Just as a reminder, I’ll be cherry-picking cards from each of the colors, talking about them, and giving them a rating out of a score of 10. I am not gospel when it comes to Magic and can only state my own thoughts and feelings on the cards. I may rate a card a 10 because I can see the utility, but it might not play as well in reality as it looked in theory. You know the drill!
We will be going through the cards in both color and alphabetical order and will only be talking about new cards; I will not be touching upon the new to modern reprints or the enemy fetch lands as, put, the new to modern cards have already been in the format for a long while. The fetch lands are, of course, 10/10 cards, they’re already amazing, and everybody already knows that!
So, without further adieu, let’s talk about Blue!
In Commander, Blue is always considered one of the better colors, often just narrowly behind Green In terms of pure card power. But there is always room for improvement so let’s see what Blue gets, how powerful they all are, and whether we should dare to dream of getting anything quite as good as Esper Sentinel!
This is a super interesting card calling back to Humility, a card which always stuns me considering that it’s actually legal in this format; Not really for power, just for how many “feels bad” moments it can give tables. So Dress Down doesn’t turn things into 1/1’s. Sadly as with Flash, that might have been too good, but causing all creatures to lose all of their abilities whilst also replacing themselves is actually pretty darn powerful, especially when you can cast this on someone’s end-step to shut the next player’s creatures down, or just as a combat trick to cause fliers to fall out of the sky and be blocked by your ground-based army. Sadly it only lasts until the beginning of the end-step, but if you can hook it back to your hand from the board or the bin, then you can keep oppressing your table by taking their clothes off and dressing them down.
Final Verdict: 7/10: While not for every deck, Dress Down is hugely powerful with little downsides as it even replaces itself, I love this one.
Now, this might be on my list because I think it’s the cutest card in the set as it is an adorable Bloodhound made out of the water (Hence: Floodhound, seriously, whoever made that pun deserves a raise, maybe even two raises). The card itself, however, is actually pretty solid. While a total cost of 5 mana to draw a card isn’t amazing by any means (especially in a color that can already draw cards pretty well), it has value with cards like Tamiyo’s Journal and Lonis, Cryptozoologist (More on her a little later) because it makes clues, making this card surprisingly playable. Especially also in the little-known Pauper EDH format, it’s one to watch, though if you let this wet dog in, maybe you should dry them off afterward and give them a pet.
Final Verdict: 4/10, aka Good out of Dog: While not exactly incredible, there certainly are decks for this card and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the cute pupper.
This is a fact. Sadly, mill isn’t actually all that good in Commander… I know you want it to work, and so do I. This, however, is one of the best rates on a card we have seen since Glimpse the Unthinkable, and in Bruvac, yes, it will mill each opponent for 28 cards which is pretty darn good! Heck, this card can even cycle and mill 4 cards for a decent rate of just 2 mana. Admittedly it likely won’t actually make mill good in commander on its own, and for that, I can only apologize, but it’s certainly a card to look out for. Bruvac obviously loves it, and Mirko Vosk will gladly play it, as would Circu as our three token mill Commanders.
Final Verdict: 5/10: It’s truly a card designed for very specific decks, but in the decks where it will be good, oh it will be very good indeed. Also, the art is wonderful.
The next of what I’m calling the “null spells” is Inevitable Betrayal, a suspended variant on Bribery, another card that has been really creeping up in price and is currently around the $30 mark. At 3 mana to suspend (remaining suspended for 3 whole turns), this is a harder card to grasp in terms of power level, as it likely paints a big target on your head while it’s waiting to resolve. One thing you can do is cast it from a card like Electrodominance or As Foretold, both of which don’t care if the card has a mana cost or not as it only checks Mana Value, which for these cards is at 0. You can also cast it from a Cascade, which makes it amazing for decks like Maelstrom Wanderer or Ydris, who can cascade into it and cast it for the low, low price of free.
Final Verdict: 6/10: It is a card that is variable on how good it is, but if you can get around the suspend cast, then it will be just as good as Bribery, which is a very good card indeed!
Blue-based token decks like Alela, Talrand, and Kykar can often cast this card for just UU, subsequently getting a big bonus whenever a token enters the battlefield by actually tapping down any non-land and holding it there past an untap step. This can be devastating as you can keep people’s blockers tapped or lock them from their artifact mana. I really like Junk Winder, and while I don’t have a deck for it currently, I will be slamming this card ASAP as soon as I do. Affinity outside of artifacts is also something I fully welcome and want to see more of all the time!
Final Verdict: 7/10: Blue token decks are going to love this card, it’s usually cheap to cast and with a very powerful effect too, definitely a card to look out for, and if you can clone it then it very quickly becomes a powerful threat that demands an answer.
This is an incredibly exciting card for Modern and Legacy as a very cheap flier that starts huge and can continue to grow. Still, your graveyard is almost always a powerful resource for a commander, so stripping powerful instant and sorcery cards from it just to play a cheap Blue flier with no protection seems very dangerous… In cEDH or Duel Commander, this will likely be very strong as a game-ending card in decks like Baral, Kess, or Dissident Mage, but it’s just not something wants in regular power level pods to be casting. If you want something similar to a delving Blue flier, then I can wholeheartedly recommend Ethereal Forager instead, as whilst it’s not as chunky as Murktide Regent, it allows you to hook back the instant and sorceries used to cast it, which is a powerful thing indeed.
Final Verdict: 4/10: Only the most competitive of pods will be playing this card, stick to Modern and Legacy with this one, for this murky dragon does not belong in Commander.
