Magic 2012 Multiplayer & Commander Review: White

With a new Magic set just about to be released, it’s time for my multiplayer and commander review! Much like Commander decks, this series will mostly focus on brand new cards. As someone who plays Magic almost exclusively at a table of between two and five other players, it’s always fun to get new toys to play with while shaking up the chaos a bit.

The review will be in alphabetical order so I don’t have to try and rank them all by my favorite or most interesting. Hint: my favorite isn’t War Horse.

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands

Aegis Angel

This card has some genius political design to it. Sure, most of the time you’ll just make one of your other angels indestructible (and she’s fantastic in Heavenly Inferno), but when the table is getting tense is where Aegis Angel shines. The ability to turn a soon-to-be ally’s permanent indestructible is something worth considering.

Worst case, she targets any permanent so if you need a 5/5 flier in a pinch, you can target a land of yours instead of something much more dangerous an opponent controls. Sadly, she’s useless when targeting a Planeswalker. And if you stop controlling her, the target is no longer indestructible.

Alabaster Mage

The cycle of mages remind me a lot of the Invokers from Legions and Rise of the Eldrazi, but with a unique twist. Instead of having devastating abilities for large amounts of mana, they offer smaller tricks on the cheap. Alabaster Mage isn’t going to win many battles, but the ability to turn give any creature you control lifelink can keep you in the battle for a while.

What’s most interesting about Alabaster Mage (besides the fantastic reference to Alabaster Potion), is this one of the few cards that can give creatures lifelink at instant speed.

Angelic Destiny

Wow, Divine Transformation has really bloomed! Taking a page from the greatest Aura of all time (Rancor), Angelic Destiny is an aura worth running in white decks. Armored Ascension is the easiest comparison and I much prefer the absence of card disadvantage in the long term that this provides.

The ability to turn basically any creature into an airborne threat is impressive. I just can’t wait to play this on Squire.

Arbalest Elite

The weirdest thing about this is that it’s an archer, not a soldier. I could see it being kind of useful with Masako the Humorless or Seedborn Muse, but the fact that it takes two turns to effectively use its ability makes it less than stellar.

Armored Warhorse

A vanilla creature that feels like it should be in Portal 3 Kingdoms, Armored Horse is just that. A horse. Wearing armor.

Someone played too much Oblivion.

Benalish Veteran

At first glance, I thought this card must have been made before. Turns out this 2.5/2.5 is brand new. This guy really shines though when paired up with effects that let him attack multiple times in a single turn. Just not as good as Hungry Spriggan, but in Commander the ability to get any creature with that kind of ability is worth considering for consistency’s sake.

Divine Favor

Holy Strength version 2.0, Divine Favor just doesn’t excite me much. The 3 life is trivial most of the time and if you really need a defender, there are better ways to do it. Unless you’re running some janky combo with Doran.

Gideon’s Avenger

Now THIS is a multiplayer card. The counters get made whenever a creature an opponent controls get tapped – no reason needed! At a kitchen table with a half dozen players, this guy can quickly get up there like a white Titania’s Chosen.

I’m itching to combine him with any card that forces other creatures to attack like Grand Melee!

Gideon’s Lawkeeper

Another tapper, this one at least has the benefit of being a Human Soldier like Master Decoy but coming out a turn earlier. Nothing super crazy, but he’s begging to team up with either the Avenger or Royal Assassin.

Grand Abolisher

This is a card that helps you some but will probably just annoy people more. In multiplayer, the Grand Abolisher is only relevant on YOUR turn. So if a player really wants to mess with something they can just wait an extra turn.

He does make all of your spells uncounterable though for only two white. In any multiplayer format, that’s quite formidable for combo decks.

Griffin Rider

I remember when this guy was called Cloudreach Cavalry. Slightly better and slightly worse this time around.

Guardian’s Pledge

As a combat trick, this is okay but for the same amount of mana you can get a Divine Sacrament or just an Honor of the Pure for cheaper. The fact that it is only your white creatures just puts too many restrictions on it.

Peregrine Griffin

That’s the weirdest looking Griffin I’ve seen. Nothing too exciting here, but could be a decent defender. As far as commons go though, there isn’t a whole lot here.

Personal Sanctuary

This plus Pyrohemia or Pestilence will make many people very, very angry with you. There are so many weird ways to abuse this – like any “fair” card like Earthquake! It could be a lot of fun but probably won’t keep you nearly as safe as you think.

Plus everyone can just bash your head in on their turns, but this combos so well with Manabarbs.

Pride Guardian

Someone at Wizards must really like defenders. Between this and Perimeter Captain, white one drops can really stall any ground battle for many, many turns. A good way to keep people from attacking you and could be really exciting in a Soul Sisters like deck.

Spirit Mantle

Only three cards have offered protection from creatures until now and this one is right up there with Unquestioned Authority. Making a creature into either an unblockable machine or an unkillable defender is definitely worth two mana. The creature pumping is just gravy at that point. I see this card showing up in a few white based Commander decks.

Stave Off

There are just better ways of giving protection in a pinch. Apostle’s Blessing allows artifact to be a choice, while Blessed Breath offers the ability to splice it. Even Emerged Unscathed rebounds for a second shot – and this is for the same amount of mana!

Maybe in highlander formats this will see play, but the rest of the time there are better options.

Stonehorn Dignitary

Growing up a fan of Ninja Turtles, I love anthropomorphic rhinos but getting a Cease-Fire on a stick is about as boring as you can get. Part of the appeal of Fog is the simple fact that it leaves all your opponents creatures tapped! This just isn’t that exciting.

Timely Reinforcements

In most multiplayer games, this card reads “Gain 6 life and put three 1/1 white soldiers onto the battlefield” for only 3 mana. That’s one hell of a bargain. Very similar to Even the Odds, but in highlander, that’s an effect you’ll want two of. The best part is it isn’t targeted and different opponents can qualify for each half.

Notable white reprints:

Archon of Justice is a fine creature that people don’t like killing off. Plus he debuts the new use of “die.” Gideon Jura replaces Ajani Goldmane for the first time in four years as the White ‘Walker. He’s solid but any walker ends up getting hated off my kitchen table. Oblivion Ring is back again as one of the best removal spells ever. Finally Sun Titan returns to recur everything he can.

When it comes down to it, core sets just aren’t as exciting for many players. There are a handful of cards like Personal Sanctuary, Grand Abolisher, Gideon’s Avenger and Timely Reinforcements that really shine in multiplayer formats but many of these cards just leave me feeling almost bored with how white turned out for new offers.

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts & Lands