Commander 2016 is Here, and It’s Awesome


Atraxa.jpeg

The new Commander 2016 prebuilt decks are now in-store, and they look amazing.

First off, for those who are unfamiliar with the format, here’s the skinny direct from Wizards of the Coast: 

“Created and popularized by fans, Commander is a casual format in which each player’s deck is led by the legendary creature of his or her choice — the player’s commander. It’s usually played in a casual free-for-all multiplayer games, although two-player games are also popular. Each player starts at 40 life. Each deck contains exactly 100 cards, including its commander. Commander is also a “singleton” format:  other than basic lands, each card must have a different English name.”

Five new decks are available in Commander 2016, each with one four-colour commander. The decks also include two-colour legendary creatures that may be used together (the new partner mechanic) as alternate commanders. As Mark Rosewater, head designer for Magic: The Gathering says: “Here’s how partner works: when choosing your commander, you are allowed to choose two legendary creatures that both have partner in place of a single legendary creature.”

There are 15 different two-coloured legendary creatures in the set, which allow 105 distinct commander combinations in addition to the five four-colour commanders.So much choice!  Your deck may still contain only 100 cards including your two commanders, in this case, and they each start the game in the command zone.  The two commanders function independently, except for determining the colours that may be played in your deck. The increased design flexibility offered by four-colour commanders (alone or partnered) is going to create a ton of new and interesting deck-brewing possibilities, for those who like to tinker and build.

Each of the prebuilt decks has a theme. Open Hostility (B/R/G/W) is a classic aggro deck, featuring lots of land ramp and big creatures that grow even bigger fast. Entropic Uprising (U/B/R/G) deals out disruption, aggression, and removal to keep opponents off-balance. Stalwart Unity (R/G/W/U) is a pillow fort deck, built around the idea of helping opponents so that they don’t kill you off (while ideally you inch towards victory unnoticed). Invent Superiority (W/U/B/R) is an artifacts-based Affinity-type deck, absolutely awash in fantastic cards. And, finally, Breed Lethality (G/W/U/B) is a +1/+1 counters deck that relies on relentless growth of creatures to overwhelm.

Each of the decks offers good value for money when compared to their per-card buy price. Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice, commander for Breed Lethality, is currently selling for CDN$14.99 at Face to Face, as is one of the ridiculously-overpowered rares in the set, Deepglow Skate. That makes the current price to replicate this deck from singles start at $30 for just two cards! However unlikely it may be that the higher-priced cards will retain all their value (let’s face it — really unlikely) there’s no question that there is some serious value here. And the same calculus, more or less, can be applied to each of the other sets in Commander 2016.

So get out there, and take command! I’ll see you on the battlefield.



© Karin Belanger 2016