Rekindling the Fire

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It has been a while since my last article. I would like to say that this delay is due to starting a new job or even the rush of the holiday season. While these have definitely been factors, it is also due to a lackluster passion towards Magic in general and a re-found love affair with Diablo 2 (Resurrected).

I do not know how many others just feel generally overwhelmed by the sheer number of new products Wizards is pumping out, but my entire playgroup has taken a step back as nobody has the time to stay up to date with all the new cards pouring out of Seattle.

There was a time in my life where I was playing Magic every night of the week, except on Mondays. I looked forward to Thursday nights more than any other night as it was designated as EDH night. I definitely went into work a few Fridays with far less sleep than I should have thanks to some epic games.

But that was back when we didn't live in constant spoiler season and one got a breather between sets to delve into fun interactions with the latest cards, rather than having to constantly check what is coming next and ignoring what has already been released.

I no longer get excited about the next fun "build around me" commander because I haven't even started building the deck around the last one.

I don't want this article to maintain the depressing tone it started with, so there is some positivity on the horizon. I have returned to my roots. My favorite color combination has always been Junk, or what is now called Abzhan. You get mana acceleration, removal, and life gain.

I bring all this up because after deciding to build a deck around those concepts, I came across some newer cards with low buy-ins that I believe have a lot of potential. It also looks like the Commander-based cards with extended art found in Collector Boosters can not be foil, which makes these the "rarest version" of these cards. I only bring this up because the buy-in for the extended art versions of these cards is still very low, thus the extended art versions are the variants I like most for speculation.

This search has also helped rekindle my passion for speculation, and the low buy-in means a random reprint in some new product will not lose me a lot of money.

My Most Recent Specs

With no other synergies, this 5 drop gives all your creatures +2/+2 and trample when it attacks. However, given the plethora of cards in Magic's history that provide life this can easily be a much bigger buff. I picked up 10 copies and three extended art copies myself after finding this card. Unfortunately, it has to attack to trigger and doesn't have haste, so it isn't quite the second coming of Craterhoof Behemoth; but given copies are under $1 and it is only in one of the C2021 decks, I feel the risk is minimal and the buy-in is low.

I think this card has a lot more potential than people might initially think and it feels like a sleeper to me. I believe in it enough to have bought up 20 copies myself. The key to this card is that its mana reduction ability is static and unlimited (i.e. there is no "can't reduce the cost to less than 1" clause as we have seen on other cards). This feels like a card that can easily allow you to cast Eldrazi on the cheap, which is especially good since the big ones have on-cast triggers. While I haven't actually drawn it in the few games I have played with this deck, I imagine it will have quite a showing when I do.

While I have been unimpressed with the Coven mechanic in draft, and it hasn't done anything in standard yet, Commander is a format that is still heavily dominated by creatures, so triggering Coven shouldn't be that difficult. Being able to make all your creatures indestructible every combat is exactly what any aggro deck wants to do. It is also critical to note that Stalwart Pathlighter does not have to attack for it to trigger, so you can abuse it the turn you play it. A 3/1 for three isn't spectacular, but it also isn't overcosted to the point of being unplayable, like some cards aimed solely at Commander players.

My last target is the one I like the most. As a 3/3 with menace for three mana it is at least somewhat aggressively costed. The ability to cast Raise Dead every time you gain life seems like something that can easily be broken and is at the very least a good value engine. Requiring any life gain to trigger allows it to pair well with numerous cards throughout Magic's history. I found that the extended art versions were available for about 30-50% more than the regular versions, yet I have to believe they are far less common and thus I really like this spec and have picked up around eight extended arts. Having a creature type of vampire also adds some potential.

Spec Hits

A few years ago I called out Infernal Genesis as a potential spec thanks to the rare ability for black to make tokens. To any of my readers who took me up on it — it has finally hit. This isn't meant to imply that all my calls end up being big winners, but I like my logic at the time, and it combo's nicely with Toxrill, the Corrosive

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