M15 Commander Set Review – Notable Cards

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Casual Magic, Commander

Last time I examined the potential of the Mythics from Magic 2015 and this time I will be going over the most notable cards from the rest of the set. While I will be focusing mostly on the new cards, I may make a comment on an older card. Many cards won’t get a comment. Most of them will be ignored by choice, but I may I just miss a card. If you think I missed something, tell me in the comments. Let’s get to it.

White

Avacyn, Guardian Angel
She’s definitely interesting and has some applications with Devotion, but I’m just not awed by her. Unlike Avacyn, Angel of Hope there is no bombastic game warping quality to this angel. That’s not to say that she is without purpose, but there isn’t a lot of call for mana intensive utility creatures that can’t protect themselves. I was reviewing my Kaalia of the Vast deck and I’m not sure this Avacyn makes the cut in the long run. I’m probably going to try it just to see if it is solid. This Avacyn does have the capability to let a player turtle up and absorb oodles of damage, like Craterhoof Behemoth and Avenger of Zendikar type damage, and that just may be strong enough to entice some people.

Constricting Sliver
Tacking Banisher Priest onto all your Slivers is quite an inspired design. I’m sure it will be quite useful and powerful for slower sliver decks. My bias on Slivers is to go either for all out combo or for quick aggressive kills (usually Poison enhanced) so I’m not sure it will be the most relevant for those strategies. But as many Sliver decks usually like to have many Slivers in play, especially after a Patriarch’s Bidding or Living Death, this could be quite a hassle for your opponents.

Ephemeral Shields
I am a big fan of cards with alternative play costs so cheap spells with Convoke excite me. Ephemeral Shields is the White Withstand Death. The cost is cheap enough that Convoke alone is more likely to be a viable way of casting it compared to some of the more expensive spells with the mechanic. The real question is what type of strategies want this effect? There are those decks that wish to fool around with mass destruction effects. There are those where a single creature is the fulcrum of the deck like those led by Gaddock Teeg or Kaalia of the Vast. It’s important to remember that Ephemeral Shields is either like a counterspell stopping a removal spell or is so-so combat trick. Either way, I’m sure your opponents won’t see it coming.

First Response
It’s like a mini version of Darien, King of Kjeldor. The only problem is that it doesn’t scale up based on how much damage you absorb. Rarely will an extra token or four be enough to make it worthwhile. My first response is just say no.

Heliod’s Pilgrim
Often enough in Magic, I have found that no matter how bad a tutor is, there is some possibility for it. I don’t necessarily buy that 100% as noticed already by the absence of Boonweaver Giant from my list, but 3 mana for a tutor is a tad more reasonable. Searching for an Aura is quite limiting, but there are some decks where I would happily play Three Dreams. The biggest advantage to Heliod’s Pilgrim is that the tutor for an Aura comes with a creature ready to wear the pants. It also means that all the tricks that spells like Idyllic Tutor can’t do of Blinking out or returning it to play with Sun Titan are on the table. I would expect it to see play in decks like Bruna, Light of Alabaster and Krond the Dawn-Clad the most. I could also see some Aura centric builds of Roon of the Hidden Realm putting it to good use.

Hushwing Gryff
I’m sure this is going to cause all sorts of nightmares for the Green mages of the world. Powerhouses like Craterhoof Behemoth, Avenger of Zendikar, and Eternal Witness all falling victim to this Torpor Orb with wings. The flash is what’s especially brutal. I figure it will see a lot of play, and love, from people using it to stop Palinchron shenanigans. Overall it will be a solid support of the format. For the people who have problems with Blink decks, infinite combos, or just cringe when Tooth and Nail happens, I would grab one.

Pillar of Light
While it is certainly no Swords to Plowshares or Path to Exile, Pillar of Light could be a really strong card for Commander. Plenty of the formats most powerful creatures have toughness greater than or equal to 4. The list is highlighted by Seedborn Muse, Consecrated Sphinx, and Grave Titan. While spot creature removal spells with converted mana costs of 3 are usually irrelevant, Pillar of Light may just prove to be the exception. As I expect it to be fairly easy to acquire, it’s probably going to be embraced by the more budget conscious Commander folk who can’t convince themselves that an extra 3-5 dollars is worth it for Swords and Path.

