Commander 2021 Review - Prismari Performance

Travis Stanley • April 13, 2021

Rootha, Mercurial Artist by Chris Rahn

More Commander 2021 Reviews

Lorehold Legacies | Quantum Quandrix | Silverquill Statement | Witherbloom Witchcraft

You can find all five Commander 2021 decklists here.

Spell Slingers? More like Spell Singers! When I first heard that the Prismari were the theatre/art kids of Strixhaven, they already had my heart. Add in the fact that most of them use magic that are similar to the "benders" from Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra, and I knew that this was the college I was destined to thrive in.

Commander 2021 - Prismari Performance

Legendary Creatures

Zaffai, Thunder Conductor

Zaffai was previewed way before his deck, so I won't spend too long on him. Obviously he wants to be casting big spells to get big payoffs. Fortunately, already included in the deck are a few spells like Treasure Cruise, Blasphemous Act, and Dig Through Time. Zaffai really shines with spells with X in their cost. Being able to adjust how much mana to put in allows for flexibility and complete utilization of Zaffai's ability. Blue Sun's Zenith and Commune with Lava are great examples, allowing you to reload and keep the spells coming. All in all, Zaffai makes for a fine commander of an Izzet spells deck.

Veyran, Voice of Duality

Being able to double your magecraft, and occasionally your prowess triggers, gives Veyran a very high ceiling. An interesting home for Veyran would be the recently released Kalamax, the Stormsire. Being able to double the copying ability, while also growing Kalamax way quicker, sounds like a fast road to victory. Adeliz, the Cinder Wind would very much appreciate Veyren, though I'm sure your opponents won't. Notice it says "permanent", Thousand-Year Storm anybody?

Octavia, Living Thesis

Fun fact, as some people have pointed out, the number "8" shows up eight times on this card! Having ward 8 makes this virtually hexproof, making it a very appealing commander. Though, in saying that, I see more Talrand, Sky Summoner decks wanting to play this just to make their drakes 8/8's. The cost being reduced by eight as long as you keep eight or more instants or sorceries in the graveyard keeps this a greater return on cost, even when Octavia is your commander. The only thing better than one Octavia is eight Octavia, imagine the possibilities.

Rionya, Fire Dancer

If only my school dance productions featured the students wielding firecraft in such a fashion. This is a card that I can see folks putting into their Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer decks, as a way of producing tokens to take advantage of token making spells from earlier in the game like Dragon Fodder, Krenko's Command, and Forbidden Friendship. Rionya counts those and proceeds to make copies of value creatures such as Myr Battlesphere or Siege-Gang Commander. Rionya does her best work in the 99 rather than being the star of the show. Also, she's another card that can go infinite with Combat Celebrant...yay....


Creative Technique

Demonstrate makes or breaks this card, depending on who you are what kind of deck you put it in. In a Jeskai deck featuring the likes of Teferi, Time Raveler, Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir or similar effects, it gives you two free spells for five mana! If you play "fair" Magic, it's still two spells for you and one for your opponent. I love a fun chaos effect, even if it lets my opponents get ahead. It will be interesting to see how the demonstrate mechanic works in-game, otherwise this card is an arguably better version of Unexpected Results.

Dazzling Sphinx

I'm surprised they haven't released a Sphinx Rogue at this point. Slapping a Chaos Wand on a flyer, is... a choice. I have been in quite a few games holding a Chaos Wand, asking the table who has removal in their deck for a problem, choosing a promising target, not hitting removal, but instead hitting that player's ramp spell and consequently not solving the problem. Therefore, not helpful in most scenarios. Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign has a new friend, along with decks like Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, or Edric, Spymaster of Trest. At the end of the day a 4/5 flyer for five mana that also has a sometimes game-altering ability is a fine creature.

Elementalist's Palette

The first card that jumped to my head when reading this was Zaxara, the Exemplary, it fits so perfectly. Other than that, this card fits into Rosheen Meanderer decks, Gargos, Vicious Watcher, or anything that wants to play an upgraded Manalith.

