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Power Level in Magic the Gathering : Commander

Discussing the power level of your commander deck is becoming a very tricky, but important topic. Over the past 2 or so years, many players moved to playing Magic over webcam, and very quickly, Commander became the format of choice for many players. Being the “sandbox” format for Magic the Gathering means that this can quite often lead to friction between those players who want to play competitively and those who are interested in running a deck containing only Mark Poole artwork.

As I see it there are two major difficulties when having this discussion. The first is that it is a fairly new phenomenon, and almost exclusive to commander. When I go to my LGS for a Modern FNM there is no such discussion, everyone is there to win. Everyone accepts that this is a competitive environment, and that getting 10 poison counters on turn 2 or 3 is a very real possibility. (especially if you are playing me).

The other is that there is no consensus on what the power level means or how to rate your deck. Power levels also vary wildly from play group to play group. A deck that we deem to be a 6 in my playgroup might be considered to be a high 7 or an 8 in another playgroup. 

How do I rate power level?

I spent the better part of last year helping a friend organize commander streams, and one of the things I did was to look at the decks to try and make sure we were playing at roughly the same level. There were mistakes but generally this went pretty well. Unfortunately one of the most useful aspects was having a single person decide the power levels, which is not maintainable in a play group let alone the whole commander community.

When I look at power level I tend to ask myself the question “at what turn does this deck push for the win”. The earlier the deck can push for the win the more powerful it is. Below are some areas I look at, please note that these are guidelines or suggestions as opposed to rules.

Combos and Tutors

As a general rule of thumb the more tutors a deck has the more powerful it is. As a tutor is effectively another copy of whatever card you need it to be. There is a reason that many cEDH decks look to run black. They allow decks to be more consistent and have easier access to key pieces.

I am not adverse to combos or even infinite combos at almost any power level. The thing you should be looking for is how easy is the combo to assemble, disrupt and how many pieces it needs. Also whether the combo is actually going to win them the game. For example two card combos such as the now classic Demonic Consultation + Thassa’s Oracle is a big red flag for any deck that claims to be under power 8. However, the infinite combo in my Mazerik deck requires at least 4 pieces. Mazerik, Animation Module, Ashnod’s Altar and a creature to start the loop off. But it is not going to win me the game, just make my creatures infinitely big. They are still vulnerable to removal, fog effects or just being chump blocked. 

How optimized the mana base is

As the mana base and ramp becomes more optimized the faster that the deck is going to be. If they are running a fully optimized mana base that prioritizes lands coming in untapped and gaining access to all of their colors as quickly they are going to be able to cast spells faster.

Similarly looking at the ramp that they are running will help you identify how optimized the deck is. For example, are they running Farseek, Nature’s Lore and Three Visits over Cultivate over Cultivate or Harrow. They are not only going to be able to ramp earlier but more efficiently. There is a big difference between getting a triome on T2 as opposed to a basic land on T3. The same is true of mana rocks, Mana Crypt, Grim Monolith and Mox Diamond can all all provide mana faster than Commander’s Sphere, or a Chromatic Lantern.

If you start building your board state earlier than your opponents you will already be in a more advantageous position.

More Information on land ramp can be found here.

The Mana curve

If your deck is full of lower mana value spells you are going to be able to cast more spells earlier in the game. Additionally you are less likely to be lumbered with that high MV spell in your hand, or draw into something you don’t have enough mana to cast. All of this will make your early game more consistent and allow you to push for the win earlier.

As you can see from the image below, as the power level increases the more the concentrated the curve becomes at the lower end. While spells with an MV of 2-4 are always likely to be the most common. Spells of 5 MV+ become increasingly rare as the power level increases.

You can learn how to lower your curve here.

The win-con

How the deck is looking to win is also important. Is the win condition instant, and will allow them to win out of nowhere? Or is it a slow build up that will take several turns to come to fruition. For example are they looking to use a 2 card combo to win instantly, create a board state of big creatures and turn them side wards, or simply looking to out value you over multiple turns so you can never catch up to them.

