is from Mercadian Masques. It sees a bit of play in Commander. Overall, it’s a pretty simple card,having a power and toughness both equal to the number of creatures you have in play. It’s definitely not a card you would see printed at rare these days. It was already a bulk rare, and now there will be a good number of uncommon copies available for those who want to play it in their Goblin decks.
This artifact was reprinted at uncommon previously in Tempest Remastered, a Magic Online only set. It rarely sees any play, since its draw and discard ability is quite overcosted in today’s Magic. It costs 4 just to cast, and its ability costs 5 to activate. Netting a single card for 5 mana simply isn’t worth it anymore. It was a bulk rare before, and now no one will want it.
Field of Souls
This Enchantment is pretty decent. Field of Souls sees play in a number of token strategies in Commander, most notably in Teysa, Orzhov Scion decks. It was already a bulk rare. But unlike the Tome, it definitely has a home (rhyme not intentional!) Extra flying Spirit tokens are always welcome things to have!
While it’s quite powerful in Limited, Havoc Demon sees very limited play otherwise. It was nice to not have this card take up a rare slot in Eternal Masters. When it dies, all creatures get -5/-5 until end of turn. It’s a good rattlesnake card, and some Black decks in Commander will play it on occasion. But at 7 mana, even with a 5/5 flying body, there are just much better cards to play at that mana cost.
Probably the best bulk rare of these nine to be downgraded, Mesa Enchantress sees a ton of play in Commander. She's run in just about every Enchantment based deck that can run her. Drawing a card every time you cast an Enchantment is extremely useful. Obviously, this is not a card you would want to open at rare in Eternal Masters, but it is a card people do want.
This artifact creature is decent in Limited, and some Commander decks can abuse its +1/+1 counters to draw a decent amount of cards. Its discard ability also happens to be relevant in a number of decks, especially ones that love to reanimate high mana cost artifacts from the graveyard. It’s cool to see this at uncommon, especially in the Eternal Masters draft environment. Commander players will be happy to pick them up as draft chaff, too.
The Ingester was a very good card in Limited when it was first released in New Phyrexia. It actually saw a small amount of Standard play, too. Otherwise, it’s just been a super solid card in mono-Blue Commander decks looking for a way to remove big creatures.
Seven mana sounds like a high price to pay, but with commanders such as Braids, Conjurer Adept and Jalira, Master Polymorphist around to cheat the Ingester into play, it’s pretty solid. Commander players will be happy to get this as an uncommon.
Here’s a cute little flying lord. Sprite Noble gives all of your other flyers a toughness boost, plus the ability to pump your flying team’s power with a tap. As a rare, the Noble was rather under-powered. She’s perfectly fine as an uncommon, and is a boon to flyer strategies in Limited. The Sprite Noble does see some play in Isperia the Inscrutable and Oona, Queen of the Fae Commander decks, both of which are heavy on fliers.
Tooth and Claw
This Red Enchantment is actually a key piece to Purphoros, God of the Forge decks. It’s not so much the 3/1 tokens themselves that are important, but the fact that you’re sacrificing creatures to bring new creatures into play for essentially free.
Purphoros is all about dealing damage to your opponents each time a creature enters play. This is a dirty way to do just that. Just like all of these downgraded rares, this was always bulk. But again, Commander players will be happy to take your copies off of you. It’s also pretty solid in Limited.
While none of these nine rares were ever worth that much to begin with, there are a few cards here that Commander players are happy to have. In particular, Field of Souls, Mesa Enchantress, Mindless Automaton, Phyrexian Ingester, and Tooth and Claw are the ones you’ll want to hold onto. While they aren’t the best value uncommons of the set, they were once rares. So, they will still retain some value.
Magic the Gathering (MTG) - Eternal Masters & Pauper - Many Amazing Rarity Downgrades to Common!
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
As with any reprint set, Eternal Masters includes many rarity shifts, including uncommons to rares, but more importantly rares to uncommon and uncommons to common. Heck, you even get a rare shifted to common once in awhile! But with Eternal Masters, there are some truly important new commons to consider. This is due to the fact that Pauper, the all-common only format, is getting some serious gas with cards only ever printed before at uncommon!
Which of these newly printed commons will have an impact on the Pauper format? Let’s take a look!
This vanilla 2/1 Soldier has been an uncommon forever. Making him a common is actually a pretty big deal. Pauper hasn’t had this guy before. How much he’ll actually impact the format remains to be seen since he still trades with pretty much every other one-drop. But he’s definitely one to watch and definitely is a power-up for one-drops in White.
This uncommon instant seems like it should be a good sideboard option in Pauper. For 1W, you make a target creature a 0/1 creature with no abilities. There are some massive creatures even in Pauper and this is a way to easily dispose of them during combat at instant speed.
This 2/1 flyer may not look like much, but flyers are powerful in Pauper. While I doubt he makes a huge impact, this guy was only ever an uncommon in Dissension. Probably only going to be a factor in Eternal Masters limited, but it’s good to know he exists.
The Idealist has seen play in Commander for some time. You may notice that the Idealist is very similar to Auramancer. This is because Auramancer and Monk Idealist are the same card with different creature types. Auramancer does see some play in Pauper, so this may as well. Not going to be an impact card, though.
Rally the Peasants
Here is a card that could definitely impact Pauper. Originally an uncommon that was pretty good in Innistrad drafts, Rally the Peasants can be flashed back for 2R. Flashback spells are extremely powerful in Pauper. We’ve seen what White tokens can do with their flashback spells like Battle Screech. Making Red/White (Boros) Tokens a real deck is definitely possible with Rally the Peasants. This is a powerful effect to be downgraded to common
Here’s a decent uncommon from Torment with Threshold. As long as you have at least 7 cards in your graveyard, you can activate the Sage’s Threshold effect. The Sage has the ability to draw three cards and discard two. This is pretty decent card filtering, and I can see this fitting into Pauper Control decks somewhere.
A 0/7 Defender for 3 mana is certainly nothing to scoff at. Being at uncommon since Ice Age means that Pauper players get to now test it out. But I don’t see it having much of an impact at a competitive level
Perhaps one of the most surprising rarity downgrades in Eternal Masters is Peregrine Drake to common. The Drake is a big deal in Commander, since he can essentially cast himself for free. He’s part of some infinite mana combos, too. I can’t wait to see what the Drake can do in Pauper. I feel like this is going to be a bomb in the format.
(Ultimately, Peregrine Drake proved to be too good in Pauper and was banned in the format.)
