Welcome back! If you missed us last week, we were looking at the first part of Lorwyn. Take a look at the article as a refresher and then jump right in with me!
What's funny about Merfolk in Legacy is that it used to be a budget deck! The thinking at the time was, you bought your Forces (then $20), your Wastelands (then $14), and then a bunch of bad, old cards like Lord of Atlantis. Borrow Mutavaults from a friend and you've got a deck! How things have changed. Standstill is in the double digits now! The lords that fill out the rest of the deck are pricey, and that includes this uncommon. Reejerey isn't just a pretty face - the tapping ability can lead to unexpected blowouts against opponents who don't figure it in. It can also untap men who have just attacked, acting like a sort of vigilance. It's the lord-density that made Merfolk so good - get any two guys out and you'll probably be attacking for big chunks of damage.
If you name a tribe and it's not Zombies, Elves or Goblins, then Mirror Entity is probably its best member. Changelings are problematic for me in Tribal decks, since they don't really feel like much flavor at all. There's nothing particularly thematic about Mirror Entity. Most of the time when I use it, it's when Lin-Sivvi is Rebel-chaining into it. Spam the board with three or four Rebels and get Entity, and then your guys are 7/7s and you're killing other EDH players. Unfortunately, the existence of this card means that a bunch of interesting Tribal stuff has to compete with it. If you're using Wirewood Herald or even stooping to Cateran Summons, would you get anything other than this monster? I'm not pleased with its existence, but I'll admit that I've won a lot of games with it.
The reign of Faeries in Standard was a true terror. Once the Faeries player had four mana open, you knew what was coming to you. Either you'd have your spell countered with Cryptic Command (hope you didn't need that attack step!) or you'd get Cliqued in your upkeep. This card requires you to feed it a faerie, but with Bitterblossom around, you could send away a little flying rogue or even get rid of the tribal enchantment. Clique was a monster of a Time Walk; you shut your opponent out of Spectral Procession or Cloudgoat Ranger mana, then you have a giant flier to seal the game up. How much more interaction is necessary, here?
I don't know why Clique is worth more than a dollar right now. People bought copies in hopes for a Modern Faeries deck, but with Punishing Fire around, that's not happening. We've given the fliers a chance and they are not coming back.
Primal Command took off as the new tech to deal with Cloudpost decks in Modern, replacing Plow Under. However, this was all theoretical - nobody was actually playing them, just talking about it - and then Cloudpost went away. Command has a bit of casual appeal. I like the card a lot because it does what I think a 3GG spell should do. I think it has a little bit of use in Modern, since it can go grab Eternal Witness and come back for more action. I'm not sure if there's a R/G Ramp deck (although I think it'd be a contender), but Primal Command would probably be part of it.
The Command cycle was really well done in Lorwyn, the only flunkie being Incendiary Command. Profane Command ties into scalability, which we've seen in Black from the earliest days of Magic. From Pestilence and Drain Life to Howl from Beyond, Black has a theme of making the mana fit the crime. Profane Command does some really "black" things, and just about my favorite play with it involves reanimating Eternal Witness and doing the whole thing again.
I've gotten a lot of Commander use out of the Rings, and not just from Basalt Monolith combinations. Rings are obviously great in Arcum decks, but they have so much incidental use, too! Double your fetchlands, your Voltaic Key untaps, your Urza's Blueprints or your Imperious Perfects. It's one of those cards that, the more you play with it, the more you find that most of the cards in your deck have really cool duplication abilities. I especially love it with Thawing Glaciers.
If you're going to play Faeries, you might as well pack their lord. Scion on turn 3 meant that Bitterblossom was about to get that much more serious. Any time later in the game, Scion was a 2U counterspell against removal. Two Scions meant that your guys were only going to stop if they hit a Wrath of God. I'm surprised that Scion is still worth so much; Faeries are a casual deck, but they're not exactly a popular one.
Nonbasic mana producers tend to go for about a buck, but there are so many better options than this card, even in Faeries decks!
Another formerly-cheap uncommon for the Merfolk deck. Silvergill is an unimpressive workhorse. That 2/1 becomes monstrous with two Lords in play.
Did you know that Sower was worth this much? It only sees play in Legacy sideboards, and so I was surprised to see that it was still so expensive. Sower is a poor choice in Modern because it eats it to the ubiquitous removal and cannot stand up to the Punishing Fire engine. Sower is, though, a fine card in Commander, and I think its vulnerability has something to do with it. "Sure," you might say, "I took your guy, but all you have to do is kill this 2/2 and it's yours again. This isn't something permanent!" The opponent will do their best to kill your pest, but they aren't going to go after you the way they would if you put out a Control Magic.
From the moment this was printed, people had real issues with it being a rare. No, it wasn't going to be a grumble about how this boring card was in the rare slot - it was how they could print a card with such utility, which harkened back to loads of previous B discard spells, and make it rare. What ifOstracize or Inquisition of Kozilek were rare? Part of the grumble was that this looked to players like a transparent effort to sell more packs. If you put all the cards you need at rare, then people are going to have to crack more boosters! Regardless of whether that was the case or not, WOTC did a very poor job of communicating alternate reasons for Thoughtseize being a rare.
In all its history, I can't think of someone who has been pleased to pay retail price for these. When you buy a Jace or a Batterskull, it somehow feels... worth it. You can look at the card and see the power. Cards like Thoughtseize, though, feel like taxes or braces on your teeth - painful and necessary. They are sort of the computer loading screen in Magic, because all they do is facilitate cool stuff later. A card like Thoughtseize or Windswept Heath isn't cool at all, it just lets you eventually do what you wanted to. It's dangerous to have too many of these kinds of cards in Magic - I'd rather the big-dollar items be truly worth it.
On the upside, Thoughtseize isn't a goofy Tribal card or a legend, so there's a chance it'll be reprinted. Next time, can we hope for an uncommon?
A lot of people who really should be using this card don't know of its' existence. Merieke Ri Berit Commander decks go nuts for this kind of double effect, and it is obviously strong with Elves. This is the kind of card that's solid utility, even if it'll never see tournament play. The pseudo-haste is great design.
Rescue these from your junk bin! The Treefolk Lord makes a big impact when he hits the field. Your Yavimaya Ancients aren't going anywhere, now!
Vigor is a Commander staple, since it's just about the best "don't attack me, bro" card there is. Slap this down and people will actively avoid you. I'm trying to think of cards that you could use this with that don't totally suck, and all I'm coming up with is things like Psionic Entity. I suppose you could have two of these in play, plus Triskelion, for infinite damage. Even if you're just fairly using it, Vigor is a pretty cool guy.
This card shines with Spectral Procession, and it made big splashes in Standard in Kithkin decks. Suddenly, you could pull three attackers out of thin air! It's a card I'd love to pair with Timely Reinforcements, for example. Heights, during its time, could flip a Cloudgoat Ranger or practically anything else in the Kithkin deck and score value. I don't see it getting played any more, but it has a certain casual appeal.