Leviathan's picture
By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Jun 30 2010 2:30am
Login to post comments

I.  Introduction

Welcome to the Urza's Legacy overview for Commander on MTGO!  I figured that Legacy as been out online for a little while, so might as well take a closer look.  I know that there have already been some reviews of the set on this site, but none have my wit, hyperlinks and view on Commander!  However, I want to let you guys know that this set came out during my 10 year hiatus from Magic.  So this is the first time I'm going to be playing with a lot of these cards, let alone seeing them.  Obviously if I miss something big, feel free to point it out in the comments.  No more monkey business, let's get on to the review! 

II.  New Generals

Urza's Legacy gives us two new potential generals.  Let's take a look at them:

Multani, Maro-Sorcerer

Multani, Maro-Sorcerer:  Obviously this guys is going to be large when he hits the table, typically no smaller than a 9/9, and possibly as big as a 20/20.  Plus, he comes with shroud, which makes him resistant to targeted removal.  However, by himself he can get chump blocked by Drudge Skeletons all day long.  Luckily you are in green, and can give him trample through the use of Brawn, Roughshod Mentor and Primal Rage.  Unfortunately, due to his shroud you can't equip him with Whispersilk Cloak or any other equipment, which is the most common way to get your General damage through.  In all honesty, the shroud is almost as much of a hindrance as it is a help, preventing you from using the typical General pumpers.  The other issue is that he can shrink over time as people dump their hands to make him smaller.  Knocking out opponents means less cards in people's hands as well.  Plus, a mass discard effect pretty much kills him.  You can try to get around this by playing mana depriving strategies like Winter Orb or filling peoples' hands with Howling Mineeffects, but neither of these options is ideal.  Although the idea of taking out a defenseless opponent with one hit is intriguing, I honestly prefer his brother Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer.

As a random beater in your deck, you have some of the same problems, but typically won't be able to work around his issues.  He will probably take out a defenseless opponent, but otherwise he will need help, with something like Fling, Grab the Reins or Bloodshot Cyclops, to get his damage to go through.  He will like support cards like Momentous Fall, Greater Good and Stalking Vengeance though.

Radiant, Archangel

Radiant, Archangel:   Another angel for people to admire, she practically screams for an Angel deck, as they are the predominant white flyers.  Plus, she has vigilance, which is something I failed to notice until proof reading this review.  Her evasion and ability to get really large are both helpful in a Commander.  Unfortunately, in order to make her large you have to overextend and make yourself susceptible to Wrath of God type effects, and no one likes that.  The best way to avoid this is by using tokens.  Luminarch Ascension, Storm Herd, Sacred Mesa and Hoofprints of the Stag are all nice ways to pump out a lot of flying tokens to make Radiant large.  I'm sure that some people out there will use her for nostalgia value, but as a Commander I would give her 3 out of 5 stars.  She is ok but nothing special as there are plenty of better generals out there in her color.  Hopefully she proves me wrong.

As a random beater in your deck, she could fit into something like the Isperia deck I built a while back.  And of course, Angel themed decks will love her.  You will still have the same problem with overextending, so I think that there are probably better Angels out there.

III.  Instants & Sorceries

Crop Rotation Crop Rotation - A powerful card, and better than Expedition Map because it is cheaper, can be done at instant speed, and puts the land directly into play.  Do you need Gaea's Cradle?  Mouth of Ronom to kill something?  Academy Ruins to legend rule your opponent's land?  You have a bunch of mana and want to see Marit Lage by getting Dark Depths?  Want to start recurring your creatures with Emeria, the Sky Ruin?  This is a great card in any deck that uses green and has specialty lands.

Purify Purify: - Not as good as Austere Command, which provides additional options for one more mana.  However, if you keep running into Sharuum the Hegemon decks, it will slow them down for a turn.  Maybe two.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

Tinker Tinker - So sorry, Tinker, you are banned in this format.  Plus, you already came out online in FTV:  Exiled.  Double whammy for you!

Wow, that's a pretty short list right there.  Hopefully there's more stuff coming up...

IV.  Artifacts & Enchantments

Angel's Trumpet Angel's Trumpet - This seems like an interesting card that can go into a deck that punishes people for attacking, like Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs.  It can also go into a more controlling deck that uses cards like Silent Arbiter or Dueling Grounds or Aurification.  This is a cool card that will probably never see play because it is too convoluted.  Plus, I think Magic needs more trumpets.

Crawlspace Crawlspace - This seems like it would be interesting to use against token decks and other creature swarms.  Unfortunately, many times you are just going to be facing one huge beater like Uril or Emrakul, so this is probably not going to find a home in a lot of decks.

