Review Part II:The Guilds
This article is a continuation of the Gatecrash Commander Set Review. We’ll just jump right in, starting with…
Dinrova Horror is another great utility card for the early to mid-game, slowing down your opponent and getting you some breathing room to build your own position.
Dimir Charm is not the most powerful card we’ll be discussing; its versatility is what we’re looking for here. To that end, Dimir Charm is great. It kills small utility creatures like Rhys the Redeemed and Palladium Myr, and it can stop the big, bad sorceries that Commander encourages, such as Genesis Wave or Insurrection. The third mode can provide some emergency deck filtering, but it’s not quite as good as the first two in this format.
Consuming Aberration is an insane card in multiplayer games. In the right deck, its power and toughness can reach 100/100 or higher. The milling ability lets it pump itself and stocks your opponents’ graveyards with fun things to steal at the same time. Aberration’s massive body and group milling make it an all-star in my Wrexial EDH deck, but it can do great work no matter what deck you put it in.
Mind Grind is another great card to take advantage of the high amounts of mana typically seen in Commander. Given enough mana, you can deal serious blows to your opponents’ plans, especially considering the fact that Commander is a singleton format, and it can be hard for them to retrieve what’s put into the graveyard if they’re not playing Black, almost like a preemptive counterspell.
Lazav works really well with the other cards I discussed above, allowing you to get more use out of your opponents’ creatures than they will as you force the creatures into the grave via mill, removal, or discard. As your Commander, Lazav can use his transformation to massively boost his power and/or evasiveness in order to quickly reach the requisite 21 commander damage needed to eliminate a player.
The Gruul guild is honestly the one I’ve had the most fun playing in Commander since Gatecrash’s release. While they might not be the most thought-provoking or skill-testing guild, Gruul’s “Play big creatures and hit people with them” play style translates incredibly well into Commander, more so than most other formats.
Good removal is good removal.
Rubblehulk, like the rest of Gruul’s cards, is incredibly simple to understand. However, the Bloodrush ability can really change your combat math, allowing you to surprisingly boost Commander damage or or main damage and finish off an opponent, although it is often better when cast as a creature.
The new Borborygmos is a stellar commander for the red/green large creatures deck I’ve been using. His 7 power allows for 3-hit kills with Commander damage, and his third ability turns late-game land draws into direct damage, removing creatures or hurting players as needed.
The Orzhov guild has been pretty interesting for Commander, but the best of them were covered back up in the mono-colored area. Extort is a great mechanic for Commander, but except for the previously mentioned mono-colored cards, most Extort cards just aren’t that good on their own.
New board wipes are always useful in Commander, and Merciless Eviction is the most versatile board wipe since Lorwyn’s Austere Command. While it doesn’t hit quite as many targets as the Command, the fact that it can target planeswalkers and that it exiles its targets, preventing their reanimation/retrieval, makes Merciless Eviction a stellar board wipe.
Aurelia is one of the swingiest commanders that came from this set, being able to swiftly end games. She’s also really good as a part of your other 99. Getting another attack step from an Aurelia dropped as a surprise is a great way to eliminate a player or two, or even the rest of the table, if you have enough power to swing around.
Urban Evolution is a great card in Commander. It helps you ramp mana and draws cards, massively advancing your game state at the cost of only a single card. Basically a combination of Divination and Explore, I’ve seen this card do good work wherever it is played.
Master Biomancer’s massive, and permanent, buff really gives token/weenie decks more of the power they need to make it Commander. Also, it’s great in Animar decks.
Unexpected Results can be a ton of fun, although it is completely random. However, that just adds to the charm, and the randomness is what leads to the awesome stories you’ll be able to tell later, such as the time I got a Magister Sphinx that I used to set a player’s life total to 10, then swing in to kill him with Progenitus.
Prime Speaker Zegana is another of the legendaries that really took off as commanders to come out of Gatecrash. It can be hard for your opponents to recover from the massive card advantage a resolved Zegana provides, and the fact that it usually enters as a massive creature is icing on the cake.
Personally, I really like this card, despite its questionable, at best, power level. Just that fact that it makes a flying creature essentially unblockable makes it worth a slot to me in any deck that relies on large fliers, especially if one of them is your commander.
The Keyrunes are excellent mana rocks for two or three color decks. The ability to animate them as needed can really help you in a pinch, and is invoked rarely enough that an inattentive opponent will forget you have the ability.
The shocklands of Gatecrash are incredibly valuable in Commander, providing much-needed mana-fixing for 3+ color decks. They’re also used in highly competitive formats, however, so they’re too expensive for many Commander players. It’s a shame, really.
Thespian’s Stage is a very useful card in Commander, allowing you to fix your mana or get more of the useful utility lands you might see around the table, as necessitated by the game state.
So there you have it: My thoughts on the best Commander cards in Gatecrash. If you think there any notable absences here, feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email at JakePPetersen@gmail.com!