Resolute Archangel
I’m not a big fan of this card, but I could see the appeal. If your deck is based around large creatures and you expect to get ganged up on while you are building up your resources to cast those large creatures, then having a card that could give you an extra 20 or so life would be a nice fail-safe. I’m just not sure how competitive it is as the uppermost levels of the format don’t really care about life while monsters like Craterhoof Behemoth and Avenger of Zendikar can easily deliver more than 40 point attacks. The most interesting interaction of Resolute Archangel is with spells like Necropotence and Sylvan Library. Getting to gain back all the life you have paid for cards is quite cute. If I try the Archangel, it will be with interactions like that in mind.

Return to the Ranks
I’m sure there is some potential combo deck with this card. But then again we already have comparable effects like Living Death and Immortal Servitude. It’s not a terrible card but it is terribly specific.

Spectra Ward
This card takes us boldly in a new direction for creature enchantments. It gives protection from all colors, yet won’t remove any of the auras already attached. That makes the creature nearly unblockable (only colorless creatures can block it) and untargetable by a large part of the useful spells and abilities. The problem is that 5 mana is a lot to pay for this type of ability as you still have vulnerabilities to the usual suspects of Damnation, Evacuation, and Terminus. I feel there are some good places to try out this card and Rafiq of the Many is at the top of the list. The extra evasion and power boost will ensure that Rafiq will deal lethal commander damage in two swings barring something like Maze of Ith.

Spirit Bonds
I don’t believe this card has much of a home, but I want to find one for it. My current idea envisions a deck full of creatures that find reasons to leave play on their own for reuse like Norin, the Wary and Glitterfang. Unfortunately, Genesis Chamber is way better at spawning a token army that way and I don’t think the Indestructible granting ability is enough to justify. It’s close to being something strong, but it’s just too niche.

Blue

AEtherspouts
This is one of the more diabolical spells that we have seen in a while in the context of Commander as a combat oriented format. In that context, it compares well with previous Blue board wipes such as Cyclonic Rift, Evacuation, and Devastating Tide. While the scope is limited to attacking creatures, it doesn’t care who those creatures are attacking. This can lead to blow outs as one player loses their aggressive forces and no one else suffers. Furthermore, those creatures don’t go back to the hand, as Aetherize does, but sends them back to the library which can slow the rebuild of that player’s army to a crawl. The effect could cripple some strategies and it is hard to play around.

But it does have a drawback. Leaving 5 mana up continuously is normally a sign of mischief and is usually greeted by opponents with a mix of caution, paranoia, and hostility. It can understandable as many of the best Blue spells are Instants like Fact or Fiction, Blue Sun’s Zenith, Capsize, and Counterspells. So while you are leaving up this mana for AEtherspouts, you have other options if you don’t need to cast it. I’m not sure it’s going to tear up the metagame, but I do like what this card can do.

Diffusion Sliver
While it may not be Crystalline Sliver reborn, Diffusion Sliver is a powerful protector of Sliver kind. Protection of key Slivers is quite important as usually it’s one or two strong slivers that make the rest of the team into a real threat. I expect any competitive minded Sliver player is going to run this one as it is one of the best Slivers around.

Jalira, Master Polymorphist
She’s gotta way about her, but I’m not sure she’s strong enough. I’ve seen comparisons of her to Arcum Dagsson, but I don’t see it. For one Arcum didn’t have a high activation cost. The other is the ways to pay Jalira’s cost of a creature without diluting your potential bombs is quite awkward. Sure you could play Trinket Mage, but then you have a worse chance at hitting Blightsteel Colossus. The twist of Jalira is that you can play all the Legendary Creatures you desire. This makes me think that perhaps Meloku the Clouded Mirror and Venser, Shaper Savant, will be good friends with Jalira. She’s cool and has potential, but I just don’t think that Jalira will be the next big thing.

Master of Predicaments
The problem with the Master is that it is just too fair. While I certainly appreciate its design and flavor, I just can’t possibly find a reason to ever not guess over. I would assume any deck trying to play Master of Predicaments would have plenty of stronger expensive spells that I would rather not have them cheat out. If you take away the Magic of the big play, the card loses a lot of its luster. Then you realize you are still looking at a 4/4 flier for five mana in a format, that when fair, is about Titans, Eldrazi, and Dragons.