Damping Engine Damping Engine - A strictly inferior version of Ward of Bones.  Giving people outs in order to get around the effect is annoying.  I guess if you really want, you can combine this with something like It that Betrays or Prince of Thralls to limit their ability to get around the effect, but that's generally not worth it.  

Defense Grid Defense Grid - I know that this card is already out online, but I thought that it was worth mentioning.  This is a great card against blue decks that like to do everything at the end of the turn before theirs.  Specifically, it's really good at hosing Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir decks.  I admit it has been a while since I've seen a Teferi deck, but it's still a good card that doesn't really see any play.

Defense of the Heart Defense of the Heart - A favorite of green mages everywhere.  There are going to be many times when there are multiple creatures out, and you will have a chance to cast an entwined Tooth and Nail essentially for free during your upkeep.  There are a lot of two creature combos out there this can search up, like Vigor and Empyrial Archangel, or Triskelion and Mephidross Vampire.  Or you can search up creatures with removal to deal with annoying permanents.  The drawback is that you have to wait until your turn for this thing to pop, and it can get destroyed while you plan to bring out your Woodfall Primus and Emrakul.  But it is obviously worth the wait.

Ghitu War Cry Ghitu War Cry - This is an interesting card.  Not only can you use it on your creatures that get past blockers, you can also use it to pump your opponents creatures when they get through to hit bigger threats.  Don't be afraid to help out your opponents when fighting against a common enemy.  Great with things like Bear Umbra and Gauntlet of Power

Grim Monolith Grim Monolith - There is some sort of infinite mana goofiness that you can get from this card, but fortunately Power Artifact isn't available online yet.  You can still get infinite mana from it, but typically it takes a good amount of work and a cumbersome group of cards.  The easiest combo is with Mana Reflection.  Otherwise it just seems like a bad Mana Vault to me.

Impending Disaster Impending Disaster - Another one you have to wait a whole turn for.  I'm not a big proponent of land destruction, although I do like the fact that this card at least gives you a little bit of time to find an answer.  However, it's important to know that this card exists, so be aware.  I don't see a whole lot of people running this card.  It can lead to disastrous results

Iron Maiden Iron Maiden - Basically a Black Vise for all players, this is going to be used in various mana denial strategies.  There was a blue deck running around that would bounce all your lands and draw people out, and this would probably fit in nicely.  The sadists that like Hokori, Dust Drinker decks will like this card as well.  You have to be sort of cruel to work with this card.

Memory Jar Memory Jar - A fun way to temporarily refill your hand, and doesn't have summoning sickness like Magus of the Jar.  The old school combo with this included Megrim, but something tells me that you won't see Megrim too often in games.  It's more likely you will see it combined with Underworld Dreams or Spiteful Visions.  Or, just wait till your opponents are close to tapped out to play it.  My guess is that you are going to see this in a bunch of Sharuum the Hegemon decks for people to spit out a ton of cards, along with Yawgmoth's Will and other stuff, so expect something broken if you see people playing this.

No Mercy No Mercy - The enchantment version of Dread.  I actually like Dread better because he can beat down, but No Mercy is actually more resilient due to the limited amount of enchantment hate that is played.  In addition, it comes out earlier than Dread as well.  A good card for people that like to turtle up and play defensively.

Phyrexian Reclamation Phyrexian Reclamation - Not necessarily a reanimator card, more like a different version of Oversold Cemetery.  I know that I've seen it in lists before as a method of recursion.  The life loss will only negatively effect you in the late game.  

Planar collapse Planar Collapse - I like the look of this card.  You can either play this out early in order to keep people from playing more creatures and avoid having it go off, or just use it as a delayed Wrath of God.  Be prepared to take a beating while you are waiting for it to go off though.  So would you rather have this than another Wrath variant?  Unless you are playing Konda, Lord of Eiganjo as your General, probably not.

Quicksilver Amulet Quicksilver Amulet - This is actually pretty cool, and I can't wait to add it to my Fatties! deck.  If you have high cost creatures with "enters the battlefield" abilities, this artifact is for you.  Heck, cheating out any large fatty is fun, and it is more resistant to removal than Elvish Piper.  Consider it another way to cheat out Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.  

Rancor Rancor - Although this already came out in a specialty set (Garruk v. Liliana), it's going to be a lot cheaper now.  If you haven't got one already, might as well pick one up.  Good in Uril and Stonebrow decks, and any deck that has large beaters in general.

Thran Weaponry Thran Weaponry - Possibly worth inclusion in token decks for the universal pump?  Maybe?  Ok, there are better cards for pumping your tokens.

