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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Feb 21 2011 7:20am
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A new set is here!  Time to look things over with an eye toward your favorite format: Commander!  As I was reviewing the spoilers I was surprised by some of the bombs that I saw.  And although these cards are already getting played in paper, they are just getting widely circulated online now!  Let's just get right to it, shall we?


Not a lot of new legends, but they are interesting at least.  Let's take a look.

Glissa, the Traitor - Here is an interesting artifact based Commander that doesn't use Blue.  She has built in recursion which is always nice, and can come out quick.  So you can stick a bunch of artifacts in your deck with a lot of creature kill and just abuse the crap out of stuff like Mindslaver, Oblivion Stone and other nice one shot effects, or even just get back that Sword of Fire and Ice that someone Disenchanted.  You can also use cantripping artifacts like Spellbombs to draw through your library.  On top of that, you can equip her up and send her into battle as her two combat related abilities make her pretty much unstoppable, except against the occasional indestructible creatures.  Despite all these positives she isn't overwhelmingly powerful.  Even still, I have a feeling you are going to be seeing a lot of her. 

As a regular creature in your deck, her combat abilities definitely make her worthwhile, but you can't really expect to get too much use out of her triggered ability.  You may be able to get an artifact or two back from your graveyard so she may be worth it.

Thrun, the Last Troll - The good news is that Thrun comes with troll shroud and can't be countered.  The regeneration can be relevant sometimes, but in a format as diverse as Commander most of the time it won't matter.  I've heard of people wanting to make decks around this guy where they Voltron Thrun up with a ton of equipment, but there is already a big bad beater out there with troll shroud:  Uril, the Miststalker.  Why would you play Thrun over Uril, when Uril gets bigger faster, and gives you access to additional colors?  I'm sure you will see an occasional Thrun deck out there, but once the novelty wears off you won't see him much.

As a random beater in your deck, he's hard to beat as a 4 drop.  But Green has a lot of larger beaters with better abilities, like Primeval Titan and Woodfall Primus.  Even the smaller creatures have utility, like Indrik Stomphowler and Mold Shambler.  I just don't see how Thrun will fit into a typical Green deck.  The guy may be good at stomping on Jace in Standard, but he's just not that impressive in Commander.


 Blightsteel Colossus - All right, let's talk about the new big bad first.  Whether you love this guy or hate him, you have to be prepared for him to come stomping through the battlefield.  He is going to be played by those people that are sad that they no longer get to use their Emrakuls anymore.  He is huge, he is indestructible, he tramples and he's basically a one-shot player kill.  Luckily, unlike Emrakul you can target him with stuff like Swords to Plowshares and Condemn, or even Pacifism.  Unfortunately you can't Wrath him away, like Ulamog.  Just like you had to be prepared for Emrakul, you should be prepared for this guy.

 Consecrated Sphinx - Another huge Blue card drawer?  Yes please!  There isn't a whole lot that needs to be said about this card.  As a creature he is pretty vulnerable in this format, but he is definitely worth running in any deck that has Blue.  Niv-Mizzet decks will be happy to have this guy around.

 Cryptoplasm - A cheaper Vesuvan Shapeshifter that you have to wait for a turn to use its copy ability.  Vesuvan copies when it comes into play, which is nice as it triggers those "enters the battlefield" abilities.  Honestly I'd rather have the twins and pay the 2 extra mana.  But there are the occasional decks that love to copy everything out there, so this is another tool in their belt.

 Galvanoth - Sort of Wild Evocation on a stick, but it only affects you.  There are plenty of ways to stack the top of your library, from Sensei's Divining Top to Sylvan Library.  As a creature he is vulnerable, and sometimes you may not have an instant or sorcery on the top of you library, but he is still going to be occasionally played.  Free spells are always good.

 Hero of Bladehold - Free tokens and creature pump.  I think token decks, and soldier decks especially, are going to like her a lot.  But I'm sure you guys already figured that out.  My question is how does she stay on a metal horse that looks that smooth?  Wouldn't she just fall off, or are her thighs really that strong?  Now I'm starting to have dirty thoughts...

 Massacre Wurm - Eh, I don't think this wurm will be that impressive in Commander.  Sure, it'll hose token decks, but that's about it.  The second ability can help hurt those decks that like to sacrifice creatures, like Savra decks, but most of the time the wurm will get Wrathed away before causing any significant damage.

