Monday, April 17, 2017

My top ten cards in Amonkhet for commander

Hey, guys, the new set is almost upon us and I'd like to go over what I feel like are the best cards in the set for commander.
This will cover only cards that are new so while Aven Mindcensor is fantastic and could easily make it near the top I'm not mentioning it. Other than that sentence...and maybe later.
This list will be tailored more towards competitive commander and everything on here is my own opinion, so naturally, there may be things I miss and things you all disagree with. That's totally fine and I look forward to hearing your own cards you're looking forward to. Let's start with the honorable mentions.

Approach of the second sun
The first honorable mention may seem odd to play in a competitive mindset but I'm looking at it as another win con. It's not difficult to generate infinite mana. Play this, remand it, then play it again to win. The beauty of it is the trigger is on cast so even if it's countered the game is over. Throw it in an esper deck and cast it, search it up and cast it again.
While this is likely too janky for most decks I can see it appearing in something as a plan B.

Kefnet the Mindful
I don't think this card is good.
However, it does draw your deck with infinite mana and can be your general.
Why you would play him over Oona, Tasigur, or Thrasios doesn't make sense to me but it wouldn't feel right making a list without mentioning that this fella can draw your deck IF you wanted to make a mono blue deck focused around him. I think he's the best god for competitive commander, but pretty much only because of that reason.

Commit  to Memory
Since this is the first time we're seeing aftermath cards it's somewhat hard to see how this will impact the format. You can pitch this to the yard and cast another wheel effect. I think the mana cost is too high as all the wheels you want to play are generally around 3 mana or untap 6 lands but the fact that it has a Venser stapled to the first part means you can wheel away someone else's threat. Probably will see play in wheel focused decks but I'm not confident enough in it to say it's top ten worthy.

Combat Celebrant

My last honorable mention is another card that just wins with Kiki-Jiki. However, I'm not sure the deck really needs more targets like this. The low cmc and the fact that recruiter of the guard can find it is certainly nice but the kiki/twin decks already have a ton of good options and while this guy is slightly better (Debatable) I'm not sure he's super crazy good outside of that

10: Gideon of the trails

Gids makes it on here because he's yet another way to draw your entire deck with Ad Nasuem. Before you had Angels Grace and sometimes Phyrexian Unlife and now you also have Gideon. While this isn't as impactful he has two other less good abilities to stop things like Voltron decks and even do some damage on his own. I'm not certain he will make it in Ad Naseum decks but the low cmc and the ability to do slightly more than Phyrexian Unlife make me think he deserves a slot here.

9: Cut to Ribbons
5 color Hermit may have gotten a new tool. While it's common for the dread return route to get an Angel of Glory's rise + Lab man and Azami or whatever to win now you have a spell that you can cast from the yard with infinite mana to kill all your opponents.
Dump your library in your yard, reanimate Ooze with dread return and then use Devoted druid antics to generate infinite mana and win. While the printing of Lab man may have made this win condition obsolete I think Cut/Ribbons is still worth a test

8: Samut, voice of Dissent
This is probably the card I'm most excited for as another potential commander. She doesn't do too much but she does allow you to abuse Kiki-Jiki in Naya far more.
In Naya you already have access to Yisan, Recruiter of the guard, Imperial recruiter, Splinter twin, sneak attack, Kiki, Quirion Ranger, Scryb Ranger, Wirewood symbiote, Restoration angel, Combat Celebrant, Zealous conscripts, and nearly every creature tutor there is. I'm not sure what the decklist would look like for Samut Kiki combo but I think there is a place for it somewhere.

7: Prowling Serpoard
Dosan the falling Leaf may have been replaced here. I'm not saying it's 100 percent better but it's something I would consider depending on how heavy the creature build is. The bonus here is Serpopard works better in decks like Selvala, being a bigger creature. In Yisan you make the few creatures you cast uncounterable and unlike Dosan and City of Solitude, you can still interact on other player's turns.
This is likely just a meta call. If you want to interact with opponents you want to play the Serpopard while if you want no one to be able to play spells outside of their turn then the other two may be better.