Urza's Blueprints Urza's Blueprints - The artifact to use for draw when you don't have access to good draw, such as decks in only red or white.  If you are in the other colors, even green, you have better options.  However, once you pay the echo cost, it's actually pretty cheap.  Is this better than Seer's Sundial?  Maybe.  The problem is that in order to get more than one card a turn out of it, you need to jump through some hoops, like using Voltaic Key.  Meanwhile, green offers numerous ways to drop more than one land into play a turn, and therefore making the Sundial better late game.  But if you are talking about red and white decks, then Blueprints may be better.

Wheel of Torture Wheel of Torture - The multiplayer version of The Rack, I just don't see this one getting played as much.  Card denial strategies in multiplayer aren't as easy to sustain over the long term as mana denial strategies.  I guess it's possible to use with a Nath of the Gilt-Leaf deck once it gets out Sadistic Hypnotist, but by that point the Nath deck should be in control anyway.  It doesn't look quite as nasty as other torture devices, but it does have an awesome piece of flavor text.

V.  Creatures

Bone Shredder Bone Shredder - Another card that has already appeared online through the Phyrexia v. Coalition decks, this appears to be a favorite of old school Magic players, as I see it in lists from time to time.  However, I just don't think it's that great.  I'd rather have a Shriekmaw or even Nekrataal.  I know it flies, but it's power is tiny.  You can use Reveillark to get it back, but still.  Maybe people really like the artwork?  Someone clue me in.  

Deranged Hermit Deranged Hermit - Lots of squirrels for a low cost, but it does have a high echo.  Would probably fit in well with token based decks, as it's pretty much an instant army.  She reminds me of the crazy cat lady from the Simpsons.  Hopefully we will see the full power of squirrels now!

Eviscerator Eviscerator - This isn't that impressive, but it does have pro-white.  I just liked the name, and hoped the card would be better.  Why do you waste cool card names on crummy cards, Wizards?!?!?  WHY?

Goblin Welder Goblin Welder - He's kind of a big deal.  First, he can target opponents.  Is that Sharding Sphinx bothering you?  Give your opponent the Ornithopter in his graveyard instead!  For yourself, he can act as a reanimator by exchanging your artifacts for a large artifact beater in your graveyard, such as Sundering Titan or Platinum Angel.  Or, you can recur Mindslaver by sacrificing your old artifacts to it.  Actually, that sounds pretty mean.  Even better if you have an artifact token producer, like Myr Matrix.  I'm not sure how big an impact it is going to make in Commander games though, but I'm sure you'll end up seeing it used in the rare Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer deck.

Karmic Guide Karmic Guide - An Angel that loves recursion.  Add Mirror Entity and Saffi Eriksdotter or Reveillark for infinite shenanigans.  A solid card that should be looked at for most white decks.  However, I would just like to say that you should avoid the infinite goofiness that can be had with this card.  No one wants to wait out all your clicking for you to "insta"-win.  Don't forget that she has Protection from Black!

King Crab King Crab - Okay, he isn't that great.  In fact, he's pretty bad.  But he's a giant crab!  Come on, think of how much meat is in him!  This guy is going in a future deck just for the goofiness factor.

Mother of Runes Mother of Runes - I know she sees some competitive play in some Legacy lists.  In this format, I guess you could give your large beater protection to get through an opponent's defenses.  You could also use it to save an important creature from targeted removal, as well as on defense.  So if you really want to protect your General, I guess you could throw this in your deck.  I just can't help feeling that there are better cards for this purpose.

Molten Hydra Molten Hydra - Good for you hydra fans out there, I guess?  Otherwise poop.  Move along.

Palinchron Palinchron - Another "fun" critter that can provide infinite mana and/or storm counts.  All you need is a way to make your lands produce double mana, like through Mirari's Wake or Mana Reflection or even High Tide.  It does take a lot of clicking though.  So it's one of those cards that once people see it, they will probably drop rather than wait for you to finish clicking.  Although you can always just press F6 and make them go through the motions.  Actually, with the inclusion of this guy and Karmic Guide, you may be seeing a lot more infinite combos online.  Although who really wants to do all that clicking?

Phyrexian Plaguelord Phyrexian Plaguelord - I know that he's out online already, but who doesn't like The Rock?  I personally like the idea of getting him online in his original card border.

Viashino Heretic Viashino Heretic - I've seen this card in a lot of decklists, and I think that it's definitely worth it.  Cheap, repeatable artifact destruction is always worthwhile, but this guy comes with the added bonus of being able to do some damage as well.  Blowing up someone's Planar Portal now also does them 6 damage!  That's pretty sweet.  At the worst, it's a Lightning Bolt or a Shock to the controller of the artifact most of the time, and that's not bad either.  Definitely worthwhile.

Weatherseed Treefolk Weatherseed Treefolk - One of those creatures that just keeps coming back.  He requires a heavy commitment to green, though, and his low toughness means that he will continue to be killed in combat.  The trample is nice, so I can see him being used in Stonebrow, Krosan Hero decks, but not many other places. 