Already available at common on Magic Online, the Phantom Monster is just a 3/3 flyer for 4 mana. The Monster is fine in Limited, but not competitive Pauper worthy at all.
Another potential sideboard card, Stupefying Touch not only stops a creature from being able to activate abilities, but also draws you a card. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of too many activated abilities to stop in Pauper, though. But there are a few key ones. Quirion Ranger is one to target, and Stompy is a real deck. That may slow the deck down. It can stop Atog in Affinity, which is sort of a big deal. There are definitely cases, but I’m not sure it’s quite enough to take up sideboard slots. It might be, though.
While this is probably best suited for Eternal Masters Limited, Tidal Wave is a cute card. It makes a 5/5 Wall that you have to sacrifice at the end of the turn. It’s a nifty combat trick, but not really something that fits in competitive play.
Warden of Evos Isle
While the Warden is really at common to satisfy Eternal Masters limited, I could see a White/Blue flyers list in Pauper being enabled by this guy. Playing Squadron Hawk for a single White mana feels pretty good to me, and there are many other useful flyers in the format. I really like this guy at common.
Not only did this card desperately need a reprint, but wow, at COMMON? This was a $3 card due to a decent amount of Modern play. Pauper does already have Sign in Blood, and can target either player. However, being 1B does help Night’s Whisper fit better into other Control decks that may have not before considered Sign in Blood. This is an awesome reprint from not only a supply standpoint, but by giving Pauper players a new option.
Here’s a guy from back in Onslaught that many players have probably never seen. 5 mana for a 6/5 is pretty decent. Yes, your opponent can choose to sacrifice 2 creatures to kill him, but that’s quite a cost. While I’m not sure Mono-Black Control will want him, this is a cool card to have at common. It’s actually quite similar to a card called Predatory Nightstalker, except this can prove to be a lot better.
This 5 mana 3/3 with Haste can search out another copy of himself and add it to your hand. I really like this in Eternal Masters limited, but not really in Pauper.
While Carbonize is pretty decent removal for Limited, I’m not feeling this for Pauper. There are better removal options.
An excellent card back in its Standard days and still good in Modern Storm, this is not a card I ever saw being printed at common. It’s at common for purposes of Eternal Masters Limited, but Pauper just got a great new tool. The Flashback being Blue is no problem for the Pauper decks that would want it. This is one of my favorite reprints in the entire set.
A fun little card that I’ve played around with in the past, Dragon Egg may not actually do anything in Pauper. But it’s cool to know that it’s a common now.
While Kird Ape has been a common in Paper Magic before, it wasn’t ever at common in Magic Online. This is a big deal for Pauper in the MTGO world. He’s a classic card for good reason and Red/Green decks in MTGO Pauper just got an amazing new weapon. For paper, it’s just a much easier to get foil copy.
This card was amazing in the early days of Magic. It’s always been solid in Limited, and to have it at common seems a bit silly to me. Do I see Pauper decks including it? At 4 mana, I sort of doubt it. But it’s still a good card and it’s still in a lot of Commander decks.
This is an Aura that if printed today would probably be at common anyway. So here it is. The fact that you get it back to your hand when the creature dies is pretty solid. But 3 mana for +2/+2 and making the creature unable to block isn’t as efficient as other Auras that exist now, even at common.
Protection from White is actually a good thing in Pauper. But otherwise I don’t really see anyone playing this in the format. It’s a solid Limited card, though.
Already legal in Magic Online Pauper due to its Vintage Masters printing, this is already a good card. The +3/+3 boost is solid, but the fact you get a 3/3 Elephant token out of it when it dies just makes it really good. This was printed not long ago in Conspiracy in paper Magic, but it’s nice to have it at common.
Here’s a really solid Elf that Pauper has never seen before. Each time an Elf comes into play, including those you don’t control, the Vanguard gets bigger. I suppose this guy could get pretty big. I like him in Pauper, although I’m not sure that he’s good enough for competitive play.
This 5/5 for 4 mana was actually a rare previous to this Eternal Masters printing. The only drawback is that you have to sacrifice him if you control no other creatures. I’m not sure what he’ll actually do in Pauper, but that’s not a bad creature at common.
One of the biggest downgrades to common is Nimble Mongoose. This guy was super powerful back in Standard and he still holds his own in Legacy today! To add a guy who can easily be a 3/3 for a single mana that also has Shroud is very powerful in Pauper. If the Mongoose doesn’t become a major player in Pauper, I will be shocked.
A decent way to tap down flyers in Limited, Magic Online already has this at common. It’s never seen Pauper play. It’s pretty good for a sideboard card in Eternal Masters limited, though.
Here’s a Flashback card I really like at common. Sylvan Might is decent enough at 1G giving a creature +2/+2 and trample until end of turn. While I don’t know how much Stompy wants this, I can see how it would be extremely good in that deck.
Enchantress has been a pretty good archetype in the past. It’s been good enough that the key card in that deck, Argothian Enchantress, is at Mythic Rare in Eternal Masters. While Yavimaya Enchantress is not as good, putting her at common makes her eligible for Pauper. There are plenty of strong Enchantments in Pauper. It will be sweet to see if Enchantress truly takes off in Pauper!
Thanks to this full list of Eternal Masters rarity downgrades from reddit!
While many of the new commons exist primarily for purposes of giving the Eternal Masters limited environment an above-average power level, there’s no doubt that Pauper has picked up at least a half-dozen cards that will see considerable play. Peregrine Drake, Kird Ape, and Nimble Mongoose are the big winners. Yavimaya Enchantress makes an archetype more playable, as does Rally the Peasants. Best of all, you can still use the old uncommon printings (or rare in the case of Emperor Crocodile) since they are also legal in Pauper.
What do you think of these awesome reprints? Pauper just changed a bit forever.
Anthousa, Setessan Hero: Heroic Landfall in EDH - A Magic the Gathering (MTG) Commander Deck Profile
by R.A. Rowell; Co-Owner of Intent-sive Nature & the Brand Shamans network
For quite some time, Anthousa, Setessan Hero was a Commander who just didn’t seem to have enough tools at her disposal to be good. But with Battle for Zendikar and Oath of the Gatewatch came some cards that really help her strategy out. Anthousa is a Heroic creature, meaning that you have to target her with spells to activate her ability. Making some easy creatures out of your lands seems good enough. There were cards to support this theme before, but there were not quite enough.
Now, you have Embodiment of Insight that gives your land creatures vigilance. The Enchantment also has a Landfall ability to make 3/3 lands until end of turn. Sylvan Advocate gives all your land creatures and himself +2/+2 once you have six or more lands. There are a couple other spells such as Earthen Arms and Swell of Growth that continue the Heroic theme while giving you more added benefits.
