Greetings, readers, and welcome to what I’ve decided will be my newest ongoing article series, Choose Your Champion. In this series, I will focus on some upcoming EDH cards, but more specifically, will be talking about the legendary creatures soon to hit the format, and my ideas on how I believe they’ll be built, and any ideas I have that I can share with you. Basically, this series is a big brainstorming session for what you might encounter in forthcoming EDH games.
In this article, I’m going to discuss the five flagship shard legends for this year’s upcoming Commander 2013 product. While full previews start next week, I felt it prudent to highlight five rather powerful additions to the format, my opinions on them, and ideas for building them.
Without further ado, let’s hop right into it:
Untap! Now untap again! Also, untap some more! After you’re done doing that, untaaaaap!
Derevi feels like Magic: the Gathering’s incarnation of Red Bull. It gives you wings, and energy. So much energy. All the energy in the world. Did you know I’m writing about Derevi at 4 in the morning because I have so much e n e r g y.
Derevi is very interesting just for being able to flash itself in to tap down a lethal attacker (provided it lacks hexproof), and of course untapping your own permanents. It lends itself to a strategy with a large creature count (I admit I first thought of Beck // Call), which makes the expensive yet innocuous Gaea’s Cradle a powerful addition. With enough of an army, Derevi can be a Sword of Feast and Famine, and we all know how powerful that card is.
Come to the dark side! We have cookies. And free lifegain every turn! You just can’t beat that.
Oloro has to be one of my favorite designs for one of my least favorite color combinations. Drawing cards and draining opponents just feels Esper to me, which makes me really enjoy the flavor of the card, and there are a lot of good things going for Oloro that make it really useful.
One big interaction Mike Clark had mentioned is Clone. Under the new legend rule, sacrificing the original Oloro and having a clone of it on board lets you have multiple triggers of lifegain to work with.
Overall, though, this lends itself to a very nice control strategy with wiping the board, drawing cards and slowly bleeding opponents out, which is a refreshing addition to the otherwise dull selection of Esper generals currently available.
Cast me 8 times! Think of the value!
Jeleva was our first taste of the upcoming Commander product from Wizards spoiled a couple months ago, and she has a pretty interesting mechanic tacked to her that I find interesting – to keep the ETB commanders relevant and at the same time not abusable as hell with Deadeye Navigator, the more mana you spend to cast these generals, the more potent their effects are, making them relevant no matter how much mana you’re paying. This makes consistent removal of a general a difficult position for your opponent to be in, as once Jeleva costs 10 or more she can really start putting on the hurt.
There are a number of things Wizards have done both right and wrong with this card. Jeleva exiles your library, so it’s easy to just cast Mystical Tutor or Vampiric Tutor, cast Jeleva on 5, tutor an Aggravated Assault effect and just go infinite on the spot, which makes her effect triggering on attack very potent as well. Add to that great colors for this strategy, colors missing this sort of variance, and we have a very interesting and powerful general to build around overall.
Jeleva’s shortcomings include her poor combat stats and lack of haste, making realistically being able to constantly attack with her a problem, to say the least. 1/3 is very easy to wall or block, which I suppose makes up for her inherently strong design.
Nom nom nom nom nom nom nom, nom nom nom nom nom nom nom~
Hungry Hungry Hellkite is by far my favorite of the five spoiled generals for the new product. The fact that he makes an increasing amount of tokens is irrelevant; upfront, he makes 6, bringing him to 11 power.
Of course, Prossh isn’t without his drawbacks. For one, he doesn’t have haste on his own, and while haste is perhaps the easiest keyword in the game to enable, having to devote yourself to giving it haste can be a pain for deckbuilding.
Secondly, double strike is almost necessary, and unlike haste, the enablers for double strike, especially without white, are few and far between. Wrecking Ogre is without a doubt the best one in red, because it just makes Prossh completely destroy someone out of nowhere.
I’m a firebreathing moose. What do you mean, you’ve never seen that before?
Finally, we come to Marath, who I feel is perhaps the one with the most variance. (Note: Text has been eratta’d to include “X can’t be 0.”) With a Forgotten Ancient in play, it’s really hard not to go absolutely nuts with this thing.
There are a lot of interesting nuances with Marath. For one, the ability doesn’t tap him, meaning you can use multiple modes of this for however much you want, whenever you want, so long as you have the mana. It enables +1/+1 counters, it mows down utility dorks and planeswalkers alike, and gives you valuable blockers when you need them. Overall, there’s a lot of selling points Marath has, which makes it a very powerful creature in general.
So there you have it, my thoughts on the five generals coming to us in the Commander 2013 product hitting stores later this year. Hope my input has helped you form ideas on what to do with each of the five.
Until next week!
Check out my previous articles here:
Adapting to EDH Metagames:
Part 1 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1177
Part 2 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1252
Part 3 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1317
Part 4 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1370
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1454
Building on a Budget:
Dragon’s Maze Prerelease Weekend:
Legen-Wait for It-Dary:
Part 1 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1606
Part 2 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=1595
Part 3 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2214
Part 4 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2278
Part 5 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2303
Part 6 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2310
Part 7 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2323
Part 8 – http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2336
Part 9 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2341
Part 10 - http://thecgrealm.com/wordpress/?p=2525
Let’s Talk M14:
Planeswalking and You:
The Slippery Slope:
Trial & Error: