Welcome to the third part of 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.
Back to part one!
Back to part two!
A nice enhancement that lets you turn +1/+1 counters into creatures. for 1G you can remove any number +1/+1 counters from any number of creatures you control, and put an X/X ooze on the battlefield where X was the number of counters you removed. This enchantment is great if you have a few creatures with lots of counters, but can’t get past your opponents blockers, you can turn the counters into creatures! Its also useful to make your ‘evolve’ creatures smaller so you can evolve them again. They can even evolve from the Ooze that you get from removing the counters!
Decks it could be useful in? G/U decks with +1/+1 counter, Kraj, Prime Speaker Zenga
Overall Opinion - Very useful in deck with lots of +1/+1 counters or evolve creatures, especially as it can be used as a combat trick when blocking, in response to spot removal, and to re-use evolve creatures.
A blue 1/1 Wizard for 1 that fixes your mana. Its a rather unique ability, turning lands you control to the chosen basic land type, though I don’t know how useful it will be. It works well with cards such as Cabal Coffers, but Urborg is hard to remove, and just better in most cases. I can see it being used in a Scapeshift combo deck, or a mostly blue deck with a splash to help fix your mana early. It could be useful in a 3 or 5 colour deck for some early mana fixing, but the few times you will have Realmwright before you can get any other mana fixing is probably not often enough to make him useful
Decks it could be useful in? Scapeshift combo U/x control.
Overall Opinion - A unique ability attached to a frail body, and while I’m sure people will try to play him, I’m not sold on how useful he is.
An early aggressive card that can get out of hand fast, Rubblebelt Raiders gets a +1/+1 counter for each attacking creature each time it attacks. Playing this early, it can grow pretty large before being removed, but with the lack or haste, trample, or any other evasion, Rubbletbelt Raiders is easy to chump block until you remove it. Its extremely similar to Fangren Firstborn, slightly easier to cost, and the counters only go on itself, but with the lack of evasion, I’d play Fangren Firstborn over this.
Decks it could be useful in? R/G aggro
Overall Opinion - Its fighting with Bloodbraid Elf, Huntmaster of the Fells, and Fangren Firstborn for a drop in the 4 drop creature slot, and its not a fight it’s going to win. With either trample or haste, this card would have been great, but sadly that is not the case.
Rubblehulk can grow absolutely huge in ramp decks with his power and toughness being equal to the number of creatures you control, but with no form of evasion, he is probably much better suited as a combat trick. For just 1RG, you can discard him to give an attacking creature +x/+x where x is the number of lands you control. Late game, this can often be enough to outright kill an opponent, especially when used on your general for commander damage. You don’t even have to cast it on one of your own creatures, you can use to to kill a player during another player's combat step! And if you need a big attacker or blocker, you can just cast him and have a fatty.
Decks it could be useful in? R/G aggro, Rhada, Kresh
Overall Opinion - When thinking of this card as a huge giant growth with the ability to sometimes be a creature, I really like it. The creature has no evasion or haste, but use bloodrush on a creature that does and it can be brutal.
The black primordial reanimates you opponents creatures when it enters the battlefield. This has to potential to be one of the strongest primordials, especially late game when your opponents graveyards are, hopefully, filled with nice reanimation targets. I feel like I’ve said this before, but it really shines when you can blink it or re-use its enter the battlefield effect many times. A 5/4 body with intimidate is nice for a 7 mana creature, it’ll end games quickly unless someone has a Homeward Path handy
Decks it could be useful in? B/x reanimator, U/B mill
Overall Opinion - One of my favourite Primordials, its not as powerful as Sylvan, but you also won’t have people moaning quite as much when playing it. Reanimating each of your opponents biggest threats will probably end more games than any of the other Primordials, but its also very dependent on your opponents.
An instant speed creature tutor, you search for 3 creatures, and get one of them at random into your hand. Interestingly, though the card doesn’t specifically tell you to reveal, the card that goes to your hand and the ones that go to your library are public knowledge, as I recently found out. The random nature of this card hinders its ability to be as useful as many other tutors, but if you have multiple creatures that fill the same or similar rolls, it will be a nice addition to your deck.
Decks it could be useful in? R/G creature decks
Overall Opinion - Useful in decks with lots of creatures that fill similar roles, if you need land search for 3 ramp creatures, if you need a beater, search for your 3 biggest threats. The random nature means its not very good at finding answers to other people threats, such as needing an acidic slime to kill some enchantment, but its still powerful enough to consider including in creature heavy decks.