 Mirran Crusader - The protection abilities are nice, and the double strike is sweet.  All he needs is a piece of equipment and he can hit really hard. 

 Myr Welder - This guy has a lot going for him.  First, he can act as graveyard hate, especially hurting artifact based decks like Sharuum.  Having the ability to use a Planar Portal or Nevinyrral's Disk that was in someone's graveyard is always nice.  You do have to wait a turn to use the activated abilities he steals unless you have some Voltaic Key shenanigans, but it's worth it.

 Phyrexian Crusader - Obviously goes into Skithiryx and Vorosh infect decks.  Protection is nice as well.

 Phyrexian Revoker - Pithing Needle on a stick.  The Needle has a lot of applications, from shutting down a Nevinyrral's Disk to annoying planeswalkers.  The Revoker can act as a back up Needle, but is obviously more vulnerable due to being a creature.

 Psychosis Crawler - This is a fun Maro variant that will automatically go into Niv-Mizzet decks, and may also go into Blue decks that rely on drawing a bunch of cards.  The key is that it hits each opponent.  Just imagine having this guy out with Consecrated Sphinx.  Plus who doesn't like having a brain in a jar to play with?

 Shimmer Myr - Essentially a Vedalken Orrery for Sharuum, Karn and Arcum decks.  If you play with a lot of artifacts, you will probably like this card.

 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas - Another artifact dependent card, and I think that it will slide nicely into Esper decks, especially Sharuum.  The +1 ability is a nice little bit of card sifting and draw, while the -1 ability is good for animating annoying artifacts then Wrathing.  Although his ultimate won't hurt as much in Commander as in Standard, it can still be pretty painful with a bunch of artifact tokens.  You will see this guy played for sure.

 Thopter Assembly - This card will be played specifically to combo with Time Sieve to give a ton of extra turns.  You shouldn't really depend on it to be a beater, though, as it essentially takes two turns before you can attack with the tokens it creates.  But it does create a lot of fliers, so if there are any players that use Radiant, Archangel, I'm sure they will love this contraption.

 Treasure Mage - Wow, reverse Trinket Mage.  This is basically a card made for Commander.  Let's just think about some of the stuff that it can get, off the top of my head:  Argentum Armor, Planar Portal, Duplicant, Blightsteel Colossus, Sundering Titan, Wurmcoil Engine, Eternity Vessel, etc.  You will see this card played.

 Victory's Herald - Would be nice if her ability were static instead of triggered, but she will still do well with token decks as another version of True Conviction.

 Viridian Emissary - Meet your new Sakura-Tribe Elder.  Well actually he won't accelerate you as fast as STE, but he can hit harder.  Just cast him on turn 2 and send him directly into battle.  He will eventually die, and give you the accel you are looking for.


 Black Sun's Zenith - A nice way to wipe the board of everything, including indestructible creatures.  Unfortunately it's going to cost a lot of mana to get rid of Blightsteel Colossus.  Mutilate is better in mono-Black decks, but this is another way to control creatures.

 Blue Sun's Zenith - Instant speed draw is nice, and it is better than Stroke of Genius in a mono-Blue deck.  I can see this one being played even by 2 color decks.  Three color decks may have a harder time but I'm sure someone will try to use it.

 Creeping Corrosion - I don't see Shatterstorm played often enough, likely because people like playing with their own artifacts.  Although this gives you the same effect in another color, I'm guessing you won't see it very often either.  But if you want to take some players by surprise, you should definitely run it.

 Frantic Salvage - There are a lot of artifact based decks out there that would find this card helpful.  If you have some additional card draw capabilities then you should be able to get what you want even quicker.  It's obviously not as good as Open the Vaults, but at least you don't have to worry about what your opponents can bring back.  And it cantrips, which is nice.

 Go for the Throat - Seeing this card makes me sad.  There is no reason to play Terror anymore now that it is outclassed in every way possible.  I used to play with the 10th edition Terror just for the creepy art, but now I don't think I could do that.  The very definition of power creep.

 Green Sun's Zenith - Almost like Chord of Calling, but not quite as good.  First, it has to be cast at sorcery speed.  Second, convoke is kind of undervalued.  But if you want an additional way to search up your Primeval Titan, there's nothing wrong with doubling up using this Zenith.

 Gruesome Encore - Great for removing a card like Genesis or Anger or other annoying thing from the game.  Unfortunately you don't get to keep the creature for more than one turn.  Oh well.

