commander tagged posts

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Red

Unlike normal sets, the color wheel is slightly out of whack. Black and red have switched places so instead of black, red is getting reviewed after blue!

As that weird mono-red Commander who doesn’t play Kiki-Jiki, I always get excited when I see new red cards for my Jaya deck. And while Blue felt like more of the same, Red in Return to Ravnica is very, very exciting.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Annihilating Fire

And when I mean very, very exciting, I don’t mean this card. If scavenge, dredge, undying or persist are huge issues at your table, this is an okay removal spell (Disintegrate would cost 4 for the same effect). It really is one of those metagame dependent calls that I can’t make for you.

Ash Zealot

Last night I tried out my Crosis Commander deck which is all about reanimation from everyone’s graveyard. Then Josh played Grafdigger’s Cage on turn 2 and my deck was shut down. Ash Zealot is an amazing two-drop. Red usually doesn’t get two abilities on a 2/2 for RR. But the final ability is the perfect piece of table hate. When Memory Plunder, Snapcaster Mage or flashback spells become a hassle, she viciously punishes people with Lightning Bolts.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Blue

The second stop on this tour of the Return to Ravnica color wheel reminds me a lot of some older sets. Mainly that it opens with an amazing whimper. For blue mages who want excellent control spells, you’re going to be disappointed. For Johnnies looking for weird cards, you’re in luck!

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Aquus Steed

Here is how I envision this card working:

Mage 1: “Look at my horse!”
Mage 2: “What in the nine hell is that?”
Mage 1: “Ha! Now you are confused and get -2/-0!”

End scene.


The art of Mr. Explodey Hand is wasted on this reprint. Also if you like counterspells, I don’t like you as a person.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: White

Now that the five guilds are done, I’m looking at all the non-affiliated cards in Return to Ravnica. So if you don’t have a guild watermark, you’re included! I’ll start with white since they usually go first.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Angel of Serenty

Take my love, take my land, take me where I cannot stand…

This card worries me. Not because Kaalia will throw her down every turn, but because of how easy this card is to abuse. Oh the exiling trigger is on the stack? Bounce it. Or flicker. Either way, you now don’t have three permanents for good and three more are gone. I don’t rage quit often, but this might make me do it. A lot.

Armory Guard

I’m so glad this guy gains vigilance and doesn’t do something like “loses defender.” I kind of want to see what the Gates end up doing by the end of this block, but for now, don’t bother.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Cult of Rakdos

Return to Ravnica is an interesting set. While most expansions only offer one or two archetypes when it comes to mechanics, Return to Ravnica allows for five right off the bat. But there is one small issue with this for kitchen table players: Rakdos doesn’t really work.

The core of Rakdos is the unleashed mechanic which is great for sligh decks, but those never work against more than one player. Dealing 20 damage to someone quicker than they deal 20 to you is easy, but when you’re facing off against 60 or 100 life, you can’t win.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Rakdos, Lord of Riots

Rakdos has been in desperate need of a do over since he originally debuted. But holy crap is this a commander! Costing only 4 mana, he’s pretty easy to cast. As long as any opponent lost life, he’s in play and changing the game. He’s a 6/6 flying, trampler for only four mana! That’s beyond amazing.

The second ability is fantastic. Dubbed “paincast,” it allows you to rapidly escalate your army. Grab some eldrazi and get to work.

Rakdos’s Return

What do you get when you combine Mind Shatter and Blaze? Really good discard and really good damage! Taking out someone’s hand is mean, but burning them is delightful. This is exactly the kind of card that won’t make you any friends but will feel so satisfying when it connects. Good thing this card says opponent, so you don’t have to worry about it coming back to you.

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Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Review: Izzet League

The Izzet League is the guild everyone seems to love. The band of mad scientists working for an insane dragon certainly has some appeal, but the lack of focus makes me think Izzet has no idea what they are doing. Every now and then, they’ll do something awesome though. Probably accidentally.

Return to Ravnica Casual & Commander Reviews
Azorious Senate  | Izzet League | Cult of Rakdos | Golgari Swarm | Selesnya Conclave
White | Blue | Red | Black | Green | Gold, Artifact & Lands

Epic Experiment

This card is hilariously stupid and equally awesome. Generate enough mana and this can end games in a mess of spells waiting to resolve. In Commander, I see this being the destroyer of worlds like Genesis Wave. I can’t wait to see one go off.