Cards that send the wrong message

This is less something I look at when determining power level, but more advice to people to help stop their decks being seen as more powerful than they are. A prime example of this is the OG dual lands, if you have them I fully understand the desire to play with them. However, if you sit down at a table claiming that your deck is a 5 and on T1 or T2 you play an OG dual land it might send the wrong message. It is entirely possible that the deck is a 5 as the OG dual lands alone are not enough to bump up the power level of the deck. But they are synonymous with powerful decks and powerful formats. Another example might be Wheel of Fortune. By itself it is not going to win you the game. However, it is associated with powerful decks and formats.

This is also a good example of why you shouldn’t just look at the price of a deck to determine the power. There are a myriad of old cards that are very valuable but not powerful. Whereas Mitch from the Commanders Quarters YouTube channel has proven that you can build powerful decks on a budget.

The deck might also be their pet deck and be fully blinged out with pricey legacy foils, or collectable versions of cards. But you might be able to pick up a more recent printing of the same card for pennies.

What conversations do I have before a game?

No matter how many times I see it, it is still disappointing to see people turn up to a commander game and just put a deck on the table. No discussion on what the deck is, how powerful it is or even what kind of game they are expecting.

Rule 0

This is without a doubt one of my favorite aspects of commander. The fact that as long as everyone agrees you can change the rules. One of my favorite commanders is Ink-Treader Nephilim, a non-legendary creature. Thanks to rule 0 I get to play it more often than not. But the important thing to remember is just because you want to do something, it doesn’t mean the people will also want to. You might really enjoy playing with silver bordered cards but that might not be the game people were expecting.

Unlike other formats a game of commander can be quite the time investment. So it is important to make sure that everyone is aware of what kind of game they are about to play. The best commander games is when everyone at the table is having fun. Try and make an agreement with the table, in game 1 we are going to have a higher power game but in game 2 were going to have a more casual game.

Deck power level and warnings

You should always try and be honest about the power level of your deck. If you don’t know what the power level is or you are not sure, say that. Describe what your deck does, or how much effort has gone into making it. Ask one of the players at the table who seems more confident with power levels to have a look at the deck. Knowing what someone is doing and stopping them are two completely different things. If you have any cards that send the wrong message let the other players know.

For example: “I am playing Muldrotha the Gravetide, it’s my pet deck so there are some quite expensive cards including OG dual lands so watch out of them. I have spent quite a long time tuning it to make it efficient but I have tried to keep it to a 7 and usually becomes threatening around turn 7. It’s a standard reanimation game plan, I am looking to fill my graveyard and play the same threats multiple times.”

It can also be a good idea to warn people about the themes that you are playing. There are some themes such as Stax and Infect that a lot of players don’t like. As someone who plays a lot of infect I am used to people complaining about it. If I am going to be running a dedicated infect deck I ask people at the table if they are happy with me running infect. Otherwise you run the risk of being hated out of the game first whether you are the threat or not.

Table

The following graphic shows at what turn decks can start to push for the win against suggested power levels. This is the average turn that the deck becomes threatening. Not if I get X, Y and Z in my opening hand I can push for a win on turn 7. Magic and in particular commander is a game of variance. There will be games where you just sit there spinning your wheels, and other games where everything just goes right. It is important to balance these out and find the average.

The power pyramid. A pyramid showing on what turn decks become threatening to power level.
You’ve got to unleash the power of the pyramid.

Conclusion

At the end of the day to the overwhelming majority of the Magic community it is a game that we play for fun, and I am not here to tell you how to enjoy it. I am not going to tell you that you are enjoying your hobby wrong. As long as you and the people you are playing with are having fun, you are doing it right. It doesn’t matter if you are looking to combo off on turn 1, or just enjoy sending a 1/1 mountain walking goat at someone. We have all made mistakes when it comes to determining the power level of our decks. Instead of berating someone who made an honest mistake, teach them how to not make the mistake again.

