Commander Release Analysis (Part 4)

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We’re down to the home stretch everyone! If you missed part one, two, or three of this series, feel free to check on the links to catch up.

Today I will be talking about all the future commanders you will be seeing on tables everywhere for the foreseeable future. Everyone loves playing with shiny new things. Some are hits, some are duds, but generally all will always be worth at least a few bucks just as most legendary creatures are now solely based on their popularity in Commander. (I would love to talk about that phenomenon but that’s for another article down the line.)


Animar, Soul of Elements
Box - Mirror Mastery
SCG - $7.99
AH - $6.25

Any "Gro" creature has potential to be broken in some sort of vacuum, and Animar is no different. The protection from white and black seem to be just thrown on to protect Animar, and may be somewhat relevant. Although you still have to worry about sweepers, which both white and black have lots of, you wont have to worry about things like Vindicate, Putrefy, Wrecking Ball, or any other various multicolour/multi purpose removal spells that often show up in Commander.

Animar is also a candidate for a Voltron/Aggro hybrid, with multiple creatures providing buffs of some sort. Obviously artifact creatures would be ideal with him as they could end up being free due to his ability. I haven’t really looked at all the possibilities, but I do know that Glimpse of Nature is probably the number one card you will want in a deck that looks to abuse Animar as well as Aluren.

I believe all the commanderss made for Commander will all be worth at least a few bucks, and certainly a few will be worth even more. Before Commander was released, the only option for red-blue-green was [card Intet, the Dreamer]Intet[/card], so it is great to get a fresh commander to build around in this strong color combination. Although Animar is pretty unique in what he does, I am still confidant that the other new red-blue-green aligned commander, [card Riku of Two Reflections]Riku[/card], will see the most play time.

Basandra, Battle Seraph
Box - Heavenly Inferno
SCG - $4.99
AH - $4.72

If Basandra was not an Angel I don’t think she would have much going for her. A flying commander is always a plus for Voltron style decks, but even with that I think there are just better options available for red-white.

Being an Angel does carry a lot of weight in the world of casual Magic. She has really nice art, and Angel players will probably love having her as their commander for their Angel deck. As I stated before, all of these will be worth at least a few bucks so make sure you get your best bang for your buck when you are trading Basandra away to that Angel player. Better yet, pick up a few bulk Angels, toss in [card Tariel, Reckoner of Souls]Tariel[/card] (see below) and try to get them traded away in a big Angel deal for something you really want.

Damia, Sage of Stone
Box - Devour for Power
SCG - $7.99
AH - $9.25

The wedge commanders, one color paired with it’s two enemy colors, have very little to fight with to make a deck. For most combinations there are only three that exist now. Damia is one card I did not recognize when I looked at the spoiler, but she seems pretty powerful. One of the most important things to do in Magic is to always maintain card advantage. With Commander, card advantage is even more important because of the size and singleton nature of your deck.

Damia seems like she could be almost broken, drawing you several cards a turn. As long as you can continue to cast spells she will more than pay for her somewhat hefty seven-mana price tag. It doesn’t hurt that green-blue-black is one of the more powerful combinations you can have. Having access to tutors, mana ramp, the best card draw spells, and counterspells is a great base to build a deck from.

The only problem I do see with Damia is that you really have to protect her as you are not going to be able to cast her many times in  a game. I would sell her if you don’t have the means to make a proper green-blue-black deck, with a proper land base and tutors of all sorts. If you do have a decent sized collection, I would hold on to her as the other new green-blue-black commander fills an entirely different role (and [card Vorosh, the Hunter]Vorosh[/card] is a little underwhelming), so her price should be somewhat protected.

Edric, Spymaster of Trest
Box - Mirror Mastery
SCG - OOS $19.99
AH - $10.96

This little Elf was the first card to really blow up value wise out of Commander. They hype is somewhat warranted due to the fact that he’s like a Cold-Eyed Selkie with haste, and the Selkie has seen some limited Legacy play. They both have their pros and cons, but like Flusterstorm versus Mindbreak Trap I think they both have their place. It really depends on the metagame and deck construction.

