Monday, November 11, 2013

Commander 2013: a set review, part 3.

Let us continue in our reviews


This is the Bant (green-white-blue) deck. It seeks to, well, outmaneuver your opponents. It doesn't have as much raw power (in my opinion) as the other decks, but makes up for it by being more efficient. It's creatures aren't as large, but they're more evasive or have some utility or having synergy with a lot of the other cards in the deck. It has more political cards than the other decks, it has more card draw, it has more synergy. It won't always have the best answer, but it always have an answer.

The deck has a couple of things going on. Theme number one; blinking. Blinking is neat, right? For those not in the know, Blinking is when you exile a thing and then return it to the battlefield. Depending on how the way this ability is worded, it has several different applications. It can allow things to dodge removal spells aimed their way, it lets you remove negative attachments like pacifism, it lets you return things to their owner's control. But most typically, its used to get added mileage out of enter the battlefield triggers. Cards in the deck like Acidic Slime, Angel of Finality, Farhaven Elf, Fiend Hunter and more get lots of extra gas thanks to cards like Roon, Flickerwisp, Conjurer's Closet, Flickerform, etc.

Theme number two; activated abilities. There's lots of cards in this deck that tap to do things. Why is this a theme you may ask? Because it also has lots of ways of untapping things. Things like Derevi, Curse of Inertia, Sword of the Paruns, and Thousand-Year Elixir. So while using the ability of Azami, Djinn of Infinite Deceits, or Kazandu Tuskcaller might be fairish when done once per turn, less so three or four times.

Theme number three; politics. The deck has lots of things that can potentially be used to benefit opponents. Roon can save opponents creatures from removal, or give them the afformentioned enter-the-battlefield abilities. Djinn of Infinite Deceits can give your opponents a nice creature. Most of the untapping things I mentioned above work on any creature, not just your own. These sort of things are nice because other players are more likely to go after someone else if you're benefiting them in some way.

This deck isn't really my thing. I felt it was being pulled in too many directions, and while some may prefer the Jack-of-All-Trades approach, I prefer something a little bit more linear and beefy. Both of the new commanders are generally speaking (heh) aiming to do different things. I would start their and pick your favorite.


Derevi was hard to evaluate. She's very subtle. Neither of her abilities are overtly powerful, but they add up into a general that is hard to deal with in most traditional means. The twiddle ability is useful and is only limited by your IMAGINATION, but what makes Derevi really special is that she is so hard to kill. General damage is real, and hooking her up with some scary equipment will definitely be the death of more than one person.

To make the most of her untapping ability, I would stick her next to a bunch of evasive critters. Things most likely to be able to connect and trigger the ability, along side things worth untapping. I wish I had better advice, but the commanders I lean towards are usually less subtle in how the mangle their opponents.


Roon is a man with a plan, and that plan is blinking. Roon wants to be a long side lots of creatures that want to be 'reset' for whatever reason. Creatures with menacing enter the battlefield triggers like Avenger of Zendikar, Angel of Serenity, and Gilded Drake are all that much more terrifying when you get to do it every turn. And as mentioned above, Roon as the added benefit of resetting negative effects like pacifism, -1/-1 counters on creatures and mind control effects. Better yet, you can do it to your opponents creatures for political value. One of my favorite things to do with Roon in some of the games I played was switch control of a thing I had with Djinn of Infinite Deceits and whatever the scariest thing someone else had, and then getting my thing back with Roon.

I have several problems with Roon. First of all, he's somewhat expensive for a commander with no immediate impact. While this isn't a problem in and of itself, it does feed into the next problem. Roon is scary. The value you can get off of Roon isn't remotely subtle, and whenever you play him, he's bound to be one of the scariest creatures in play at any time. This means he's bound to attract a lot of negative attention, so I would definitely be playing things like Lightning Greaves or Swiftfoot Boots along side him. Doing this would cover my final problem, Roon is slow. You don't get to play him until you get to five mana, and then you have to wait a whole turn to use him provided he even survives. Haste enablers go a long way, so the above equipment and things like Opal Palace is a must.

For you collectors out there, the following cards included in Evasive Maneuvers have new art:
Karmic Guide (previously Judge Promo only)
Rubina Soulsinger
Arcane Denial
Basalt Monolith
Control Magic
Selesnya Signet
Simic Signet
Wash Out

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