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Snow White and the Seven Hundred Million New Cards
Once upon a time, a man named Michael Celani decided he would review all the white cards in Wilds of Eldraine from the perspective of someone who needs to know what new tricks they should add to their Commander decks. The tale is a tragedy, and everyone died. The moral of the story is to always listen to your parents, faeries are just short people trying to con you out of your babies, and that isolated towers are great places to find wives.
Wizards printed a better. Let that sink in for a bit.
Okay, some of you might be crying foul here, but I'm no chicken; I'll back up my assertion. White's the superior color when it comes to exploiting abehemoth abilities. It's unrivaled at creating , it has access to efficient blink effects, like , and it even lets you cheat out creatures out by discarding them and reviving them using a . Jumping your entire team also seems stronger to me than giving them trample, which is subject to getting blown out by common tricks such as blocking. On the other hand, green is green, so maybe it's all a wash in the end anyway.
But I can't think of an opinion more milquetoast than "is a good card," so the question I want to ask is if anyone was really clamoring for a second one. Does slamming a Hoof really spark joy in the hearts of players? It's an . It's a . It's another super-high cost card that requires nearly no setup and rewards you with the end of the game. I dunno, maybe some people find that exciting, but if I wanted the game to end abruptly with me the uncontested champion, I'd just offer all my opponents fifty dollars and a trip to IHOP.
The new Virtue cycle is a set of insanely pushed enchantments. Their effects are completely busted; the other colors get, in order, a, the , an engine that converts into free copies of , and a . If you're still somehow incapable of noticing these virtues signalling that you should play them, they're also, bafflingly, attached to usable Adventures. Blue gets to duplicate one of their activated or triggered abilities, black gets a playable removal spell that also gains you life for no reason, red gets another (admittedly less) playable removal spell, and green gets a budget .
White breaks new ground in this cycle by adding a healthy dose of disappointment, as theirrepresents... a more consistent ? Actually, I'm not even convinced is more useful than : no matter how hard you try, you're only ever getting a single a turn, and once it's out, it can't generate more bodies for you. Plus, if you find yourself with no creatures? It's completely useless on-board, a trait it shares with exactly none of the other Virtues. Sure, the twiddling instead of vigilance might be helpful if you're tapping your creatures for their , but the Venn diagram of and are disjoint circles. I'd rather just see a in that case.
Add to that the fact that if you're in white and you do care about the +1/+1 counters, you're almost certainly also in green, which hasto pump up your creatures. I think I'd even prefer to this since I can take advantage of the buff right away instead of having to wait until my next combat. I haven't even mentioned the -sized in the room, which unfortunately seems to have locked down the five-mana "give all your things counters" slot in perpetuity. Well, like Meat Loaf says, four out of five ain't bad; just save your money and buy a copy of instead. Seriously, that card's good.
reminds me a lot of , which was an alright card, but enchanting your creatures with Auras is a far more challenging endeavor than putting a single +1/+1 counter on them. Wilds of Eldraine has a go-wide Auras theme in Selesnya, thanks to the Role tokens, but outside of fairy tales, one Aura equals one card in your deck. You're just not getting this benefit on more than two or three creatures at a time, and I think the only way you realistically could is if your commander is (or maybe ). That just leaves Voltron, and if you're in the business of loading up a single creature with buffs, I'd recommend another Aura instead of , because that will also synergize with .
nobody plays them. The most popular one, , has around 1000 inclusions, and its most common commander is , a general so hipster it gives my beloved a run for his money. If you can make it work, kudos to you.is surprisingly cheap for a +2/+2 buff. Usually, that caliber of bonus is reserved for four-mana cards, and even then, they still have some sort of restriction on what they pump; good examples of this are and . Well, at least compared to the last time , enchanting creatures is actually possible. Still, though, I'm convinced the go-wide Aura strategy is going to remain niche; as proof, all of the grant a bonus to enchanted creatures, some of them , and
Now here's a Commander card.crowns you when it enters the battlefield, meaning at the very least it's guaranteed to replace itself, and it rewards you with triggers for keeping it through the entire turn cycle. I actually like that there's at least a little decision-making here when it comes to the failure state: unlike , which is pretty much strictly worse when you're not divinely appointed, I could see reasons for you to want some permanent cards to go to your hand, whether it be , , or using an . For that reason, I find it a little disappointing that being the monarch forces you to revive the permanent instead of letting you choose to put it into your hand. Aside from that hiccup, though, this card is solid, and worth running in any white deck, especially if you already .
