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Nov 09 2013

Top 10 COMMANDER 2013 Cards for EDH

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Prepare for an in-depth review of my biased opinion on the Top 10 EDH cards from the Commander 2013 Preconstructed Decks. This list was a bit hard to muster since there are only 51 new cards and my set reviews do not include the reprints. However, I will say this: there are some high quality reprints inside these cardboard boxes. In my opinion, Wizards of the Coast™ hit one out of the park with their new Commander product. Bravo.

For those of you that are familiar with my previous set reviews, you will remember that I provide Top 10 lists for cards that work in my EDH/Commander decks. With this in mind, there may be better cards for EDH out of the Commander 2013 set, but they just don’t fit into my current or future decklists.

My current Commander/EDH decks are still at ten, however, one or two may be replaced by new legendary creatures from the new Commander product. Looking at my list of ten Generals, can you guess which commanders may possibly be relieved of their command?

As I did with my previous articles, I will also include a few updates as my Top 10 list gets some play time. Be sure to check back for my BORN OF THE GODS Set Review for my EDH Decks in February/March 2014!

Let’s Get Started!

Honorable Mentions

Roon of the Hidden Realm Commander 2013

Angel of Finality: My current playgroup does not have a ton of graveyard shenanigans to warrant this Bojuka Angel, but if it takes this turn I will have no reservations about including her in my Kaalia of the Vast deck.

Sudden Demise: Red cards usually get overlooked in my review because I do not play a lot of red. However, I really like this card and see it as red’s version of Wash Out. Although I don’t think that Sudden Demise will get a chance in my Uril or Kaalia builds, it should be an auto-include in mono-Red decks which begs the question, how long before I finally put a red-based EDH deck together. Purphoros, God of the Forge maybe? I’m thinking about it!

Restore: Any land, from any graveyard? Super good in Strip Mine heavy metas or if your deck runs a lot of fetch lands. I have considered for Uril and Sliver Legion, but just not sure yet. There isn’t a ton of LD in my meta.

Roon of the Hidden Realm: I am listing the new “King of Blink” outside of my top 10. When I began planning this article he was a shoe-in to replace Lavinia of the Tenth as commander for my ETB Flicker deck. However, I have actually been having a lot of fun with Lavinia lately so Roon just gets a mention here.

Top 10 Theros Cards for EDH Commander

#10 – Nekusar, the Mindrazer

So, my top 10 Commander 2013 list starts with Nekusar, the Mindrazer a Legendary Undead Wizard who was the “B-Side” of the Mind Seize Commander 2013 Preconstructed deck. This interesting zombie dude will not be replacing any of my current commanders nor will he be included in any of my current decks. Nekusar will actually be one of my next decks that I build. It wasn’t until just a few days ago that I found respect and Johnny-like admiration for the type of deck that he can command. In round one of a recent 1v1 match, I was playing Uril, the Miststalker versus an opponent with a wheels.dec Nekusar build. It was a close victory of Uril, but I was amazed at how well cards like Memory Jar, Megrim, Shocker, Wheel of Fortune, Underworld Dreams and Whirlpool Warrior dripped with synergy in this unique build.

I am looking forward to suiting up wheel effects and sleeving up my first Grixis deck in my new Brown Dragon Shield Sleeves. However, the road to constructing Nekusar will be a long one as I have absolutely no reserve left on my dual land collection.

#9 – Illusionist’s Gambit

Fun with Illusionist's Gambit in Commander
Wizard’s Commmander 2013 product offers quite a few spells and effects that can help provide a momentum shift in a multi-player game state. Even though I construct most of my decks with multi-player in mind, I would still like for my deck to not have dead draws if I sit down for the occasional 1v1 matchup. That brings us to the second card to hit my Top 10 List, Illusionist’s Gambit. At the very worst, the Gambit is an expensive fog-effect in a 1v1 battle. However, in multi-player, Illusionist’s Gambit could be epic. Opponent attacks me, I cast Gambit. Player gulps and then must redirect his attack in a different direction, whether he/she wants to or not. This jedi-like warping of an opponent’s attack phase can reflect doom in a different direction or cause a major battle with massive creature lives lost. Good Times.

I really like the design behind Illusionist’s Gambit and if it weren’t for it’s ability being overcosted and boring in 1v1 I probably would have ranked it higher on my list. At this time I have a copy of Illusionist’s Gambit, but am still unsure if it will be played defensively in Wrexial, Lavinia, or Hanna.