A 3 mana Mutant Wizard Mind Control on a stick with Evolve! Everyone loves theft effects in EDH, why play threats when you can steal someone else's? Whilst it may take a while before you can steal the proper threats with this, as you can only gain control of a creature with power less than or equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on Simic Manipulator, and have to remove the counters to do so, repeatable Mind Control effects are still pretty powerful. Even better, you don’t lost control when the Manipulator untaps or you lose control of him, like a lot of Mind Control creatures do. Its much more likely you will be stealing smaller utility creatures, but with enough ways of boosting the number of counters on this creature he could prove to be amazing.
Decks it could be useful in? +1/+1 counter decks, Kraj
Overall Opinion - A nice little creature with repeatable theft effects, capable of stealing lots of utility creatures if you can keep evolving him or putting counters on him. If I still had my Pirates deck, he would definitely be a nice addition.l
Skarrg Goliath is huge 9/9 trample with bloodrush, giving another attacking creature +9/+9 and trample if you discard it and pay 7. +9/+9 is an absurd power boost, but 7 mana is far to high for this card to be too useful. A 9/9 beater is pretty strong on its own, but I think the mana cost is going to stop this from seeing play in most decks. In a voltron deck such as Rafiq, it could be killer!
Decks it could be useful in? Rafiq, G/x Aggro
Overall Opinion - Nice in a Voltron deck as it doubles as a combat trick, and can just end games with Rafiq, but too mana intensive to be worth it in most decks.
A 4 Mana U/B mind control, but it allows your opponent to discard two cards and make you sacrifice the enchantment and draw two cards. While its a nice sounding card and very flavourful, you will never keep the creature you want if you opponent wants it back. It still nice to make your opponent discard cards and let you draw if they want it back though. Make sure you don’t try to attack the player who owns the creature with it, as he can discard, gain control of it again, and possibly block another creature.
Decks it could be useful in? U/B control, Theft theme decks
Overall Opinion - An enchantment I really want to like, but you will always get what you don’t want out of the card draw or the creature. Would definitely add it to Pirates if I rebuilt it.
A Boros Ball Lightning, for 1RRW you get a Hastey trample lifelink 6/1 that gets sacrificed at the beginning of the end step. Ball lightning-esque creatures are very rarely powerful in EDH without a way to abuse them. The added lifelink is not irrelevant as it can gain you an extra turn against and aggro deck, and a hasty 6/1 can catch people off guard. If you somehow give it double strike it can be really powerful. Using a sac outlet to get some added value, or a way to reanimate it for extra abuse each turn can turn it into a powerful threat. If you play it alongside Lifeline, you can get it back every turn! **
Decks it could be useful in? Brion Stoutarm!
Overall Opinion - A nice card if you can abuse it or give it double strike, lacklustre without ways of abusing it however.
**Rules clarification. If you have a sac outlet and there is another creature on board, sacrifice Ball Lightning before the end step, Lifeline will trigger and you get it back in the End step. This also happens if it dies in combat. If it doesn’t die and is sacrificed in the end step, lifeline will trigger, but you won’t get the ball lightning back until the NEXT end step.
My favourite Cipher spell, Stolen Identity puts a token copy of target artifact or creature on the battlefield. You can then ‘cipher’ the card by exiling it encoded to a creature you control, and copy the spell whenever the creature deals combat damage. This can get out of hand fast getting an army of the most powerful creature or artifact on the battlefield. Play it early and get a bunch of copies of Sol Ring for some sweet ramp, or play it late and get multiple copies of game ending creatures. What out as whichever creature you Cipher it to will probably become enemy number one.
Decks it could be useful in? Blue decks, Artifact decks, Clone decks.
Overall Opinion - A nice card that can be absurdly powerful in certain decks, especially if its then ciphered on an evasive or hard to kill creature
Possibly the most powerful of the Primordials, as its power isn’t as dependant on your opponents having nice things (creatures and sorceries in graveyard for black and blue, creatures on the battlefield for white and red). This particular primordial destroys a non-creature permanent belonging to each opponent, and you get to search for a forest for each permanent destroyed. Even if they have nothing of interest to destroy when it comes in, as long as they have at least 1 non creature permanent, which they almost always will, you will get some value out of it. While the other Primordials may occasionally just win the game straight away, this one will most consistently get you the most value. I feel I don’t need to repeat myself about blinking and cloning. Its also attached to a massive 6/8 body with reach.