We've seen this effect before: it's, although its 2023 revision is much better since you can cast it as a true board wipe in case of emergencies. is likely to show up in the same places that card does: toughness matters decks, such as and , where you often run creatures with 0 power and therefore can name 1 with little downside to yourself. In a less all-in low-power-matters deck, such as // , I still prefer for being cheaper and more flexible when it comes to choosing what you want to survive. All in all, not bad, and even if your deck has no synergy I still prefer this to . If you ever find yourself in a state where 10 is the appropriate choice, I weep for you.
Based on the cards I'm seeing in Wilds of Eldraine, Celebration is clearly a Limited aggro archetype, which never bodes well for Commander viability.is by far the most playable Celebration card in Commander, and even that's a stretch that makes Elastigirl look stiff. This actually reminds me of one of those too-specific two-mana value enchantments, like or , but the price doesn't match the payoff: five mana is a lot for an engine this finicky. Its only saving grace is that it's attached to a relatively big blocker, but I can only imagine this making a splash in the most battlecruiser of metas.
People really seem to love, and is a version that not only nets you three tokens instead of two, it also lets you cheat out or even recur three Auras for free? That's approaching levels of busted, but unlike Bruna, your opponents can't toss a to stop it from happening. is salivating, and even if you can't easily reattach the Auras to creatures that actually matter, that's still three free Constellation triggers at a minimum. You also have opportunities for hilarious blowouts if your deck is running cards like or . has the potential to be absolutely absurd, as long as you build around it properly.
Unfortunately, the fact that's color identity is white is a major downside, because I can imagine players would really want another way to give your opponents creature tokens for free. There's really only a few commanders I can think of in white that actively want their opponents to have more oxen goeth to the slaughter; , since murder causes her to get stronger, and , because more blockers means more value from effects.
So I'm forced to reviewat face value, and I've come to the conclusion that he'll enter the battlefield, draw a card, swing once, and then probably die. Giving your opponents value in exchange for card draw is really only useful if you're mono-white, since every other color has better options, and a 2/4 Ox isn't a completely negligible gift. If you are mono-white, I'd recommend , since it's better in basically every way. Its ceiling is a free every turn or three (!) tokens, and its floor still leaves you with a lot of chump blockers. Then again, if you're running the world's dankest Oxen deck, this... still doesn't work, because it's a Human. Oh, well.
It's hilarious thatcan go toe-to-toe with despite being four mana cheaper and a bunny.
If you've ever played with something like an, you already know how backbreaking getting +1/+1 for all the ancillary tokens you've made over the course of the game is, and has that built-in for free. At the same mana value. And it counts your battles, planeswalkers, and creatures, including itself, too. This might become the most consistently high-statted two-drop in all of Commander; all you need is a way to make it evasive, and it'll be brutally impaling all your enemies upon its horn of slaughter in no time.
Notably,'s power and toughness are each set by a characteristic-defining ability, as opposed to being a 0/0 that gets +1/+1 for each permanent it cares about, like on . As a result, 's power is massive in all zones, not just the battlefield. This is a bit of a double-edged sword; it stops you from reanimating the through an effect that cares about low power, which makes smile less at its death. On the other hand, cards like , , and are all full power when you feed the to them. Generally, this means that has more utility in decks with black, red, or green than decks without them. Seriously, imagine scrying this to the top when you cast .
The strength of an Aura cascade is based entirely around what other Auras you put into your deck. Therefore,is either terrifyingly powerful or unusably weak, and you'll only have yourself to blame. To get the most out of it, you'll definitely want to load your deck up with high-cost Auras, and since you have to attack to trigger it, you're going to want to put it in decks that already want to attach Auras to attacking creatures, meaning this is a plant and I need another bottle of cigarettes.
Paying to trigger Constellation every turn seems decent. If your target happens to be, paying to trigger Constellation five times every turn seems hilarious. If your deck does not care about Constellation, it doesn't care about , either.
If playtesting with City of Death has taught me anything, it's that making copies of arbitrary tokens is powerful, especially if your commander is cooperative. Unfortunately, you don't have the guaranteed floor of counterfeiting every turn like that card has, but makes up for it by somehow omitting City's non-Saga restriction, meaning that the ultimate play here is to
Hot Cross Buns itself. You can easily win with an exponential explosion of mice in quantities I haven't seen since I toured the Oscar-Meyer plant.
stuns me in multiple ways. Not only is it an unconditional reanimation spell in white, it also brings back up to two Equipment or Aura cards with it and attaches them to the reanimated creature for free. I say for free because five mana is already the for reanimation with upside in white, and reanimating three permanents is substantially better than the usual spattering of you get for paying the extra mana. If your deck cares about Auras or Equipment at all, you might want this card just to reanimate so you can retrieve a that your opponent blew up. And if one of those Auras you decide to reanimate is named , the game's just over. Finally, I'm incredulous that this card's name somehow wasn't taken during Streets of New Capenna.
