Welcome back to the Epic Experiment! Let’s go through and look at the top 10 cards of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms that I think will see play in Commander. The nice part about this set is that many of the cards on this list are in the Rare slot, meaning they should drop in price and get a little cheaper in the weeks to come.
#10 – Circle of Dreams Druid
The argument for this card is simple. This is Gaea’s Cradle on a creature. If you are not familiar with Cradle, I would strongly encourage you to take note and keep tabs on this card.
Now, while this is a very powerful card, it is not without its drawbacks. Being a creature makes it much more susceptible to being killed and suffers from summoning sickness in the majority of situations. In comparison, Gaea’s Cradle can be played for free, can be tapped the turn it enters the battlefield, and occupies a land slot in your deck.
However, the power level here is very obvious and this will certainly see lots of play. The silver lining for this effect is that finding ways to recur dead creatures is often easier than lands, not to mention untapping them meaning you could generate absurd quantities of mana. This card will no doubt be widely adopted.
#9 – Long Rest
Long Rest is another in an interesting line of mass regrowth effects that come into play in graveyard heavy recursion decks. I have likened this card to Wildest Dreams and Season’s Past.
While I’m not convinced Long Rest is as good as either option, the price tag and single X in the casting cost could be real difference makers. Again, in Commander, having redundant effects is a very positive development. The card is quite simple, and carries a heavy mana requirement, but I believe there will be plenty of players looking to adopt this and bring back valuable parts of their deck with glee.
#8 – Rogue Class
The new class cards are innovative new designs that are going to reshape how we play enchantments. They are reminiscent of a cross between Sagas and leveling creatures from Zendikar. The same is true for the new class cards, and Rogue Class is a sweet one.
The first level is nothing special but the exiling could be relevant. Since Dimir decks often have a suite of evasive creatures, it seems pretty likely you will be able to exile cards. Level 2 gives all your creatures menace, so if they weren’t evasive before, they sure are now. Level 3 allows you to cast all those glorious cards that you have been exiling, and who doesn’t like casting your opponents own spells against them?
At a mere 2 mana, in a colour combo that has a penchant for aggressive, cheap creatures like Rogues or Ninja, this seems like a dream come true. Anomon, Yuriko, Oona are just three small examples of Commanders who thrive with this on the battlefield, and so will you.
#7 – Teleportation Circle
Folks, this is pretty simple. This is Conjurer’s Closet now in white. Let us be clear: Closet is a card that appears in over 17 000 decks and is a tremendous value generating tool. C’mon, you can’t tell me that you aren’t interested in getting additional Enter the Battlefield triggers by blinking your stuff.
Of course you’re interested… because value!
Well, now you can do it with Teleportation Circle too! Yes, it’s an enchantment. Yes, it is a mana cheaper. But the effect is desirable, so it will get a hefty amount of play along with its new best friend Panharmonicon.
#6 – Loyal Warhound
We are still witnessing White getting caught up to other colours and being given some tools. White has always struggled to ramp and to pull lands out of the deck in order to keep up with the other colours. In the past, white decks have really leaned on Knight of the White Orchid to help keep up, but in the last few sets we have seen a real increase in cards that will help. Pilgrim of the Ages, Verge Rangers and now Warhound can let white decks catch up. This isn’t a fancy card, nor flashy, but it is useful and plays a valuable role. Don’t overlook the small value generated by this, I think it is going to surprise many players with its utility.
#5 – Old Knawbone
I have been going on for months on how I think that Treasure is the new way WOTC wants us to ramp. When I see cards like this I am increasingly inclined to agree with myself.
Ok, this is an expensive creature, that much is obvious. However, I think this card can easily pay for itself and then some through its ability to make treasure. Read it carefully.
Whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, you make that many treasures.
This is very potent for aggro strategies. Play this and attack with the intention of recouping your mana spent on this dragon. Some will to argue that the cost here is pretty steep to make Old Gnawbone good, but really all you need is an evasive creature. If you can squeeze a 2/2 flier through for damage, then Gnawbone is really a 5 mana dragon.
I also like how this could fit in the 99 in any colour combination that includes green. 2 green mana pips is a tad restrictive, but hardly unmanageable.
Yet another treasure payoff, we move to look at Kalain and this one is pretty exciting. The treasure made doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the fact remains if you can ramp a little and get ahead of the curve then you are going to be in an advantaged position compared to the table. The other ability, to put +1/+1 counters on creatures for each treasure used to cast it, is potentially very powerful to act as a sort of permanent quasi anthem on an aggressive board state. This sort of deck is exciting because typically Rakdos doesn’t get ramp quite like this, but thanks to treasure now being available to all 5 colours we can see a Rakdos treasure deck starting to take shape and that seems pretty exciting.
#3 – Asmodeus, the Archfiend
The 6/6 for 6 is pretty exciting, but not because it is a big body. Frankly, the body is not that exciting because I can go and play a Colossal Dreadmaw if I wanted a big boi.
No, what is exciting here is the ability to have a mass card draw effect that looks like it could emulate what Griselbrand could offer. Make no mistake, this isn’t big Grizz, but the ability here is tempting enough that many players are going to attempt to make it viable. I mean, who isn’t interested in spending 3 black mana to exile the top 7 cards, and then spending a fourth black mana to get all those cards to your hand and lose 7 life? This is exactly the sort of effect mono black players are looking for to refill their grip.
This is another spicy option that really appeals. A 5/3 flying trampler seems pretty good on rate at 4 mana. This is the sort of potential Commander that can lead to knocking a player out with Commander damage without a whole lot of difficulty.
However, the modality of this card is what really gets my attention. The X in the mana cost can be used as a board or a mass reanimation spell and that’s sweet. So, this big guy packs loads of extra value into his already pretty beefy frame and is going to be something your deck wants to replay regularly.
I think I am confused about what WOTC thinks should be the Simic colour identity. The more I look at the cards that Simic has printed over the last years, the more I can just simply conclude that the underlying theme is “Value”. Volo just generates more value by doubling up on creatures that have entered the battlefield.
Yes, they need to be different creature types. Yes, they can’t be legendary. These hardly seem “restrictive” limits to place on Volo because there are just loads of valuable options available in blue and green. If you don’t believe me, simply go look at Brawl and see a Volo deck in action there. The thing is absurd. Simic players everywhere are going to love building Volo and the options are seemingly endless.
Well, there we are folks. Do you agree with my top 10 cards? Should have I included a Dungeon? How about any of the Planeswalkers? Tiamat? Let me know what you think! If you want to hear more about my thoughts on Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, or any other Commander related topic, please check out our weekly podcast on iTunes, Google Podcast, Spotify, Amazon, and anywhere else you find better podcasts. Just look for the name The Epic Experiment Podcast! We’d love to have you join us!
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