Journey Into Nyx Review For Commander

Check out Sheldon’s review of Journey into Nyx for the Commander format to find out which new cards you’ll probably see from 100-card decks in the near future!

It’s Prerelease time again, and that means it’s also time for one of our favorite activities: reviewing the upcoming set!

As I have in the past, I’ll be rating cards "Won’t/Might Get Played," "Probably Will Get Played," and "Definitely Will Get Played." I’m adding a new feature to some of the cards called "Card To Combo With." It’s a suggestion of something that you might find fun and interesting to play around with that might not be immediately evident when you look at the card and is intended to send you down a thought path you might not have gone down otherwise.

Remember that this is a review for Commander only. There are cards that will be bombs in draft that no one with 100-card decks will touch. As always, I’m happy for folks to prove me wrong on the cards that I’ve dismissed. There’s a good deal to cover, so let’s dive right into the cards.

Won’t/Might Get Played


Akroan Mastiff, Armament of Nyx, Dawnbringer Charioteers, Eagle Of The Watch, Font of Vigor, Harvestguard Alseids, Lagonna-Band Trailblazer, Mortal Obstinacy, Nyx-Fleece Ram, Oppressive Rays, Oreskos Swiftclaw, Reprisal, Sightless Brawler, Skyspear Cavalry, Stonewise Fortifier, Supply-Line Cranes


Aerial Formation, Cloaked Siren, Crystalline Nautilus, Godhunter Octopus, Pin To The Earth, Riptide Chimera, Rise of Eagles, Sigiled Starfish, Triton Cavalry, Triton Shorestalker, War-Wing Siren, Whitewater Naiads


Aspect of Gorgon, Brain Maggot, Cast Into Darkness, Dreadbringer Lampads, Feast of Dreams, Felhide Petrifier, Gnarled Scarhide, Grim Guardian, Master Of The Feast, Nightmarish End, Nyx Infusion, Pharika’s Chosen, Ritual Of The Returned, Rotted Hulk, Spiteful Blow, Squelching Leeches, Thoughtrender Lamia, Tormented Thoughts


Akroan Line Breaker, Bladetusk Boar, Blinding Flare, Eidolon Of The Great Revel, Flamespeaker’s Will, Flurry of Horns, Font of Ire, Forgeborn Oreads, Gluttonous Cyclops, Knowledge and Power, Lightning Diadem, Magma Spray, Mogis’s Warhound, Pensive Minotaur, Satyr Hoplite, Sigiled Skink, Spite of Mogis, Starfall


Bassara Tower Archer, Colossal Heroics, Consign to Dust, Golden Hind, Goldenhide Ox, Market Festival, Nature’s Panoply, Oakheart Dryads, Pheres-Band Thunderhoof, Ravenous Leucrocota, Renowned Weaver, Spirespine, Swarmborn Giant


Desperate Stand, Fleetfeather Cockatrice, Underworld Coinsmith


Deserter’s Quarters, Gold-Forged Sentinel

Probably Will Get Played


Aegis of the Gods: I like having hexproof. Since it’s a Soldier, it’s an easy fit into a tribal deck, although I can’t imagine anyone going too far out of their way to play it.

Eidolon of Rhetoric: Keeping combo decks from being able to go off is a great idea.

Leonin Iconoclast: Cats are all the rage these days, so someone will try this in a tribal deck.

Phalanx Formation: I don’t think you have to give that many targets double strike to be suddenly lethal.

Quarry Colossus: It’s a little spendy, but if you put it in a blink deck, you’ll probably get good mileage out of it, especially if the folks in your environment are playing many Gods (which I’m sure they will).

Skybind: Skybind, meet Venser, the Sojourner. Stuff will happen.

Tethmos High Priest: When a card brings creatures from the graveyard directly into play, I’m convinced that someone will try to break it.


Countermand: The Dimir mill decks will consider playing this.

Font of Fortunes: You can play it early or late and get good value either way.

Hour of Need: Exiling is really good. There are some creatures that are way scarier than a 4/4 flyer. It’s a little pricey to get more than one, but because it is instant speed it has a reasonable chance of getting played.

Hubris: Aura-heavy decks are going to want a way to save their Auras.