What is more exciting is Edric is an Elf. I am not sure if he is needed in Combo Elves, but he should at least be looked at as a possibility. With more and more decks adopting Green Sun's Zenith packages, the possibilities of Edric making his mark on the Legacy scene grow.

As a Commander, Edric is an all-star. He not only allows you to draw cards off your attackers, he also makes it beneficial for other players to attack each other instead of you. This is a great way to build up your board and create an unbeatable position after everyone else got card draw happy basking in the glow of good ol’ Edric. I suggest holding onto Edric as he is great in Commander and could make a small splash in Legacy.

Blue-green is a popular color combination for all types of players, so the market for Edric should never really dry up. I am also buying Mirror Mastery boxes myself if I can find them at MSRP as I believe they are of decent value, but if I had to choose, I would still pick Political Puppets first as the box I want to be cracking open for trades/singles.

Ghave, Guru of Spores
Box - Counterpunch
SCG - $7.99
AH - Not updating correctly on AH, but a brief look shows around $3.50 as a steady sell price, sometimes more, and very rarely less.

Ghave, Guru of Spores is interesting on his own, and appeals to anyone who likes fiddling with their dice and tokens (which seems to be a lot of Commander players out there). With Doubling Season out he just becomes ridiculous: double the +1/+1 counters, double the tokens, and double the chances for a bump to the table to mess up the game state big time!

Because this guy is so good with Doubling Season I think anyone in their right mind who owns a Doubling Season will now be making a deck with Ghave. In the black-white-green colors, Doran, the Siege Tower and Teneb, the Harvester have shared the limelight peacefully and somewhat equally. Ghave is different enough from Doran and Teneb that I think they can all live in harmony.

Only keep him if you have an interest in building a Doubling Season based deck.  Otherwise trade him away. Doubling Season decks really appeal to a certain player type and if that really isn’t you then Ghave is better served elsewhere.

Kaalia of the Vast
Box - Heavenly Inferno
SCG - $9.99
AH - $10.73

Kaalia is a pretty sexy card in more ways than one. She has amazing art, and really gives a feeling that she is a hell of a lady. She naturally appeals to three different players, the Angel collector, the Demon collector, and the Dragon collector. This works very well in your favor as the potential to trade her will be a lot greater than something like Damia, Sage of Stone. You can also hit the jackpot and find someone who is an Angel, Demon, and Dragon collector. If you find this triple threat, they will trade out the nose for Kaalia. But that’s not all.

Kaalia is actually pretty good as a commander. She is cheap enough to cast a few times throughout a game, and her ability is actually very scary if you get to trigger it. Her color combination is chock full of removal, so people will be wary of what they do to you because they know that at any time you can kick some major ass. Kaalia also doesn’t really fight for commander space when compared to the other [card Oros, the Avenger]commander[/card] [card Tariel, Reckoner of Souls]options[/card].

I can see Kaalia going up slowly over the years, riding on the coattails of Angel, Demon, and Dragon collectors. But if you can find someone that really wants her, trade her away to get every penny you can out of the trade. Their love for all things from heaven and hell will make them overpay.

Karador, Ghost Chieftain
Box - Counterpunch
SCG - $5.99
AH - $6.99

When I first saw this guy previewed waaaaay back on that fateful day of Dec 2, 2010, I knew Wizards had something special coming. Karador is a great commander that almost breaks the respawn rule for commanders in half. Often Karador will come back at a cheap black-green-white, so you should always have extra mana to recast something from your graveyard.

The color combination has historically been the most popular wedge combination because Teneb, the Harvester was so good compared to the [card Intet, the Dreamer]other[/card] [card Numot, the Devastator]Planar[/card] [card Oros, the Avenger]Chaos[/card] [card Vorosh, the Hunter]dragons[/card], and because you actually had another option with Doran, the Siege Tower. Karador continues in their footsteps and looks to be another great option.

