Echo Storm! The Commander Community Reacts To Commander 2018!

Commander sets are the best place for the strangest, newest Magic spells you can imagine! And this set is delivering early and often! Bennie takes a look at the previews with a few friends here!

Like many of you, I eagerly jumped on the interwebs Monday hunting for
preview cards for the upcoming Commander 2018 product. Commander
is my jam after all. StarCityGames.com got a couple sweet previews shared
on Twitter Monday, and I wanted to dig into what the cards mean for
Commander. First up, the cool rare Echo Storm!

This card is obviously an echo of the storm mechanic, only nicely tweaked
for the Commander format. @HairlessThoctar (a bit aggressively) pointed out
a missed opportunity:

Since it’s a blue card that cares about artifacts, it’s probably going to
be found in the U/R Exquisite Invention artifact deck. If you’re brewing up
your own artifact-heavy deck with blue (for instance, the deck I wrote
about last week built around Sai, Master Thopterist), this is definitely a
card you should consider!

I sympathize with @RogueArtificer here! If you’ve got more than one blue
Commander deck figuring out where to put Echo Storm is going to be tough!

I like that the “storm” part of the card – creating copies – is tied to the
number of times you’ve cast your commander from the command zone. This
means that Echo Storm does its best work in a deck with a commander that
costs less than five so you’ll get at least one extra copy of the card the
first time you’ll be able to cast it. The cheaper the commander, the more
chances that you’ll have cast it more than once to potentially make Echo
Storm even better!

Let’s take a look at some other commanders we might want to have Echo Storm
as one of our 99.

All of these commanders dovetail nicely into an artifact-matters theme, so
there likely are going to be plenty of good targets to copy that you
yourself have cast. Thada Adel, Acquisitor can steal mana ramp artifacts
like Sol Ring from opponents and that’s not a bad thing to make a couple
copies of.

Padeem, Consul of Innovation can make sure a really nice juicy target like
Solemn Simulacrum or Phyrexian Metamorph doesn’t get destroyed before
you’re ready for Echo Storm.

Then we have these blue commanders, which don’t specifically call out
artifacts but are likely to have some good artifacts in the deck. A Vorel
of the Hull Clade or Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice deck might have artifacts with
charge counters we’d like to copy, like Lux Cannon or Magistrate’s Scepter.

Jhoira of the Ghitu and Jodah, Archmage Eternal might very well have some
large and potent artifacts the decks can cheat out that would be prime
candidates for copying, like Caged Sun, Wurmcoil Engine, or Darksteel

Then there’s Admiral Beckett Brass. I figure a Pirate deck may have some
artifacts worthy of copying. Metallic Mimic, Adaptive Automaton, Obelisk of
Urd, and various pieces of equipment all help your small Pirate crew grow
fiercer. And how about a couple extra copies of Treasure Map that won’t
ever transform, but instead let you keep scrying and occasionally dumping
out a few Treasure tokens for your booty stash?

These are all blue commanders that might not have any sort of artifact
theme, but that’s okay-we’ll probably play some staples like Sol Ring,
Skullclamp, Commander’s Sphere, and Solemn Simulacrum, and if we don’t have
any of those on the battlefield it’s likely one of our opponents will. Echo
Storm is perfectly fine as a card to grind some value from any generically
good artifacts that might be lying about.

@HobbesQ gets it-all the value!

Another exciting angle to Echo Storm opens up when you consider blue
legends with the partner mechanic. Silas Renn, Seeker Adept jumps
immediately to mind since you’re going to have artifacts in your deck, but
again, most decks are going to have some number of artifacts. Most of these
cost less than five; as long as your other partner commander is a different
mana cost and less than five, the odds are good for getting two extra
copies of Echo Storm as early as when you have five mana!

I agree with @mountainmage, maybe a “Commanderstorm” card for each color? I
can’t wait to see if this is part of a cycle!

What sort of artifacts are you looking forward to copying with Echo Storm?

Let’s not forget the other blue card Starcitygames.com got to preview
Monday: Loyal Drake!

Firstly, hats off to the artist and the writer of the flavor text; the
combo just brings a smile to anyone who likes fantasy tropes.

It also marks the return of the lieutenant mechanic, which as @misterorange
points out, is very cool!

As an uncommon we can expect this in at least two of the three decks that
have blue in them. Coolness aside, are we going to play this in blue
Commander decks we build from scratch?

My feeling is it’ll be a good fit for a relatively narrow selection of
commanders, mostly ones that cost three or less. It’s a nice design that
the trigger happens at the beginning of combat, so if you cast Loyal Drake
during your pre-combat main phase and have your commander already on the
battlefield, you can immediately draw a card. This sequence is what makes
Loyal Drake worth playing, where it will basically be a more fragile
Phyrexian Arena that draws you a card right away, doesn’t cost you life,
and can chump block or attack if you need it to.

