Born Of The Gods Commander Review: Red, Green, Multicolor, & Artifact

Sheldon continues his review of Born of the Gods for Commander by evaluating all the red, green, multicolor, and artifact cards from the new set for the format.

Welcome to the second part of my Born of the Gods review for Commander. I hope you had a great time at your Prerelease (and hope some of you got to have the Prerelease-Super Bowl double play). If you have any wild and wacky tales of what went on, feel free to share them, whether it was at the Prerelease or in pickup Commander games that you happened to get into. Between the two, I’m sure something epic happened.

So . . . how about that banned list update? Sound off to your heart’s content in the comments!

Remember that this is a set review for Commander only. There are plenty of cards in the set that I’m going to put in the "Won’t/Probably Won’t Get Played" category that may end up being a house in Limited or crazy good in Standard. As I’ve done over the past few sets, I’ll break down the cards into three broad categories: Won’t/Probably Won’t Get Played, Might/Probably Will Get Played, and Definitely Will Get Played. The first are simply cards that I can’t imagine seeing any play in the format. The second category is cards that have more narrow potential uses—like in tribal or theme decks—but stand a reasonable chance to find homes in decks. The third contains the cards that you’re going to want to run out and acquire copies of.

Last week we covered white, blue, and black. This week we’ll go over the rest.

Won’t/Probably Won’t Get Played


Bolt of Keranos, Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass, Epiphany Storm, Everflame Eidolon, Fearsome Temper, Impetuous Sunchaser, Kragma Butcher, Nyxborn Rollicker, Pharagax Giant, Pinnacle of Rage, Rise To The Challenge, Satyr Firedancer, Satyr Nyx-Smith, Scouring Sands, Searing Blood, Thunder Brute, Thunderous Might


Charging Badger, Culling Mark, Hero of Leina Tower, Karametra’s Favor, Mischief and Mayhem, Noble Quarry, Nyxborn Wolf, Pheres-Band Raiders, Setessan Oathsworn, Setessan Starbreaker, Snake Of The Golden Grove, Swordwise Centaur


Fanatic of Xenagos, Reap What Is Sown.


Pillar of War, Siren Song Lyre

Might/Probably Will Get Played


Akroan Conscriptor: Generally I think heroic isn’t a mechanic that’s particularly useful in Commander, but Threaten effects sure are so there’s a non-zero chance that someone gives this one a whirl.

Fall Of The Hammer: Decks with a fight theme will like Fall of the Hammer since the other creature doesn’t get to fight back. Especially useful with deathtouch to have a small creature take out a large one.

Fated Conflagration: I would have put this in the Probably Won’t Get Played pile without the combination of damaging planeswalkers and scry. Still, it’s the weakest of the Fated cards.

Flame-Wreathed Phoenix: When I see creatures that can keep coming back, I always consider the possibility that some clever player will figure out how to break them.

Lightning Volley: Could be an end of turn win condition or just punishment for someone who wiped out your team.

Oracle of Bones: I can see someone trying to play the political angle with the card. I just don’t think it’s going to work all that often. A 5/3 with haste is as scary as whatever instant or sorcery is in your hand.

Reckless Reveler: There is likely always something worth blowing up, and RR1 is a reasonable cost to pay for it. It can be a small rattlesnake to make someone think twice about attacking you since you can block and then sacrifice. I can see it in a deck where sacrifice matters, like Thraximundar, and there’s obvious upside with Grave Pact.

Stormcaller of Keranos: A repeatable scry mana sink is the kind of library control that Izzet likes to have.


Archetype of Endurance: Eight mana is a little hefty, but if you’re also playing blue and want to steal things from people, it might be worth it.

Aspect of Hydra: I’ll point out that Berserk is the same mana cost and gives the creature trample. Aspect of Hydra pumps the back side while Berserk doesn’t, but this card goes in a slot for a kill spell. It seems to me that most of the time your biggest creature will have a greater power than your devotion to green.

Fated Intervention: More and more token generators are becoming instants. This one actually seems like it wants to be a sorcery most of the time.

Graverobber Spider: I actually don’t think this is going to get played; I just want to point out that it’s not really robbing any graves.

Hunter’s Prowess: Hunter’s Insight works so this might as well because trample is always dangerous. The mana cost is more likely to be a limiting factor than the fact that it’s a sorcery.

Mortal’s Resolve: Maybe there’s a chance in mono-green decks, which don’t have too many ways to save or protect creatures, that this gets a shot. The +1/+1 is most likely to be irrelevant.