Fiery Encore

It's always tricky to really square up a card with storm that has a mana value of 5+ (or converted mana cost for all you old fogeys out there. There are much better storm cards in red if you are looking to storm off. Brallin, Skyshark Rider should find a use for this card, the ability to discard cards and do more damage to the board, even 2-3 copies of this and you should be getting your value for five mana.

Inferno Project

In the right deck, this has the potential to be a fairly large threat on the board. Seven mana, assuming you play it on turn six or seven and you've been slinging your spells all game long, nets you a potential 7/7 or 8/8 with trample. Commanders that want instants and sorceries in the graveyard like Rielle, the Everwise or Sevinne, the Chronoclasm, would welcome a big threat like Inferno Project to help them put pressure on opponents, or deter attacks with a big blocker.

Inspiring Refrain

There won't be many times that you will be casting this for the full six mana. You'll probably suspend it more often than not and look forward to three turns later where you'll get two cards, a storm count, and possibly a prowess/magecraft trigger. Then, that repeats every three turns until your opponents can stop it. This card has more flavor than practicality, but that's not a bad thing.

Muse Vortex

This is a draw spell for spellslinger decks. If you put four mana into the X and all your cards you hit are instants or sorceries, then you've just paid five mana to draw three and cast a spell for free. This card certainly has some value, not as much as Epic Experiment, but it's still a solid spell for all the Baral, Chief of Compliance, Mizzix of the Izmagnus and Melek, Izzet Paragon decks everywhere.

Radiant Performer

When initially looking at the card, Feather, the Redeemed decks came to mind. On closer inspection though, this card seems best used in a defensive way. It turns a single target removal spell to a potential board wipe, pump spells into anthem effects, and it could also win you the game following a Door to Nothingness activation. Saying that, it also creates complicated stack scenarios that you have to spend a few minutes thinking about after you already put it in your article. This card will definitely perform, how well will be the real question.


For me, this is one of the niftiest counterspells to come out in a while. The ability to counter a spell then turn around and possibly play your own big spell for free is too good to pass up. With it being only one mana more than Cancel, or even comparably Ionize, this is a counter that has tremendous upside.

Rousing Refrain

On the red side of the refrain, we gain mana production every three turns. The ability to kick off the suspend at only two mana is definitely a boon. The most important thing here is that the mana doesn't disappear as you continue through your turn, allowing you to hold on to it until you need to use it. A card like Leyline Tyrant pairs very nicely with this, as every time this is cast you get to bank more mana. Casting this the same turn as Jeska's Will will surely end in a symphonious turn for you.

Sly Instigator

A perfect piece in a political or pillow fort deck. Scared of the big creature sitting across from you? This Sly Instigator will whisper some sweet nothings in that creature's ear and tell it that one of your other opponents said something rude about them. Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist, and this fine Wizard make a good team. So what if they can't attack you, they get to draw cards!

Surge to Victory

Flavor-wise, Surge to Victory has it in spades, this card feels like a finisher. Adeliz would love giving her Wizard army +4/+0, after exiling a Relentless Assault to keep those attack steps coming. Why not cast this, exiling Time Warp, while you have The Locust God and an army of insects to give them +5/+0 and go on to take way too many turns. While a little set up is required to get the most out of Surge to Victory, like any good play in sports, it's bound to make your highlight reel.

Prismari Performance gave us some fun, new cards to try out in our favourite spell slinger-type decks. I thought it was a little light on some reprints that would have taken this deck to the next level, compared to its contemporaries. A few reprints that stood out to me for various reasons included: Sunbird's Invocation, Brass's Bounty and Pyromancer's Goggles. Upon final inspection, this deck really lived up to the Prismari way, it's flashy, bold and experimental. Now the show is out there, the curtains have closed and we are left with new thoughts about our decks, our commanders and ourselves.