Normally I don’t give you an update on the Commander Cube that I built until several sets have passed and I can give you a fun little overview of enough
changes to warrant a full article.
Shoot, I just gave you an update for a year’s worth of cards in May
But then Conspiracy happened. A set specifically designed for multiplayer drafting. And just about any Commander Cube is going to be about…let’s see
here….multiplayer drafting. Hmmm. That’s going to create some resonance which will result in significant questions to ask of my Commander Cube.
To what degree should I run conspiracies? To what degree should I run cards that have draft effects?
And not just that! There are some great new cards that should make the cut in my Cube based on power level. Then there are a lot of solid entries that have
interesting possibilities like Will of the Council or dethrone. Questions ensue: To what degree do solid utility entries like Custodi Squire make the cut?
(For example, if we were playing duels after this, I’d pull Razor Hippogriff for it, since the Squire is easier to cast and you can get a land or creature
as well as an artifact. But in multiplayer, is losing the reliability of the Hippogriff worth the added flexibility?)
These are interesting questions to Brainstorm. So let’s take a look at some changes I already intend to make, and then I can take it from there:
In: Extract from Darkness for Spite // Malice
. Spite and Malice is increasingly becoming a bad card in Magic. It can’t kill every creature or counter every spell. There was a time when it was one of
the true tools of Magic, and today, it’s just not great. It’s time to give it a rest. Instead, we are adding this solid combination of milling and
reanimation. Its unique, interesting, and a very compelling take on the mechanics.
In: Grenzo, Dungeon Warden for Agonizing Demise.
I have both Agonizing Demise and Terminate in my Rakdos colors. People love flipping Terminate when they draft and grab it highly. But Agonizing Demise
really isn’t what they are looking for. It lacks zest. So I’m tossing in Grenzo instead. Grenzo is a fun guy in any deck that can run him, and can be a
nice fit for a Rakdos Commander. He should play differently than other Rakdos guys. Plus, adding him in increases the number of legendary critters I have,
and that works too.
In: Magister of Worth for Agent of Masks.
I’m not sure that Magister of Worth is, well, worth playing in my Orzhov section. I’ve been looking for a way to pull out the underperforming
Agent of Masks. And this is it. After playing around with it, the Magister may prove equally disappointing, but at least we are making changes and trying
out new stuff, right? Just like Cespenar, everybody likes new shinies!
In: Muzzio, Visionary Architect for Sturmgeist.
I actually like Sturmgeist, and it’s a decently fun card. But you don’t draw nearly as many cards from it as you expect. Muzzio, however, brings a lot to
my deck. First of all, he gives a partner to Arcum Dagsson. Any player looking to find a good leader for their mono-blue artifact friendly deck now has an
extra chance. It also helps to increase the synergy in blue with recent additions such as Master of Etherium and Grand Architect. It’s a great card for the
In: Treasonous Ogre for Greater Stone-Spirit.
Treasonous Ogre has a lot of blowing up potential in Commander, trading one resource for another without having to spend mana or tapping it or anything
else. There are a passel of effects to ramp up. Such as Exsanguinate; that combo is downright nasty! Greater Stone-Spirit works in an odd way, but red has
a lot of higher cost guys, so this allows me to bring down the cost on a multiplayer friendly dethrone body as well as a mana enabler.
In: Scourge of the Throne for Volcanic Dragon.
Haste is better than a lot of people think in multiplayer, and the Volcanic guy does have some merit. But I think we would universally agree that this is
an easy call.
In: Realm Seekers for Acid-Web Spider.
For just one more mana, you remove reach and the ability to destroy an equipment for a much larger creature that can tutor a lot of lands to your hand.
That seems pretty good to me.
In: Brago, King Eternal for Windreaver.
Play with it, and you’ll find that Windreaver is under-appreciated in Azorius decks. But Brago is a cheap Commander that has flying and the mega flicker
ability which plays well with Magic cards. It also works well outside of the Commander zone as an interesting character to bring the beats. Yet another
legendary increase too.
