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Insider: The Legacy of Commander 2013

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Welcome back readers, speculators, Legacy aficionados and curmudgeons!

Today's article will focus on the Legacy-playables in the new Commander decks. Some are old favorites, but more importantly there are a few new ones that really stand out. So without further ado, let's get started.

The New Stuff

True-Name Nemesis

True-Name Nemesis

This is the one I am most excited about. It pitches to Force of Will, it's a merfolk for potential tribal synergies, and its ability is unlike anything we've seen before on a creature. We've seen similar cards (Runed Halo) that can give protection from a player's win condition, but never anything this all-encompassing.

This guy will give RUG decks fits as he is a great stall solution which kills Nimble Mongoose and blocks Tarmogoyf all day. RUG's only out is to counter him. It is also a solid Jace killer as it can't be bounced or blocked. I can honestly see this card bringing Merfolk back to tier-one status.

Toxic Deluge

Toxic Deluge

This card seems innocuous at first, until you realize that it gives black a non-conditional wrath effect at three mana (sorry Perish/Virtue's Ruin). While the life loss can be brutal, the fact that it gives -X/-X instead of destroy also allows it to kill indestructible or regenerating creatures (though Perish also kills w/o allowing regeneration).

I don't believe this card will be as big of a game changer as True-Name Nemesis, but I do like that it gives another weapon to black's arsenal and at three mana fits nicely on curve for most B/X midrange style decks.

From the Ashes

From the Ashes

This is another card I can see a lot of people glossing over. We rarely get one-sided Armageddon effects (I can think of Flashfires and Boil) which like Perish and Virtue's Ruin are usually more restrictive.

The fact that Legacy is built on non-basic lands means that a red deck like Mono-Red Sneak Attack, Werewolves or Painter's Stone can now obliterate someone's mana base in yet another fashion (the current weapon of choice is Blood Moon and/or Magus of the Moon). Following a Trinisphere with this card will often earn a concession.

The searching for a basic land card might at first seem counter-productive to your "wreck their mana base" strategy, however, in all likelihood if you can blow up three-plus lands most opponents will get maybe one or two basics, whereas you could get all your mana back.

Widespread Panic

Widespread Panic

This is a card that also seems innocuous at first glance, but it's power level stems from the fact that so many Legacy players use shuffle effects to smooth their draws. The biggest downside is it costing three mana (which is a bit much for something that doesn't affect the board when it comes down). It could serve as a tool for red decks against the cantrip combo decks by reducing their hand size as they try to filter for combo pieces, which might prevent them from going off.

Restore

Restore

This one might be more of a stretch, but the ability to recur lands (which come in untapped) is quite useful. I like the idea of turn one Deathrite Shaman or Noble Hierarch, turn two Wasteland your dual, Restore Wasteland for your other dual. You could also use this in Elves as a way to rebuy Gaea's Cradles that you've legend-ruled away. This isn't likely a game changer, but it's a solid card with several useful interactions.

Tidal Force

Tidal Force

Yet another fatty that can help trump the Show and Tell matchup. While he isn't as backbreaking as Ashen Rider or Tidespout Tyrant, he does pitch to FoW and can lock down whatever your opponent cheated into play without requiring any other help (Tyrant requires at least another spell to cast). I don't expect him to see a ton of play, but keep him on your radar.

Returning Favorites

Baleful Strix

This guy is a known house in Legacy. He pitches to FoW, he cantrips, he blocks any creature and kills it; just a pure card advantage machine. This reprint has already dropped his price considerably. He was $20-25 a few weeks ago and is now down in the $14-$18 range, just due to this announcement.

Hua Tuo, Honored Physician

His ability is unique (to be honest I never knew he existed) and powerful. The ability to recur creatures for no mana on a three-drop is powerful, especially if those creatures have some sort of ETB effect or sacrifice effect. He'd be even better if Swords to Plowshares wasn't the removal spell of choice in the format.

Strategic Planning

While more expensive than most cantrips, throwing the extra cards in the graveyard can be huge, especially if you're playing a graveyard-centric deck. I would have been excited to give this one a try in Reanimator (which has been gaining in popularity recently), except I believe Dimir Charm is just better on all counts. Both pitch to FoW, both let you dig and fill your graveyard, but Dimir Charm can also kill annoying creatures like Scavenging Ooze and Deathrite Shaman. Countering a Show and Tell is just gravy.