This deck can do a lot of damage in a hurry and there are plenty of ways to protect Anthousa and her growing Land creature army. Here’s a sample deck list you can start from.
Anthousa, Setessan Hero
1 Sylvan Advocate
1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Dungrove Elder
1 Omnath, Locus of Mana
1 Yavimaya Elder
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Sosuke, Son of Seshiro
1 Embodiment of Insight
1 Seedguide Ash
1 Timber Protector
1 Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
1 Rampaging Baloths
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Mutagenic Growth
1 Prey Upon
1 Prey's Vengeance
1 Primal Bellow
1 Sol Ring
1 Vines of Vastwood
1 Viridescent Wisps
1 Warriors' Lesson
1 Withstand Death
1 Aggressive Urge
1 Canopy Cover
1 Earthen Arms
1 Emerald Medallion
1 Gaea's Touch
1 Livewire Lash
1 Mortal's Resolve
1 Runechanter's Pike
1 Skyshroud Blessing
1 Swell of Growth
1 Alpha Status
1 Beast Within
1 Beastmaster Ascension
1 Hunter's Insight
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Krosan Grip
1 Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
1 Strata Scythe
1 Wild Defiance
1 Bear Umbra
1 Earth Surge
1 Nature's Will
1 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Skyshroud Claim
1 Hunter's Prowess
1 Relic Crush
1 Rude Awakening
1 Soul's Majesty
1 Nissa's Renewal
1 Primeval Bounty
1 Boundless Realms
1 Zendikar Resurgent
1 Mosswort Bridge
1 Rogue's Passage
1 Treetop Village
1 Yavimaya Hollow
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Mono-White Angel Tribal is a pretty awesome deck, full of some of the most powerful creatures printed in Magic history. Leading the way is Avacyn, Angel of Hope, who makes all of your things indestructible as you bash in for a billion damage…
But what about her second incarnation, Avacyn, Guardian Angel? It doesn’t seem people like to build with her at all as a Commander. Even in the 99, only her original incarnation, Eight and a Half Tails and Linvala, Keeper of Silence really take advantage of her.
Considering how well Legendary Creatures are designed these days to be built around, what went wrong here? Or has something been overlooked? Let's take a closer look at Avacyn, Guardian Angel's stats and abilities and see how we may be able to build around them in EDH.
1W: Prevent all damage that would be dealt to another target creature this turn by sources of the color of your choice.
5WW: Prevent all damage that would be dealt to target player this turn by sources of the color of your choice.
Right away, we see that she's a flyer who doesn't have to tap when attacking thanks to vigilance. As a 5/4 creature, that means she plays a strong role on both offense and defense. Straight off, that's a good start.
Then, we get to her abilities. Preventing damage is pretty good, especially when it's a creature that you want to keep around. But giving a player protection is obviously better. Seven mana seems like a high cost, but depending on the situation, it's probably well worth the investment.
So far, based on her abilities, she slots in as one of the 99 in Eight-and-a-Half Tails EDH decks, as cheap damage prevention. Her second ability is a really expensive "Fog" that you can use politically to save another player. The real downside of this ability is that only prevents damage from one color (you can pay it again for an additional color, but why would you?)
In any case, a 5/4 vigilant flyer for 5 mana is really good, and having the 3 white mana in her cost doesn’t really change all that much since you’ll be running a mono-White deck, regardless. So how can we utilize her as a Commander in EDH?
Here’s a list based on a compilation of the handful of Avacyn, Guardian Angel EDH decks currently included in the EDHREC database. There are some other tweaks we have made, as well.
Avacyn, Guardian Angel
Guardian of the Gateless
Angel of Serenity
Angel of the Dire Hour
Avacyn, Angel of Hope
Non-Creature Spells (42)
Path to Exile
Swords to Plowshares
Rest in Peace
Entreat the Angels
Grasp of Fate
Rule of Law
Return to Dust
Shield of Kaldra
Wrath of God
Nahiri, the Lithomancer
Emeria, the Sky Ruin
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Temple of the False God
This Avacyn, Guardian Angel EDH deck list currently costs around $200 to build in paper Magic. A big part of that price tag includes Avacyn, Angel of Hope. You could alternatively swap Avacyn, Angel of Hope in as the Commander and still have a functional deck.
The deck plays like a mono-White control list, with only a handful of creatures with a casting cost of less than 5 mana. There are plenty of ways to prevent combat damage and deal with opponents’ biggest threats. However, there are a couple of ways to create a bunch of creatures in a hurry, with the “Miracle” Entreat the Angels and the Enchantment Luminarch Ascension. Those are the primary methods for winning the game outright in the deck. Beyond that, it’s basically just staying in the game until you can drop Avacyn, Angel of Hope and making all of your permanents indestructible.
If you want to spend extra money on the deck, Archangel of Thune and Linvala, Keeper of Silence are nice Angels to have, but aren't integral to the success of the deck. Kozilek, the Great Distortion from Oath of the Gatewatch gives you extra card draw and the ability to counter spells by discarding a card that shares the converted mana cost of the one you are countering. It’s a bit tricky to cast, however, due to requiring 2 mana from purely colorless sources to cast. You may have to swap out some Plains for other colorless sources to facilitate him, but it may be worth it.
Alternatively, you could build a more aggressive list similar to many of the Avacyn, Angel of Hope deck lists featured on EDHREC. However, the Angel of Hope’s ability to make your permanents purely indestructible is a huge advantage over the more “fair” Guardian Angel.
Are there other cards you’d like to play in the deck? Any other Commanders you would like us to cover?
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
A staple in Modern Combo Elves decks, Regal Force is actually best known for its utility in Commander. Originally printed in Eventide, this seven-mana Elemental has sold for as much as $15 a copy. Its ability is quite simple. For 7 mana, you get to draw a card for each green creature (including himself) that you control. With how many creatures Green decks can pop out in a hurry, this means a lot of card advantage. The 5/5 body is just a bonus.
A wide variety of mono-Green decks in Commander were happy to see this guy reprinted. These include decks led by Seton, Krosan Protector, Azusa, Lost But Seeking, and Ezuri, Renegade Leader. Basically, any mono-Green deck that's focused on creating a huge army of creatures will want Regal Force in its arsenal. Seven mana to cast is a lot, but he's proven his worth time and time again over the years.
