- 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 Warhammer 40k Commander precons fnally here 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 The Ruinous Powers, the Grixis (Red, Blue, Black) deck. For the sake of the series, I will only be considering new cards and ignoring the face and back-up commanders. Both Abaddon and Be’lakor have been talked about extensively online and I don’t need to rehash that. I even wrote about Be’lakor for The Bag of Loot!
Here are my top cards from this deck. I do promise to pick at least fve, but seeing as there are like 40 new cards per deck, I’ll permit myself to maybe pick a few extra.
We have seen an uptick in “exile-matters” decks with Prosper, Tome-Bound and Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald. Keeper of Secrets turns every card you cast from exile into pain for your opponents. Impulse draw (or “bottling” as I’ve learned it’s called in R&D at WotC) isn’t the only way to get triggers of of Keeper of Secrets. Why, just casting your commander from the command zone is enough to throw some damage around. Madness, Cascade, Flashback, Future Sight efects, theft stuff like Stolen Strategy and Etali, Chainer, Nightmare Adept’s ability – there are lots of ways to trigger Keeper of Secrets and hurt your opponents. It’s hard to kill in combat and if you give it lifelink, you’ll be pulling even more ahead.
Gravecrawler and Phyrexian Altar (with another Zombie in play) have been around a while as an aristocrats infnite combo allowing infinite death triggers and enters the battlefeld triggers. Combine this with a Zulaport Cutthroat or Cruel Celebrant and that’s game. But sometimes you don’t have those other cards that close out the game with death triggers. Poxwalkers allows you to get two bodies from the graveyard for the price of one and nets you infnite mana in the process. Of course, everything that applies to Keeper of Secrets applies here. If you have a Dark-Dweller Oracle, you can keep the draws happening with an Ashnod’s Altar and Poxwalkers as long as you can cast what you exile. As an aristocrats player who loves reanimating, Poxwalkers will be tested a bunch in a few places.
It’s no surprise that as a Prosper, Tome-Bound player, I really love this card. Of course, Stolen Strategy for one more mana gets you three spells to choose from, but The Ruinous Powers can really eat into a player’s life total. Getting lands of the top isn’t the worst either! Save your lands in hand for a rainy day unless you need specifc utility lands. Play this in a Grixis chaos shell and go nuts with copies with Clever Impersonator and Mirrormade. I really love what this can do to a game!
This would have been insane in the Temur deck. I am very ready to try this out in my spell slinger Zaffai, Thunder Conductor deck. While it doesn’t have many fetch lands – which trigger this – it does have spells that get cast from the graveyard and the top of the library. It being in Izzet colours is defnitely a limitation, but Kalamax, the Stormsire decks are going to love an extra army of of casting a Roiling Regrowth.
This may only trigger on your end step and require a creature to die, but the fact that it’s a creature and aristocrats are a very popular strategy means that you can defnitely build around this to be your very own Phyrexian Arena on a 2/3 body. If you can bin seven or more creatures, you’ll be getting a new hand for seven life which is so powerful Griselbrand is banned for being able to do it so much.
Aspiring Champion – what more can I say? Just read the card, understand that I love when things die and that’ll I’ll find a way for it to get through and also a way for it to come back. Sure, you can do a backroads reanimate with Haunted Crossroads and this, but where’s the fun in that? Live a little! Embrace the chaos. Demon or not, getting to hit someone for 3 damage and getting the next creature from your library into play is fun and solid. I’ll be trying this out!
It is difficult to quite explain this one. I will just tell you to play it. That’s it. Play Karn in a fun goofy game and watch it get even goofer.
Honorable Mentions: Spellslingers (Pink Horror / Vadrik, Astral Archmage / Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch)
There is a lot to love about the spellslinger sub theme in this deck. Adding a new wrinkle in the tokens matter for cost reduction in Magnus the Red akin to Vadrik, Astral Archmage and Mizzix of the Izmagnus with +1/+1 and Experience counters respectively shows us a new direction for a potential storm commander. Zaffai, Thunder Conductor will love all of these – Magnus’ reduction makes Zaffai’s Elemental tokens count for more than just being bodies.
Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch gets you back a spell at random at upkeep and pings each opponent for instants and sorceries cast. Pink Horror does the same thing, but for two damage, then pulling Mitotic Slime and making two 2/2s that ping for one for each instant and sorcery you cast. Both are necessary inclusions for any deck looking to up the ante on their Guttersnipe slots.
That does it for this edition, check back in soon for the next one!
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