We should be focusing on what unites us as a community as opposed to what divides us. Magic and in particular commander is an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. To join a community of like minded people, and use it as a jumping off point to find a D&D group, an MMO clan, or even find a 4 for a round of golf. The best thing that you can do for your community is to remember that it is just a game that is played for fun.

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Card of the Week – Basic Lands

Welcome to the last in the current series of Card of the Week. For the final edition I decided to pick a card that everyone will have in their collection. Ok more cycle of cards than an individual one. The Basic lands are the only cards that have received a printing in every single set. I can’t remember the last supplemental product I bought that didn’t have them. I think that they are often overlooked and cut for lands that are a downgrade. They come in untapped, so you can use them that turn and aren’t affected by Blood Moon effects.

If you ever ask either myself or Ian what the first thing we would to a Commander Precon deck is, the answer would be the same. “Replace the tap lands with basics”. When we refer to tap lands we generally mean: the tap lands, guildgates, temples, gain 1 life lands, and pretty much anything else with no redeeming qualities. When I see someone play a tap land on T2/T3 I tend to think, if not often say something along the lines of: “Was that scry really worth not casting a spell this turn?”, “Yay, you played your turn 2 spell on turn 3”, “Was it worth a whole turn rotation to cast that spell?”, “OH you played a guildgate on turn 2 to give you access to more colours? You could have cast a ramp spell, gotten the same number of colours while increasing your overall number of lands!”.

Alternatively you could cast a spell such as Farseek go find an acceptable tap land (such as a triome) and really fix your colours. Don’t get me wrong basics are not the best lands and there are many that they can be upgraded for. Apart from OG duels you want to look for lands that can come in untapped such as the check lands or the tango lands. I would like to challenge you all to look at your decks and ask yourself the question is this land better than a basic? Is it worth the tempo loss?

The final reason that you should run basic lands is for ramping. Most modern ramp spells specifically fetch basic lands. You will want to ensure you can actually use all of your ramp. In conclusion there is no downside to running basic lands, and they are often better than most lands that can produce multiple colours.

Parting remarks

Thank you to everyone who has read this series, I hope you enjoyed it and found some new cards. For this final edition of Card of the Week I have asked Boon to write a song expressing my feelings on tap lands.

Tap-lands, huh, yeah
What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing, uhh
Tap-lands, huh, yeah
What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing, uhh
Say it again, Y’all
Tap-lands, huh, (bad cards)
What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me,

oh Tap-lands, I simply hate
Give me a basic land any day
A tap-lands means a land drop that you can’t use
You have to wait till next turn, there’s no excuse


I said, tap-lands, huh, yeah
What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing, just say it again
Tap-lands, huh, yeah
What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen to me
Tap-lands, it nothing but a delay
Tap-lands, it’ll slow you down each one you play

Oh, tap-lands, they’re the enemy to every deck
Just swap for basics, oh what the heck
You’re never at your best
If you have to wait a rotation
Watching all the other players game acceleration
Who wants them tapped?

Oh Tap-lands, huh, yeah
What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing, uhh
Say it, say it, say it
Tap-lands, huh, yeah
What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen here now
Tap-lands, it nothing but a delay
Tap-lands, it’ll slow you down each one you play


Oh tap-lands, they come in each and every precon
Slowing you down, they should be gone
Can’t wait around a turn to play that winning card
If that tap-land was a basic you’d you wouldn’t have to discard


Tap-lands, huh, yeah
What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing, uhh
Tap-lands, huh, yeah
What are they good for?
Absolutely nothing, listen here now
Tap-lands, it nothing but a delay
Tap-lands, it’ll slow you down each one you play


Tap-lands bring precons fairness
Whilst giving access to more colours
But is it really hard to print them
With shocks, tango, checks or others?


