More Commander 2021 Reviews
You can find all five Commander 2021 decklists here.
Welcome to the Commander 2021 Quantum Quandrix review, brought to you by Commander’s Herald. I’m Michael Celani, author of How They Brew It and No, Johnny, Don’t Play With Your Deck! (How to Stop Upgrading). I love maths so much I used the plural form of the word, and I’m not even Australian. Truth is, I just can’t get enough equations in my life, which is why I’m constantly creating problems for myself and others. So let’s quit wasting time and get down to business.
Commander 2021 – Quantum Quandrix
Adrix and Nev, Twincasters
This is a Parallel Lives in the command zone that gives you access to the two strongest colors in the format, but it compensates for that by being difficult to remove, too.
It’s clearly absurd, but there’s quite a bit of nuance in the colors you’re allowed to play with here. You’re not a rich kid at Dave and Busters; getting more tokens when they’re gone isn’t as simple as asking your mom to cast March of the Multitudes, because Quandrix has to put actual effort into getting their engines started again. Hang back, cautiously play out your token generators, and be prepared to protect your investments with countermagic. If you can navigate everyone hating you just for existing, congratulations: you’re doing better than I did in high school.
Esix, Fractal Bloom
All that stuff I just said about Adrix and Nev, Twincasters? Toss it in the trash it and pour an open box of Rasinets down your throat, you pig, because this is the commander equivalent of stuffing your face with junk food.
You’ve got a license to Mystic Reflection, so throw in your Master of Waves, your Avenger of Zendikar, and your Myr Battlesphere to make your opponents pick up the pieces of their broken lives. Canned armies are expensive, so I really like Gilded Goose, Depths of Desire and Pirate’s Prize to round out the curve with some incidental token ramp. Don’t forget about Khalni Garden or Gingerbread Cabin, either. Nothing’s more embarrassing than cloning your opponent’s Blightsteel Colossus for free.
Deekah, Fractal Theorist
I wouldn’t exactly call myself the first member of the Deekah crew, because she’s competing directly with Talrand, Sky Summoner.
For one more mana, the token generation ability works on copies as well, but I think the rest of it is a wash. You’re trading out the token’s flying for a lackluster evasion ability and variable stats, which might actually create smaller creatures. You’re probably best playing this as a big mana value spell clone deck, in which case you should run Kaza, Roil Chaser or Saheeli, the Gifted instead.
Ruxa, Patient Professor
This is the best Saproling commander ever printed, which is insane because Ghave, Guru of Spores exists.
Don’t waste your time running actual vanilla creatures unless they’re Gigantosaurus. Nobody’s going to be intimidated when you recur Field Creeper. Instead, make a bunch of small tokens, beef them up with (take a shot if you’ve heard this one) Muraganda Petroglyphs and Gaea’s Anthem, and bear down on your opponents. Be careful that you’re not running cards that grant abilities to your tokens, though. As an exercise, look at each of these cards and tell me in the comments which ones do.
It’s Blue Sun’s Zenith, but it trades the self-shuffle for a commander tax rider so it doesn’t look obvious. I’d use the Lobachevsky plagiarism joke here because it’s perfect given the math context, but by some strange crux of fate I’ve already used that one to describe Blink of an Eye.
Anyway, unless you’re milling out an opponent, I think this knockoff is strictly better. I’d even replace Finale of Revelation with it, and if your Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh partner has blue, you’re laughing.
I can’t think of any flaws with this card. All the abilities perfectly sync up with each other, and the stats are decent for the cost. The artwork even contains a bird, an amazingly well-designed fantasy creature. Well done, Wizards.
Dammit, I already made a Crux of Fate plagiarism joke two cards ago.
What the?! What’s with these softball copyright infringement jokes?!
If you only care about copying creatures, I think you have better options in Quandrix like Double Major or Repudiate // Replicate. This is, however, the only mono-blue spell that can create a copy of any permanent, including lands or enchantments (which are notoriously hard to copy). Whether or not you demonstrate depends on the state of the board, but I’d lean towards demonstrating it more often than not; it’s a little too pricey for just one copy of it.
If your deck wants this card, it really wants this card. If your deck doesn’t want this card, it really doesn’t want this card.
You’d theoretically cast this in response to an opponent playing a creature worth spending a card on, when you actually should just cast Counterspell instead. I guess it turns them off of playing more creatures that turn, but that only matters if they’re not tapping out, and if you’re in a position where they can cast two gigantic threats worth duplicating in one turn, you’ve got bigger problems. I’d only consider this if you’ve got a meta where your opponents’ commanders are consistently useful to your gameplan.
This is the equipment version of Hydra’s Growth, and I think this one misses the mark in comparison because you have to attack to double the counters. For your creature to survive combat, it probably needs a ton of +1/+1 counters on it already, so equipping that creature with Fractal Harness is the Magic equivalent of a neon kick-me sign.