While this Eternal Masters printing will tank his price, which was based on his very low supply, it's likely he'll rebound over time considering just how many decks can use his ability. Card draw is always going to be good, especially in Green.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
With Eternal Masters, the long-time Legacy burn staple Chain Lightning gets its first printing at uncommon. Prior to this, Chain Lightning only had its original common printing in Legends and a premium foil reprint in Premium Deck Series: Fire & Lightning. On Magic Online, however, it has had additional online-only editions in Vintage Masters, Masters Edition III, and in an online only theme deck.
Due to Chain Lightning only having two previous printings, the paper price has crept towards $15 as this powerful card has been disappearing into many different Magic the Gathering collections. While being printed at uncommon will keep the price of the original versions from tanking, it's very likely that the foil version from Eternal Masters will be preferable to that of the Premium Deck.
Even being printed at uncommon in this set does not change its status in the popular Pauper format on Magic Online. It actually sees about the same amount of play in Pauper as it does in Legacy. It's good to see more copies of this classic burn spell printed outside of Magic Online.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Gamble is the best of tutors in Red. In fact, outside of Imperial Recruiter, it is the only other one. The cost of a random discard seems like quite a drawback, but at times it is actually useful. This card mostly sees play in the Lands deck in Legacy as a four-of, since the discard does not hurt that deck’s strategy. It also sees play in a number of mono-Red decks in Commander. Because of its unique position in Magic as the only true mono-Red tutor, it’s been a $30 card that was only ever printed in Urza’s Saga.
Fortunately for Magic the Gathering players, Gamble has been reprinted in Eternal Masters. Being only a rare, there are many new copies that are hitting the open market. Those who want to play them in Legacy will still want the full playset of four copies, so it probably won’t ever become extraordinarily cheap. This is also the first time that Gamble has ever been available in paper Magic. It was available in foil previously in Vintage Masters on Magic Online.
The Eternal Masters version of Gamble features new artwork and new flavor text. I actually prefer the old artwork, but the new flavor text is pretty funny. I mean, “What’s the worst that can happen?” That wraps up the flavor of this card perfectly. But I like the original Goblin flavor that the old artwork provided.
How do you feel about this reprint? Is this a card that you’re excited about?
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Speculation on what was going to be included in the Eternal Masters set has been rampant ever since the set was first announced. Magic the Gathering players already knew that nothing on the game's Reserved List would be included. But there are plenty of very useful cards that were likely to be in the set. One of the cards on many players' wish lists was Mana Crypt, a very useful card that is at its best in Vintage, but is also very useful in Commander.
While Mana Crypt was featured in Vintage Masters in 2015, that was a Magic Online only set, which did no good for players of paper Magic. Before, there was only an extremely rare book promo and a DCI Judge Promo Foil. A single copy would set you back as much as $150 to $200. For most players, that's very prohibitive. While printing this at Mythic rare will still make it rather scarce, it will put a lot more copies out there.
So what's so great about Mana Crypt? In many ways, it's very similar to Mana Vault, a very popular artifact in Commander. The Vault doesn't untap on its own, and deals one domage to u for each upkeep that it remains tapped. It costs 4 mana to untap it on its own. However, the Vault provides you with 3 colorless mana, and there are plenty of ways to help it untap in both Legacy and Vintage.
The Crypt only gives you 2 mana, but it untaps every turn like most artifacts do. However, the drawback is that you have to flip a coin at the beginning of each upkeep.. If you call the flip wrong, you take 3 damage. Since there's a 50-50 chance of being right, it's usually worth the risk. It also costs nothing at all to cast, which is the card's greatest advantage. Having two mana before even dropping a land on the first turn is very powerful. That's why this card is restricted to a single copy in Vintage decks and is banned in Legacy. It gives you access to a lot of mana very quickly.
While I highly doubt that Mana Crypt will ever become the $4-5 card that it is due to two printings on Magic Online, it's going to become so much more affordable for those who want it. Yes, it will remain fairly expensive, and eventually, the price will probably creep its way back into triple digits. Most notably is that the Eternal Masters version has the same artwork as the highly sought after Judge Foil version. Plus, Eternal Masters comes with a foil in every pack, so the chances of opening a Foil Mana Crypt are much higher than normal.
How do you feel about this reprint? Is this a card that you've waited for to become more widely available? It's awesome in Commander and it will probably be Commander players who will want copies the month.
by Phoenix Desertsong
Astral Cornucopia in EDH / Commander
In Commander (aka EDH), there are a few cards that interact well with this card. For example, there is an artifact called Coretapper that can tap itself to add a charge counter to target artifact. There’s a similar one called Power Conduit. Also, Energy Chamber does the same thing at the beginning of every upkeep. There’s also Surge Node, but it is limited in how many times you can add counters, since the Node only starts with six. You also have to pay mana to move the charge counter. Since there are so many options to put charge counters on the Cornucopia so easily, it’s actually a pretty nifty mana rock. You can play it for free on turn one and then have charge counters build up on it over time. Out of nowhere, it can offer you a lot of mana.
On its own, without the proper charge counter support, it’s pretty underwhelming. When X is set to 1, Astral Cornucopia is basically a Manalith, giving you one of any color mana for a tap. It’s not as good as Darksteel Ingot, because that’s indestructible. So what’s good about this? It obviously gets a lot better when you invest more mana into it. First of all, having extra mana to sink into things definitely happens in Commander. So the possibility of being able to sink 6, 9, or even 12 mana into this is certainly there. You could have it tap for 2, 3, or 4 mana per turn quite easily.
Then, there are cards that can double the number of counters on something. These include Vorel of the Hull-Clade, Doubling Season, and Primal Vigor. Vorel, in particular, is a Commander that makes very good use of this card. There are also cards that have the Proliferate mechanic to add more of a given counter on a permanent. These include Contagion Engine and Tezzeret’s Gambit. War of the Spark added a few more like Urza's Bastion.
Astral Cornucopia in Modern, Limited, and Standard
There was speculation early after its release that Astral Corncuopia could find a home in such Tron deck in Modern. There are better cards in that sort of deck to invest mana into, however. Astral Cornucopia was never a high pick in Limited when Born of the Gods was in print, either. It was also a bit too mana-intensive to be usable in Standard or other Constructed formats.
Because it's almost exclusively used in Commander, Astral Cornucopia was reprinted in a Commander 2016 pre-con deck. This has kept the price of the non-foil card down. However, foils of Astral Cornucopia are still sought after and are solid additions to Commander decks.
There are enough silly things you can do with charge counters, such as with Lux Cannon, that this definitely has a home in a number of decks. Commanders such as Vorel, Rosheen Meanderer (who can tap to put at least 1 counter onto this with her ability), and Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Artifact shenanigans) are happy to have this mana rock artifact in their 99.