Mercurial Pretender
5 mana is an awful lot to pay for a Clone. The improved variant of Sakashima the Impostor’s ability does give it more combo applications, but I’m not sold on broader applications yet. I do think Mercurial Pretender will probably be prolific in conjunction with Animar, Soul of Elements and powerful Blue creatures like Palinchron and Great Whale but will be overshadowed by its brothers Phantasmal Image and Phyrexian Metamorph.

Polymorphist’s Jest
Mass power and toughness changing effects have always had a niche use in Commander and this one looks to be more of the same. Following in the same vein as Sudden Spoiling and Mirrorweave (at least defensively used Mirrorweaves), Polymorphist’s Jest can surprise and cripple an opponent out of nowhere. Whether making their combat step miserable or just letting a mass shrink effect like Night of Souls’ Betrayal finish off all their creatures, it has plenty of applications. Then you also get to factor in the removal of all abilities. It’s a nifty card and it’s going to see play. Just don’t lean on it too hard as it takes a decent amount of set up to be backbreaking.

Quickling
It’s sort of like Whitemane Lion, but Blue. I don’t think there is a ton of call for this type of effect, but Quickling is fairly unique and could be used to save a crucial creature from imminent death.

Black

Endless Obedience
Tacking Convoke on Rise from the Grave does not make it strong enough to succeed in Commander. This is a format with access to Reanimate, Animate Dead, Necromancy, and a bunch more spells to accomplish similar things. The mana cost is just too high.

In Garruk’s Wake
This is the most powerful one-sided removal spell yet. I like it better than Plague Wind as regeneration has become less common and Planeswalkers are gaining more ground with every set. The biggest turn off for this splashy spell is the huge mana cost. If your playgroup is friendly towards huge spells then In Garruk’s Wake is a must have. If you find yourself drawn into battles of efficiently costed spells, then you’ll find this less applicable.

Indulgent Tormentor
This is not the second coming of Bloodgift Demon. I don’t anticipate it being that great as cards with this mechanic (the Punisher mechanic) don’t tend to be that great, especially in multiplayer. However, it is a 5/3 flier that can possibly strike for 8 damage a turn and has a political component. I could see people trading cards for not getting attacked, but I’d still rather have Bloodgift Demon because you always know what you will be getting.

Leeching Sliver
I’m not impressed by it for Commander because how much extra life the format offers. At least it’s better than Frenzy Sliver.

Necromancer’s Stockpile
This is a flavorful card with some potential. The problem I see is that it is just slow in a format where Survival of the Fittest is legal. When the metagame is less potent, I can see this enchantment being strong as a draw engine and making some dudes. It’s probably not as strong for card advantage as Graveborn Muse, Necropotence, or Phyrexian Arena, but I’m sure Zombie players will embrace it.

Ob Nixilis, Unshackled
My first thought upon seeing this card was that someone really hated playing against decks like Captain Sisay and Zur the Enchanter and decided to do something about it. The truth is that six mana is an awful lot of mana for a card that’s supposed to shut down tutoring. I feel like there will be more attractive Commander for Mono Black still like Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed and Sheoldred, Whispering One. Ob Nixilis exerts an unusual tension of the game by make sure people don’t search unless it is worth that penalty. Which sounds nice in theory, but as soon as people see it coming they are likely to burn through all their tutors quickly and you have be left a 4/4 that grows just a bit over time. Perhaps there is some build of Ob Nixilis that relies upon using every fast mana effect to dump it in play quickly, but I’m sure that deck would have consistency issues. My best guess for the optimal home for Ob Nixilis, Unshackled is as a member of team Kaalia of the Vast. The tutor hate is always welcome and it gives Kaalia another creature to fetch up with Blood Speaker.

The other big factor is how much Green land ramp is in your metagame. If your opponents’ love Ranger’s Path, Cultivate, and Solemn Simulacrum, then Ob Nixilis may be able to keep them honest. The problem is that so many of the search effects cost less to play than the big old demon.

Stain the Mind
We get yet another Memoricide variant and this is sadly not the right format for it. If you want something like this than Extract, Praetor’s Grasp, and Hide //Seek are all better options.

