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Insider: Speculating on Kalamax, the Stormsire

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Today we look at Kalamax, the Stormsire so again if you don't like spoilers;

Warning Commander 2020 Spoilers ahead!

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I'll be the first to admit that I sort of skipped over this new Commander when spoilers came out. I was much more focused on Zaxara, the Exemplary and Gavi, Nest Warden which you can read about here and here. However, as I've had some more time to digest Kalamax, the Stormsire, I've grown to appreciate the abilities more. The ability to copy spells has existed since the days of Alpha with Fork


One of the biggest downsides to instants that copy spells are that you either have to play another spell worth copying or your opponent does. When both players have no cards in hand, topdecking a Fork doesn't help your board state at all. That being said, copying spells is still a fun mechanic in Magic and a lot of casual players love these types of cards. After all, Reverberate is still worth $1.50 despite 3 mass printings and no play in any competitive format. While we've already had commanders that copy spells, they have previously been limited to Izzet decks.


Kalamax, the Stormsire provides a third color, which also happens to be the best color in Commander. It does have a caveat that it must be tapped in order to do so, there are plenty of ways to tap Kalamax outside of attacking, as this is a commander that I would imagine is better kept safe than forced to attack simply to tap. As this is required for the triggered ability, we need to find good ways to tap him, ideally providing mana.


Earthcraft has already exploded in price, making it far less desirable as a speculation target. It's much younger and much cheaper sibling hasn't shown marginal gains in the past 5 months.

There was an error retrieving a chart for Crypolith Rite

The biggest downside of Cryptolith Rite is that creatures that are summoning sick can't be used to provide mana. The upside is that they tap for any color of mana. Many people forget that Earthcraft only untaps a basic land, and many 3/4/or 5 color Commander decks run very few basic lands. Even more interesting, foil copies of this card aren't much higher than the non-foil versions despite the fact that Shadows Over Innistrad did NOT have any collector packs pumping additional foils into the market.


Citanul Hierophants has the same drawback as Crytolith Rite in that creatures that are summoning sick can't use the ability and it only allows you to tap them for green mana, but in Commander, you want multiple options and this one isn't bad. It has a single printing from Urza's Saga as a rare so a lot less copies are out there than you might think.


Paradise Mantle gives us the ability to tap Kalamax for any color mana, but again has the downside of requiring your creature to not be summoning sick. That being said, the Kalamax, the Stormsire decks are likely to care less about the ability to tap for mana being for all creatures like the Citanul Hierophants and more for tapping for any color simply because they are far more likely to be very spell-based decks rather than creature-based ones. Paradise Mantle has only two printings at uncommon, Fifth Dawn and Modern Masters so a lot of copies aren't likely to be floating around.


While Opposition doesn't provide us mana, it does hinder our opponents and you can tap Kalamax, the Stormsire immediately without concern for summoning sickness. It was only printed as a rare in Urza's Destiny and 7th Edition as well as an invocation from Amonkhet. Current buy-in for the regular copy is around $4, so the risk is somewhat minimal.

Now for the second part of Kalamax, the Stormsire. It is important to note that Kalamax, the Stormsire's his first ability ONLY applies to instants. This is very important because adding green to the typical U/R copy spells decks would have allowed some insane mana ramping, it appears that WoTC kept this in mind as most land fetching ramp spells are sorcery speed. I also imagine the fact that almost every "take an extra turn" spell is also sorcery speed.

Still there are plenty of good instants we can play with Kalamax, the Stormsire.

Interestingly many of the top 100 instants (according to EDHrec) aren't actually all that great when doubled.


While there are a lot of instant speed tutors that see Commander play, many of the top ones put the card on top after a shuffle so duplicating it means you only actually get the second card you search for as the first gets shuffled in. Dig Through Time, however, is more like a restricted tutor that gets the 2 best cards out of your top 7, so doing it twice IS extremely powerful. It is important to note that this card's current price is heavily propped up by the Pioneer format, having sat at under $2 prior to the announcement of the format, but its current price of a little under $5 isn't too bad, given it's a staple in another format. That being said, a ban to the Inverter of Truth deck in Pioneer would almost assuredly drop this cards value so there is some risk.


While many of the more cost-efficient counterspells are listed above Mystic Confluence, doubling a Standard counterspell doesn't do nearly as much unless you're in a counter war. Doubling up Mystic Confluence allows you to choose the card draw as one or more of the modes and thus doubling it can provide significant card advantage. The current price has flatlined for the last few months and with the only major printing being from Battlebond it definitely has potential.


One of my all-time favorite cards, I am honestly perplexed that Stroke of Genius is a $3 card. While it has been reprinted in 2 Commander products; Commander 2014 and Designed, engineered, machined, and assembled in the USA; it's only non-supplemental printing is the original from Urza's Saga. I realize there are similar cards out there, but most like Pull from Tomorrow are from much more recent printings that would have had much larger print runs.

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