"Holistic Wisdom" is all about LISTS! This series are a result of Freyalise's exploration of Dominaria! Let's follow recent trends, hot decks, metagame calls, Magic pop culture and pretty much everything! Each week, we'll pick a topic and make a list that's both informative and fun to read!
Holistic Wisdom: 7 Cool Commander Mechanics
Commander was first released in 2011 when it was officially recognised as a format. Since then, there were new renditions annually and that has included Commander's Arsenal (as the 2012 release), Commander 2013, Commander 2014, Commander 2015 and the most recently released Commander 2016. From among these expansions, there are several mechanics that stand out for being unique to multiplayer formats as well as Legacy.
Ready to check out the 7 cool Commander mechanics that changed hundred-card formats forever?
7. Confluences (Commander 2015)
The cycle of Confluences are not keyworded mechanics per se, but they are the first time to feature a modal spell where each mode could be selected more than one. In other cycles such as Charms (Dromar's Charm, Azorius Charm) and Commands Cryptic Command, Profane Command), you never had the luxury of choosing the same mode twice.
In addition to producing great value in multiplayer games, Fiery Confluence in particular has also made it to Legacy where it is housed in Dragon Stompy.
6. Join forces (Commander 2011)
There is a category of cards in Commander known as "high-five" cards. It refers to the type of card where everyone (well, in certain situations one or two people might be unhappy about it) is happy to see it being cast. For example, cards like Howling Mine is the perfect example, because almost everyone at the table is happy to draw extra cards, except for the player with already a full hand or the player without Reliquary Tower. The point is, most players would be happy.
Join forces is an extention of this concept, where players are almost always to see it being cast. For example, everyone is likely going to contribute at least one mana to Minds Aglow. In a five-player game, that is a low, low price of 1 mana to draw at least five cards and everyone at the table is happy (well, except the player who is tapped out!). Whatever it is, Join forces is interesting in a way that it does collective good to the entire table, fosting the spirit of Commander and that is to have fun with your friends and family.
5. Undaunted (Commander 2016)
On the other hand, Undaunted is the kind of card where it is exactly opposite. More of a "every man for himself" kind of attitude. Undaunted is very powerful in certain situations where you find yourself being cornered by two or more opponents. It allows you to play "catch up" and recover from a backward board position.
Of course, it is only great in truly multiplayer games of at least 4 - 6 players but keep in mind that it is also great in Two-Headed Giand or Three-Headed Hydra, because you have at least two or three opponents and one or two guaranteed allies!
4. Tempting offer (Commander 2013)
This cycle of five cards presents Tempting offer, a very well-designed mechanic in terms of causing tension and political outbursts at the table. Firstly, the player casting the card will always get a perk and that perk is multiplied for each opponent choosing to join in the fun. Assuming not every player wants in, it creates a rift being those who do because they're helping the caster "get ahead". In a four player game for example, you could get up to four lands (not just basic lands, by the way) onto the battlefield for one mana, which is likely going to put you ahead of the pack.
So, the question is... when offered a Tempting offer, do you take it?
3. Myriad (Commander 2015)
The other cards with Myriad aren't very exciting but Blade of Selves is probably one of the most important additions to any deck that cares about having value against multiple players. Equipping it onto Eternal Witness not only spawns multiple copies to attack opponents with, you'll also get to trigger the ability on each copy, allowing you to pick up a card from your graveyard for each opponent.
Myriad is a mechanic that is likely to make you the common enemy but Blade of Selves is so powerful when used correctly and that single-handedly made it one of the most expensive cards in the entire expansion. It's also colorless and an artifact, meaning it can be put into many different decks. Aside from Eternal Witness, you'll also enjoy going crazy with Sakura-Tribe Elder, Solemn Simulacrum, Diluvian Primordial, Reveillark and so on!
2. Planeswalker Commanders (Commander 2014)
Planeswalkers are already pretty cool but now that they can also be your Commander makes it even cooler! When the concept of Planeswalker Commanders were unleashed in 2014, it was very popular because you know, planeswalkers. It was also a nice change for the players who preferred mono-colored deck, as opposed to all the shards and wedges cards we have been getting in the previous years.
These Planeswalker Commanders are presumably more powerful in one-versus-one games rather than games with multiple opponents, because there're simply less opponent to attack your planeswalker. It's also immune to creature removal and assorted mass removal spells that are prevalent in usual Commander games. Unless your opponent is packing Hero's Downfall or Dreadbore, you wiping the board and then dropping your planeswalker could be rather game-breaking.
1. Partner (Commander 2016)
Of all the mechanics to have impacted Commander, none have affected the format as much as Partner did. In addition to the cycle of four-colored Legendary creatures, Partner opened up the possibility of four-color decks, something which tons of casual players have been clamouring for.
A total of fifteen creatures with Partner was introduced, allowing a total of 105 potential combinations. The beauty is that you're also not forced to play a four-color deck if you don't want to, because you can still pick two of the below creatures with an overlapping color and wind up in a three-color deck. Basically, you get to mix and match any way you like in order to build a thematic deck you wish to!
For your convenience, here are all of them!
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