Ulcerate
As the life loss is tolerable in Commander, we get to judge Ulcerate simply on the merits of giving a creature -3/-3. The problem is that while this is a solid removal spell it has peers that outclass it. Snuff Out is twice the life for greater flexibility and an increased surprise factor. Dismember hits even more creatures and the extra 2 life are usually worth it. What Ulcerate does best is take out smaller creatures that Black may have issues with; Tajic, Blade of the Legion and Varolz, the Scar-Striped both manage to dodge some of the better black removal spells like Doom Blade and Snuff Out. I’m not sure how often I will find myself needing Ulcerate, but I wouldn’t be unhappy to use it.

Waste Not
Waste Not is a pretty devious card. I’m not sure where it will fit in exactly, but it has a few key possibilities. It’s most natural homes are probably Nath of the Gilt-Leaf, Gwendlyn Di Corci, and Nekusar, the Mindrazer. It feels like it has two modes. One is to support a strategy of incremental resource denial through discard. Think of decks that run cards like Smokestacks and Tangle Wire supported by continual discard effects like Bottomless Pit and Necrogen Mists. The other alternative is to be used as a combo piece with enablers like Windfall, Wheel of Fortune, and Memory Jar. I’m confident this card will be strong as it has lots of potential, but I wouldn’t hail it as broken. It’s too fickle and could easily end up being stymied by your opponents choosing their discard carefully. It’s also match up dependent. An opponent with a more creature heavy strategy will grant you more Zombie tokens while a spell heavy deck feeds your hand with extra cards. It is that adaptability that may ultimately make Waste Not a winner as it feeds you the right resources for a given battle. I would recommend a few different cards to try it with such as Anvil of Bogardan, Wistful Thoughts, Words of Waste, and Noxious Vapors.

Red

Act on Impulse
I like this card a lot. I think it may end up being a darling of Mono Red decks. It works well with decks using a high concentration of artifact mana as it not only means you should have enough mana to play any spells exiled, but that you will also hit more mana off it. Revealing a Fire Diamond, a Land, and a utility spell like Lightning Bolt or Shattering Pulse is pretty solid. The tension is that early on the card will be pretty mediocre. Playing it on turn 3 or 4 will rarely result is getting to use more than 1 or 2 cards. This is a great example of a card that rewards efficient spells and deck building but shuns big mana strategies. Sadly, I think the majority of Commander players will find this card lacking when they try it as it won’t easily fit in decks aiming to cast big spells. It’s definitely not the Red version of Harmonize, but I find it promising.

Aggressive Mining
This card represents a challenge. It’s asking for you to play around the handicap of skipping your land drop and losing your lands to increase your access to cards. In the end it seems to have great potential with all the effects that let you add lands into play through unusually means. Whether it is land ramp spells like Explosive Vegetation or effects like Terrain Generator there are ways to avoid the main draw back. Manabond appears to be the best way of getting around the inability to play the lands that I assume you will draw. I would expect Aggressive Mining to be a great late game top deck in various base red decks and possibly a key ingredient of decks like Child of Alara Lands (60+ lands usually) or Borborygmos Enraged. My gut impulse is that Aggressive Mining will be a strong card for Red based Commander decks as it fills a gap for card drawing engines.

Belligerent Sliver
It’s a slightly bigger upgrade of Two-Headed Sliver. The evasion is fine but there are better options like Shifting Sliver, Shadow Sliver, or Galerider Sliver. It’s fine if you really need evasion, but I’m not sure to what ends that extra evasion helps you.

Brood Keeper
It’s a nifty card, but I don’t think that there are enough comparable effects in red to support it as a strategy in Commander. I know there are some Enchantment heavy decks featuring Uril, the Miststalker that run Red. The most intriguing interactions to me with Brood Keeper are those with the Licids (like Convulsing Licids) or bouncing enchantments like Crown of Flames.

Generator Servant
This is a very unique take on a Ritual style effect. While the Generator Servant won’t see a lot of play, I think the ability to cast a turn 3 Heartless Hidetsugu with Haste is worth mentioning. I expect it to see most of its play in mono Red decks; there are probably more useful effects in other colors. But that burst of mana could help some of Reds more medium sized commanders.