Is Dragon Throne of Tarkir Underplayed in EDH / Commander? - Magic the Gathering (MTG)
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Dragon Throne of Tarkir is a Legendary Artifact from Khans of Tarkir. When it was first revealed, people were excited to be able to equip a chair a la Hulk Hogan. It has turned out to be a very interesting card - in Commander. But the Throne doesn’t see the play in Commander that one might expect.
The Throne costs 4 to cast and 3 to equip. The Equipped creature has defender and “2, tap, Other creatures you control gain trample and get +X/+X until end of turn, where X is this creature’s power.”
It’s obviously not a cheap effect to use. But on the right creature, you could make other people’s lives quite miserable. One Magic player on reddit once suggested that Zurgo Helmsmasher and his base 7 power could become a fantastic target for this card. He would then be given defender and wouldn’t have to attack every turn, either. Giving all of your creatures +7/+7 and trample seems pretty legitimate for a tap ability that only costs 2 colorless mana. While Zurgo has become a popular Commander, the Throne hasn’t really been a huge hit with him.
The question is, where did Dragon Throne of Tarkir end up being played? Most of the time, it takes at least 7 mana to get this cast and equipped to a creature. Yes, it could be a mighty finisher. It’s much too slow for most Constructed formats. It was a Limited bomb on any creature that has any significant amount of power. Plus, you can boost the power of the equipped creature before using this effect. But even as an Equipment with a lot of potential in Commander, it’s still proven a bit clunky.
Still, there are plenty of Commanders that never feel the need to attack, but have high enough base power to make the Throne’s effect worth it. There are those more than willing to gain Defender in order to help their minions deal massive amounts of damage. Honestly, any equipment-based Commander deck can enjoy this card. My favorite Commander for this card is Kemba, Kha Regent. I imagine her on the throne saying: Go my kitties! Attack with great ferocity! I’ll just sit here with all my shiny toys on my pretty new throne!
Unfortunately, most aggro builds don’t like the idea of losing their Commander to becoming a defender. Such decks usually have other creatures with high enough power that can serve as the Commander’s “regent” while the Commander leads his/her/its forces into a decisive strike against the enemy. Outside of Kemba, the only other Commander to adopt the Throne is Lovisa Coldeyes. This does make some sense. Lovisa pumps all Warriors, Barbarians, and Berserkers by +2/+2 and gives them haste. Her deck has only improved over the years with Warriors and Berserkers still being printed on a regular basis. Lovisa really doesn’t mind sitting on the throne. It fits her flavor anyway.
The Dragon Throne of Tarkir was clearly designed to be a Limited bomb and casual favorite. Game of Thrones jokes aside, there will probably be other Commanders in the future that could prove to be a good fit for this Equipment. If you play Kemba or Lovisa, this card comes highly recommended.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
For those that have been playing Magic the Gathering since the original Innistrad, you probably recall seeing Moonmist, a common that was very powerful in Werewolf decks. Granted, most of the time Werewolf decks weren’t exactly tournament-winning caliber. But with all of the support Werewolves gained in Shadows Over Innistrad, suddenly anyone who wanted to build a Werewolf deck, even for fun, needed four copies of Moonmist. Now it’s a $1 common. Heck, on some websites, it can sell as high as $3 per copy due to strong casual demand.
In a dedicated Werewolf deck, Moonmist can be a total blowout. Werewolves are often difficult to play consistently due to the fact that you have to be very conscious of how many spells are played in a turn. Being able to transform whatever Human Werewolves you have for only 2 mana is very powerful. Even better, all Wolves and Werewolves still deal damage, while no other creatures can. In fact, even if you have no creatures on the board at all, it still acts as a two-mana Fog. It can still save you a lot of damage.
If you plan to play any sort of Werewolf deck, Moonmist is definitely a strong card. Any copies you find laying around for dimes and quarters at your local game stores should definitely be snapped up in a hurry. While they may reprint Moonmist in Eldritch Moon, it’s unlikely as Werewolves haven’t exactly been super relevant in any competitive format. But they are a lot of fun to play, and the variance of the deck is what makes it so attractive to casual players. Magic continues to support its “fun” tribes quite well recently. So whenever you see a tribe get lots of new support, never overlook synergistic commons. They can suddenly be worth a lot of money.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Sadistic Sacrament is a rare from Zendikar that has graced many sideboards in the past. In late 2010, this card was worth as much as 0.8 event tickets on Magic Online. It’s consistently been a $1 rare for years in paper, reaching as high as $1.50 recently. Being a rare from a now long out-of-print set, and being a card with kicker that isn’t likely to be reprinted, it can’t hurt to buy a few copies of Sacrament at 0.03 tix a piece online. In paper, it’s not a bad investment either. It has been listed on eBay for $3 or more recently.
On the surface, Sadistic Sacrament is an efficient way to deprive your opponent of 3 cards for only 3 mana. But the kicker which costs 7 extra mana lets you absolutely ruin your opponent’s deck, by allowing you to exile up to 15 cards of your choice from their library. While that’s a lot of mana, having that option in the late game is pretty sweet.
Most recently, Sadistic Sacrament has seen play as a two-of in some decently competitive Vintage lists on Magic Online. While it’s hard to say if Sacrament will ever find itself in a Modern Mono-Black control list is hard to say. But a big winner in a major Magic Online Vintage tournament using it could cause a bunch of copies to be bought up in a hurry.
On the paper side of things, this is a card that’s been worth $1-$1.50 for a very long time. They simply aren’t printing more of these. It sees a fair amount of play in EDH, as well. While Vintage isn’t really a big deal in paper Magic anymore, if it even sees a hint of play in Modern at top tables, speculation could cause it to potentially spike in price. Otherwise, it's just a nice rare card to have in your Magic collection.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Homelands is considered one of the worst overall sets in Magic: the Gathering history. Most of the Legendary Creatures in the set aren’t very good, either. But there’s one Legendary Creature from Homelands that you simply don’t see played in the format: Daughter of Autumn. What’s particularly important about her is that at one point, she wasn’t even legal as a Commander!
Daughter of Autumn is hardly a horrible card. For 2GG, you get a 2/4 Avatar who allows you to pay one white mana to transfer 1 damage dealt to a white creature to herself. But wait, why would you play a Green card to redirect damage to a White creature? Fortunately, because of this ability, her color identity becomes both Green and White. While this is hardly a bad ability, one that’s seen on a number of decent Cleric creatures throughout Magic’s history, a Green creature that helps protect white creatures seems awfully bizarre.