 Into the Core - Straight up better than Dust to Dust and Return to Dust.  It is always good to be able to exile cards rather than just destroy them, so this will be very useful especially if you aren't playing White.

 Morbid Plunder - Not quite Victimize.  However I've seen people use Gravedigger and Cadaver Imp to get cards back from the graveyard, so I'm sure that this will see some play as well.

 Phyrexian Rebirth - Better with Anger in your graveyard.  However there are going to be times where the horror you get from this card is only 3/3, or even smaller.  Ideally you wipe out a token army but it won't always work out like that.  Plus, it lacks the ubiquitous "they can't regenerate" clause.  I don't think I will be using this one, but it does give Konda players another Wrath variant.

 Praetor's Counsel - Pretty much going to be a staple in just about any deck that runs Green, especially Bant decks.  Being able to return your entire graveyard to your hand, and not needing a Reliquary Tower in play to keep all those cards, is pretty sweet.

 White Sun's Zenith - Tokens are nice, but unfortunately they aren't soldiers.  So it will go in a Raksha deck for sure, and maybe Kemba.  But is it better than Decree of Justice?  They can both be played at instant speed, and WSZ makes bigger tokens.  But Decree cycles.  Depends on the deck I guess.  Instant speed token making isn't horrible though.


 Bonehoard - Basically a colorless Lhurgoyf that can be equipped to subsequent creatures, this is a pretty nice piece of equipment.  As anyone who has played with Lord of Extinction knows, those graveyards can get pretty full late game.  So attaching this to something that tramples or flies can make for a decent sized beater.

 Corrupted Conscience - Stealing someone's large or evasive beater and giving it infect?  Seems pretty mean to me, but I know it will be played.  In addition, you can even stick it on one of your own creatures to provide a permanent Tainted Strike.

 Darksteel Plate - There are plenty of decks out there that really rely on their Commanders and want to make sure that they live a good long time.  Making them indestructible goes a long way toward achieving this goal.  Whereas before you were limited to Shield of Kaldra or That Which Was Taken, you get another option with the Plate.

 Knowledge Pool - I'm guessing chaos decks are going to like this one, but I'm not going to be playing with it.

 Mirrorworks - Karn decks are going to really like this one, as are Sharuum decks.  Having this out means that you can get an extra Magister Sphinx for only 2 more mana.  And having another Lightning Greaves is nothing to sneeze at.  I like this a lot.

 Phyresis - So you got a big critter, but he isn't quite scary enough?  Give him infect!

 Spine of Ish Sah - While 7 mana is a lot to destroy a permanent (consider that Desert Twister costs 6, and almost no one plays that card), I have a feeling this will still be played.  All you need is a way to sac it to get it back and blow something else up again.  Honestly I would rather run Argentum Armor than this card, but if you are playing a mono-colored deck and want a way to destroy your color's weaknesses, at least this gives you another option.

 Sword of Feast or Famine - I like this better than Sword of Body and Mind, but not as much as the original 2.  The ability to untap your lands is the big draw to this Sword, as it essentially doubles your mana (although you have to split it into pre-combat and post-combat phases).  The protection abilities are nice too.  As this is a new Sword, you will see it played for sure.


So in no particular order, here are my top staples from Mirrodin Besieged for Commander:

- Consecrated Sphinx
- Green Sun's Zenith
- Into the Core
- Praetor's Counsel
- Blightsteel Colossus
- Treasure Mage 

Honorable mentions go to Sword of Feast or Famine, Mirrorworks, Spine of Ish Sah, Blue Sun's Zenith (triple Blue is tough for a lot of decks), Psychosis Crawler and Myr Welder.  Actually there are a bunch of other playable cards in this set as well, so I'm pretty happy with this set.  At least a lot happier than I was about MED4.

Something that I should also mention is that with all of the new infect cards and creatures, you are going to be seeing a lot more Vorosh and Skithiryx poison decks.  I didn't really hit most of the new poison stuff as those cards are pretty specific to that type of deck.  There are a lot more poison toys out there, so just be prepared.  I'm not saying you have to pack Leeches into all of your decks, but you may not be able to have as long to set up your defenses as you normally would.  Poison is powerful and can take you out quick.

Hope you enjoyed the overview.  Until next time!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com



Knowledge Pool is the most by protocol_7 at Mon, 02/21/2011 - 12:50
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Knowledge Pool is the most awesome addition imo.