Goblin Rabblemaster
I really like both of these abilities. I’m a fan of Goblin Piledriver and of Goblin Assault and enjoy using them when applicable. Goblin Rabblemaster combines both of them in a hilarious and flavorful package. The biggest issue is that Goblin Rabblemaster wants a tribal deck and the forced attack clause is the very thing that keeps Goblin Assault from being included in my Goblin Tribal decks. I believe that Goblin Rabblemaster is worth its downside because of the extra damage it can bring. It’s also worth noting the relative ease that Goblins have of disposing of excess creatures whether it is the result of a Goblin Assassin flip or feeding Skirk Prospector and/or Goblin Sledder. While I’m relatively sure I would not run Goblin Rabblemaster in decks where I like Goblin Assault such as Norin the Wary and Tajic, Blade of the Legion, it probably fits in many of the decks that Goblin Piledriver would go in like Wort, Boggart Auntie and Krenko, Mob Boss.

Kurkesh, Onakke Ascendant
Kurkesh isn’t the mono Red legend people were expecting. But it might be the legend we need to help shake up the more competitive Commander metagames that have been dominated by Blue. Kurkesh, as a combo piece, is going to do some nasty things. Kurkesh + Voltaic Key + Gilded Lotus is infinite mana. Kurkesh + Basalt Monolith makes a lot of mana. Kurkesh also combines with things like Trading Post, Mindslaver, Mind Stone, Sensei’s Divining Top, and a ton of other of the better artifacts to become much more than just a combo enabler. It doesn’t hurt that Red, unlike White and Black and Green, has some of the better answers for the competitive Blue decks (Pyroblast, Red Elemental Blast, and Mogg Salvage are just the tip of Red’s anti Blue arsenal).

Kurkesh is clearly evocative of a card many Commander Players have love for in Rings of Brighthearth. The problem is that just as many players fear Rings of Brighthearth so Kurkesh will probably suffer from his own hype. Much like Arcum and Zur are on many folks’ must kill list, people are muttering about adding Kurkesh and the deck hasn’t even taken off yet. I think the biggest problem that will face Kurkesh pilots, in spite of his political dubiousness, is going to be having enough Red mana. I would definitely keep that in mind as there are so many possibilities for good effects to copy and only so many times you can copy each turn. The other challenge to be met is finding the right ratio of things to copy, mana acceleration, and disruption. It’s definitely a challenge I, and many others, look forward to.

Might Makes Right
I’m a little down on this card but the prospect of repeatable Threatens is intriguing. I think this will definitely play well for the more budget conscious players and would look towards generals like Thraximundar and Prossh, Skyraider of Kher. It may be too expensive and too board reliant to be an all-star, but it certainly is an intriguing card.

Siege Dragon
While it would be easy to dismiss it as just another overpriced and underpowered Dragon, I think Siege Dragon may have a place. The Wall killing ability is nearly irrelevant, but the ability to deal a bunch of damage to your opponent’s creatures is not. As Balefire Dragon has shown the ability to nuke creatures repeatedly can be overwhelming. The problem is that 2 damage is a lot less than 6+ and Siege Dragon misses the first attack trigger when you put it into play with Kaalia of the Vast. Now it may not be a great one, but Siege Dragon is another solid if not spectacular monster. On a side note, I do now have a dream to one day put Siege Dragon into play with Quicksilver Amulet after my opponent has activated Mirror Entity

Green

Chord of Calling
It’s one of the best tutors available for Green. It’s instant speed, able to be cast entirely by creatures, and can grab almost anything. I use it in a lot of my decks as gaining access to key creatures is worth the redundancy and occasionally the instant speed search function can surprise opponents. Chord of Calling is a proven a winner and all players should enjoy this chance to get one at a big discount from its previous price.

Hornet’s Nest
The dream of Hornet’s Nest with Blasphemous Act or other large damage spells is cool but seems like a low pay off for setting up a “combo.” I would be interested in whether there would be enough similar effects to Hornet’s Nest that reward damaging them, like Stuffy Doll and Boros Reckoner, to build a deck around. If I were to go that route then in addition to the big damage sources I would look at effects like Strionic Resonator and Darksteel Plate.