It’s the kind of card that probably won’t draw out a precious removal spell
from your opponent until someone notices that it’s drawn you a half dozen
extra cards and by then the damage has been done. If you like cards that
have a low profile and don’t immediately set off alarm bells with your
opponents, but can grind out some incremental value, Loyal Drake fits the

I too wish it didn’t cost three mana, which happens to be the casting cost
overstuffed with fantastic Commander cards. Though at two mana you’d
probably not be casting it for a turn or two before you could cast your
commander. I suspect Loyal Drake would have seen significantly more play as
a four mana 2/3 rather than competing with the likes of Propaganda, Loxodon
Warhammer, Rhystic Study, Darksteel Ingot, Chasm Skulker, Jace Beleren,
Worn Powerstone, Imprisoned in the Moon, Sea Gate Oracle, Polymorphist’s
Jest, Commander’s Sphere… a lot of competition at three mana, and that’s
not even dipping into other colors!

Shivan from the Commanderin’ podcast points out that you can abuse our
little innocuous Drake if you gain additional combat steps. Najeela, the
Blade-Blossom has extra attacks built right in, but there aren’t many ways
to gain more combat steps in blue. However, don’t sleep on a sweet blue
enchantment Rafiq of the Many is familiar with called Finest Hour

You weren’t the only one!

I guess if you squint the art does look like a Sliver?

What do you think of the return of the lieutenant mechanic and Loyal Drake

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

Commander write-ups I’ve done
(and links to decklists):

Zurgo Bellstriker (Bellstriking Like a Boss)

Dragonlord Ojutai (Troll Shroud)

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund (Dragons, Megamorphs, and Dragons)

Dromoka, the Eternal (One Flying Bolster Basket)

Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest (Tempests and Teapots)

Tasigur, the Golden Fang (Hatching Evil Sultai Plots)

Scion of the Ur-Dragon (Dragon Triggers for Everyone)

• Nahiri, The Lithomancer (Lithomancing for Fun and Profit)

Titania, Protector of Argoth (Titania’s Land and Elemental Exchange)

Reaper King (All About VILLAINOUS WEALTH)

Feldon of the Third Path (She Will Come Back to Me)

Sidisi, Brood Tyrant (Calling Up Ghouls with Sidisi)

Zurgo Helmsmasher (Two Times the Smashing)

Anafenza, the Foremost (Anafenza and Your Restless Dead)

Narset, Enlightened Master (The New Voltron Overlord)

Surrak Dragonclaw (The Art of Punching Bears)

Avacyn, Guardian Angel; Ob Nixilis, Unshackled; Sliver Hivelord (Commander Catchup, Part 3)

Keranos, God of Storms; Marchesa, the Black Rose; Muzzio, Visionary Architect (Commander Catchup, Part 2)

Athreos, God of Passage; Kruphix, God of Horizons; Iroas, God of Victory (Commander Catchup, Journey into Nyx Edition)

Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient (Ghost in the Machines)

Jalira, Master Polymorphist (JaliraPOW!)

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy (Possibility Storm Shenanigans)

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (All-in Yisan)

Selvala, Explorer Returned (Everyone Draws Lots!)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (Cleaning Out the Cellar)

Karona, False God (God Pack)

Child of Alara (Land Ho!)

Doran, the Siege Tower (All My Faves in One Deck!)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (my Magic Online deck)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (GREED!)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind ( Chuck’s somewhat vicious deck)

Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)

Skeleton Ship (Fun with -1/-1 counters)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)

Anax and Cymede (Heroic Co-Commanders)

Aurelia, the Warleader ( plus Hellkite Tyrant shenanigans)

Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)

Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)

Damia, Sage of Stone ( Ice Cauldron shenanigans)

Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (Tribal Birds)

Emmara Tandris (No Damage Tokens)

Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)

Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)

Ghave, Guru of Spores ( Melira Combo)

Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)

Glissa, the Traitor ( undying artifacts!)

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)

Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord (drain you big time)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge ( Suspension of Disbelief)

Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo’ Myrs)

Karona, False God (Vows of the False God)

Konda, Lord of Eiganjo ( The Indestructibles)

Lord of Tresserhorn (ZOMBIES!)

Marath, Will of the Wild ( Wild About +1/+1 Counters)

Melira, Sylvok Outcast ( combo killa)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker ( Outside My Comfort Zone with Milling

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)

Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)

Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius ( new player-friendly)

Nylea, God of the Hunt ( Devoted to Green)

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (by reader request)

Phage the Untouchable ( actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)

Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)

Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)

Progenitus (

Fist of Suns and Bringers


Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)

Riku of Two Reflections (

steal all permanents with
Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts


Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)

Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari ( Demons)

Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)

Sigarda, Host of Herons ( Equipment-centric Voltron)

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave ( how big can it get?)

Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)

Thelon of Havenwood ( Campfire Spores)

Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice ( new player-friendly)

Uril, the Miststalker (my “more competitive” deck)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

Yeva, Nature’s Herald (living at instant speed)