Tap-lands, huh, yeah
What are they good for?
You tell me WotC? (Nothing)
Say it, preach it, scream it
Tap-lands (I know), huh (now, yeah)
What are they good for?
Stand up and shout it (nothing)

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Card of the Week – Panic

Panic - 5ED - Banner

Long time readers will be aware I think that cantrips are highly useful spells. [Niveous Wisps, Nighthaze, Scout’s Warning] Over Magics multitudes of sets many of them have been printed, and they are played in every format. Panic received it’s last printing back in 1997 with 5th Edition, making it only legal in the eternal formats. I think that it is a great and underplayed card in both Commander and Pauper.

Panic - Ice Age
Get out of my way

Panic is an Instant for a single Red mana, the oracle text can be found here. It can only be cast in the Combat step before Blockers have been declared. It prevents target creature from blocking, and draws you a card at the beginning of the next upkeep. The downside of this spell is obvious, the restrictive casting timing. This means that you cannot cast it do dig for answers, and instead will have to wait for the appropriate time. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t just use it as a cantrip to draw a card. As each turn has to progress through all steps and phases.

On the other hand you get quite a powerful effect from a single mana. If an opponent knows they are likely to be attacked they are going to leave up blockers. As we know the best type of removal is player removal and ignoring blockers is going to expedite it. Removing a blocker from the equation could completely change the combat, possibly leading to a knockout. It also has great synergy with decks that are utilizing attack or damage triggers and are looking to protect their creatures.

Additionally it can be a very useful political tool. Removing a blocker can be just as beneficial for an opponent as it is for you. You can gain a favour, deal with an opponent and draw a card all for a single mana. Finally it draws you a card.

Suggested Commanders

Panic is at its best in a deck that is looking to turn it’s creatures sideways. In Decks such as Feather, the Redeemed or Zada, Hedron Grinder it can provide large amounts of value. Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin could take advantage of removing a blocker to swing safely. Any number of Xenagos style Gruul stompy decks could use it to ensure they can trample over the creatures or just hit directly. It could also be used in Prowess decks such as Elsha of the Infinite to trigger prowess and draw a card.

This card just makes me think of the following scene from Dad’s Army:
Cpt. George Mainwaring: I could have sworn that they would never break through the Maginot line.
Sgt. Arthur Wilson: Quite right sir, they didn’t.
Cpt. George Mainwaring: I thought not. I’m a pretty good judge of these matters you know Wilson.
Sgt. Arthur Wilson: They went round the side.
Cpt. George Mainwaring: I see… they what!

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Card of the Week – Dragonrage

Dragonrage - FRF - Banner

If you played magic in the early days you would have been fearful of the mighty Shivan Dragon. A flying 5/5 Dragon with firebreathing, that was capable of threatening you life total in a hurry. While it has been surpassed by newer cards, the firebreathing mechanic is still being printed especially on Dragons. Dragonrage is the only instant way to grant the ability, which additionally acts a ritual. Making it a fine addition to Card of the Week.

Dragonrage - FRF printing
You get firebreathing, you get firebreathing, everyone gets firebreathing.

Dragonrage is an instant for 2R, that adds a red mana to your mana pool for each attacking creature you control. Additionally it gives each attacking creature you control firebreathing until the end of turn. Firebreathing is an activated ability that costs a red mana and gives the creature +1/+0 until the end of turn.

This is best in a deck that is running a lot of creatures and looking to attack anyway. For example if you are running a Goblin token deck you can generate a lot of mana and use it to cast combat tricks. If you don’t have any you can always pump the mana into the firebreathing ability of an unblocked creature. Additionally if you are looking to play more of a spellslinger build, you can generate the mana and cast more spells.

However, as a ritual it is quite unreliable. This is because you need to be attacking with at least 4 creatures for it to be positive. Furthermore as you can only create the mana from attacking creatures, you can only create it in your combat phase.