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius

Curse you Wizards, you had to make a second Niv-Mizzet that doesn’t automatically cause infinite damage when combined with the first. An inverse of his old-self, Niv-Mizzet is still a good card and a great legendary but he’s so much harder to abuse now. That said, turning UR into a card whenever you want is amazing. For combo commander players, he will easily find a home but his original version is better.

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Dragons Rock Commander Deck & Dragon Bites Recipe

Castles and Cooks is proud to welcome back our first guest writer on the site – Bill O’Dell! A long time player of Magic, Bill loves what we’re doing here and offered up a new deck idea along with a corresponding recipe or two! Welcome back! – Jesse the Baker

Most of us fantasy fanboys will hands down say that dragons are the coolest creature in all of the mythic lore. Whether we’re talking Smaug or Draco, Eastern or Western, dragons have always captivated people – in some cases for centuries.

And yes, I will admit, I love dragons. While I liked the classic Shivan Dragon, what I truly loved were and are the legendary dragons, specifically starting with the Elder Dragon Legends – you know the original heavy hitters – Nicol Bolas (before Planeswalker status), Arcades Sabboth, Chromium, Vaevictis Asmadi and Paladia-Mors.

These were THE dragons to have, to hold, to crush your opponents with their combolicious goodness!

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Magic: the Gathering Commander’s Arsenal partially revealed!

In today’s Arcana, Wizards showed off what we can expect in the newest product coming out November 2nd – Commander’s Arsenal. I don’t think anyone was expecting this. It costs $75! It includes:

  • 18 premium foil cards
  • 10 oversized premium foil cards
  • 120 UltraPRO foil card sleeves
  • 20 double-sided Battle Marks (+ and –)
  • A life counter that goes up to 99

This is the contents (I’m expecting some stunning packaging [also, I own that same light box]). I really like the +/- counters since they hammer home the idea of them canceling each other out. The new life counter is pretty, here’s a slightly different view:

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Magic 2013 Casual & Commander Review: Multicolor, Artifact & Land

Artifacts and lands in core sets usually aren’t the most exciting options. Thanks to a lower learning curve and overall power level, the cards end up just kind of existing. But every now and then, a card slips through that makes you sit up and take notice.

Magic 2013 Casual & Commander Review
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Other


This is a weird little 1/1 but I like him! The ability to wind himself up allows him to quickly grow. As an attacker or blocker, he doesn’t wow me but as part of some elaborate counter exchanging combo deck, he’s a great one-drop.

Gem of Becoming

For Commanders, if this is in your colors then it is great! For kitchen table 60, this is still great. Being able to grab a mountain, swamp and island is incredible. It refills your hand, ensures you don’t miss any land drops, grabs some awesome non-basics and thins your deck! While it is a bit pricey, this is an ability that you rarely see.

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Magic 2013 Casual & Commander Review: Green

Green is an odd color in Magic 2013 because there doesn’t seem to be that much new with it. Big creatures, some pump spells and that is about it. A handful of cards make me sit up and take notice, but the reality is M13 doesn’t offer that many new toys.

Magic 2013 Casual & Commander Review
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Other

Bond Beetle
Ironshell Beetle has been one of those odd two-drops and Bond Beetle continues the tradition. While not the most exciting card, the versatile nature of it combined with a bounty of bounce effects makes me think Bond Beetle can be abused – or just used as some awkward anti-undying mechanic.

Boundless Realms

Late game, there is nothing worse than drawing land after land. Boundless Realms is such an odd card though that tries to walk between being excessive ramp and deck thinning. Thanks to a high casting cost, this card doesn’t seem to really work in many environments. Commander players are too busy tricking their decks out with nonbasic lands, while kitchen table 60 needs something to do with all these lands.

Though I do really like the idea of making a Living Lands deck…

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Magic 2013 Casual & Commander Review: Red

I’m a weird Commander player. I know that because I keep tweaking my mono-red Jaya Ballard deck whenever a new set comes out in hopes that maybe some day it will actually work (though pulling off her Inferno when equipping a Loxodon Warhammer and wearing a Darksteel Plate was awesome), so when looking at red cards I take it way too personally.

Magic 2013 Casual & Commander Review
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Other

Chandra’s Fury
Combining Lava Axe with a one-sided Tremor doesn’t really wow me. Or maybe I’ve realized how few 1/1s get played at my table. I don’t every expect to play this card, but I do think I’ll keep it in mind if tokens ever become a problem again.

Cleaver Riot
Red Overrun makes Cleaver Riot an interesting card, but the sorcery speed makes it much less fun (and impossible to use defensively). Where I am most interested in this card is an awkward red infect deck that probably shouldn’t exist but I don’t even care. I want to make it.

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