Oh, what a difference one word can make, because slapping flash ontodecidedly rescues it from the pit of mediocrity its cousins are forever consigned to. Now, not only can you use to send your opponent's to the penalty box for high sticking, you can also effectively play him as an instant-speed to no-sell a removal spell. He even has his own (atrocious) sacrifice outlet built-in for when it's safe to come out, Mr. President. No, isn't as backbreaking an offensive tool as , nor as much of a blowout on defense as , but he's flexible, cheap, and most importantly, adorable. I want one!
Uncommons & Commons
is going to end way more games than people will be willing to admit. It's just a better most of the time, and that's especially valuable if you have access to green; there, I'd try paring it up with something that already by creatures with power 2 or less to create a truly unstoppable threat.
That's not even mentioning that to recur other creatures with Adventures. I also really like it in those Jeskai spellslinger decks, like or , which gain disproportionate advantage from casting many small spells. Finally, it's Magic: The Gathering official lore that the is , which is hilarious.represents two spells for only two mana on one card, stapled to the type that's by far the easiest to recur or bounce back to your hand: creature. Storm decks aside, this attribute makes it particularly powerful in engine-based decks, like , who can not only take advantage of the combat buff, but also the fact it's a sorcery
Joy of Wolf. Four mana to draw a card, one of which goes to your opponent, is abysmal, and I think I'd rather concede the game than entertain the thought of activating it.is what happens when the people behind don't care about the national deficit. A per turn is fine, but I'd rather cast an actual mana rock, like , or try something along the lines of to get more consistent ramp over the course of the game. Its card draw ability is also the most incomprensible thing I've seen in my entire life, and I sat through the 2018 independent film
Almost, but I desperately wishwas two mana instead of three. Three mana is a lot to hold up, and its strength over something like the much-cheaper depends on your opponents making bad attacks or blocks, which you can't really control. You also lose the flexibility of using it to help out other players in exchange for favors down the line, because is coded to only benefit you. Pound-for-pound, I still prefer as my of choice in Commander.
is a decent payoff if you're running some sort of enchantment creature Aristocrats deck, like you might see helmed by . I'm just mentioning it because it goes infinite wth and any sac outlet.
I somehow made it down to the uncommons without referencing the fact that Wilds of Eldraine has an Azorius tap-down theme. To tell you the truth, I'm thrilled: I've always thought tapping enemy creatures instead of outright killing them was underutilized. The only generals that I'd say really cared about the mechanic before this set was// , and the payoff was " suddenly murders a man." Wilds of Eldraine fixes this: not only has it introduced the standard , it also introduced an even better .
Anyway,takes to its logical conclusion, again turning into a kill spell, but with any creature you want now. It also actively shuts down a threat for a turn thanks to that additional stun counter, meaning you don't have to feel bad about the fact it's sorcery-speed. Get your ready.
Instant staple. Better than.
Okay, some of you complained when I described that way verbatim last time, saying that "it's not as good because the creature it makes is bigger" or "but what about hitting lands" or "this guy isn't funny, and bad at doing set reviews." To that, I say that you've got to submit evidence of you dying to a vanilla 6/6 Phyrexian or wanting an opponent's in the graveyard instead of exile so you can it or needing to blow up a more often than once every fifty games. Plus, if someone's using to prevent all damage to them, odds are pretty good they're also playing it from the graveyard every turn, so what you really need is a .
The text "exile target creature" is an incredibly tempting prospect on a three-mana permanent, sogot my attention. Unfortunately, its third chapter undoes all the hard work you put into damning your opponent's , so you need to find some way to sacrifice or blink the Saga before it reaches its conclusion. Ideally, you even have some way to remove counters from the thing so you can exile more than just one creature. just keeps getting better and better.
Oh, yeah, bargain is in this set. It's kicker with the additional cost of sacrificing an artifact, enchantment, or token. All the some sort of combo that would benefit from the ability to sacrifice an enchantment as a cost.are in other colors, but it's worth bringing up here, in case you have
Smash. Before you ask which one, yes.
This isstapled to a Constellation trigger. My dream is to revive with it.
And so, everyone lived happily ever after. Everyone slept soundly in their beds, as they had learned the truth that Wilds of Eldraine is a decent set for white cards this time around, but there's nothing you really have to have to protect yourself from the dastardly power-creep gremlins. Syr Spicious defeated the evil King Brady Bunch and brought peace to all the land. Queen Frozen melted, and you now know her by her maiden name, the Atlantic Ocean. Dumpelstiltskin collected enough babies to save the recreation center. Everyone else became a pumpkin. The End.