I just played Knowledge Pool when Hive Mind and Grip of Chaos in play. Knowledge Pool grabbed diabolic tutor from opponent's library and grabbed Fiery Gambit from mine.

Funny. There's chaos, and by Leviathan at Mon, 02/21/2011 - 14:17
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Funny. There's chaos, and then there's CHAOSSS!!!!1!!!1! Sounds like you are a fan of the latter.

Thank you for the round up. by fataardvark at Mon, 02/21/2011 - 19:02
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Thank you for the round up. Consecrated Sphinx was the one that caught my eye first, then Gruesome Encore. Often lots of yummy things in graveyards.

I had to read Knowledge Pool a couple of times when I saw it played. Any instant in your hand for the biggest, baddest spell in the pool? Yes please... I'd always kill it if I can, though.

I've done two different Glissa decks. One just a lot of GB good stuff with a preference for artifacts (e.g. Wayfarer's Bauble nor Sylvok Replica wouldn't normally go in my green decks) and the other more Voltron style. A tooled up Glissa with Darksteel Plate and a sword (or two) can be very awkward to deal with. I prefer the Voltron deck, but doesn't win as often. Executioner's Capsule is obvious but Voyager Staff has been MVP more than once.

She's also a Zombie. Must do a tribal version, though I suspect Balthor remains the best option for that.

I just finished a game where by themonkey at Mon, 02/21/2011 - 21:35
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I just finished a game where a player with Knowledge Pool also had Teferi out as his commander. This created a game state where opponents couldn't cast any spells. He didn't realize that would happen, but it's a nasty lock that players will have to look out for.

Wow I just realized that by protocol_7 at Tue, 02/22/2011 - 07:57
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Wow I just realized that too.

I think I just had a nerdgasm.

Knowledge pool + Rule of Law by StealthBadger at Wed, 02/23/2011 - 06:51
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Knowledge pool + Rule of Law / Arcane Laboratory / Ethersworn Canonist = a game state where nobody can cast any spells (ok, people can cast artifacts if it's ethersworn canonist).

I'm not sure what kind of deck might want this effect, but it seems quite powerful. Obviously tefer's better, as it makes the effect one-sided, but redundancy is always nice.

Great list. I put together a by themonkey at Mon, 02/21/2011 - 20:43
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Great list. I put together a list of wants when the set was spoiled and it matches up pretty well with yours. I think you had a few cards that need another look. Like Into The Core, I still think I'd prefer Shattering Pulse, but I could see a place for it in especially mono red decks. It could be really nasty when paired with Liquimetal Coating.

The three cards that made me fall of my chair because they were so good were Consecrated Sphinx, Blightsteel Colossus, and Preator's Counsel. They were also some of your tops too.

I'm curious to see how Blightsteel Colossus will play. I could see it getting the ban hammer pretty easily. Although it would solve a lot of problems if they doubled the amount of poison counters needed for the kill in commander. It makes sense, 20 life games mean 10 poison counters. 40 life commander means 20 poison counters.

Each time i play vs poison in by this isnt the n... at Mon, 02/21/2011 - 23:13
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Each time i play vs poison in commander now, it feels like they are cheating. If poison doesnt get changed for commander, and any other 40 life mp variants, it will be a huge problem. It already is and we still have another set to go. Making cards like blightsteel collossus is a huge mistake on wotc part.

I'm more interested to see by protocol_7 at Tue, 02/22/2011 - 07:59
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I'm more interested to see the black cards we will get later.

Skith is becoming scary with more colourless/black infect cards in the pool.

Black provides mana and tutor to get Colossus and etc.

I don't it's as bad as Emrakul but who knows.

My only gripe is that Into by Ith at Tue, 02/22/2011 - 04:31
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My only gripe is that Into the Core isn't really better than Return to Dust - RtD can hit enchantments!

I love what MBS brings. Nothing massively overpowered that warps the format (like Emrakul did), but some decent options for a ton of decks. The two big blue card drawers (Sphinx and Zenith) are going right into my Patron deck.

You are right about Into the by Leviathan at Tue, 02/22/2011 - 13:06
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You are right about Into the Core, I figured that out after submitting the article. But it is still a pretty good card you should fit into tour Red decks.

Into the Core and Return to by themonkey at Tue, 02/22/2011 - 15:12
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Into the Core and Return to Dust seem pretty balanced to me. Yeah Return can hit enchantments, but it only hits one target at instant speed. Into the Core will hit two artifacts at instant speed.

They are both good enough that I'll play them in color.