6: Nissa, Steward of Elements

If you're in a creature heavy deck like Edric, Momir Vig, Ezuri then I would consider Nissa for testing. She likely comes down turn 2 since you should be playing a turn one elf or mana thing consistently and you can set up your next ability for her 0. Cards like Sensei's top, Jace the mind sculptor, and sylvan library work very well with Nissa and you often will know what the top card is and if you don't want it you can bottom it with her ability. However using her ability to just scry seems like a wasted ability for the turn so I dropped her down a few pegs on where I originally had her. But the strength of cheating in creatures and lands every turn seems too good to pass up.

Plus this is the only walker you can get to huge digits in loyalty and that's pretty neat I guess

5: As Foretold
This is one of the better enchantments you can get out turn 1 or 2. In a heavy interaction deck with tons of instants, you can cheat the game out of using plenty of mana for things to refill your hand or keep yourself ahead of the game. I especially like it in land destruction heavy decks as it essentially is a mana rock that keeps growing every turn and allows you to play more and more. This may seem like a win more but I feel like it can give you the advantage you need to get to that point more consistently.
I think this will see good play in interactive and heavy permission decks.

4: Shadow of the grave

You know what's awesome in commander? Wheels.
This paired with any wheel gives you an extra 7 cards in hand. If your opponents wheeled then you're even farther ahead because now you start your turn with all your mana open and many more cards in hand than others. Not to mention it allows you to get more cards with things like Survival of the fittest, frantic search, Dack fayden and plenty of other format all-stars.
Needing to have other cards to really make a card shine is often not great but I think this card is an exception.

3: The lands

It's hard to deny that these lands are powerful and I can see them at the number one slot in many people's lists. However, my main and really only issue with them is there are often better options. If you have a 3 or more color deck then I don't see these guys making the cut often.
You start with 3 duals, 3 shocks, 9 fetches, 4 five color, ancient tomb, likely one of each basic and plenty of other better cards if you're in the colors (Cradle, Urborg, horizon canopy) so I don't see them getting too much play in decks with those colors.
However, in two color decks, they will absolutely be included. And even in decks that are far more heavy in two colors than a third, I can see adding these guys in.
Just not so much in four or five

2; Manglehorn
It's hard to say if this is better than Reclamation sage. The part that Rec Sage hits enchantments matters but Manglehorn is a hate bear on top of having a good enter the battlefield. Being able to kill Sylvan library, Rhystic study, or Necropotence helps Reclamation sage a bit but again Manglehorn is a hate bear.
I think it really comes down to are you playing an elf deck? Rec sage works well with Priest of Titania, Wirewood symbiote, and other elf focused cards. If you're not using the elf type as often I think Manglehorn may be better.
Not to say either one is less great, on the opposite actually I can see both being played quite a lot

1: Harsh Mentor
And my number one pick for Amonkhet is Harsh Mentor. This list has plenty of cards that work well in decks with Infinite combos but Harsh Mentor is the two mana answer for all of those. Before they activate something an infinite amount of times they have to deal with this guy. Even if they're not activating something infinite times he is still there doing damage every time someone does something. Making things like Sensei's top, Tasigur, Kiki, Deadeye, Saffi, Monoliths Untap, Isochron Scepter, Yisan, Quirion ranger, Auriok Salvagers, and plenty more hurt every time you do it.
Think about how often Linvala, keeper of silence shuts down a deck. Well, this is a Red mini Linvala. Doesn't stop everything in its tracks but rather....Fight through it

And there you have it. My personal top ten commander cards from Amonkhet. What do you have for your own? Anything you disagree with? What about things you agree with? Let me know and let's start a discussion.

If you enjoyed this article please visit my Patreon. Every little bit helps a ton and allows me to make more content for you guys in the future.

1 comment:

  1. #4, you would have to have wheeled 'into' this making it much more situational. Like vamp/mystical in response to a wheel.
    But on other hand, if your running some sort of cycling combo deck, Gitrog or madness, you can get some value.