The latest of Wizards of the Coast’s Universes Beyond offerings, Warhammer 40,000 delivers a ton of new cards for Commander fans, more than any other Commander product and it’s going to take some time to really dig in and unpack the implications. Which ones are overhyped, and which ones are hidden gems? Figuring that out is one of the joys of Magic.
One card that seems like it might be a hidden gem is one of my favorite new commanders, Inquisitor Greyfax!
As of this writing, it’s showing #13 of the 24 new legends on EDHREC. Despite being the face commander for the Forces of the Imperium deck, players appear to be gravitating towards Marneus Calgar for their new Esper leader, which is #4 on their list; which is understandable, since players love token strategies, it has built-in card draw, and its combat stats are formidable for five mana. But Inquisitor Greyfax is subtly quite potent too!
To begin, it has vigilance and gives your other creatures +1/+0 and vigilance. Vigilance is quietly one of the best creature abilities in Commander, as it’s often difficult to effectively attack one or more opponents in a multiplayer game without leaving yourself open to a counterattack, but vigilance solves that problem. There are also creatures with tap abilities that you usually have to choose between attacking with them or using the tap ability, and vigilance solves that problem as well. Inquisitor Greyfax has a pretty sweet ability to tap down an opponent’s most formidable blocker or attacker, and then investigates, giving you a Clue token. These days, Treasures have everyone’s attention as the flashiest artifact tokens, but I’ve always been a big fan of Clue tokens since you can tap them for other effects while still being able to sacrifice them for card draw too.
Lastly, let’s not overlook the power boost that Inquisitor Greyfax gives your other creatures, which works well when you have multiple attackers and creatures with first strike or double strike.
So let’s dig in!
I love that Greyfax’s abilities are very combat oriented, so I want to leverage its tap ability further to let it tap down more attackers and also generate more Clue tokens. Thousand-Year Elixir is a slam-dunk since it gives tap abilities on your creatures “haste”, while untapping one of your creatures each turn. I’ve also been impressed with Halo Fountain in decks where creatures get tapped often, but we’d want to play something like Chromatic Lantern (recently reprinted!) to help with our white mana production.
You can do fun things with Maze of Ith and Reconnaissance; attack with Greyfax, tap it to tap down a creature, then untapping it so that you can tap it again. Freed from the Real is a bit of a risk since it’s an Aura, but if you’ve got some Aura strategies in the deck or ways to protect creatures from pinpoint removal it might be worth a slot to churn out a bunch of Clues.
Attackers with Tap Abilities
When I went looking for other creatures with tap abilities that we might want to also attack with, I didn’t find too many that were large enough where you’d really have to make the tough choice between attacking or tapping. Avatar of Woe is certainly large enough that you want to attack with it and has a literally killer tap ability. Shadowheart, Dark Justiciar can use the +1/+0 boost to make it a better attacker, and it’s also happy to have another creature get the boost that it can sacrifice to draw cards equal to its power.
Mother and Giver of Runes can get chip damage in while holding up their tap ability depending on what creatures are blocked or targeted by removal. Opponents rarely want to block Hangarback Walker since it explodes into a bunch of 1/1 fliers, so it’s nice to be able to attack and keep it on blocking duty as well.
I have an Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth Commander deck that really leans into the investigate mechanic, so I’m looking forward to merging a lot of the cards from that deck into this one and adding all the cool white investigate cards too. Disorder in the Court is one I’m quite excited about, an instant speed way to protect some of your key creatures from a battlefield sweeper while making multiple Clue tokens too. I like that Tivit, Seller of Secrets and Wernog, Rider’s Chaplain let your opponents play little subgames to see if they want to give you extra Clue tokens.
Inquisitor Eisenhorn from the same Warhammer 40,000 deck gives us another way to investigate, and potentially creating a legendary 4/4 black Demon with flying named Cherubael along the way.
White gives access to Thorough Investigation – a sweet card for any combat-oriented deck, but even better here were Clues matter. I love Academy Manufactor’s ability to tack on Treasure and Food tokens alongside each Clue that you make. Daring Sleuth’s transformed side Bearer of Overwhelming Truths is exactly the sort of aggressive creature we want attacking in this deck.
I’m not a huge fan of tutor effects in most of the Commander decks I have but Tamiyo’s Journal is too on theme to resist. I expect I’d use the tap ability to find an answer to something dire my opponent might be doing!
Any white deck that churns out tokens will want a copy of Anointed Procession if it’s available. Marneus Calgar certainly earns a spot in the 99 of this deck since we’ll be making a Clue token one at a time quite a bit, hopefully getting that draw trigger early and often. It also benefits quite nicely from Greyfax’s power boost with its double strike ability, hitting for a whopping eight damage!
Deadly Dispute has seen a fair amount of Magic play – sacrificing a creature or perhaps a Treasure token and then getting a Treasure token back, but it can sacrifice any artifact, and we might want to sacrifice a Clue to trade in for a Treasure.
Idol of Oblivion is narrow and niche, but still a powerful card, and it definitely belongs in this deck where Clue tokens should be created constantly.
I’ve long loved Inspiring Statuary as a way to turn Equipment artifacts into virtual mana rocks to cast non-artifact spells, but it tickles me to be able to use Clues in this way because the ability of Clue tokens doesn’t involve tapping! You can tap them to Shimmer Dragon, Whirler Rogue, or Urza, Lord High Artificer and still sacrifice them to draw cards along the way.
Cranial Plating is a fantastic card to play in an aggressive deck, making your vigilant attackers hit even harder. We even have new artwork from Warhammer 40,000 to use!
Card Draw Matters
By now, everyone knows Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is an absurd Magic card, and as good as it is in tournament formats, it’s even nuttier in Commander where everyone plays lots of card draw. Pop a Clue and gain two life? Yes please! Deathtouch makes it a potent attacker and blocker so vigilance is most welcome.
Chasm Skulker, Ominous Seas, and Psychosis Crawler are nice ways to turn added card draw from Clue tokens into advantages without added mana investment. Once you reach Level 3 on Wizard Class you can start increasing the power of various vigilant creatures on your battlefield.
Nadir Kraken is a bit mana-intensive to get maximum value, but due to the grindy nature of Clue-fueled card draw, I figure it and Greyfax should work quite well together.
I definitely want to include high quality creatures with first strike and double strike since they work so great alongside Greyfax. Angelic Skirmisher fantastic here since you can pick lifelink when you want to gain life on the attack, and then pick first strike on your opponents’ attack steps to make your defenses strong.
Angel of Destiny is a wild Magic card that I haven’t gotten to work well in Commander yet, but the +1/+0 and vigilance boost from Greyfax, plus the ability to tap down blockers makes me think this might be a great shell to see the card shine.
Similarly, I’ve been looking for an interesting deck for Shadrix, Silverquill and this looks like a nice spot for it, boosting its power and giving it vigilance is sweet with double strike, and you can pivot from drawing a card to putting a +1/+1 counter on all your creatures when you’re ready for that alpha strike.
Greyfax is a Human so it’s worth keeping an eye out for cards that might care about that. Dire Tactics is a pretty good removal spell that works well when your commander is a Human. General’s Enforcer makes your commander indestructible, and if you have enough Humans in your deck, you might consider Rick, Steadfast Leader to give your team first strike and lifelink since Greyfax provides vigilance. Devout Chaplain is the second Human you need alongside Greyfax to tap and exile an artifact or enchantment.
Tell me, what other cards are you excited to try out in your Inquisitor Greyfax deck? Are you going to pick up the whole Forces of the Imperium deck or just key singles?
Talk to Me
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And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy.
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