The living weapon effect is also worthless; the play pattern where I make a 1/1 for four and then double it up to a 2/2 is so depressing to think about I cheered myself up by watching Sophie’s Choice. Run Biogenic Upgrade or Invigorating Surge instead; it’ll be way more flexible than this telegraph machine.
This is a great compliment to staples like Lightning Greaves or Swiftfoot Boots, but not a replacement. Guardian Augmenter has flash and grants a stat bump, but it doesn’t survive most board wipes and is more vulnerable to targeted removal. If you’re willing to spend a card running Blossoming Defense, try this one out instead.
Like Fractal Harness, this is also analogous to Hydra’s Growth, but the difference is that I’d store Paradox Zone in my binder instead of my trash can. This could be really powerful in a proliferate deck if you can protect it, because you not only get to put additional counters on the hydras this creates, but also on Paradox Zone itself. Anywhere else, it takes too long to get going.
Sequencing is important for this engine, so make sure you get it right. The proper play pattern here is to cast it on turn three, realize you can only make costly vanilla tokens at sorcery speed, and then throw it away.
This is the big one. U/G now gets an exile sweeper, and everyone’s losing their minds. Am I the only one thinking this is underwhelming, especially compared to something like Flood of Tears?
Oversimplify is a board wipe that really only protects you if you’re ahead, which is counterintuitive. It coalesces all the power on each player’s board into single creatures, so unless you’re holding a second card to deal with a strong enemy coming your way or you wiped while you were ahead of everybody, you’re almost certainly going to bear the brunt of those attacks. You do get a blocker, but it’s as easily removable for you as the attackers are for your opponents. There’s more of them than there are of you.
Nobody likes having their stuff wiped, so you better be damn sure you can survive the coming storm.
This card’s totally outclassed by Phyrexian Processor, so I spent hours trying to come up with a joke and all I got are the phrases “this card really isn’t shaping up” and “get dodecadunkedon!”
Now that we’ve discussed the new cards in detail, we can go through the precon itself. Let’s start with a quick overview on how you’d use the base deck.
Quantum Quandrix is based around a slower, more methodical token generation strategy. Instead of throwing as many tokens onto the field as possible to overwhelm a foe, you’ll use many smaller generators to consistently make blockers that can protect you.
As the token generators work to keep the board clogged, you can use the ramp package to quickly accelerate your mana.
Once you’ve got enough mana, you can unleash massive tokens from high-cost spells and abilities. Copy them with Adrix and Nev, Twincasters to push through enemy lines.
And if you’re worried about blockers, don’t be. The deck runs a few tricks to get through armies of defenders.
So what is there to love about Quantum Quandrix, and what is there to hate?
- Both face commanders are excellent and great to build around in a multitude of ways. Even Ruxa, Patient Professor will have his day in the sun, presumably after a very long nap.
- Like my dad’s “cement business,” the deck’s pretty good at removing problems permanently. Rapid Hybridization, Curse of the Swine, Beast Within, the gang’s all here, and it’ll keep you safe until you’re strong enough to push for a win.
- There’s decent draw here, too. Not quite “fastest gun in the west,” but Shamanic Revelation, Return of the Wildspeaker, and Eureka Moment are nothing to sneeze at.
- The original cards are mostly decent includes, although you’ll want to switch some of the duds out. Kaldheim is a good starting point, as it’s got Mystic Reflection, Koma, Cosmos Serpent, and Littjara Mirrorlake. I don’t think anyone will mourn for Sequence Engine.
- These lands are boring. At the very least we got Quandrix Campus instead of Simic Guildgate, but every time I see a Temple of the False God I puke my pants.
- There’s not a whole lot of explosive support for the Esix, Fractal Bloom sub-commander. You’re really only getting Hornet Queen. Swapping the two will probably be fine, but expect to only make one token copy a turn.
- The enchantment suite is Primal Empathy and Paradox Zone. That’s not me being cheeky; those are the only two enchantments in the entire deck. I’d have liked to see some token generators on enchantments, like Squirrel Nest or even Leafdrake Roost so that a board wipe doesn’t shut down your token-making too.
- Only creature tokens are generated in the base decklist. No treasures, clues, or food, to the point that players won’t even be aware those types worked with the commanders.
Quantum Quandrix leads into a token strategy that’s not usually a Simic staple the same way it is for Selesnya or Orzhov. It’s certainly something different to do in these colors, but if you purchased the Ghired, Conclave Exile deck a few years back, you’ve already more or less experienced the gameplay this deck has to offer. It’s a good jumping off point for a multitude of Simic decks, though; not only can you build a multitude of token-themed decks, the +1/+1 counter theme integral to the color pair is present, and nothing included is so specific you’ll feel you can’t use it elsewhere. Pick it up if you’re looking to build a token-based blue-green deck, and make sure you check out more precon reviews before you make a decision.