Hello! My name is Mike Carrozza. I write a series called A Seat at the Table where I pick a commander and discuss ideas of what to include in the 99. With the release of the Warhammer 40k Commander precons, and having had a chance to play with the cards myself, I can finally pick and showcase my favourite new cards of each deck.
Let’s continue with Necron Dynasties, the monoblack artifact deck.
For the sake of the series, I will only be considering new cards and ignoring the face and back up commanders. Both Szarekh and Imotekh have been talked about extensively online and I don’t need to rehash that.
Here are my top cards from this deck. I do promise to pick at least five, but seeing as there are like 40 new cards per deck, I’ll permit myself to maybe pick a few extra.
Welcome to a late-game solution to the problem of just having your board wrathed and/or being low on life. Toss this to your discard outlets, mill this into your graveyards, or just cast it from your hand, who cares! Your access to this card is boundless as long as it isn’t exiled (aside from impulse draw or Madness effects, I guess)!
Grixis spell-slinger decks, self-mill token strategies, anything that makes a lot of mana and needs to spend it, Their Number is Legion is going to be good. You don’t even need to create the tokens. If you have a board full of artifacts, this is four mana to get back into the life points game. This card has made the difference in at least two of the five or six precon deck games I’ve played against the other Warhammer 40K decks. There are ways to double this and with Treasures being so ubiquitous, I have a hard time imagining this isn’t better than a simple stabilizing spell.
I like when my stuff dies and comes back. I think I’ve made that clear in all the articles I’ve written and will continue to espouse the wonderful fun that graveyard shenanigans are. Resurrection Orb is not the best of these effects. Of course, we have Nim Deathmantle which is the best comparison because it triggers on death to auto-equip, meaning that with enough mana, you can combo off or threaten to return a creature to play. The Deathmantle also wastes no time and returns the creature immediately and buffs them by two with a little cherry on top of Intimidate.
The comparison is difficult to avoid as both equipment cost two and equip for four, return a creature equipped with it to play and grant an ability. It depends on what you want out of the card. I will be testing this alongside Deathmantle in my The Ever-Changing ‘Dane deck because I can equip one of my Kamigawa spirit dragons with this, sacrifice it to Dane, get their death trigger, and when they come back, I get another death trigger. It’s also possible with enough mana to equip the Orb to Dane again and when the dragon returns, sacrifice Dane instead, getting the death trigger and keeping the dragon around for the next turn. Ultimately, with enough mana, Deathmantle might be better, but the Orb is a lot of fun and I reckon will see some play in decks that want to protect their commanders and gain some life when they swing or deal noncombat damage. Judith, the Scourge Diva, for example, could benefit from this Orb. Boros aggro combat generals could stand to gain some life when they’re attacking and leaving you open.
Convergence of Dominion has two requirements: you need to control your commander and you need to have cards in your graveyard with activated abilities. If all goes well, you’re dropping things down to a single mana in the right deck. In this precon, Ghost Ark giving your graveyard full of artifact creatures Unearth 3, and popping this down effectively making that Unearth 1 is a big blowout when sequenced right.
It’s important to note that this is only about activated abilities. Unearth, Encore, Embalm, Eternalize, Scavenge, stuff like Cobbled Lancer, or Runehorn Hellkite, or Daring Fiendbonder – those all qualify. Flashback, Aftermath, Escape, Jumpstart, Retrace, and Disturb are casting cards and therefore are not activated abilities.
So is this just an extra mana discount for your Embalmer’s Tools as long as you have your commander? No: Embalmer’s Tools is only for creatures in your graveyard. Convergence of Dominion is for all cards in your graveyard with activated abilities. What this tells me more than anything is that this is a card to keep an eye on for the future. Or a card for those Araumi of the Dead Tide decks and Sedris, the Traitor King decks out there looking for ways to make their engine hum. Speaking of those decks…
Necron Deathmark is a less expensive Noxious Gearhulk with Flash and the ability to mill someone. I would guess that it would be most likely you’d mill yourself, but sometimes you mill the player who just Vampiric Tutored for something. You miss out on the life gain which is a pretty big deal. In my experience, I’m always happy I’ll be gaining some life with Noxious Gearhulk, but with the Deathmark being able to fill your graveyard, Sedris and Araumi get more fun to work with. Encore out the Deathmark, kill three creatures, mill nine cards, and celebrate your fun time. Shard of the Void Dragon gets a mention here for the same exact decks that would want it and because that attack trigger is messed up.
I’ll keep this brief: monocoloured decks or two coloured decks that love their basic lands are going to want to pop this bad boy in their decks if they’re already running Thran Dynamo and such. It’s not amazing, but I wanted to shout out the cards that incentivize playing less colours because that’s always an interesting space to design for.
Artifact creatures are not mind-blowing on their own. It’s with other artifacts and their synergies that enable crazy plays. Being able to turn everything into an artifact is powerful enough that the one card to do it is a six mana mythic called Mycosynth Lattice. For four mana and being in black, Biotransference allows you to turn all your creatures in your deck no matter the zone they’re in into artifact creatures and rewards you with more tokens when you cast them.
With that, you can create a line of play that takes advantage of creatures that would otherwise not benefit from synergies saved for Artifacts, like Clock of Omens. We have this on a smaller scale with Liquimetal Torque and Liquimetal Coating, but when an enchantment just stays in play and turns everything into an artifact creature, you can take advantage of Scrap Trawler or Goblin Welder or Cryptek or Ghost Ark. There will be games where synergies are accidental and discovered in the moment, and that is very exciting.
Honourable Mention: Anrakyr the Traveller and Illuminor Szeras
Soldevi Adnate has long been a mana dork I think does not get the credit it deserves, and with Illuminor Szeras eliminating the colour restriction and beefing up defences, I think we’ll find a lot of people making use of their ETB creatures and binning them immediately. Lifeline decks will love it, aristocrat decks like Sedris and Araumi, Meren of Clan Nel Toth decks, so many graveyard-centred decks will need to find room to at the very least test out Szeras and see if their curve allows for the plays I’m imagining.
Anrakyr the Traveller is such a cool commander. You have to attack with him, so pack your Whip of Erebos, but you get to play an artifact from your hand or graveyard by paying life? Excuse me, Mr. Busted Fun Time, but when did you show up to the party? Meteor Golem players, yes, you get to have this, but I’m thinking of the utility of being able to swing and throw down a mana rock or get that Meteor Golem back. Artifacts have a lot going on!