Decks it could be useful in? Green decks, ramp decks, blink decks.
Overall Opinion - My favourite primordial as it is always going to get you some value, even just destroying a land and getting yourself a forest. I will probably play this in most green creature based decks.
Vesuva’s younger sister, Thespian Stage is an awesome land that enters as untapped and can tap for 1 mana. Sounds good already right? For two mana, you can tap it and it will become a copy of target land and gains this ability. While this won’t replace Vesuva in a lot of decks due to its inability to effectively copy lands with ETB effects, most notably the hideaway lands it will certainly see play for its ability to copy utility lands, or lands for mana fixing. It also combo’s with Dark Depths and Mirror Gallery if you’re that way inclined.
Decks it could be useful in? Any deck with Utility lands
Overall Opinion - I’m already using it as Valakut number 3, but its ability to copy any and means I can use it for mana fixing early game, and unlike Vesuva, and don’t have to feel bad playing it copying a basic land.
A 6 Mana 4/4 with extort, and every time you attack with it you can return an artifact, creature or enchantment from your graveyard to your hand. This creature can bring you so much value, especially in colours than love sacrificing permanents. Being able to recur creatures, artifacts and enchantments makes this a great card in the right deck. Its on a fairly large body so it won’t die too easily in combat, and the addition of extort makes this a great card in any recursion deck.
Decks it could be useful in? Recursion Decks, Teysa
Overall Opinion - Black is already great at recurring creatures, but being able to recur artifacts and enchantments as well is great. While it isn’t game winning on its own, the incremental value you will get in the right deck can often lead to victory
Small pox with added Cipher, a nice addition to any punisher or stax type deck. For 6 mana, target player loses 1 life, discards a card, then sacrifices a permanent. Its quite costly for a small effect, but if you can cipher it on something evasive and cast copies a couple times you will get some nice value out of it. While its only target player, so it won’t be very powerful in large games, it could wreck someones plans in a small game or in a stax deck if you target any player who looks like they might get ahead.
Decks it could be useful in? Stax, discard decks
Overall Opinion - Quite expensive for a small effect, but good value if you can copy it two or three times. It will probably be brutal in a deck built around these kinds of effects.
Fancy yourself a gambling man? Unexpected Results is the card for you. Its like Mind’s Desires Baby Brother, with added green. You shuffle your library and reveal the top card. If its a non-land card, cast it for free, if its a land put it on the battlefield and return Unexpected Results to your hand. The random nature of this car means it will sometimes be incredible, getting your a 4 mana time stretch or similar, but sometimes you might pay 4 mana for a Memnite.
Decks it could be useful in? U/G decks with high CMC spells.
Overall Opinion - A fun deck that I will probably play in my more casual decks, alongside mind’s desire.
Whispering MadnessWindfall in U/B now with added Cipher! Each player discards their hand and draws cards equal to the greatest number of cards discarded this way, and you can Cipher it on a creature after. Windfall is an awesome card in spell slinging blue decks, storm decks, and mill decks alike, and I imagine with will be no different. If you have a way of abusing your opponents graveyard, you can get them to discard things into it while filling up your own hand (and theirs) each turn. It’s also a nice way to punish players for drawing half their decks, play this and laugh as they deck themselves, especially as you can play it, cipher, attack, and copy it all in one turn.
Decks it could be useful in? U/B Mill/storm, Wrexial
Overall Opinion - A nice addition to a mill deck, or just a second copy of windfall for spell slinging decks, capable of refilling your hand each turn. I expect to see it it fairly often.
Wrecking OgreA 3/3 Doublestrike for 5, with Bloodrush, giving an attacking creature +3/+3 and double strike. This is one of the better Bloodrush creatures, able to hold it own in combat and holds equipment nicely, or as a fierce combat trick. Bloodrushing this on your general can lead to one shot general damage kills with aggressive generals like Gisela. Like most Bloodrush creatures, holding this back as a combat trick or play it as a creature as you need makes it versatile and extremely useful.
Decks it could be useful in? Gisela, R/x aggro
Overall Opinion - A nice addition to my one-shot Gisela deck, both to hold swords as an aggressive creature, or to bloodrush on Gisela to swing for 32.
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Back to part two!