One of the things I need to be leery of is running a fun legendary creature that’s great in a lot of decks but simply could not be a Commander due to a
lack of support. Arcum Dagsson was a perfect example. He’s fine in an Esper colored artifact deck or other blue-based artifact decks, but if someone saw
him, I didn’t want them to draft him without a lot of opportunities for support. That’s why I added in things like the other artifact enablers; Muzzio
helps. Most legendary creatures are bad as Commanders, but hey, if you want to have Cho-Manno, Revolutionary as your leader, I’m not stopping you! I just
have to be sensitive to those that need some support cards to lead your deck.
Dack Fayden is great, but I’m not sure I’ll get a spare copy anytime soon for the Commander Cube considering his price.
Which is better for Grixis: Sedris, the Traitor King or Marchesa, the Black Rose? As of right now, I’m leaving in Sedris. He needs less support to work as
a Commander I’m thinking. I could slide into Marchesa later. I also don’t like Selvala enough right now to fight for a spot in a very tight Selesnya
Now we’ve seen what basic changes I’m making with the normal cards comes the tough part. Do I play some of the draft ability cards or conspiracies?
Let’s just look at the draft ability ones first. These are the cards that I think are strong enough to run on their own in a Commander Cube:
It’s certainly possible that some of the draft ability cards not on this list will play well enough to make the cut. But these 6 cards seem like those good
enough to run in my Cube.
Now, what about conspiracies?
That’s it! Most of these conspiracies help one creature or spell, and in a highlander draft format with 100 cards, I’m not sure how impactful these
conspiracies would be. Frankly, who would draft Secrets of Paradise or Iterative Analysis? They have little value. The only exception to me is Immediate
Action naming your Commander. I do think adding haste to your leader is really quality, since he is guaranteed to be played quite frequently.
Now you could run Brago’s Favor for your Commander, but that’s weaker. Muzzio’s Preparations will amp your leader by +1/+1 each iteration. I don’t really
see any of the others as feasible Commander combos, especially in a draft format. Sure, if you knew you could have a really cheap Commander, perhaps
Secrets of Paradise would be awesome! But you are just as likely to wind up with Rith the Awakener or Prossh, Skyraider of Kher where it’s a swing and a
And I don’t think Sentinel Dispatch has enough power to warrant playing it. Worldknit is arguably illegal, but even still, I doubt it’s good enough to run
either. It would create an illegal deck – Commander decks have to be 100 cards, so the deck would be too big if you ran everything drafted plus lands. That
leaves just three conspiracies for the Cube. And one just let’s you go first. Is that trio enough to even run? I don’t feel like it is.
So, as of right now, I won’t add in any conspiracies, because I think it would be odd to have just three in the Cube. I feel like I need to commit to more
cards if I slide into them. Now, if they play better than I expect when I draft Conspiracy and such, I can always add them in later.
I do respect the 6 draft mechanic cards. Plus, five of them are artifact creatures, and my deck has a need for a few extra colorless guys. All 6 are making
the cut, and nothing is getting pulled for them. Let’s see how they roll!
In: Scion of the Ur-Dragon for Bringer of the Blue Dawn
– The Bringer is fine, but the five color requirement to run it drops it down significantly. Scion gives me another vital five color Commander, and it
plays well with our dragon theme.
In: Commander Eesha for Dawn Elemental
– I don’t have enough Eeshas to run around, so I picked up some more and subbed out the overly white Dawn Elemental for the more feasible Commander Eesha
to guard up the skies, and also to swing for two unblockable damage. Besides, any Commander Cube should have Commander Eesha!
Conspiracy is bringing a lot of crazy, beyond-the-box stuff to Magic. I’m really excited. Once again, the updated Commander Cube is on Google, and it’s yours to
review and use. Let me know what your thoughts are!