Hypnotic Siren: People like to steal your creatures. The Siren is another way to do it.

Interpret the Signs: Only the mana cost keeps it from the "Definitely Will Get Played" list.

Kiora’s Dismissal: Enchantment hate is rough for blue, so I can see this as a weapon.

Pull From The Deep: Regrowing two important spells for four mana is decent.

Thassa’s Devourer: This one is a pretty big maybe.

Thassa’s Ire: The cheap mana cost will give someone incentive to give it a whirl.


Bloodcrazed Hoplite: Heroic cards are a little narrow because you need to have spells to target them with. That said, this is a cool ability, and I’d be surprised if you see too many games where there aren’t +1/+1 counters to remove.

Cruel Feeding: It’s cheap enough for a nice burst of life gain.

Font of Return: The best use of this will be to cast it early and have up mana later to save your good creatures from someone else’s Bojuka Bog.

Returned Reveler: It’s a Zombie, so you want cards in your own yard. It’s black, so you want other people to mill stuff because you’re playing Sepulchral Primordial.

Silence the Believers: I know you’re going to get tired of me singing the exile song, but here comes another chorus. Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye.

Worst Fears: It’ll happen. It’s cheaper than casting/activating Mindslaver.


Cyclops of Eternal Fury: Haste is good. Creatures that give all your other creatures haste are also good.

Harness By Force: Basically the same cost as Threaten, with a potential upgrade.

Prophetic Flamespeaker: People will try it and later realize that it’s actually not all that good in the format.

Rollick of Abandon: Good Magic players like flexibility. This is a card that can be both offensive and defensive.

Rouse the Mob: Without trample, it wouldn’t get played.

Spawn of Thraxes: It’s a Dragon. People will give it a whirl.

Wildfire Cerberus: Shouldn’t it also make them sacrifice two lands?


Desecration Plague: Again, flexibility.

Heroes’ Bane: Upgrading the Chameleon Colossus ability to being permanent. Too bad it doesn’t have protection from black too.

Humbler of Mortals: It’s a creature that can turn a defensible attack step into a lethal one.

Kruphix’s Insight: It’s a little narrow, but the cost is right to try to grab some enchantments and put some creatures in the yard.

Nessian Game Warden: It’s a Beast that will draw a card. Seems okay.

Pheres-Band Warchief: Centaur tribal, baby!

Satyr Grovedancer: Because it’s cheap, I think someone will give it a whirl.

Setessan Tactics: Well priced for a fight card.

Strength From The Fallen: This stands a chance to create some pretty scary combat situations.


Disciple of Deceit: The conditions under which this will be useful are limited, but in the right deck (The Mimeoplasm maybe?) it could be quite valuable.

Nyx Weaver: Turns out dredge is a thing.

Revel Of The Fallen God: Eight power’s worth of creatures for seven mana is worth thinking about.

Stormchaser Chimera:  Scry, bash you.


Chariot of Victory: The cheap equip cost will be what makes people give it a run.

Hall of Triumph: This will get played frequently early on, and then folks will realize it’s giving their opponents a bonus too.

Definitely Will Get Played


Ajani’s Presence: The +1/+1 isn’t significant. Indestructible sure is. Keeping up one white mana to save that most precious creature will be quite something. One of my top cards in the set, and the one that I think I’ll eventually try to wedge into more decks than any card in the set.

Card To Combo With: Horobi, Death’s Wail

Banishing Light: Oblivion Ring gets a brother. A fixed brother with no awkward multiplayer problems.

Deicide: Obviously the search part is irrelevant because of the format’s singleton nature, but the ability to exile Gods is going to be huge. I’m telling you, you need to play more Silverchase Fox.

Dictate of Heliod: Part combat trick, part "keep mana up for other stuff" trick, it’s also another spectacular piece of Terese Nielsen art.

Godsend: More exile, which makes me quite happy. Note that if you exile a card from one player, it prevents all your opponents from playing a copy. This will be especially neat if you can exile a Clone.

Card To Combo With: Indrik Umbra

Launch the Fleet: It will be good enough already, but add Battlefield Thaumaturge for even more of what the kids call the LOLZ. Since you’re in blue already, add a Tamiyo, the Moon Sage emblem, getting an exponentially large number of potential attackers for each W you spend.