Suggested Commanders

Dragonrage is best in a deck that seeks to flood the board with creatures and turn them sidewards. You can generate a large amount of mana, which can be turned into damage. Commanders include: Krenko & Krenko; Kykar, Wind’s Fury; Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer or the Locust God. If you are playing an infect build of Saskia the Unyielding it could be useful as a pump spell. In Kalamax, the Stormsire you can copy it when you cast it to generate even more mana.

My personal favourite is Adeliz, the Cinder Wind. Ideally a wizard tribal deck that is looking to take advantage of the pseudo prowess she grants. Dragonrage would likely be mana positive and allow you cast even more spells. All of these decks would also appreciate a previous Card of the Week First Day of Class.

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Card of the Week – Argivian Restoration

Argivian Restoration - WTH - Banner

The major difference between commander and traditional magic formats is the singleton card requirement. This means that if one of your key pieces gets destroyed you can’t draw into another one. You must either protect it whilst it is on the field, or find a way to bring it back. The card of the week is Argivian Restoration an artifact recursion spell.

Argivian Restoration - WTH
Why come up with a different plan?

Argivian Restoration is a sorcery for 2UU that returns an artifact from your graveyard to the battlefield. One of the major upsides of this card is that not only will the artifact enter the battlefield, it will also be untapped. For the 4 mana investment you can recur artifacts with much higher MVs for example Mycosynth Lattice, or Darksteel Forge. Or even just key combo pieces such as unwinding clock. Additionally the double blue casting cost of this card is not much of a restriction, as blue is common is artifact strategies particularly in commander. Many of the top artifact commanders are either mono blue or the izzet leauge (blue and red).

One of my favourite commanders is Muldrotha the Gravetide, a commander that is all about recursion. Repeatedly playing the same threats means that your opponent will be forced to deal with the threat multiple times. Commander is a game of resource management, and forcing your opponents to use their resources is beneficial to you. Recursion is something that should be looked at more closely for commander decks in general.

The only real downside of Argivian Restoration is that is that it requires an artifact to be in your graveyard. This means that it is not useful in the early game, but becomes useful later. Additionally it can only be used at sorcery speed, giving your opponents more time to deal with the threat.

Suggested Commanders

Argivian Restoration is at its best in artifact focused decks, where there are multiple artifacts worth recurring. For example; Urza, Lord High Artificer, Saheeli, the gifted, Memnarcg, Arcum Dagsson. Additionally it can be run in decks whose win con involves artifacts.

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Card of the Week – Myth Unbound

Myth Unbound - C18 - Banner

They say that no plan survives contact with the enemy. This is just as true in commander, and it is advisable to have some contingency in your deck. One of the most likely situations that is likely to befall you is the loss of your commander. The card of the week Myth Unbound, is a way to help mitigate the loss.

Myth Unbound
Commander tax is optional right?

Myth Unbound is an enchantment that costs 2G, it acts as a cost reducer effectively halving commander tax. Additionally it draws you a card whenever your commander is put into the command zone.

When you play with certain commanders you expect that they are going to be targeted for removal. Even if they start off with a low MV, after being removed several times that 2MV creature could be costing you 6. Halving the amount of commander tax that you have to pay will allow you to keep re-casting your commander for longer. As well as being able to cast additional spells on your turn.

This card was printed before the commander death rule change in 2020. This means that it had to be worded in an alternative way to a death trigger. The generic wording works to the card’s advantage as it captures exile or shuffle effects as well.

The main disadvantage is that unless your commander returns to the command zone this card does nothing. Additionally it will not trigger if you are using bounce or reanimation strategies.

Suggested Commanders

Myth Unbound is a highly flexible card as has very few requirements. It is at it’s best in aggro decks running green, particularly those attacking with the commander. For example it would be a great addition a a Fynn the Fangbearer deck, or a Radha, Heart of Keld deck. It would be a good addition to an enchantress build where it could also take advantage of additional synergies.

