Gavin Verhey covered the creation and aftermath of one of the hottest topics in Commander on today’s episode of Good Morning Magic.
With the introduction of Brawl with the launch of Throne of Eldraine, the four preconstructed Brawl decks were meant to be onramps to the format. The decks would be great introductions to the format while providing new cards to help the format get off the ground. The mana for Brawl was pretty rough because players only had mana fixing from the current Standard environment to work with when building decks. And because the cards in the precons would also be Standard legal, the design team had to be careful with what they put in the decks.
Command Tower was an easy include and a slam dunk for the format with no repercussions for Standard. The design team only had 20 slots for new cards so they didn’t want to devote too many of those slots for just mana fixing. They eventually came up with Arcane Signet as a great two-mana mana rock that wouldn’t be too good for Standard as Standard has moved away from them in favor of three-mana mana rocks. The issue was that Arcane Signet would see play in more than just Brawl, leaving it a strictly better signet than the original artifacts from the first Ravnica block.
Now that Arcane Signet existed it was always going to be a card for Commander so demand skyrocketed as basically every Commander deck with two or more colors would play it. So now the hottest card from Brawl was needed in much higher supply, leading it be put it most Commander precons, Commander Legends, Commander 2020, and even a Secret Lair.
Verhey doesn’t believe it is too strong, but it homogenizes deck building, with Arcane Signet going into almost every deck along with Commander Tower and Sol Ring. Verhey doesn’t want every Commander decklist to start with the same dozen or so cards and the design team will look to avoid making ubiquitous cards in the future. Verhey also pointed out how the Brawl precon front-facing cards Korvold, Fae-Cursed King and Chulane, Teller of Tales have pushed out many other Jund and Bant commanders — another mistake design will try to prevent from happening in the future.
Verhey wrapped up saying he wished Arcane Signet didn’t exist, but because it does, it will continue to be printed so that players can get their hands on the powerful common. He also doesn’t foresee Wizards of the Coast (WotC) making many more two-mana mana rocks as they are hard to design in a healthy way due to the power level of the ones that already exist. Instead, they will look at exploring three-mana mana rocks as they have more flexibility and design space leading to more interesting options for different decks.