#8 – Act of Authority

Okay boys and girls, today’s lesson will be the evolution of EDH. You see, there was a time in the history of Commander when you could simply destroy an enchantment or artifact and go about your day. In today’s world of Commander destroy has taken on the new meaning of temporary. White and Green seem to be the biggest culprits of enchantment and artifact recursion and these colors are always present in my meta. Act of Authority is on the same playing field as Return to Dust due to their ability to exile troublesome artifacts and enchantments. The only drawback lies in paragraph two of the rules text stating that we can remove another artifact or enchantment from the game if we do not mind giving control of “The Act” to that card’s controller. Hmmm, in game situations where a stax, prison or combo piece is threating the board, sure why not?

Act of Authority would be a shoe-in for my Hanna, Ship’s Navigator Deck if I had an easy sacrifice outlet to rinse and repeat it’s enters the battlefield ability. So, for now, this piece of removal remains in my binder waiting for an opening in one of my white based EDH decks.

#7 – Djinn of Infinite Deceits

Funnest MTG Card in Theros Akroan Horse
So the artwork on this card is really good, however, I wish it was more a bit more comical. A cartoony Djinn along the lines of the Genie from Aladdin™ (Sing with me! You ain’t never had a friend like me!) would have been awesome. At the very least something like Portal’s Djinn of the Lamp would provide some smiles. Regardless of the artwork I believe that Djinn of Infinite Deceits will provide quality entertainment at numerous kitchen table Commander games. Nothin’ better than givin’ them the ol’ switcheroo, aye? The sly ability of this Switcheroo Djinn could also pose some interesting political moments.

On a strategic note, switching controllers of two target creatures will bring about summoning sickness in addition to new alliances and enemies throughout the course of the game. I am not sure which deck will embrace my only copy of the Djinn, but I could very easily see him wind up in my Lavinia of the Tenth EDH deck. The primary purpose would be to swap one of my creatures with an opponent and then use one of Lavinia’s many “blink” or “flicker” effects to regain control of my creature.

#6 – Order of Succession

I passed over this card quite a few times before realizing that it may be a little better than what it first appeared during spoiler season. What we need to look at in the rules text of Order of Succession is the keyword “chooses” (Note that “target” is not printed on this card). What this means is hexproof, shroud, and other protection methods are irrelevant. Do you have problems with roided up Hexproof Voltron commanders (Uril, Sigarda), detrimental angelic forces (Iona, Avacyn) or control dudes (Sheoldred, Consecrated Sphinx) in your meta? Is that creature’s controller sitting on your left or right? Well then, you know what to do.

Of course the ideal situation is to cast the Order when you have no creatures or at least when you are trading up in value for an opposing creature. Where Order of Succession probably shines the most is in a 1v1 game. I for one would fear this card played against me if I have Uril, the Miststalker on the battlefield. As far as my decks go, I believe that either Wrexial, Lavinia, or Hanna will get first crack at it. Time will tell.

#5 – Tempt with Reflections

Tempt with Reflections in Blue EDH
One for me.
I will make you a tempting offer, do you want one too? Yes? Good. One for you, one for me.
What’s that? You both want a copy too? Great! One for you and you, Two for me.
In theory, Tempt with Reflections seems to be an auto include for my Wrexial, the Risen Deep Copy/Steal deck, and will definitely be playtested in the near future. However, we must remember that with the power of creating token copy creatures comes great responsibility, so let’s look at this card a bit more cautiously. First, we must be very careful that we do not copy a creature with an ETB effect that could wreak havoc on our board position (such as any of the primordials). Another backfire could be our opponents accepting the Tempting Offer of a Clone token and then destroying/exiling our copies or blasting us with a Cyclonic Rift afterwords.

With our precautions in place, I still fully plan to give this copy spell a home in my Wrexial, the Risen Deep deck. Giving everyone else at the table a copy of Consecrated Sphinx and I receive 3 or 4 in return seems alright with me. With the vast amount of cloning effects, Tempt with Reflection will almost always produce a unique effect from game to game.

#4 – Tempt with Discovery

Sorcery speed ramp for may not seem great at first, however, if you look a little closer you will see that Tempt with Discovery can tutor for any land in your deck and put it onto the battlefield untapped.
This will be an immediate inclusion in my Vhati il-Dal deck where I can dig Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth or Volrath’s Stronghold out of my library. I will probably include a copy of this in my five color sliver deck. I think Sliver Legion would appreciate that.