Hornet Queen
I’m torn on Hornet Queen. When I start casting 7 mana spells I want more bang for my buck. But I do respect the Queen for what it does bring to the table as 5 Fliers with Deathtouch for a color that isn’t known for its air prowess. This reprint seems well times as copies were getting scarce and this now makes the Queen available in foil.

Kalonian Twingrove
It’s easy to dismiss this card as just another dumb beater for a format that has plenty of them already. It even specifically tracks Forests which limits its potential outside of Mono Green decks. The thing that makes this more palatable is not only the scale but the extra body. If it just had power and toughness equal to twice my number of Forests, I would only get to be twice as disappointed when my opponent used a removal spell on it. Being two separate creatures means it can take multiple answers to deal with. Meanwhile, these Treefolk make every green ramp spell all that more impactful and could have filthy interactions with Greater Good. Kalonian Twingrove seems great for the Mono Green land ramp archetype but out of place elsewhere. I like this card; I just wish that I will have more occasions to use it.

Life’s Legacy
While it may not be the next Greater Good, it is definitely interesting. The biggest impact I think it will have will be for Omnath decks as another way to turn excessive amounts of mana into excessive amounts of cards. I don’t see it being as popular as Greater Good, but it will probably eclipse Momentous Fall in use. A lot of Green decks like to have giant monsters floating around and trading a soon to die creature for extra value is quite nifty.

Nissa’s Expedition
While 5 mana is a little much for this effect, Convoke should ease that issue. It’s always nice to have more Explosive Vegetation style effects. I think the decks most likely to want this will be token based decks that aren’t heavily green and thus need alternatives to Ranger’s Path and Hunting Wilds. Some builds of Marath, Will of the Wild, Ghave, Guru of Spores, or even the mostly white version of Rhys the Redeemed come to mind.

Reclamation Sage
I am so excited for this guy. I love walking Naturalizes and Reclamation Sage is a welcome addition to the club of Indrik Stomphowler, Acidic Slime, and Wickerbough Elder among others. I like the Elf typing for tribal synergy. I like the one toughness as it is ready for Skullclamp. I just love this card. Value creatures are usually the backbone of my Green based decks and this one will be welcome addition.

Venom Sliver
Deathtouch is certainly a useful mechanic to share with your Slivers. There are numerous ways to enhance your Slivers with First Strike like Talon Sliver and Striking Sliver. Thorncaster Sliver, Cautery Sliver, and Acidic Sliver also become way more potent when touched by Venom Sliver. While it won’t be in every Sliver deck, it has enough implication to be in a good many Sliver decks.

Yisan, the Wandering Bard
Yisan is an interesting fellow. It’s like Hibernation’s End with legs, but also feels close to Birthing Pod. The possibilities for Yisan as a commander seem to lead toward mana ramp, a streams of utility dorks, and eventually pounding out some giant creatures. While I’m not sold on Yisan overtaking the other Competitive minded Mono Green Commanders (Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Ezuri, Renegade Leader, and Omnath, Locus of Mana), it could make some noise. I’m imagining my go to selections being things like Joraga Treespeaker, Rofellos, Eternal Witness, Oracle of Mul Daya, Seedborn Muse, Duplicant, Regal Force, and Terastodon. The biggest drawback to Yisan is that you have to start back at the beginning of the chain each time it dies, but that should be worthwhile as I’m sure there will be enough redundancy at various points in the chain to make going through Yisan again a good “backup” plan. If your top end happens to also include Kozilek, Butcher of Truth and/or Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre then many of your first choices may end up back in your deck anyway.

As part of the main deck, Yisan will enable a good bit of combo. Without going further than the popular Modern deck Melira Pod, I can envision Yisan searching up Viscera Seer, Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Kitchen Finks, and Murderous Redcap is a chain that could lead to victory if unanswered. I can also see Yisan searching up Sylvan Safekeeper, Hermit Druid, Stoneforge Mystic, or Imperial Recruiter. It’s going to be solid, but the real question is whether being able to leave that mana up before searching in response or End of Turn is going to be worth the lag time of Yisan. As Yisan is indicative of a more creature focused deck, how much will be able to leave open that extra mana matter. I look forward to exploring with Yisan and finding the answers to those questions.