However, he does fight a little bit for the space with Teneb: they both deal with recurring from the graveyard. If I had my choice, I would play Karador first before Teneb now, but that could just be the allure of all things new and shiny. The fact that Karador and Teneb share the same deck design space is a minus on his financial value. People will not be clamouring to find Karador because they can easily fall back on a $1 rare in Teneb. But this may be a blessing in disguise. This makes the financial decision on Karador simple: keep him, build a deck around him, and don’t go out of your way to get any extras.

Nin, the Pain Artist
Box - Political Puppets
SCG - $5.99
AH - $3.84

Nin can be used in a few ways. She can be abused on your own creatures to draw cards. She can also be used offensively to destroy opposing creatures, as well as play the political card giving your "allies" cards. The blue-red color combination has some pretty heavy hitters already in Jhoira of the Ghitu and Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind, so Nin really has her work cut out for her to reach that hall of commanders. Sadly I don’t think she can do it, at least not with the cards that exist today.

Nin seems better as a card in the deck than an actual commander. The only thing going for her as a general when compared to Jhoira and Niv is that she is very cheap to cast. Unless they start creating a bunch of cards that combo well with her abilities, I really think she’s a dud. Trade her away to the first buyer you can find. She isn’t an Angel, Dragon, or Elf, so she doesn’t have much inherent value.

Riku of Two Reflections
Box - Mirror Mastery
SCG - $5.99
AH- $5.79

I looked over StarCityGames’s prices for Commander cards and I really don’t get why Animar, Soul of Elements is worth more than Riku of Two Reflections. Animar is very combo based with what he can do for your deck. Riku is just good any time you cast any spell or creature. Maybe people just don’t understand him. It may be my love affair with Wort, the Raidmother clouding my mind, but I think Riku is an extremely strong commander.

Doubling your spells and creatures is insanely strong in a singleton format. Essentially you can potentially break one of the fundamental rules of Commander every time you play a spell. It’s card advantage bundled up in every card you play. Doubling everything for the low cost of two extra mana is so powerful that I think Riku will become one of the more hated generals out there.

He is a also great looking card with a very memorable picture. One cool tidbit is the picture is an exact mirror even down to the signature!

I can’t see Riku going down in price, but like Doubling Season, some players just don’t like the kind of deck that Riku creates. Riku is one of the reasons why I look out for Mirror Mastery when shopping at Wal-Mart if I can't find any Political Puppets. From the SCG sales, Animar seems like the bigger hitter of the two, but I really think in the end Riku will be worth more.

Ruhan of the Fomori
Box - Political Puppets
SCG - $2.99
AH - $3.46

Ruhan of the Fomori is the type of commander that you look at and wonder, is he breakable? I think he’s sort of a trap like Talara's Battalion and her newest friend Myr Superion are. He seems good due to being very undercosted, but his playability really actually matters on the temperament of your play group. If players start FLIPPING OUT on you when fate chooses them as Ruhan’s first victim then don’t bring him to the table. But if your play group gets a kick out of playing Ruhan Roulette I think he may be tons of fun. Obviously a great Voltron target, but he is so random that I really think he will be delegated to fun and friendly Commander.

I don’t see any future value in Ruhan so if you can find a buyer get rid of him, but good luck on finding someone in dire need of this special member of the Fomori.

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave
Box - Devour for Power
SCG - $3.99
AH- $3.38

Wizards really stretched the limits of the game with Commander. Counters remain in any zone? Who knew that was even possible!

Skullbriar seems to be geared towards one-on-one as a Voltron type card. However, he will get outclassed pretty quickly after hitting early for a few commander damage. Once he gets outclassed it will be pretty hard for him to get there and one bounce spell could really ruin your day. I must admit I don’t play much one-on-one so I could be underestimating him, but as I’ve learned from past experiences going aggro in Commander is pretty hard and low-value.

Treat this guy just like Ruhan: trade him away while you still can.