Other Interesting Notes

It's interesting to see how most of the generals have abilities that require you to hardcast them, which is likely a way for WoTC to print powerful creatures that are underwhelming when cheated into play. The fact that they seemed to push this concept hard does imply that Show and Tell should be safe from the next B&R announcement.

I expect these decks to be more heavily printed than the last run, as I expect the demand to be much higher. There's no justification for paying above MSRP though, as these will show up at Wal-Mart, Target, et.al.

My personal plan is to get one set of each for personal use and one set for investment. While I expect the print run to be higher, I believe the demand will match or exceed it anyway. The fact that WoTC threw in some high-dollar P3K cards will keep demand up.

It's also important to review the decklists and find the ones with the most value right off the bat. My personal opinion is that the most valuable are:

  1. Mind Seize (Baleful Strix and True-Name Nemesis)
  2. Power Hungry (Hua Tuo, Honored Physician)
  3. Eternal Bargain/Nature of the Beast/Evasive Maneuvers

Thus, I will be stocking up on Mind Seize's if I see them at my local retailers.

I also am a big fan of the new land that pumps your general and provides mana fixing. I appreciate WoTC's efforts to print these powerful cards that are only good in EDH.

14 thoughts on “Insider: The Legacy of Commander 2013

  1. Great summary, thanks for the report. I’ve been completely out of the loop on these spoilers since I was traveling on business all last week. Now I’m mostly up to speed.

    Just to make 100% certain – the plan here is to just wait for these to show up at Walmart/Target and then buy at MSRP, right? No need to pre-order or anything?

    1. Sigmund,
      That’s my plan. The store I pre-ordered my 2 sets from is apparently going out of business…this Friday and can’t fulfill my order…so instead of getting them all at $24 per…I’ll just pick them up at $30 per from various retailers/stores. I don’t see any issue in pre-ordering IF your LGS is selling them at MSRP. I just wouldn’t pay over MSRP for any of them.

    1. Ruination does not let you put basic lands onto the battlefield. Does adding that effect make it playable in Legacy? Who knows, although I talked to a dude at my LGS last night who was talking about splashing red into his Nic Fit deck to try it out.

    2. Ya I do know about that card (I contemplated trying it out in sideboards for some longer matchups), but you bring a valid point…if you’re playing a deck that can/wants to cast Ruination there are very few instances when From the Ashes is better (the only one I can think of is when you cast it off of a few non-basics and your opponent has no basics in their deck).

    1. I honestly didn’t see that one…wish I had, I do like it a lot….it’ll be nice for non RUG players to get to enjoy the ol’ “submerge your guy in response to the fetch activation” trick that RUG gets to play.

  2. Doesn’t Widespread Panic just hard-counter any TES deck’s Hellbent Tutors? They find pitch their hand to LED, find their Tendrils, and shuffle it away?

    Is turn 3 too late for this effect against TES? (of course, it does nothing against ANT, as far as I can see). It’s a very niche application.

    1. I believe it would in fact wreck Infernal Tutoring chains. Unfortunately, I think you are correct turn 3 really only works if you’re on the play (and thus they’ve only had 2 turns)…I’ve personally had a lot more luck with storming off when I’ve got 3 lands in play (makes the reliance on chaining rituals much better) as well as providing additional (non-black) mana. It would work well against the Omni-Show deck as that one plays a lot of shuffle effects as well (7+ fetchlands, 4x ponders, Intuition)

  3. Let me first say, I loved the article. It’s great to see someone acknowledging the financial implications of a product like this. I wish we could get an article similar to this one for every interesting product wizards puts out.

    The one thing I that disappointed me was the lack of talk on Primal Vigor. I think this card has one of the biggest upsides of any card in the set. Doubling Season is still a $15 card even after its reprint in Modern Masters. I know I am excited about having another card with similar effect. I’ve seen people comparing it to Parallel Lives, but pricewise, it should trend like Doubling Season. I personally ordered a bunch of copies of this card in anticipation of its price increase.

    Clearly it was a misplay and I should have ordered True-Name Nemesis instead, but I think the green enchantment will net me some profit, just not as much as the Nemesis would have.

    Anyone else have thoughts on Primal Vigor?

    1. I love the card for Commander applications, however, I was solely focused on looking at the Legacy aspects. I may have to expand these types of articles to multiple formats if the desire is there. When it comes to legacy playability, Doubling Season is strictly better (and sees no play), so while I can’t wait to get a copy of this awesome enchantment for my green EDH decks, it won’t see any play in Legacy.

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