Friday, 25 January 2013

Gatecrash Commander Review - Review of Rare cards in Commander (Part 1)

Welcome to my review of the Gatecrash rares in Commander! I will be writing a short review of every rare (except the shock lands) from Gatecrash. Please note this review contains my opinions on the cards, and some of the cards have been untested. When talking about cards, unless otherwise stated, I am talking about the cards use in a multiplayer setting, with evenly matched fair decks.

Continue to part two!
Continue to part three!
Mythics review!

Alms Beast
A 6/6 Beast for 4 mana seams extremely under-costed, however it does have the downside of giving all creatures blocked by or blocking it life link. In commander, the land of big creatures and high mana cost spells, an under-costed creature doesn't have nearly the same impact as in a limited environment. Outside of weird combo decks, or being played along side of Rain of Gore or Skullcrack exiled under an Isochron Scepter, it probably wont see much play.

Decks it could be useful in? The occasional 1v1 BW list
Overall Opinion - Pretty terrible in EDH.

Angelic Skirmisher
A 4/4 flying angel for 6 mana that grants all of your creature either First Strike, Vigilance or Lifelink at the begging of each combat. This little angel could make combat math for every player a pain, especially as it triggers at every combat step, not just your own. Choosing Vigilance in your turn to attack, then First Strike in an opponents to stop them attacking you, or Lifelink to stop your dying, Angelic Skirmisher will surely find her place in a lot of decks. She is fighting for a spot against other 6 drops though, and even just in an angel's tribal deck there are already a lot of options.

Decks it could be useful in? Any deck with a lot of creatures, Kaalia decks, and it will almost certainly be in every angels tribal deck.
Overall Opinion - A really strong option for any deck, it can be both aggressive and deffensive.

Assemble the Legion
A 5 mana enchantment that gives you progressively more and more soldiers each turn. Whilst this enchantment doesn't do anything the turn it is played, it can soon get out of control. Arguably a better token producer than Bitterblossom, though more expensive, makes a number 1/1 soldier tokens each turn equal to the number of counters on it, and you add a counter each turn. An awesome addition to any token, White Weenies, or Boros agro deck, with soldier being a fairly common tribe as it is!

Decks it could be useful in? Jor Kadeen decks will love this card, Gisela weenies will probably try it out too.
Overall Opinion - Whilst the casting cost is fairly expensive, and it has to stick around for 3-4 turns until you get value out of it, this card will certainly be powerful in the right deck. Enchantment removal is quite often overlooked in EDH, and Assemble the Legion will need to be removed before it gets out of control.

Biomass Mutation
For X U/G U/G, all your creature become X/X until end of turn at instant speed. Its a Mirror Entity effect on a U/G instant! Instant speed means it could be a complete blow out as a combat trick, either defensively or as a finisher. Late game with enough mana, this could turn your mana dorks into massive threats! Green is notorious at ramping, this could be a decent late game finished with enough mana late game.

Decks it could be useful in? A finisher for Edric decks that typically play a lot of small cheap creatures, any other U/G/X deck, particularly aggro and tokens.
Overall Opinion - Quite scary in the right deck, could lead to some complete blow outs in combat. Instant speed means it will always be a surprise.

A new alternate win condition for for 1UG that needs some support to work, but this card could lead to some new interesting combos. At the beginning of the end step (any end step!) if you control four or more of this creature, you win the game. This card is surely going to see some play in U/G clone decks, or as a fun alternative win condition with clones and rites of replication. The win trigger ending in your end step means people will have to have instant speed removal if you rite of rep it in your end step.

Decks it could be useful in? U/G combo decks, Momir Vig, and Riku particularly. Riku can copy this, then cast a clone and copy that two and win in their end step!
Overall Opinion - A nice little combo card, sure to be hated by many, but loved by others.

Blind Obedience
Kismet's little brother, now with added Extort! It's a two mana enchantment that makes all artifacts and creatures your opponent controls enter the battlefield tapped. Whilst not as powerful an effect as kismet (it doesn't hit lands) it has the added bonus of having extort, a nice mechanic for commander if you have any spare mana as it drains each opponent for 1 life whenever you cast a spell (if you pay of course).

Decks it could be useful in? Pillowfort decks, and B/W or Esper control decks, using the tempo gain to slow their opponents down and extort to gain incremental advantage. A few W/B/X enchantress decks will probably try to use it too.
Overall Opinion - I like extort as a mechanic in EDH, and whilst the effect isnt as powerful as Kismet, coming down turn 2 and being able to extort makes it very playable in the right deck.

Boros Reckoner
A 3/3 for 3 that deals damage to target creature or player whenever its dealt damage is really good, and it has the bonus of gaining first strike for R/W. No one will want to attack into this creature for fear of them taking the damage back, especially if first strike means this creature survives anyway! With the help of equipment or auras, this creature could become a complete house. Make him indestructible and no one will attack into it!

Decks it could be useful in? Boros control, Gisela.
Overall Opinion - A sweet low cost creature that gets even better if you equip him or make him indestructible. Can be useful deterrent from attackers on defence, or an attack your opponents will think twice about blocking themselves.

Clan Defiance
Yet another Fireball-esque spell, this R/G X-spell is capable of taking out 2 creature and burning a players face. You pick one or more of a player, a creature with flying, and a creature without flying, and clan defiance deals X damage to it. The only thing holding this card back is its sorcery speed, but it would be a bit too good as an instant.