Tariel, Reckoner of Souls
Box - Heavenly Inferno
SCG - $5.99
AH - $4.34

It’s an Angel, that’s all that matters! $10 card! All joking aside (No, this is not really a $10 card.), Tariel is very interesting. Seven mana is pretty high, so you will really only get to cast her a few times in most games. Flying and vigilance are two powers great together, but adding on a tap ability and you have a lean, mean Angel machine!

I think Tariel gets beaten out by [card Kaalia of the Vast]Kaalia[/card] as a commander in most decks. They both appeal to the same player base, but Kaalia is just easier to focus your deck around. This doesn’t mean Tariel will not be played. I think Tariel will actually see a lot of play... in Kaalia decks. I don’t see why anyone would exclude Tariel when constructing their Kaalia deck, so if you are thinking of trading either card away try to trade them as a pair.

The Mimeoplasm
Box - Devour for Power
SCG - $5.99
AH - $7.25

Mimeoplasm is one of my favorite cards to come out of Commander. I think when everyone saw this guy gears started turning in their heads on how to break him. He’s part Necrotic Ooze, part Tooth and Nail, and all [card Kobolds of Kher Keep]AWESOME[/card].

One of my favourite aspects of the card is the art. Everybody loves dinosaurs, and T-Rex is the baddest of the bunch. As I said before when talking about [card Damia, Sage of Stone]Damia[/card], the green-blue-black combination is one of the most powerful, and it was really just waiting for a great general to lead it to glory. Sorry [card Vorosh, the Hunter]Vorosh[/card], you simply didn’t cut it.

The beauty of The Mimeoplasm is that you can play it a few different ways. This was the go-to infect color for most players, and our favorite legendary Ooze goes perfect in that type of deck. You can also use him in a graveyard-based deck with multiple combos that allow you to do busted things. Mimeoplasm is also a good option for a Voltron style deck, as mashing two creatures together can make for an amazing general damage killer all on his own.

Whichever way you want to take him, you will have access to some amazing Commander staples. I am sure everyone will have a concept in mind when they see Mimeoplasm, so I think he will maintain his price tag for years to come. I personally will not trade him away because I really want to make at least one deck out of him, and due to his flexibility he will probably end up as the commander of three distinct decks. His value should not drop so don’t be afraid to hold onto him and try him out. This is a game after all and we are all here to have fun!

Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
Box - Counterpunch
SCG - $5.99
AH - $3.35

Another huge costed commander, so be a little wary of using him as such. However, this bloodsucker seems very strong. He’s an unlimited sac outlet, can potentially take out any creature except for hexproof/shroud/protection creatures, and he is a big, flying lifelinking vampire. He is not as memorable as some of the new generals we have received, but he does what he does powerful enough to make an impact in any game he is played in.

Vampires are inching their way up to the collectability status of Angels and Dragons, due in part to the Twilight craze. He may start climbing up over time just like most Angels do, but don’t be afraid to get rid of Vish now if you find a buyer.

Zedruu the Greathearted
Box - Political Puppets
SCG - $2.99
AH - $4.33

Zedruu is probably the most unique of the 15 created for Commander. The thing I love about her the most is that she makes an entire new archetype all on her own. There really hasn’t been that much benefit to donating cards to other players, until now. I just wish Ajani, Sleeper Agent was on color to add another card that could be played in the deck.

One of the great things that the development team did is they included a bunch of Propaganda [card Ghostly Prison]effects[/card] to show new players how to build a Zedruu deck. I love the concept of the deck type and I think that it is pretty fun style. With all the love I just gave Zedruu you would think I would have confidence in her becoming an all-star single, however the Political Puppets box is full of many other valuable cards and this may hurt her future financial value. Trade her away as you will have a few to trade away anyway after piecing out several Political Puppets boxes.

Wow that’s almost the end of it! As always, comments are always welcome and appreciated. Join me tomorrow when I look at each box set individually, and pick them apart for their value and playability.

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