The Eternal Masters Maelstrom

Bennie has been looking at Eternal Masters, and it turns out there are a few cards he’s going to be picking up. Okay, there are actually quite a lot of them! See the supporting cast he’s preparing for his explosive Maelstrom Wanderer Commander deck!

I know I’m not the only one hoping to crack open these, many of which are the chase cards of the set. I’ve long wanted a Mana Crypt to have in my Commander card pool to add to powered decks I can play against players who lean towards the Spike side of the format. I very nearly pulled the trigger on it when the Judge foil version came out because the artwork was just amazing, but the price quickly spiraled out of range.

If I open a foil Mana Crypt from Eternal Masters, I’m not sure I could resist selling or trading it away, but I’m quite happy to just open a regular copy too. Of course, there’s a good chance of not having a copy of any particular mythic rare in my box, so I’m hoping the price of a non-foil is reasonable once packs are cracked.

Chain Lightning is a special case: I’ve never owned a Chain Lightning and doubt I’d ever play it in Commander. I do dabble in Eternal on occasion but have never played a Burn deck, in part because I didn’t own any copies of Chain Lightning and was not particularly interested in paying for a playset. Chain Lightning is an uncommon in Eternal Masters, so if I get a few copies from my box it should be pretty easy to round out a playset and be able to melt faces in Eternal formats if I decide that’s the angle I want to take.

The rest are all cards I don’t own and wouldn’t mind a copy of for my Commander card stash, especially Force of Will and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Don’t Mind Another Copy/Cool Artwork!

I have at least a single copy of these already but wouldn’t mind another copy, since many of these are just good-quality Commander cards and can go in multiple decks. I usually keep twelve to fifteen Commander decks on hand for any potential throw-down, and sometimes you have to make the hard choice of which deck to put one of these sweet cards in. Why choose if you don’t have to?

I love the new art on some of these cards, though I know some of the art was previously only available in premium products or judge foils, so they might not be “new” but would be new to me. The new art on Vampiric Tutor is particularly awesome; the hand looks very close to the hand of the Vampire in the original artwork. I can’t help but wonder if the skull in the new art represents the ultimate fate of those who study under Shauku. No offense to Darrell Riche, but the new artwork for Rorix Bladewing looks like a seriously fierce dragon!

Nice Trade Bait!

I actually have a playset of Wastelands and Deathrite Shaman and a couple of copies of Karakas for when I play Eternal formats, but I know they’re going to be high value and good trade bait. I’m not sure I’d ever play Ichorids in any format, so any copies I open I’ll try to trade away, but if for some reason I open up a bunch, maybe I’ll give whatever deck they’re played in a try.

Disappointed to Open

Most of these, I either have plenty of copies or no desire to ever play them in any format. Many won’t even have much value as trade bait. I understand though that not every card you open can be amazing; that’s the way collectible card games work and part of the cost of admission. But I can’t help feeling particularly annoyed by Heritage Druid and Imperious Perfect being rarity-shifted to rare—who is going to feel anything but cheated to open either of these as their rare from a $10 pack of Magic cards? Would they really have wrecked Eternal Masters Limited by being uncommons? Or was it so difficult to find a few more green rares to round them out?

I Roam Around, Around, Around…

Speaking of sweet new artwork, how about the new look for Maelstrom Wanderer? Admiring the artwork brought to mind that I hadn’t really ever had a Maelstrom Wanderer Commander deck. I briefly swapped out Riku of Two Reflections for Maelstrom Wanderer but I never really considered it a Maelstrom Wanderer deck, you know? The impending release of Eternal Masters and the chance of getting my hands on that sweet new artwork seems like the perfect opportunity to check that off my Commander bucket list.

In the time I’ve played Commander, I’ve certainly run across lots of people who’ve brought Maelstrom Wanderer decks to the table. They tend to be high-powered ramp decks, which certainly makes a lot of sense when you get to cascade, cascade, give your team haste, and have a 7/5, all for just eight mana. But notice that Maelstrom Wanderer is an Elemental and is the colors of a lot of great Elemental cards. Why not make Maelstrom Wanderer the leader of a tribal Elemental deck? I know Horde of Notions is the go-to commander for tribal Elementals, but when you’ve got all five colors of Elementals to choose from, you end up leaving some cool ones on the sidelines.


Void Stalker; Animar, Soul of Elements; Tideforce Elemental, Wilderness Elemental, Fertilid, Inner-Flame Igniter, Vengevine, Seed Guardian, Embodiment of Fury, Briarhorn, Forgotten Ancient, Slithermuse, Woodland Wanderer, Thornling; Titania, Protector of Argoth; Embodiment of Insight, Quicksilver Elemental, Silverglade Elemental, Creeperhulk, Mulldrifter, Greenwarden of Murasa, Cloudthresher, Grave Sifter, Avenger of Zendikar, Tornado Elemental; Omnath, Locus of Rage

See, restricting our colors lets us make use of some cool elementals like Inner-Flame Igniter that might otherwise not make the cut. I really like the strong land-theme we can play with cards like Titania, Protector of Argoth and Omnath, Locus of Rage along with Embodiment of Fury and Embodiment of Insight. And look, we even get the oddball blue embodiment, Embodiment of Spring!

With the new rules allowing us to generate mana of any color from cards like Darksteel Ingot and Cryptolith Rite, we can often totally juice up Woodland Wanderer.

Animar, Soul of Elements is so good as your Commander, it’s easy to overlook that it works great as one of your 99 in an Elemental deck, especially one in which you want to cast your eight mana Commander. A discounted Maelstrom Wanderer is either amazing or unfair, depending on your point of view.

How cool is it that Cloudthresher and Tornado Elemental are both Elementals? Take that, fliers!

Tribal Matters

Cavern of Souls, Primal Beyond, Flamekin Village, Sunflare Shaman, Smokebraider, Brighthearth Banneret, Incandescent Soulstoke, Distant Melody, Door of Destinies

Flamekin Village is such a great card, even though it enters the battlefield tapped, that you forget it can come in untapped in an Elemental deck!

Cascade, Cascade

Ponder, Serum Visions, Brainstorm, Sylvan Library

Limiting myself to just Elemental creatures prevented me from slamming Hua Tuo, Honored Physician into the deck. Still, we can manipulate the top of our deck with some blue cards to try to set up our cascades, and then there’s big daddy Sylvan Library that really does good work. Maybe you’ll open one in a pack of Eternal Masters!

Mo’ Mana

Embodiment of Spring, Sol Ring, Generator Servant, Fellwar Stone, Grim Monolith, Cryptolith Rite, Sword of the Animist, Farseek, Darksteel Ingot, Commander’s Sphere, Chromatic Lantern, Kodama’s Reach, Hedron Archive

Okay, so I’m still making this a ramp deck because at the end of the day we still want to be able to cast our eight mana Commander while there is still a game to be played. I may have gone a little overboard but some of these cards double for things other than mana.

Here’s what I’ve got cooked up, ready and waiting for a new-artwork Maelstrom Wanderer to slide into the mix:

Maelstrom Wanderer
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 06-03-2016

I tossed in Training Grounds because there are some Elementals with activation costs that can use a discount. Also, Soulbright Flamekin is an Elemental and we can generate a ton of mana for very little investment with a Training Grounds on the battlefield.

What sort of Commander deck do you build around Maelstrom Wanderer? Anything I’m overlooking for the Elemental version? What cards in Eternal Masters have you excited?

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, Visonary 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)

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)

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)

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)

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!)

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)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

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

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