Decks it could be useful in? R/G ramp
Overall Opinion - One of the more useful 'Fireball' spells, able to take out two creatures fairly easily and deal damage to an opponent as well.

Consuming Aberration
A 5 mana U/B Horror that grows as you fill up your opponents graveyard. This will surely be used in U/B mill decks, and can grow to an enormous size with help from a few other cards, and it even makes itself bigger as whenever you cast a spell. Mill is often not a very competitive win condition in EDH outside of infinite combo's unless you can also exile cards from a graveyard at instant speed as most decks have at least some interaction with their graveyard, and filling their graveyard up often will help them. However if you are using mill, this is a welcome addition. Watch out for graveyard hate, as someone exiling all graveyard is fairly common, and will reduce Consuming Aberration's power and toughness to 0/0

Decks it could be useful in? Wrexail, Oona, Lazav, and any other U/B/x mill deck
Overall Opinion - Very powerful in the right deck, especially if you are using your opponents graveyard to your advantage, however watch out in case you milling your opponent helps them rather than hinder them! Keep some instant speed graveyard removal, especially for those pesky Edlrazi.

Crypt Ghast
A 2/2 Spirit for 4 mana that whenever you tap a swamp for mana, you add B to your mana pool that also has Extrot! Ramp in mono-black is already very popular (Urborg + Cabal Coffers!) and any B/X deck that uses Urborg already will love this card. It has extort meaning you will always have something to waste the extra mana its using on! I'm expecting to see some massive Exsanguinate's aided by this card.

Decks it could be useful in? Any Mono-black or B/X deck using Urborg
Overall Opinion - Mana ramp is always useful, even when on a relatively frail body. An incredibly powerful card in mono-black, and useful in other colours with Urborg, which is in most B/X decks already.

Diluvian Primordial
Part of the 7 mana Primordial cycle, this is a 5/5 flying avatar that lets you cast an instant or sorcery from EACH opponents graveyard for free. That card is exiled after, so no Rites of Replication shenanigans like with Chancellor of the Spires. This card, as with the other Primordials gets better with more opponents, and will probably be a multiplayer staple.

Decks it could be useful in? U/X decks built for multiplayer, particularly abusable in Riku or blink decks.
Overall Opinion - One of the better Primordials, with a nice effect and large body, with the effect easily abusable in blink decks.

Fathom Mage
A 4 mana 1/1 with evolve, this creature doesn't seem very good at first, but whenever a +1/+1 counter is placed on it you can draw a card. 4 mana for a 1/1 with no instant effect seems sub-par, though it can soon make up for it in creature based decks as you draw a card whenever a creature that is bigger than it enters the battlefield. Add in some +1/+1 counter shenanigans  this can turn into quite a draw engine. It turns cards such as Increasing Savagery into lots of card draw, and Forgotten Ancient just makes this card silly. Less useful in decks with lots of small creatures such as Edric, but Edric decks already have enough card draw.

Decks it could be useful in? U/G creature decks, Animar, Experimental Kraj
Overall Opinion - Can be very powerful with a few support cards, though still good with even a few other creatures. If it sticks around with any additional way of adding counters, it could lead to a lot of card draw.

Firemane Avenger
A flying 3/3 Angel for 4, with a free Lightning Helix whenever you attack it and two or more other creatures. Extremely useful in a Boros Weenies deck, if you have enough creatures to attack with each turn, a free Lightning Helix is nothing to laugh at. It triggers on attack as well, so you can use it to remove potential blockers and get extra damage in.

Decks it could be useful in? Borrow Weenies, Hazezon Tamar
Overall Opinion - A good cheap creature with added removal or just damage to an opponent if you can attack with it and a few other creatures, though underwhelming on its own.

Five-Alarm Fire
A 3 mana enchantment that sometimes might deal damage to a creature or player seems pretty useless outside of maybe a few decks. The damage can be dealt to a creature OR player which makes this marginally better, and you can use it to attack one player, then deal damage to another. This enchantment seems like it would only be useful if you are dealing damage with 5+ creatures a turn, and making it trigger at least once a turn, however if you are dealing damage with 5+ creature you should A) be winning and B) play a different card that would help you further cement your victory. Outside of token swarm decks, this enchantment probably won't see a lot of play

Decks it could be useful in? Hazzezon Tamar
Overall Opinion - Not very good unless you can make it trigger each turn, though enchantments can often stick around for a while, so it might see some use in token decks.

Foundry Champion
The Boros pre-release promo, while it looks to be a house in limited, seems pretty average in EDH. It has a nice enter the battlefield effect that can act as removal or burn, and you can boost both its power and toughness. Without haste or evasion however, it will probably just be an average beater. With a large number of other creatures when it enters (tokens) or being able to make it re-enter multiple times (blink) it could prove to be very powerful however.

Decks it could be useful in? Hazzezon Tamar, American Blink
Overall Opinion - Nice effect when it enters the battlefield, but an average body. Being able to pump its power and toughness is nice, but its pretty average unless you can abuse the ETB effect however.

Continue to part two!
Continue to part three!
Mythics review!


  1. Just a note about Alms Beast and Rain of Gore. Rain of Gore won't prevent life gain through lifelink.


    Have you reviewed the team rocket card yet?

    Lincoln is the reason