In Commander 2013 each color received a new card with a Tempting Offer card as part of a cycle. From this group I believe that Tempt from Discovery will be the one that most opponents will accept the offer and retrieve their own land from their library. In doing so, if all players choose to get a land in a four player game, we will be putting four lands onto the battlefield.

#3 – Toxic Deluge

Toxic Deluge in Lifegain Commander Deck

It seems that Indestructible is a thing now-a-days. In an EDH world where Theros gods bellow out in a deep voice “I cannot be destroyed” and Avacyn, Angel of Hope provides indestructibility to all that gaze upon her hotness, sometimes a wrath effect like Damnation just isn’t enough. A mass draining of power and toughness by applying -X/-X effects can seal the fate of creatures whose life force shine with Indestructible, Hexproof, or Regeneration. Toxic Deluge offers removal at the cost of our life, which is great as long as we have this resource to spare. With that being said, Toxic Deluge is an auto-include as a sweeper in my Oloro Lifegain Deck.

#2 – Unexpectedly Absent

Unexpectedly Absent catapults target permanent on top of its owner’s library at instant speed for the mere casting cost of . There is also the option to dump mana into this spell to bury the targeted permanent cards down from the top of target opponent’s library. So why is this good? Even if we simply bury a troublesome piece of an opponent’s board a few cards deep into their library, at least we do not have to deal with it for a few turns. Where this card shines is in response to an opponent’s shuffle effect. By casting Unexpectedly Absent in response to a fetch land, tutor, or other shuffle effect, we can sufficiently tuck an opposing general, combo piece or any other non-land permanent into their library. I put this card on par with Oblation and may include it in any one of my white based EDH decks to be decided when I get a copy for my collection.

#1 – Oloro, Ageless Ascetic

Best Card from Commander 2013 Oloro Ageless Ascetic
It is quite ironic that both Vish-Kal, Grand Arbiter and Oloro, Ageless Ascetic are both pictured sitting on their Commander throne. The fact is, that I have had a Black/White Lifelink deck in the works for the past several months and no sooner did I sleeve it up for Vish-Kal to lead the lifelinkers, the Commander 2013 Spoilers introduced Oloro. It was almost like Vish-Kal got up to grab a beer and when he came back Oloro claimed his recliner, his remote control and was half way through his bag of Cheetos™.

Seriously though, lets take a look at our new Esper Commander. Who better to lead your Lifegain Matters EDH deck than a guy who gains you two life during your upkeep… from the command zone. What?! Are you kidding me Wizards? Oloro becomes the first legendary creature to have a triggered ability that protrudes from a zone of the game that your opponents cannot interact with, the Command Zone. There have been some serious discussions regarding Oloro’s lifegain ability in the MTGSalvation.com forums on whether or not the designers have gone too far when tinkering with this zone and faction of the game. Regardless of whether or not we think it is fair that Oloro players can gain 2 life every turn is irrelevant, therefore I will be joining the side that fully intends on taking advantage of the situation.

Oloro’s other ability only adds flavor to the commander gravy. Once he is on the battlefield, and if we gain life, we can pay and draw a card while each player loses one life. Not to mention that the “gain 2 life during your upkeep” feature is still in effect. Good times ahead, yes, good times.

Even though the popular census of those embracing this Giant Soldier has been Pillow Fort, I will take another path. Choosing to go the creature route Lifelinkers such as Wurmcoil Engine, Drogskol Reaver, and Archangel of Thune will devert attention while we gain life and set up combo pieces. Oloro will ensure that win conditions such as Felidar Sovereign and Test of Endurance are easily obtainable. Then of course, there is the Sanguine Bond + Exquisite Blood instant win combo that Oloro will trigger during our upkeep.

Based on the mass amount of decklists already posted in Magic forums, Oloro, Ageless Ascetic will be a popular commander so plan on seeing a lot of him in your playgroups and meta.

Hope you enjoyed this article. Feel free to tell us about your favorite Commander 2013 Card by commenting below. Don’t miss the BORN OF THE GODS 2014 set review – February/March 2014!

2 comments

  1. edison

    Again, another awesome article. 🙂

    1. Wally D.

      Thank you my friend, glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

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