A fascinating one here. For 2 mana, you get to make any non-creature artifact you control into a 4/4 beater, very similar to Ensoul Artifact but not relying on the aura to stick around. Yet, by Overloading this for just 6 mana, you can then turn all your mana rocks, artifact lands, and utility pieces into 4/4 threats. You will want to win the game quite quickly after casting this, though, because they are now suddenly creatures, which means your Sol Ring or Thran Dynamo can now be Doom Bladed which would undoubtedly feel really bad.
Final Verdict: 6/10: A shiny new finisher for artifact decks. If you’re a Muzzio or Arcum Dagson player, this may be one to look out for.
Let me take a moment to say this now: Merfolk was my first Legacy deck. I have a Merfolk Commander deck which I absolutely love to play at every opportunity I get. I LOVE those slippery little guys. So to see a new 1 mana Merfolk which apes one of the lands I played an awful lot of in Legacy, then yes, color me excited. Unfortunately, this card is likely not as good as you may think it is; In a 4 player game, this will actually not be all that impressive. However, it still is a Merfolk and has Islandwalk, which is pretty huge, so I’m still going to sleeve it up and play it. Outside of Merfolk, though (due to this Pirate looking Merfolk not actually being a Pirate), you cannot play it in your Malcolm/Breeches deck or your Admiral Beckett Brass list because it does not yo-ho-ho, nor does it drink a bottle of rum.
Final Verdict: 3/10 or 6/10 in Merfolk: Being a Merfolk raises its value because that type of deck want early and cheap creatures, which, this does exactly that whilst also having a strong, albeit a little situational, ability.
This is not actually a 5 mana bounce two creatures card. So don’t look at that rules text. It may as well be flavor text, the real interesting part of this card is that it is an instant speed, almost uncounterable, 2 mana tutor, for any Wizard, so if you’re playing an Inalla, Kaza, Azami, or Naban Wizard deck then this can grab whatever silver bullet you want. Honestly, it can even grab Snapcaster Mage, which already makes it pretty darn enticing.
Final Verdict: 1/10 or 10/10 in Wizards: In Wizard decks this is actually an auto include as far as I’m concerned, it’s amazing and if you’re playing Wizards then this is your actual first card you should put in your deck! I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them.
So, when this was spoiled, I actually got the impression that this card wasn’t going to be very good. Still, once I actually looked at it again, I realized it’s a 4 mana, Flash, Flying 3/3 that casts Hinder for Creatures or Planeswalkers, at only 1 mana more than Hinder. This card is absolutely bonkers levels of good, it does so much, and if you’re tapped out, you can cast the best part of the card for free. This is almost an actual auto-include Blue card, but some decks may prefer to cast slightly more versatile countermagic as its line is still pretty narrow, all things considered.
Final Verdict: 9/10: A incredibly powerful card indeed, most decks would be very happy to sleeve it up and if you’re not wanting to then you really should reconsider it.
Today on card names, I am stunned haven’t actually been used. We have Suspend! This card, well, quite simply puts a creature into Suspend for 2 turns, very similar to all-star counterspell Delay. This is a card that not every deck wants. At the same cost, we have Rapid Hybridization and Pongify, and for 1 mana more, we have Reality Shift, but there are decks for this card for sure. It’s another card that is likely more fitting for cEDH or Duel Commander, where the game is more cut-throat but still definitely a card to test out as it certainly is a premium removal.
Final Verdict: 5/10: Not for every deck sure, but the decks it works well in, it will really put the work in. You just need to decide if it’s worth the cost when compared to similar effects.
Classic Magic fans rejoice. Another classic Magic the Gathering character has finally gotten herself a card. Plus, this is the first Legendary Creature I have been able to write about! And she’s a Merfolk, too, so it just keeps getting better! For 3 mana, you’ll get an often indestructible God that draws a card every time she attacks whilst also offering a little bit of protection to your fishy friends in the form of Ward 1. While she may be great as a Commander for Merfolk, I don’t think she will knock Kumena from the throne as best Merfolk Commander (That is, until we get a Bant Merfolk Commander), as the Ixilan Green Merfolk are pretty powerful. The bevy of good Simic cards you get to play makes Kumena the wise choice, but as it stands, this is an amazing tool for the Merfolk decks to get their hands or fins on.
Final Verdict: 7/10: This Merfolk is an amazing addition to an already powerful tribe, I would be stunned to see a Merfolk tribal deck that doesn’t end up playing this card!
Whilst it has a little more game in 60 card formats, having already seen play in Modern (with it likely to see some Legacy testing too), this will be the best cast at around the 2 to 3 mana mark and could be amazing when cast for 1 mana. Drawing 2 cards on entering and being a 2/2 flier is an excellent deal, whilst having a naturally high mana cost makes it a perfect fit for Muzzio, refilling the hand and having a high cost to dig for more artifacts toys.
Final Verdict: 6/10: While not every artifact deck will want to play this, the ones that do will really, really want this. I for one cannot wait to slam one down and feel good about it.
Three new Merfolks? It’s not even my birthday! Seriously though, this card is actually incredible. More often than not, it will be a 1 mana 2/2, but when you kick it (for as long as you control Tide Shaper), you can make a target land into an Island. That’s not in addition to its other types either. It just becomes an Island! So goodbye dual lands, goodbye Maze of Ith, we are all Islands now! This is one of those cards that will be far better in 60 card formats but is something that Merfolk decks and possibly even other decks can get real play from.
Final Verdict 3/10 or 8/10 for Merfolk: Yes another auto-include Merfolk card, but this is something that you can certainly play in a non Merfolk deck without feeling bad about it. It can be a great way to shut down someone’s utility lands in a color that doesn’t have too many ways of doing so.
So there we have it. Blue is getting some pretty darn amazing cards, with Wizards and Merfolk making off with some of the best cards for their decks and with Subtlety being an almost format staple for the color. Now we move onto Black and see what dastardly new toys this color gets!