VI.  Conclusion

So there we go.  There are some extremely powerful cards in the set, but the overall number of useful cards is pretty low.  Only two possible generals, and very few good instants and sorceries.  In terms of overall utility, here is my top 5, in no particular order:

1.  Crop Rotation
2.  Defense of the Heart
3.  Viashino Heretic
4.  Karmic Guide
5.  Memory Jar

Each of these produces a powerful effect.  I really wanted to put Quicksilver Amulet on this list, as I think being able to drop Eldrazi into play at instant speed is nothing to be laughed at.  Palinchron may be worth picking up as well, due to the ability to abuse it for infinite storm counts and mana shenanigans.  But I don't feel like clicking that many times, and it requires a special type of player to like that kind of stuff.  Deranged Hermit and Goblin Welder are also worth picking up.  And Rancor should hopefully be cheaper now.  Unfortunately, none of these cards are going to be especially cheap, as the packs are only on sale for 2 weeks and they aren't as heavily drafted as most new sets.  So there aren't many "deals" out there like there would be for a new Standard set.

VII.  Paper EDH Bannings

A couple weeks ago there were some additional bannings to the paper EDH world posted in the EDH forums, which you can find here.  The bannings are as follows:

Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary as a General
Tolarian Academy
Staff of Domination

Essentially, the majority of these bannings are a result of the legendary Eldrazi.  Being able to power out quick and easy large beaters like Emrakul on a consistent basis made Rofellos, Channel and Tolarian Academy all too powerful.  The Staff was something that was considered degenerate as well with large amounts of mana.

What does this mean for online play?  Generally, Commander follows the paper EDH banlist.  So expect all of these cards to be banned online soon.  However, one thing that has happened in the past is that when a new set comes out with a card that is on the paper banned list, it's not automatically put on the Commander ban list.  Case in point:  Recurring Nightmare was in a bunch of decks playing Commander when Exodus came out online for about a month or two, even though it had been banned in paper for a while.  After some time it got chopped, but it still sucked to deal with the card.  

Super annoying to play against.

This means that you should expect to see Rofellos based decks for a while online when he becomes available.  I personally haven't played with any of the other cards, but Sharuum decks will likely feel the loss of Academy, and Silencer's Sasaya deck from last week will probably miss the Staff.  These bannings probably won't be devastating to your decks that have these cards.  It just means you won't be able to do the busted things you wanted with them.

The bannings also mean that the EDH rules guys don't really have much of a  problem with the Eldrazi themselves.  They just have a problem with just the ability to get them out very quickly.  So I'm sorry to tell you that if you don't like Eldrazi, they aren't going away anytime soon.  Remember, there are ways to deal with each of the legendary Eldrazi, with the easiest and cheapest being Oblivion Ring, so make sure that you come prepared.  If you do like the Eldrazi, there are also still plenty of other ways to get the Eldrazi into play early.  Typically this includes using Elvish Piper, Quicksilver Amulet, or even just an early Bribery of an opponent.  But these methods don't usually happen on turn two or three, which is what the bannings were about.

That concludes our little wrap up.  Thanks for reading!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO 



Molten hydra - just needs the right deck by Orgion at Wed, 06/30/2010 - 08:39
Orgion's picture

You know I think you might be a little unfair on the hydra. You should see him in an Ashling mono-red big mana deck. He's a great sink for all that extra mana when Ashling's not on the table. Not only can he end up a huge beat stick but after a couple of activations he can single-handedly take down most critters and get through the last 5 or 6 points of damage against an opponent. He's a fantastic rattlesnake-type card and a nice source of +1/+1 counters should you need them (ion-storm anyone?)

Ok, so yeah I'm a hydra lover too but you shouldn't let my personal prejudices stop you from slipping this little beauty into a deck.

Consider yourself informed ;)

I was wondering if a hydra by Leviathan at Wed, 06/30/2010 - 16:51
Leviathan's picture

I was wondering if a hydra fan would pop up. There are actually a lot of you guys out there.

My problems with him are that it costs 3 mans to give him one counter, youcant attack and use his ability, and you have to remove all his counters when you use it. But kudos to you for finding a spot for him. Although in general I think you would be happier with Ghitu War Cry.

Don't look, we're not there... by Orgion at Thu, 07/01/2010 - 04:13
Orgion's picture

ssshh.. we don't like to publicise our growing membership, thank you very much. It would be better if you didn't draw attention to us while we're still in the planning stages of taking over the world :)

As to the war cry, you are quite right, I am happier with the war cry. But firstly I have both in the deck and secondly my ashling deck isn't aggressive in that way. I tend to use the hydra as a second Magma Mine.

Anyway, if you really wanted to, how hard is it to give a critter vigilance these days?