So why was she once was ineligible to even be a Commander? After a rules change in 2010, Commanders that had an ability that cost mana not in its actual mana cost became eligible whereas previously they were not. These include some fairly recognizable Commanders such as Bosh, Iron Golem, Memnarch, Rhys the Exiled, Thelon of Havenwood, and of course, Daughter of Autumn.
Considering that those other Legendaries are all quite playable in Commander, no one has ever really built around Daughter of Autumn. Is there some untapped potential here? Could there be a life redirection theme to build around here? Yes, there is. There are enough cards that make this possible. In fact, back in 2010, there was a decklist on MTGSalvation created with the intent to have her break the format. OK, perhaps it didn’t ever do that. But this is a pretty nice starting point, using cards such as Druid’s Call and Rite of Passage to take advantage of any damage dealt.
Of course, it’s been 6 years, and plenty of cards exist now that didn’t then. This includes some indestructible creatures and ways to redirect damage. Many of the creatures and Enchantments which have been added to this particular list weren’t available in 2010.
Here’s the 2016 edition of a Daughter of Autumn EDH deck.
Daughter of Autumn
Mother of Runes
Beacon of Destiny
Knight of the Reliquary
Opal-Eye, Konda's Yojimbo
Oriss, Samite Guardian
Guardian of the Gateless
Oversoul of Dusk
Jareth, Leonine Titan
Spirit of the Hearth
Yosei, the Morning Star
Angel of Salvation
Avatar of Hope
Path to Exile
Swords to Plowshares
Brave the Sands
Heart of Light
Rite of Passage
Return to Dust
Soratami Cloud Chariot
Yu-Gi-Oh: Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon - Card Reviews By An Old-School Duelist
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Blue-Eyes White Dragon, White Lightning!
Yu-Gi-Oh! used to be the greatest thing ever. It was my favorite game in the whole world for a long, long time. I was never incredibly good at it. I won a few little local tournaments here and there when the competition wasn't very good. I came close a few other times and won store credit here and there. But outside of the competitive scene, I was a big collector, loved building random decks, and just loved the game overall. That is, besides the stupid infinite combos that plagued the competitive Yu-GI-Oh scene for a very long time.
So I've decided to look back at the greatest cards in the game's history, those from the first American released set, Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon! There was even a time when you could get a box of Spanish BEWD for about $20 - not that you can now. In fact, you can still find unlimited versions of the set in packs included in various Legendary Collections. Still, the cards are timelessly awesome! A lot of them are banned in competitive play now, but whatever. They're still old school Yu-Gi-Oh and far, far superior to the white and black cards they play now!
There are a few good rares in the set: Fissure and Pot of Greed are among the notables. But we're going to look at the SHINY stuff, because hey, that's all we really care about!
Blue-Eyes White Dragon
The greatest card in all of Yu-Gi-Oh, Blue Eyes White Dragon has 3000 ATK and 2500 DEF, making him virtually invincible in battle. Unless you had some tricks up your sleeve, like a Man-Eater Bug (also in this set) or a Two-Pronged Attack (also in this set), you were pretty much done for. That is, of course, you were lucky enough to pull a Dark Hole, or maybe even a Raigeki. But yeah, this guy wins games. And if you have two, you win more. If you have three, you're practically Seto Kaiba! Just an all-around awesome card that you should play in every single deck ever!
This guy is one of the greatest monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh history! Never mind that Neo the Magic Swordsman can murder him in one-on-one combat, or his defense can be beat by any common monster with 1300 ATK. He's one of Yugi's signature cards, and his picture is SHINY! He's AWESOME!
Curse of Dragon
Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon Super Rare
One of the most powerful monsters in all of Yu-Gi-Oh, Curse of Dragon is a beast at 2000 ATK... Wait, Summoned Skull is way better? Why is this is a super rare again? Who cares, it's SHINY, and it's a DRAGON! It's awesome! And if you combine it with Burning Land, you can destroy Fields! Oh wait, that was just on the show…
Legend of Blue Eyes White Dragon Super Rare
Destroy all monsters on the field. Even after all of these years, you can still play it in your deck. It was banned for a while, but now it’s back. If you play Yu-Gi-Oh, use it. That is all.
Dark Magician is so awesome, except for the fact that he is easily outclassed by Blue-Eyes White Dragon. You have to have a devious plan to win against a Blue-Eyes if this is the strongest monster in your deck. Honestly, you're better off just playing Summoned Skull. He's one less tribute. But if you just have to have Yugi's favorite monster in your deck, I guess you have no choice but to play him.
Exodia the Forbidden One
Who doesn't want to win the game just by having five cards in hand? This card lets you do that. All you need are this guy's head, left arm, right arm, left leg, and right leg. Then you win. You just attack for infinity. No way to stop it. Game over.
Actually it's more likely that your opponent plays Card Destruction when you still don't have your fifth piece. And then you draw your fifth piece... FML.
Some kid told me that Instant Fusion makes it really easy to bring this guy out. But then you have to sacrifice him at the end of the turn. What gives!? Why not just use Polymerization? I mean, it's not like Flame Manipulator and Masaki the Legendary Swordsman are hard to get. They're commons! All people want to do with this guy is throw some other Level 5 monster on top of him and throw another card on it that's BLACK! What is this? Or they use this Tuner thing to make a Synchro Monster? Seriously, what has happened to this game!?
Gaia the Dragon Champion
As it turns out, there IS a reason that you play Curse of Dragon in your deck. Yes, you can sacrifice a guy for him to beat somebody's face. You could discard him with Graceful Charity and bring him back later with Monster Reborn. But the best possible use for Curse of Dragon is to use Polymerization along with Gaia the Fierce Knight (still to come!) to make THIS GUY! I must say, 2600 ATK and 2100 DEF is a definite improvement over Curse of Dragon. So I wonder what Gaia the Fierce Knight has to offer, since if this is a fusion, it must have a lot more ATK and DEF than one of its materials!
Gaia the Fierce Knight
OK, Gaia the Fierce Knight isn't quite as awesome as Gaia the Dragon Champion. It only has 2300 ATK. But hey, just like Curse of Dragon, you just sacrifice a creature to summon it... wait, it needs two? Wow, this card is...underwhelming!
Like many older cards, apparently they tried to remake this guy into something playable. Apparently, they sort of succeeded from what I understand. I don't think that anything competitive ever came out of it, though.