Battlefield Thaumaturge: This is a card that will lead to wild situations, just like most of the other cost reducers out there. The heroic ability isn’t even a factor in getting the card played.

Card To Combo With: Reality Spasm

Dakra Mystic: Playing some politics or helping mill away things people have tutored for (although it’s an on-board trick, so it’s not like they didn’t know to not tutor), Dakra Mystic—which has two very popular creature types—will see plenty of action.

Daring Thief: I really want to build that Opposition and inspired deck. Maybe I’ll make it in Bant so it can also have Glare of Subdual for redundancy. Daring Thief will make that deck loads of fun.

Card To Combo With: Minion of Leshrac

Dictate of Kruphix: The enchantments with flash or "instachantments" get rid of the problem of expending resources and letting other people get the first benefit from them. Great design.

Card To Combo With: Teferi’s Puzzle Box

Polymorphous Rush: It won’t set off enters the battlefield triggers like Rite of Replication does, but it will turn a bunch of modest creatures into something awesome. You don’t need to tell what creature you’re copying on announcement. That choice comes during resolution.

Sage of Hours: I’ll be playing this in my Prime Speaker Zegana deck, and I won’t be targeting it with spells. I still think I’ll get some extra turns off of it.

Card To Combo With: Spike Feeder

Scourge of Fleets: One-sided Evacuations are super nice. And you get to say "release the Kraken!" every single time, which will certainly never get old with your playgroup.


Agent of Erebos: Since other people are going to play this, I’m pretty sure all my decks in which the graveyard is really important are going to have Leyline of Sanctity or Witchbane Orb. Since I’m going to play this, I’m going to buy all the Leyline of Sanctity and Witchbane Orb everywhere. Note to our friends in R&D: We need more stuff that changes the target of triggered abilities.

Dictate of Erebos: Did anyone else think of Wolverine when they first saw this card? Put it together with its older less cool cousin Grave Pact and their weird uncle Butcher of Malakir and you have a machinegun nest.

Doomwake Giant: Doomwake Giant, a bunch of enchantment creatures, and Replenish. Wholesome family fun.

Card To Combo With: Vhati il-Dal

Extinguish All Hope: The best enchantment creatures are already indestructible, so this is just an alternate Day of Judgment that for the two extra mana will occasionally get you another creature or two.

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed: I’d play it without the part about the artifact token (which is not a creature by the way). Springleaf Drum is getting more and more valuable. You also need to run out and buy as many Turnabout as you can. That card will be my Daybreak Ranger. Fortunately for all of you, I won’t be doing a playmat.


Bearer of the Heavens: No, it’s not getting emergency banned. It’s not a card I’m super happy to see, but I think the end of turn clause will make it not all that bad. Sure, there will be times when someone has Faith’s Reward or Ghostway or something, but at least the game will be over shortly. Otherwise, it’s a fair reset button.

Dictate of the Twin Gods: Surprise Furnace of Rath for the win! For an even better surprise, do it on someone else’s turn when they’ve attacked a third person. I’d give you the cool play point for that.

Riddle of Lightning: Erratic Explosion gets played. Riddle of Lightning is cooler.

Card To Combo With: Draco

Twinflame: You can only copy your own stuff, but two of everything is better than one, right? Just remember the legendary rule still applies to you.


Dictate of Karametra: Of all the flash enchantments, this is the one that will get held on to longest. Unless you know someone has a card that will save the board but needs mana, it’s not coming around until end of turn on the person to your right.

Eidolon of Blossoms: I will take under consideration putting this in slots where Masked Admirers goes. I won’t say that it’s strictly better—I won’t say that it’s better at all—but I definitely see situations where it will draw more cards. In a mana-hungry deck like my Karador, Ghost Chieftain, I’d rather rely on the enchantments to draw a few extra cards. It’s worth considering playing Rancor.

Font of Fertility: It’s on the definitely list because people definitely like moar ramp. It will fit nicely into "enchantments matter" decks because it’s quite cheaply priced.

