No tapping for white after labour day.

Because I know my audience and how my bread is buttered, I know exactly how to alienate them. Which means today’s entry is devoted to previews from the newest upcoming Magic the Gathering set Commander 2016.

Because everyone’s wanted to have the nephilim as commanders since the format existed (especially the most phallic of all nephilim), Wizards has listened. Have they listened enough to make a U/R artifact themed legendary creature in this set? Logic says yes, but the spiteful history of Wizards’ carrot trolling says it’ll happen alongside the Damnation reprint. They’re printing legit four colour commanders in this set and the first one’s a doozy:

Say hello to Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice.

That’s a pretty spiffy job of making a build around commander that fits a veritable buffet of play styles. Superfriends? Infect? +1/+1 absurdity? Sunburst and charge counter artifact shenanigans? So much stax fun (for you and nobody else)? How much room have you got? You’ve got abzan, and simic to call on. Plus she’s cheap enough and in hexproof colours, so she’s gonna stick around. Plus the art is fucking gorgeous. Nice first preview card.

There’s also another interesting new commander mechanic called “partner”. Partner reads “You can have two commanders if both have partner”. So you can mix and match to make your own colour combinations of three and four colours. It sounds gimmicky, but we’ll see how much crossover there is between them. Most of them are kind of okay at the moment (with the exception of this fucking monster, Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix), but we’ll see how they play out once we see the whole set.

Like any infomercial though, that’s not all.

This card (currently only available in Portugese, which has the creature type “Elemental Boi” (o shit waddup!) is a great little beater. Quickly rising incremental damage is an excellent way to force action on a stale board. Get three players in on the mix and dat boi’s damage is gonna stack up. I can’t wait to toss it into an aggro gruul deck and beat face.

Sublime Exhaltation, despite having great art, seems ultimately lacklustre. If you’re playing a game with enough players to reduce its cost below Day of Judgement you probably want to kill yourself instead of prolonging an already trying experience. There are so many wraths already. Just play Wrath of God, or Day of Judgement, or Rout, or Fumigate, or Austere Command, or Hallowed Burial, or Terminus, or Akroma’s Vengeance, or Final Judgement, or Planar Cleansing, or Phyrexian Rebirth, or Martial Coup, or Winds of Rath, or leave the game and start something reasonable like a three or four player match. If you’re casting this for four or five, there are much better options.

Primeval Protector will sometimes win you the game, but in that situation you’d often be winning the game regardless, or if you drew practically any other creature. Yes, you’ll probably be paying 5G for a 10/10 that boosts your board, but you still have a big dumb beater that gets chumped all day. It’s even quite likely that it’ll be 1G or G for a 10/10 that boosts your board. If the board is that clogged, it’s probably not gonna do a lot. Sure, tell me how amazing it’s gonna be in your Xenagos deck to do 20 damage out of nowhere. Or play a 6/6 with any kind of evasion and watch me actually shiver a little bit. Believe me, I want this guy to be a house. I’m just not sure he’s really gonna get there.

I’m running out of time, so here are a few quick thoughts.

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder is lord of oxen and thus lord of my heart. I do wish they’d stop putting the bore into boreos commanders though.

Kraum, Ludevic’s Opus actually seems like a top notch way for izzet decks to keep their hands full to engage in fun shenanigans (which I think is an izzet mage’s favourite word).

Vial Smasher the Fierce doesn’t immediately shine to me due to the random direction of the damage, but it’s also a three cost creature that likely gets ignored and does even more damage than Dat Elemental Boi. So that’s something. A fast game’s a good game.

Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa feels poopy. If you’re going wide with small creatures, isn’t the idea to crush them under the weight of +1/+1 counters and anthem effects, thus rendering his ability sort of pointless?

Silas Renn, Seeker Adept likes Glaring Spotlight a lot. I’d worry about how mana intensive that was if he wasn’t a fucking artifact general, thus littering your board with mana rocks. Saboteur effects all day long. Did someone say “cipher”?

Wizards have been knocking it out of the park with their casual/multiplayer friendly sets lately and this looks to be no exception. I’m not gonna say that I can’t wait, because I can and I will. Spoiler season is always in season.

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