Pheres-Band Tromper: Nicely aggressive in that it rewards you for battling with it. Just don’t play it with Serra’s Blessing.

Raised By Wolves: Wolf tribal has to be a thing by now.

Satyr Wayfinder: Kind of a Mulch creature, it could be useful in Karador decks to start filling up the graveyard early.


Ephara’s Enlightenment: This may be a stretch, but I can see someone trying to use this as a repeatable way of getting counters onto creatures like Spike Weaver.

Kiora’s Follower: Permanents that untap other permanents always suggest infinite combo possibilities to me, and I suspect the clever Magic minds out there will figure out some way to abuse it. Good thing Time Vault is banned. What threatens to push this card into the Definitely Will Get Played list is its interaction with the inspired mechanic in this set, but the color combination will limit the number of decks it can go into.

Ragemonger: I like that it’s one of the few cards that reduces the colored mana cost of something, and someone is going to try their hand at the Minotaur deck. But all in all it seems a little narrow without adding white for the best Minotaurs, Boros Battleshaper and Boros Reckoner.

Siren of the Silent Song: A fine tool for both discard and reanimation decks, especially those that do the first so they can do the second.


Astral Cornucopia: Three X might be a little pricey in a format where you can pay basically two X for Everflowing Chalice. I’m not sure that getting colored mana is worth the extra cost, but I’m willing to admit someone could prove me wrong.

Heroes’ Podium: Legendary creature tribal? It could happen. Just watch out for Willow Satyr.

Definitely Will Get Played


Archetype of Aggression: Trample is the leading cause of death in Commander players ages 15-95. Once a day Archetype of Aggression will lower those risks. Side effects may include getting into the red zone, beating face, and crushing dreams. Consult your doctor immediately if you’re in the red zone for more than four hours.

Felhide Spiritbinder: Absolutely worth the 1R cost. Your problem won’t be deciding if you’re going to make a token; it’ll be what you’re going to make a token of.

Forgestoker Dragon: Of course it’s going to get played—it’s a Dragon, not some blockheaded Bracegirdle from Hardbottle. The cool ability to machinegun down weenies and keep bigger creatures from blocking is extra value.

Whims Of The Fates: All the chaos players rejoice! A new toy has come your way. I imagine there are scenarios where you would really gamble with the splits (like 0-0-all) because you’re behind. If someone else plays this and you have Faith’s Reward in your hand, what’s the percentage play? I’d play it just to watch the gamesmanship unfold.


Courser of Kruphix: Not quite Oracle of Mul Daya in that it doesn’t give you the extra land drop, but a reasonable addition to the ramp suite. Like so many cards, it’s really nice with Sensei’s Divining Top. The little extra life gain isn’t really a factor in whether or not to play the card.

Nessian Demolok: There will always be one player who will agree to help you destroy something controlled by another player. Just make a deal in advance and always stick to your word. That one time you dagger someone ("j/k, blow up your Jace") will come back to haunt you.

Nessian Wilds Ravager: You can be a little more forward with this one. "Pay the tribute or else your creature gets slaughtered."

Peregrination: Ramp spells will always get played. While it’s not quite Skyshroud Claim or even Ranger’s Path, it’s Cultivate plus one for scry. Eminently reasonable.

Scourge of Skola Vale: Regular readers know that I love no- or low-cost sacrifice outlets because other people will sometimes try to steal or blow up your stuff. Scourge of Skola Vale has a place as one of those outlets. It’s slightly defensive because you have to tap it (meaning it won’t be repeatable in a turn and you can’t attack with it), but the upside growth potential is worth it. Imagine sacrificing Serra Avatar to it in a Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice deck. Or Malignus in a Kresh, the Bloodbraided deck (with Stalking Vengeance hanging out). Since it’s in green, there is always Greater Good or Momentous Fall should someone try to kill or steal it.

Skyreaping: One of the hidden gems of the set, Skyreaping offers a low-mana sweeper in green. This way you’ll be able to play out the fatties you want to instead of holding back a bunch of mana for Hurricane.

Unravel the Aether: The Gods of Theros are tough nuts to crack, and this is the hammer to do it with. Clearly designed as an answer to Gods, it may also be useful to get rid of artifacts and enchantments that run the risk of getting recurred, such as Duplicant in a Karador, Ghost Chieftain deck.