Every deck should run three of these! It's so good! You flip it over, and you blow up a monster! It doesn't get better than that! And if you flip him face up on your turn because your opponent was worried about it being, I dunno, a Giant Soldier of Stone... you can ATTACK with him! Wow, 450 damage to the face! Better yet, you can SACRIFICE him for something awesome, like a Curse of Dragon! Woo-hoo! Such an awesome card!
Perhaps one of the best cards in Yu-Gi-Oh for the longest time, Monster Reborn let you get back any monster from any graveyard. There were absolutely no drawbacks. Powerful and universal as it was, it was limited to one copy per deck in competitive play for a long time. Seriously, you just played it. No questions asked.
So yeah, eventually, it was decided that since everyone played at least one copy in every single deck that it needed to be banned. It was just too simple and too good.
It's really too bad that the Mystical Elf doesn't do anything but have 2000 DEF, but hey, that's going to be more than enough defense if they can't bring out their bigger monsters that require a sacrifice. Even the mighty Swordstalker can't get over our little blue friend. She's certainly more deserving of super rare status than Celtic Guardian. But if only she only had some mystical powers...
Make a brand new monster out of two old ones! Seems good to me. Really shiny picture, too! It's a shame that at the time this was released the best we had to make was Gaia the Dragon Champion, and not too many people had those. We didn't have the B. Skull Dragon yet, sadly.
Destroy all of your opponent's monsters. That's it? Really, no downside at all? Oh, it's banned? It was for a long time. But not anymore! So yeah, you want seventy billion of these. There’s even an Ultra Rare version from Dark Beginnings. It's shiny and has gold lettering! Even better.
Red-Eyes Black Dragon
Joey Wheeler's boss monster, Red-Eyes Black Dragon, is so awesome that his whole name doesn't even fit in the card title; they had to abbreviate Black so it would fit. Unfortunately, Red-Eyes only has 2400 ATK and 2000 DEF, meaning that Summoned Skull, Dark Magician, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon just eat this guy for breakfast. Honestly, they should've made this guy so much stronger. He does look pretty sick, though, doesn't he?
And later on, he would get a bunch of support for some reason so you could actually build a Red-Eyes deck. No kidding.
Swords of Revealing Light
If you've been playing Yu-Gi-Oh for some time, you've probably played Swords of Revealing Light on many occasions. Stopping your opponent's attacks for three turns sometimes is all you need to turn the duel around. Maybe there is far too much spell card removal in the game these days for this card to be much use anymore, but at the time, you could almost guarantee you'd have this out there for three whole turns. All the while you'd be building up your defenses and drawing cards, hopefully getting the answers you need. Such a great card, and it's as classic as you get (it was the card that saved Yugi long enough to draw into Exodia in the very first episode of the anime!) You just have to pimp out your deck with a couple of 1st edition copies of this card!
You kids these days and your Solemn Warnings... back in the day, we didn't even have Bottomless Trap Hole! We had good old Trap Hole! Honestly, it was pretty darn good, too. It was one of the few ways we could stop the summoning of the Blue-Eyes! Really, this card can take out anything over 1000 ATK when it's normal or flip summoned. Honestly, why waste a trap card on anything weaker? The only problem is that this card didn't stop Special Summons like Monster Reborn or Flute of Summoning Dragon. So if you were facing a deck with Blue-Eyes in it, you had to hope that he had to Tribute Summon it. Nothing like an instant plus-two for you! Amazing card, and still good against those silly pretty little Tour Guides you kids these days love so much.
The last shiny card left to review in this set is a very special one. You could only pull this out of a certain kind of pack back in the day. Many of us bought packs from big box stores like Wal-Mart that sold them out of boxes of thirty-six packs. Well, you could only get Tri-Horned Dragon out of the twenty-four pack boxes sold at game and hobby shops. I've heard rumors that it was meant to be an ultra rare in English, but they ended up making it ridiculously rare by only including it in the less accessible box. That's right, most of us only could hope to pull a Gaia the Dragon Champion. So how awesome is Tri-Horned Dragon?
It isn't more powerful than Blue-Eyes White Dragon? No, unfortunately, it's not. However, it does have 2850 ATK, making it more powerful than any other non-fusion monster in the game for quite a long time. He also has 2350 DEF, which isn't bad, but like you'd ever have this in defense position! True, they could Stop Defense it, but still, it's going to take at least a Red-Eyes B. Dragon to take this down. And imagine facing an opponent with three Blue-Eyes and one of these! If your opponent was rich enough to have 3 Blue-Eyes AND 3 Tri-Horned Dragons, you just stood no chance at all. It's still the rarest card from this set, even though it's been reprinted along side Gaia the Dragon Champion in the newer version of the Legend of Blue-Eyes White Dragon that comes in the Legendary Collection as well as in the alternate language versions like Spanish and Portuguese.
So chances are, if you want this guy now, he'll only cost you like $5. But back in the day, this was the rarest card you could get. It might not have been Blue-Eyes, but it was the next-best thing!
The Legend Continues...
So for the first set ever of Yu-Gi-Oh, how does it hold up today? Well, Blue-Eyes White Dragon is still very powerful and still played in some versions of competitive Dragon decks. Trap Hole is still playable (especially with the recent change in priority rules making some monsters that could previously still do something nasty even if you could stop them from being summoned can't anymore!) Dark Hole, Monster Reborn, and Raigeki are deck staples. Most of the other shiny cards in the set aren't really playable anymore. Tri-Horned Dragon is out-classed by a few of the newer Dragons.
But overall, considering how old this set is, it has aged pretty well. I wouldn't go and spend hundreds of dollars on a box. But if you find a cheap Spanish or Portuguese box, since you can play those cards in many tournaments, it's worth a shot to see if you can get some of these awesome shiny cards. It's the best set in Yu-Gi-Oh history even if the only reason for that would be is this is where it all started.
DISCLAIMER: I've done these reviews entirely for fun and the enjoyment of others. If it sounds like I don't understand how the competitive game works, that isn't the case. I've done my best to make very clear what the game was like at the time, and man, it was a heck of a lot simpler back then!
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
When it was first released, Mirrorpool was greatly sought after. It hasn’t seen tons of play competitively, though. Commander players have started to play with it, though, mostly in Eldrazi Tribal decks led by Kozilek, the Great Distortion. Other Eldrazi Commanders making use of Mirrorpool are Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and Kozilek, Butcher of Truth. Mirrorpool is also seeing play in the hottest new Commander from Shadows Over Innistrad, The Gitrog Monster! However, according to EDHREC, it’s not at the rate you would expect.
