Welcome back to The Best Commander Cards From..., a series focusing on the most powerful EDH cards from Magic: the Gathering's rich thirty-year long history. Today's focus is Visions, the tenth expansion set of Magic. Released in early 1997, this set continues the story started in the previous set, Mirage.
Reserved List Blues
Somehow, Visions is the first set that I don't own any cards from. Sure, I own some reprinted cards from it, but in my entire collection you won't find a single V set symbol. This set has some heavy hitters on the Reserved List, and with most of the cards that were reprinted having cheaper printings, I mostly have reprinted versions of original Visions cards.
Mechanics & Creature Types
Visions didn't get any new mechanics. We get returning ones like cumulative upkeep, world enchantments, and a few others though. Thankfully, we get at least two new creatures types in Chimera and Jellyfish, although "new" types like Caterpillar, Nekrataal, and Warthog were eventually changed via errata. I couldn't dig up much lore about the set design, so let's just get into some cards.
You might have heard of at some point, and it certainly lives up to the hype. The "downside" of losing 2 life doesn't hit very hard in Commander, and whatever you're searching for is generally worth the loss in card advantage.
I'm much more familiar with as a card in Vintage Cube, but it's still perfectly playable in Commander as well. Whether you're dumping into play or even , there's a lot of options for a relatively low cost.
This is a symmetrical effect, so there's no way that can be busted, right? Right? Well, it turns out that you can get a lot more mileage out of this card if you combine cheap cards and card draw, which is actually a pretty decent strategy in EDH. Who'd have guessed that cost reduction pairs well with card draw?
Sticking to the theme of cheap artifacts with symmetrical effects, works wonders in any deck looking to reanimate huge creatures or artifacts while also just digging deeper. That said, you'll get extra utility out of this if you're using or .
Yes, the opportunity cost of leaving up five mana is pretty big. That said, the few times I've been on the receiving end of have left me not wanting to be in that position again. As you might expect, cards like , , or are premier targets.
While might be falling out of favor as more extra-combat cards get printed, it's still a classic that sees extensive use across a wide variety of decks. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it sees the most play in decks featuring .
Whether you're searching up and a pile of other combo-tastic Goblins or just a stack of lords to pump your team, is almost a must have in any Goblin-themed deck.
At first glance I feel like is a bit too narrow. I mean, I'm sure it will look pretty appealing eventually. Perhaps if they ever print some kind of lands-matter commander, maybe even something in Simic.
I've had many good and bad experiences with . It can combo and synergize with so many cards that listing them all would be a massive undertaking, including the recently printed and every other card in an average deck.
For the low price of three mana, you get a pretty substantial discount on any large creature from any graveyard. As an added bonus, you can even cast on an opponent's turn, although you have to sacrifice at the end of that turn's cleanup step.
Long before Ravnica's cycle of bounce-lands existed, the "Karoo-lands" of Visions were printed. , , , , and of course, . Unfortunately, each of these suffers from requiring an untapped basic land of the corresponding type to be returned to your hand, but they're still worth it to some players out there.
In addition to just being a Reserved List card, has also seen a price increase driven by the existence and promulgation of the Saga enchantment subtype, as well as the popularity and continued printing of enchantress-themed Commander products.
Breaking the symmetry on isn't too tough in today's day and age. The biggest downside is that you're the first person to get hit by the penalty, and the person that goes next has a pretty huge incentive to devote resources to getting rid of it.
You might not guess by how cheap it is today, but was at one point about $5. Although it's been a mainstay in decks like , it also happens to untap a certain little Elf called .
I have to admire the all-in nature of . I've never once seen this card look boring. Either the player that cast it goes off and wins, or they end up in a substantially worse and often losing position. As you might imagine, this is a standout performer in .
Although Phyrexian Walker might seem a bit meek, it does have two things going for it: it costs zero mana, and it's an artifact. That's enough for , , and a handful of other commanders to want it.
While the card pool of Visions might not be deep compared to a few other sets, I feel like there's still a lot to love. The sub-themes of symmetrical effects and cumulative upkeep have made some cards in the set age like wine while others aged more like milk. I'm confident that I covered most things of note that the set has to offer, but you can let me know in the comments if I missed something you love. I've been Luka "Robot" Sharaska, and I hope to see you again soon.