Hydra Broodmaster: Green decks can create large piles of mana. This card can create a pretty scary army all on its own.

Card To Combo With: Warstorm Surge

Reviving Melody: Sure, it’s one more than Regrowth, but it gets two cards that you absolutely want. Because you know someone blew up your Greater Good.

Card To Combo With: Faith Healer

Solidarity of Heroes: Prime Speaker Zegana. Animar, Soul of Elements. Polukranos, World Eater. Do I need to go on? Always remember to be responsible when using instants on other people’s turns.

Card To Combo With: Sage of Hours


Ajani, Mentor of Heroes: This card is good without the ultimate. In fact, it might be better if it didn’t have that last ability because people would just let you keep using it. The good news when you see this on the other side of the table is that in this format 21 can be greater than X + 100.

Card To Combo With: Ageless Entity

Athreos, God of Passage: Making the person with the highest life lose it is kind of the thing we do in the format. I think with Athreos I’ll be targeting the person with the lowest life. Cool play will be awarded if someone at three life chooses to pay when they get targeted. Athreos is in colors where you can make creatures die pretty easily.

Card To Combo With: Priest of Gix

Iroas, God of Victory: Because it’s in the command zone, it might be a combat trick (or at least a trick that will impact combat) you forget to see coming. Not being able to chump block is likely to get you killed, so have plenty of damage prevention on hand, especially against Boros.

Card To Combo With: Lightmine Field

Keranos, God of Storms: I don’t think Izzet commanders have been all that great up to this point. Niv-Mizzet and Jhoira scare the crap out of people and Melek, Izzet Paragon is too expensive in the colors to keep recasting. I suppose Nin, the Pain Artist is decent. That leaves Tibor and Lumia, who I had to look up. I like Keranos because it has rock-solid abilities that don’t really cause too much concern from the rest of the table. Remember that the card draw ability is for the first each turn, which means if you draw during your upkeep that’s the card which will be revealed.

Card To Combo With: Mana Severance

Kruphix, God of Horizons: Oh boy. I’m looking for Drain Power. Or Mana Short. This card will lead to epic board states. Imagine playing it with Hydra Broodmaster. It’s kind of silly with Prophet of Kruphix and Seedborn Muse, but many things are.

Card To Combo With: Distorting Wake

Pharika, God of Affliction: I’ll be happy to swap the awesome creature in your yard out for a 1/1 deathtouch creature. Graveyard strategies are getting ever more tenuous, which is fine by me (despite the fact that it’s my favorite zone).

Card To Combo With: Seshiro the Anointed


Armory of Iroas: What really jumps up this piece of Equipment is how cheap it is to both cast and equip. Put it on Bloodcrazed Hoplite! +1/+1 counters have become such a major part of this format that I’m just going to start playing mono-black with Aether Snap and Spike Cannibal. I mean, you should definitely not consider playing Aether Snap or Spike Cannibal against me.

Card To Combo With: Spike Weaver

Mana Confluence: I’d still rather play City of Brass since I can have Personal Sanctuary and Darien, King Of Kjeldor, but there’s a good argument to have both. I don’t think the card will get super expensive, so it’ll be a reasonable mana fixer.

Temple of Epiphany and Temple of Malady: I can’t really say too much about the Temples that hasn’t already been said. Play them. You’ll be happy you did.

With 37 definitely played cards (22%), Journey into Nyx comes in slightly worse than Born of the Gods at 42 (25%). Once again I think the designers have done a great job of lateral development: interesting cards without pushing the envelope too far on power level. It could be very easy to just make things stronger for cheaper, and they haven’t given in. Kudos for that.

Although there are fewer cards in this set that I simply want to jam into existing decks—and that might be because as we have more sets behind us, room is harder and harder to come by—this set gives me more deck and card combination ideas than I’ve had in a while. The one that’s most likely to see development is the Opposition / inspired idea I mentioned earlier, but there are a few others under brew in the back of my mind. If any of them yield interesting possibilities, you’ll be the first to know.

Have a great time at your Prerelease. May all the gods be with you. If you want to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that’s been alive since 1987), ask for an invitation to the Facebook group "Sheldon Menery’s Monday Night Gamers."