Artifacts

Obelisk of Urd
For those tribal decks that are committed to the pump everyone plan I believe Obelisk of Urd is something to check out. While it does have quite a mana cost, the convoke ability should lessen some of that burden. The biggest issue this Obelisk faces is that there are just better versions of this effect. Coat of Arms and Door of Destiny scale up so much better. There also aren’t a lot of Tribes that necessarily need this type of pump. I expect it be more effective in decks like Darien, King of Kjeldor as an alternative or supplement for Crusade and Glorious Anthem style effects.

Profane Memento
This is a very interesting take on a life gaining artifact. I think that this card will end up being quite popular even if it is not very powerful. It fits into milling as a way to buoy the life total while the mill player does little to impact the board. The only real problem is that the best strategies for decking people tend to be infinite combos or exile but I doubt that will dampen the spirits of those who will embrace the Profane Memento.

Scuttling Doom Engine
Being a larger artifact beater with a death trigger does set up Scuttling Doom Engine to have potential. My biggest complaint is that it doesn’t hit all opponents, but I guess Wizards didn’t want yet another Kokusho, the Evening Star type of effect. It’s just a generic beater and there is little truly special about it when you start comparing it to all stars like Wurmcoil Engine and Steel Hellkite. While 6 damage is much less powerful in Commander due to starting with 40 life, it could take out a Planeswalker when it goes. One exciting possibility for Scuttling Doom Engine is how it can interact favorably with Goblin Welder. People with more options can do better than Scuttling Doom Engine, but those that embrace Scuttling Doom Engine will find themselves at least mildly content with it.

Tormod’s Crypt
It’s one of the best graveyard hate cards in Commander. It can be sat in play preemptively or kept a secret until the time to strike. One of the best qualities about Tormod’s Crypt, aside from requiring no mana, is that it doesn’t impact your graveyard like other powerful graveyard hate options (Rest in Peace, Relic of Progenitus). It’s also easy to tutor for, especially in Blue. Crypt works extremely well with Trinket Mage, Academy Ruins, and Tolaria West. As this is another recent printing, it makes now a great time to grab one or a foil while the price is suppressed.

Lands

Radiant Fountain
I’m not sure if this card will be that relevant in Commander. Two life is such a small amount but lands with enters the battlefield triggers can sneak their way toward relevance. Entering untapped and not having any color restrictions could make the Fountain better than Kabira Crossroads. If there is a deck that wants Radiant Fountain, I would assume it runs plenty of bounce lands like Izzet Boilerworks. The other key thing is that Radiant Fountain is yet another colorless land for players wanting to use colorless commanders like Karn, Silver Golem.

Sliver Hive
This is quite an interesting card. It’s very archetype specific for an archetype that can use the help, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark for me. The token making ability is too expensive to be reliable, but I could see it providing some occasional late game options due to utility Slivers such as Dormant Sliver, Harmonic Sliver, and Necrotic Sliver in particular. The biggest plus is the mana fixing. The most important cards in my builds of Slivers are usually the combo enablers and not the Slivers so the mana fixing may not be enough for me to consider it. When Sliver Hive is compared against Cavern of Souls, the Hive is found lacking as making your key plays uncounterable is the real deal. What I assume will happen is that Sliver Hive will be a niche enough card that it will find its way to Sliver aficionados of all formats without being too expensive. While it could be pushed out of decks where folks have access to all the fetch and dual lands, I expect to see this land crop up when Slivers do.

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Now this is an exciting reprint. Many players have already embraced Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth for its variety of uses in Commander. Some combine it with Kormus Bell and Linvala, Keeper of Silence to keep the opponent’s lands from making mana. Others like turning utility lands such as Thawing Glaciers and Maze of Ith into mana producers or just fixing their Black mana availability. The most popular use is to enhance the mana generation of Cabal Coffers. The only real downside to Urborg’s increased popularity has been its increased price tag. While the reprint should help with the supply, I wouldn’t expect Urborg to stay cheap forever.

So that’s a wrap on this review of Magic 2015. It looks be one of the strongest Core Sets for years and should help newer players snag some old favorites. We can’t ask for much more from a Core Set.

-Alex Tobriner
You may reach me in the comments below or via email
alextobiner at gmail dot com

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