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Card of the Week – First Day of Class

First Day of Class - STX - Banner

If you got the opportunity to go to a magical academy, just like me you would be very excited. Ready to hit the ground running and read as much as possible. First Day of Class is an Instant from Strixhaven that instils this enthusiasm into your creatures. This Card of the Week would be a fine addition to a Commander or Pauper deck.

First Day of Class - STX
Who wouldn’t be excited to learn magic!?

First Day of Class is an instant for 1R that grants haste and gives a +1/+1 counter to all creatures that enters the battlefield under your control, until the end of turn. One of the best things about this card is the way its worded. Because it doesn’t target a creature it has no limit on it’s scale. If you were using this in a Gruul stompy deck it might just affect one giant creature. But if you are going for a token build it will affect multiple creatures. Additionally the +1/+1 the creatures get is a counter not until the end of the turn. This could significantly change the combat step maths. Not only will you be swinging immediately but your creatures will be bigger.

When the learn mechanic was released I at least didn’t pay a lot of attention to it, being predominantly a commander player. In commander learn effectively becomes rummage. This is a useful ability, particularly if you are in colours that don’t have access to a lot of card draw. On First day of Class it is nothing but upside, especially as learn is a may ability.

The only real downside of First Day of Class is that it has no effect on the creatures you already have on the battlefield

Suggested Commanders

First Day of Class is best in an aggressive deck where you want to be swinging at your opponents. It would be great in Omnath, Locus of Rage, Klauth, Unrivaled Ancient or any Gruul commander. Alternatively it would fit perfectly into a Goblin build such as Krenko, Mob Boss or Grumgully, the Generous. It would also work really well in Kykar, Wind’s Fury where the learn could help keep the chain running.

Example

Its the mid-game, Krenko, Mob Boss died to a recent board wipe. Last turn you re-summoned him and got 2 1/1 goblin tokens. You untap and draw First Day of Class. Immediately casting it you decide to rummage away a mountain and draw a Crazed Goblin. You cast it followed by Krenko’s comand. You tap Krenko and create 6 1/1 goblin tokens

Thanks to First Day of class you have 9 goblins that can attack. With the additional +1/+1 counters you have doubled their power to 18 and are immediately able to threaten someone’s life total. For 2 mana, you got 9 +1/+1 counters, gave haste to 9 creatures and rummaged. That is value.

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Card of the Week – Niveous Wisps

Niveous Wisps - SHM - Banner

You will often hear players saying that they would like to make their deck more consistent. This is a common phrase that you will hear by magic players of any format. One of the best ways of doing this is by drawing cards. Unfortunately in Commander this is one of Whites weakest areas. Attempting to alleviate this is Niveous Wisps, the Card of the Week.

Niveous Wisps - SDM
Draw a card, with upside

Niveous Wisps is an Instant for a single white mana that draws you a card. Additionally it turns target creature into a white creature and taps it. Whilst turning the creature white is very situational, that doesn’t mean its not going to happen. Tapping the creature down is far more useful. This is because you can target an opponents creature with a tap effect and force them to activate it now. If you are scared of a creature on your opponents board you can play this before you go to combat and tap it down. The low mana value means that there is very little downside to running it, and you don’t need to hold up a lot of mana to use it.

However, Niveous Wisps is not a card draw engine it is just a cantrip. This means that it is not going to solve your problems on its own. Overall I think that it is a solid addition to any white deck, as it has a multitude of options without being a modal card.

Suggested Commanders

Niveous Wisps is a highly flexible card that can go in just about any deck running white. As it only needs a creature to be on the battlefield, you don’t even need to be running a creature based deck. The decks that it would be most effective in are Feather the Redeemed as then it becomes a repeatable cantrip. If you playgroup allows it Ink-Treader Nelphilim will turn this card into an overpowered ancestral recall.