Chromanticore: Everyone wishes this were legendary so they could have it command a deck. In an environment where board sweepers are present, this next-generation totem-armor idea will give you something when you would have otherwise had nothing. It’s a compelling reason to build a five-color deck.

Ephara, God of the Polis: The only downside to this card is the bookkeeping required to make sure you remember to draw a card. It would be a solid if unspectacular commander, but I’m without a doubt going to find room for it in my Lavinia of the Tenth deck. I’ll probably consider it for other decks with blue and white in them as well since I’m a pretty big fan of getting creatures into play.

Karametra, God of Harvests: Houston, we’ve found the BOOM! Karametra takes the ridiculous and makes it absurd. Tacking ramp onto creature spells not only ensures bigger, badder creatures keep coming but that you’ll be drawing nothing but gas since all your lands will be on the table already. The first place my brain went was to Fleetfoot Panther as repeatable ramp.

Karametra isn’t broken by any stretch, but it’s really strong. You had better be ready to deal with it and what it does because it’s going to be the most popular card for the format from this set. I don’t even want to think about what it does with Avenger of Zendikar around. When playing against it, if you can manage to stay alive long enough, Acidic Soil becomes a game winner. You might also think about building a Zo-Zu the Punisher deck. If you asked me what card I’d rather play in a vacuum at 3GW, I’d pick Karametra over Mirari’s Wake.

Kiora, the Crashing Wave: Kiora looks kind of unthreatening—the +1 won’t light anyone’s hair on fire and the -1 won’t do too much without the +1—but it’s one of those sneaky good cards that gives you incremental advantages for greater payoffs later. The Crashing Wave is an appropriate name because while the first two abilities are a quiet buildup the ultimate is indeed a huge crash. Who doesn’t love getting 9/9s every turn?

Mogis, God of Slaughter: Any time I see "slaughter" on a card, I’m immediately interested. While I think this one will definitely get played, I think it will sometimes backfire on its controller. There are lots of decks that want to sacrifice creatures, and giving them an additional outlet for it seems suboptimal. Of course, it’s also a three-hit killer with commander damage, so you have to be careful that it doesn’t just murder you.

Phenax, God of Deception: There’s no deception here at all—this card is just going to mill out people! It will put a new wrinkle in The Mimeoplasm decks that feature Lord of Extinction, for sure. If you don’t already have that "just in case" Eldrazi in your deck, you might want to think about it a little harder.

Xenagos, God of Revels: Now we’re talking my language! Maybe Xenagos should have been called God of Slaughter because that’s what it’s going to do. I’m not going to take apart my Ruric Thar, the Unbowed (and his Beastly Werewolf Fight Club) deck in favor of Xenagos, but I’m going to consider building a new deck in Gruul. Add Archetype of Aggression and suddenly you have medium-sized creatures bashing face everywhere. Include extra combat steps for additional brutality. I just hope none of my opponents is playing Horobi, Death’s Whisper.

Artifact & Land

Gorgon’s Head: Obviously appropriate flavor in this set, I love its low cost to both cast and equip. There are few enough Equipment that give deathtouch that this is a welcome addition to the set. Sure, it’s not Basilisk Collar, but what is? For me, this will replace Quietus Spike in Ruric Thar (which will still have Basilisk Collar) mostly due to cost and partially due to the fact that it’s not as scary to people as the prospect of losing half their life.

Springleaf Drum: A card previously ignored in the format, the inspired mechanic (and its rerelease) will catapult Springleaf Drum into the ranks often played card.

Temple of Enlightenment, Temple of Malice, Temple of Plenty: It’s no secret that lands that produce two different colors of mana and scry when they enter the battlefield will get played.

Overall, while I’d give the mechanics of the set (something I’ll talk a little more about next week) a solid A-, I think the cards as a set for Commander get a B-. The best of them, such as Karametra and Xenagos, are outstanding. The percentage of them on the Definitely Will Get Played list is low compared to other recent sets, so while there will be some work finding slots for the new cards it won’t be as difficult as it has been. I’m not necessarily taking that as a bad thing though. One of the issues designers have to contend with is a continuing arms race of better cards for lower cost. I’m pleased that they showed a good sense of lateral development and haven’t given into simply "bigger, better, faster."

Next week I’ll have a potpourri of things for you, including the aforementioned discussion on the Born of the Gods mechanics, what BNG-driven changes I’ll be making to my decks, and response to any feedback on the banning of Sylvan Primordial.

Embracing the Chaos,


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