Hello! My name is Mike Carrozza and 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, 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 Tyranid Swarm, the Temur (Green, Blue, Red) deck. It’s pretty heavy on the creatures, it’s got a lot of X spell scaling and lots of +1/+1 counters.

For the sake of the series, I will only be considering new cards and ignoring the face and back up commanders. Magus Lucea Kane has 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.

  1. Tyranid Prime / Clamavus

Evolve is one of those abilities that gets difficult to track, so you’d think I would hate this card. What a nightmare to keep track of the equivalent of a Simic Cathars’ Crusade.

But oh my god, is this a version of a Simic Cathars’ Crusade?!

Short answer – no. But long answer – it can definitely feel that way. If you play any non-symmetrical power/toughness creatures, you can have a real time, trying to figure out who gets what, and sometimes you run into a situation where your 2/3 and 3/2 see a 3/3 enter and they both get one!

I think where this shines most is in a Falco Spara, Pactweaver deck where you can remove a counter to play the top card of your library. What’s that? A creature with more P/T than the creature you just removed a counter from? Awesome!

Anything that needs to move counters or remove counters will have no trouble getting them back. Blink decks, graveyard decks, anything where creatures are bounding into play will consider this a possible great addition. Use this with Kurbis, Harvest Celebrant and no matter what, you’ll find a way to keep adding counters.

Clamavus on the other hand really only cares about the +1/+1 counters and essentially making them +2/+2 counters. Math isn’t super tough, but slamming this down when you’ve got a ton going on in your Hamza, Guardian of Arashin decks is going to make your opponents look like they’re trying to move things with their minds.

  1. Genestealer Patriarch  

This is a weird one but I really like it. Anything that gets the gears turning enough to trick myself into thinking a card like Fate Transfer could be playable is interesting.

There are downsides to this card. You need to attack. You need to attack the person who controls the creature you want to replicate. You need the Patriarch to survive the swing. You need the creature with the infection counter to die while you control the Patriarch.

But if you’ve got lots of removal and ways to keep this guy safe, you’ll be snagging creatures. Not to mention if you gain control of a creature with an infection counter, you can move it with Nesting Grounds or Resourceful Defense, or even The Ozolith when it dies. You can make use of the awful card Diseased Vermin (by amazing artist Scott Kirschner – bring him back, WotC!) and kick start the Ozolith shenanigans by sacrificing what you want to double. Pack plenty of removal and snipe what you’d like from your opponents, and show off that you know how to build an engine that hums.

  1. Shadow in the Warp  

What needs to be said about this card besides that it is a seemingly innocuous hate piece that gives you a nice discount on the first creature you cast each turn.

Not each of your turns. Each turn.

Got a Vedalken Orrery? Myr Retriever is free as many times as you want. Your opponent loves to Brainstorm at end steps and then cast more spells on his turn? Take four damage, buddy.

People will notice this card, but only over time. Take it from me though, you need to get rid of this card when it lands under someone else’s control.

  1. Haruspex  

“Oh, great. Mike’s gonna talk about how much he loves when creatures die.” You’re damn right. I love when creatures die, and I love when they give you a bonus on the way out. This doesn’t allow you to sacrifice creatures, but in some cases that might be better because you can use those to pay for some other effect. Token swarm needs to cash in and Altar of Dementia somebody by sacrificing 15 creatures? Why, you can use all 15 of that mana from Haruspex or save some for next time, too. It’s clunky, it’s chunky, and it costs four mana, but I like what I see.

  1. Exocrine  

So, at absolute worst, you get a 2/2 for three mana. Not great. But if you have the mana to plug into this turtle-like monstrosity, you can get a 7/7 for eight mana that draws you a card and nugs other creatures and all players for five damage. I’ll be giving this a go in my Sevinne, the Chronoclasm / Brash Taunter tribal list. It’s pretty cool to have such modality on a spell like this that also leaves behind a beat stick and replaces itself when criteria are met. Even if you need a smaller damage wrath, you can pay five mana and deal two to everything with a 4/4 at your service. Good card!

  1. Toxicrene  

I hate this card. I love utility lands, I enjoy having effects on lands that aren’t just mana abilities. I hate that this takes that away. It does fix everybody’s mana, which is a risky move, but it’s also the ultimate blocker with reach and deathtouch. At four mana, it’s gives you a lot of bang for your buck and will see play in five colour decks that are careful not to include Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx or Cabal Coffers or Academy Ruins or Volrath’s Stronghold or Rogue’s Passage or Maze of Ith or Maze’s End or…

Honorable Mention: Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph  

People really like this guy and I understand why. Pop Pyrohemia down and you’re paying one mana to Lightning Bolt everything. This is your Tim (Prodigal Sorcerer) deck commander. This is your Cavalcade of Calamities commander. This is your Impact Tremors commander. This is going to be fun to watch go off and then hopefully people find ways to keep it fresh. The Locust God loves it and as a 99 card, this card is at home there.

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