The whole cycle

One of the best things about Niveous Wisps is that it is part of a cycle. Each of them costs a single coloured mana, has a colour appropriate effect and draws you a card. All of these cards are excellent and would be a fine addition to any deck.

  • Niveous-Wisps-SHM
  • Cerulean-Wisps-SHM
  • Aphotic-Wisps-SHM
  • Aphotic-Wisps-SHM
  • Viridescent-Wisps-SHM
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Card of the Week – Arena of the Ancients

As new sets are introduced they come with new mechanics. Some of these stick around and others simply haunt magic’s history. Legends which was released in 1994 had a bit of a hit and miss approach to mechanics. Expanding on Banding, and adding Rampage, whilst also laying the groundwork for the Commander format. As it gave us both Multicoloured and Legendary cards. In order to counterbalance this new creature types they printed the Card of the Week, Arena of the Ancients.

Arena of the Ancients - Legends
Let’s be honest, you didn’t know this card existed

The oracle text can be found here.

Arena of the Ancients is an Artifact for 3 colourless. When it comes it to play it taps all Legendary creatures, and prevents them from untapping in the untap step. This unusual stax piece won’t just hit the commanders but will hit a decent number of creatures in the 99. As Legendary creatures continue to be printed you are increasingly likely to play against them. This can completely shut down decks if they are going for a Voltron approach and need their commander to attack. Or if they have an activated ability that requires them to tap. The low mana value and generic cost means you can get it out early and easily.

However, Arena of the Ancients is a global effect and will effect you as well. Additionally it will not stop Legendary Creatures from untapping outside of the untap step.

Suggested Commanders

Just because Arena of the Ancients can go in every deck, that doesn’t mean it should. It is at it’s strongest in a stax deck such as Grand Arbiter Augustin IV. Or Urza, Lord High Artificer where it can also be tapped for mana. You could run it in a Kalamax, the Stormsire build that is more focused on slinging spells. Ultimately it should be run un decks where tapping to attacking with your commander isn’t part of the plan.

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Card of the Week – Blessing of Leeches

Blessing of Leeches - BOK - Banner

Fairly unsurprisingly commanders in the game commander tend to be quite important. You want to keep yours on the battlefield as much as you want to keep your opponents off it. This requires you to play both offensively and defensively. Blessing of Leeches is an Enchantment that allows you to repeatedly protect your commander, making it the Card of the Week.

Blessing of Leeches - BOK
“Medicine”

More information on the Regenerate mechanic can be found here.

Regenerate is a now retired mechanic that basically means the next time a creature would die, it doesn’t. Blessing of Leeches is an Enchantment that allows you to pay zero and regenerate the enchanted creature. This means that you can play it on a key combo piece or your commander. Additionally it has received an errata so that it now has Flash, meaning that it can be played at instant speed. Meaning you can play only when you need to. However the greatest advantage of Blessing of Leeches is that it’s activation cost is zero. This means that you do not need to leave up mana to activate it, and you can activate it multiple times per turn if needed.

The “downside” is that at the beginning of your upkeep you loose 1 life, but this isn’t really that big of a deal. In commander you start with 40 life, and as everyone knows “life is a resource”. The actual downside of Blessing of Leeches are those of regeneration as a whole. It is powerless against exile and forced sacrifice effects.

Suggested Commanders

Blessing of Leeches is a highly flexible card as it can run in any deck that is running black and has creatures. This is also due to its mana cost, only costing 1 black mana and 2. It can be run in deck such as Marrow-Gnawer, Anowon, the Ruin Thief, or Liesa, Shroud of Dusk.

However it is at its best in decks that want you to loose life as then the downside is completely countered. These include Willowdusk, Essence Seer and Greven, Predator Captain.

If you liked this Card of the Week please check out these previous similar entries. Gift of Immortality (White) and Broken Fall (Green).