In Eldrazi Commander decks, you get to copy your more powerful Eldrazi or other colorless creatures for 5 mana at the cost of having to sacrifice Mirrorpool. This is usually well worth it. Copying Wurmcoil Engine or Myr Battlesphere feels pretty good, as does Blightsteel Colossus. Endbringer and Deceiver of Form are a couple other Eldrazi worth copying with Mirrorpool’s creature-copying effect.
As far as copying an instant or sorcery for 3 mana, there aren’t a ton of options. Copying Titan’s Presence to exile two creatures instead of one is pretty good, though. Skittering Invasion is the other good one to copy, making another 5 0/1 Eldrazi Spawn tokens. That seems worth it. Scour from Existence is another excellent one, allowing you to exile two permanents for 10 mana and a land. That doesn’t actually sound excellent, but it depends on how much you need to exile that second permanent. You’re still actually not down a card either way.
The Gitrog Monster is a deck all about lands. Not only are there plenty of good creatures, instants, and sorceries in that deck to copy, but when you sacrifice it with the “Hypno Toad” on the battlefield, you get to draw a card. Not only that, Gitrog Monster decks have plenty of ways to get back lands, such as Crucible of Worlds and Life from the Loam.
Honestly, it doesn’t seem like Mirrorpool sees nearly enough play considering what it’s capable of doing. Being a colorless only land, it seems like it’s being overlooked more than it should be.
by RGFoxx, Gaming Successfully Contributor
It’s become sort of a hobby of mine to figure out what rares from each set will ultimately become hits with the casual crowd. One I’ve had my eye on recently is Darksteel Juggernaut from Scars of Mirrodin. This is a card that’s been around for several years, and over time, it’s never really stopped selling. What makes Darksteel Juggernaut a once bulk rare card that broke the $1 mark in January 2015 and has never stopped rising? Let’s take a look.
Darksteel Juggernaut is an indestructible creature for 5 mana. Right away, people see indestructible and think to themselves - this is my finisher! Also, his power and toughness scale with how many artifacts you control - itself included. Indeed, in Scars of Mirrodin drafts, this was an absolute bomb with how many artifacts there were available in the sets from that block: Scars, Mirrodin Besieged, and New Phyrexia. The only drawback is that the Juggernaut has to attack every turn - a flavor nod to the original Juggernaut from the first sets of Magic. Being indestructible, this rarely even is a drawback.
Basically, if you play artifact decks and you’re not going to tournaments, this is fine for a mid-range threat. Also, like many cards that rely on artifacts, the Juggernaut can only get better over time. Sure, he’s not Darksteel Colossus, but he’s a lot more easily accessible and you can still find them in the dollar bins at local game stores. Heck, people might even consider these to be bulk rares. They’re not. They usually buylist for at least $0.25, if not $0.50. (I’ve seen Troll and Toad offer $0.65 a copy!)
Whenever you’re trying to figure out what rares from a set are good investments for your collection, this is the sort of card to look for. Any card that can see play in multiple types of decks with regularity is obviously good to hold onto. You see how reprintable the card is. Darksteel Juggernaut isn’t super exciting like Darksteel Forge was when it was reprinted. But he gets the job done if you’re looking for a quick upgrade to your casual artifact deck. Being indestructible and a creature that only gets better as the game progresses makes him rather useful. Heck, he works okay in Commander, too, if you’re on a budget. Definitely a card to not forget about, especially in foil.
by ElspethFTW, Old School Duelist
Oh, Lorwyn, how we love you! You gave us some of the greatest pieces of cardboard in Magic: the Gathering history! You also gave us this…
Yes, Hamletback Goliath is a rare creature from the all-hallowed set that is Lorwyn. Honestly, it’s not a terrible card. When he was reprinted in the Magic 2013 Core Set, the Goliath was a bomb in Draft, giving you something useful to Fling at your opponent for good game. I assume he was pretty good in Lorwyn draft, as well. But in Standard, he’s always been a big fatty that didn’t get any play.
Plenty of Commander players have found room for him over the years. A 6/6 that can get a lot bigger in a hurry is pretty good. It’s especially good that he gets as many +1/+1 counters for each and any creature that enters the battlefield, not just your own. This can obviously lead to him being bigger than anyone can stop.
But is he a good card? The decks that typically use him are after his overall power. Lovisa Coldeyes likes him because he’s a Warrior, and can give him +1/+1 and haste. Brion Stoutarm likes him around to Fling him with his ability - and gain 6 life in the process. Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas likes him for the experience counter casting him offers. (That and he actually was reprinted yet again in the same Commander 2015 deck as Kalemne, so why not?) A bunch of other Commanders will play him if they need to fill a hole in their list - more as a stopgap that opponents will have to consistently deal with rather than a long-term solution.
But there is actually a way to make this bulk-rare Goliath into an EDH win condition. How is that?
The most fun you can have with a Hamletback Goliath is to use a kicked Rite of Replication on him. When you make 5 copies, the original Goliath will gain 30 +1/+1 counters - 5 for each token that enters. On top of that, the tokens each see 4 other Goliaths enter the field at the same time. This nets each of them 24 +1/+1 counters. Find some way to give all of them haste and/or trample, and you pretty much have the game won.
So which Commanders would be running both Red and Blue that would want to have this awesome sauce combo in their arsenal?
Animar, Soul of Elements is the first one that comes to mind. With Animar’s ability to reduce creature casting costs, you can reduce Goliath’s initial casting cost to as low as a single Red mana. (Notably, Rakdos, Lord of Riots can do this, as well, but being red & black only, no Rite of Replication trick is possible.) Surrak Dragonclaw is another, and he even gives all of your other creatures trample!
Both decks typically play Temur Ascendancy and/or Maelstrom Wanderer in their 99, both of which offer all creatures haste. Maelstrom Wanderer is another Commander that could use Hamletback Goliath, but he’s not really a great target for the Wanderer’s dual-Cascade ability - there are just a lot better things you’d want to hit. But in Animar and Surrak, you’re looking at two creature-based decks happy to send in a sextet of Goliaths in for the kill. Both decks are happy to play Rite of Replication to make copies of their other value creatures, so you’re going to have fair enough synergy for the Goliath to work.
(Ruhan the Fomori, a White/Red/Blue commander, has been known to be the head of Giant tribal decks on occasion. Hamletback Goliath fits that bill, but it’s rare that you’ll see Rite of Replication be a key card in that deck.)
It may seem strange to say that you can actually have Hamletback Goliath be part of a win condition. But it is, in fact, completely possible. So next time you wonder why Hamletback Goliath got a special promo release in Walmart repacks you’ve been able to find for years, it turns out he actually has an audience.
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