The Commander's Workshop - Dragons Of Tarkir Set Review
Dragons of Tarkir Commander Set Review
Hello Readers and welcome to another edition of The Commander’s Workshop. This time I’m around I’m going to take a break from my usual odyssey of building the Titania deck and instead take a look at the new set Dragons of Tarkir. Without further ado, I’ll start where all commander players probably should, the Legends.
This is probably one of the top three Commanders in this set, though overall I didn’t think the quality in this set is quite as high as we’ve had the last few. Ojutai will kill any players in only five hits and her other ability should make it fairly easy to protect her, even when she’s tapped. I envision her being quite solid either as leader of, or in a control shell, and I’m looking forward to adding her to my own Lavinia of the Tenth deck.
Running Sower of Temptation as a general seems pretty sweet and on top of that you get access to a second colour and the ability to steal Planeswalkers as well. I’m less sure about Silumgar in a commander deck as opposed to leading it, as I think there are better cards than him to run in that kind of slot. I envision him being quite solid in a U/B deck that can protect him and whatever he steals more easily, though I think he’d also work as a more “good stuff” kind of general in those colours.
After two “hits” I guess it’s only natural we have a bit of a fail. Unfortunately in commander Kolaghan is only going to be a 6/5 for 4BR with Flying and haste for everyone, unless you happen to playing against the Shadowborn Apostle/Relentless Rats deck, in which case he will be insane. I don’t think this case is particularly likely however, so I’d be looking elsewhere for my R/B deck needs.
Atarka brings to the table a solid body and a reasonable ability, but much like Kolaghan, I don’t really think he’s where you want to be looking for a commander. The fact that he can only hit Creatures and Planeswalkers with his ability also makes me somewhat less abusable in my opinion. Something of note though is that with eight power he will kill a player in three hits, so he at least has that going for him.
Now our first non-Dragon legend. I just can’t see Anafenza as a great mono-white general, especially with the competition she has to stack up against, especially at the two mana slot for Mono-white legends. If she worked with tokens she’d be awesome, but at this point all I can really see her in is perhaps a Ghave, Guru of Spores deck being used as back-up Cathars’ Crusade. On the whole, I think she’s better in a deck, rather than leading it.
I personally think that Sidisi is hands down the best General in the set. She’s great leading a deck or as part of the ninety nine and It’s hard to imagine a Black deck that doesn’t want her in there somewhere. I’m a big fan of tutoring in Commander (though I know a lot aren’t), and so I rate her quite highly. She’s also a sacrifice outlet to some extent, which means that she has a bit of versatility. It might be fun to pair her up with the new Silumgar, and steal stuff, then sacrifice it. The best new Legend and perhaps the best new card for commander.
I have a rather low opinion of these two. I don’t think either are really made for commander, though Zurgo at the least will see play in Standard somewhere I’d imagine. Surrak has a little bit of potential, but I think it’s let down by there being better options to lead a Mono-Green deck.
So all in all, DTK brought us a least three awesome new commanders, with several other interesting options. Now, I’ll have a look at my Top three cards in each colour form the set.
White on the whole doesn’t get a lot out of this set, but some of it is pretty neat. The Dragonslayer takes care of most big threats in commander, though it’s unfortunate his ability only triggers on him being turned up. Profound Journey is kind of interesting, though rather expensive for the effect. Could be neat though in some kind of Mono-white reanimator deck. Secure the Wastes is nice for any dedicated tokens strategy, especially being that it’s an instant, something white often doesn’t get often outside of removal.
1. Clone Legion
2. Living Lore
Blue gets a lot of interesting stuff out of this set, though I think the above three are either the strongest or the most interesting. If you’re casting Clone Legion into a well-stocked board, you’re probably winning the game with it, or at least getting something interesting out of it. Living Lore is like a delayed Snapcaster Mage and in a proper multi-player game it shouldn’t be too difficult to get it to trigger. Profaner of the Dead is a solid, potentially reusable ability that can help slow things down for the typical Blue control deck. I also want to note that I think most of the Blue exploit creatures in this set are quite solid and could recommend almost all of them.
2. Foul Renewal
Black’s additions (outside of Sidisi) to Commander are kind of average in my opinion. Deathbringer Regent is the card I always wanted back when I had a GWB deck and I think it’s an excellent card for any Black deck. Foul Renewal is generally going to be a classic 2-for-1, and it’s hard to really argue with those. Hedonist’s Trove double’s as both graveyard exiling and essentially draws you a bunch of cards, both of which are always good things in commander .
Red perhaps gets even less out of the set than Black, though what it does get is pretty sweet. Commune with Lava is a very nice draw spell for any Red deck, something I think Red was sorely lacking. Descent of the Dragons isn’t really to my taste, but what it does do has a lot of potential in certain decks. Volcanic Vision is a really nice Plague Wind which also gets you back something sweet.
Green also doesn’t get much interesting stuff either in the set. Survivalist and Den Protector are both just new morph spins on older cards, though the Shaman seems pretty powerful, especially if you can get that Ferocious ability off.
So there you have it, the Commander cards of Dragons of Tarkir. Finally, I want to have a look at some of the recent changes to the commander format. I’m of course talking about the changes to the Tuck rule. In case you missed it, from now on if your Commander would be put into a library from anywhere, you may reveal it and put it into the command zone instead. I was going to write more about this, but Douglas Moore put it better than I ever could in the Hobbymaster Facebook group, so I’m just going to repost it here and call it a day. Join me next time for the penultimate update to the Titania deck.
“Here's (Tuck by Sheldon Menery) Sheldon talking more about tuck... and I think I pulled the most important point out of this whole mess that he did not stress enough.... there have ALWAYS been oppressive commanders. There have ALWAYS been ways to break the format. But who is doing the oppressing? Why are we focussed so solely on the cards and what can happen, rather than the people using them? Guns don't kill people, but people with guns do. And we generally don't associate with people who use guns to kill people.
I disassembled my Narset deck because it oppressed people. It stopped everyone else from having FUN, and that’s the key point. We got so caught up in how new oppressive options were available in a world without tuck, that we never stopped to think.... WHO is it that is being a dick? WHICH PLAYER is actively choosing to have fun at everyone else's expense?
No one ever said you are forced to sit at a table with a guy stopping you from playing the game with his bullshit deck, and you have every right to say "hey. that deck is not fun, especially the way you personally are piloting it, please don't play it". Other, more competitive formats are different. Sphinx's revelation is just awful to watch, and we all know it. Uncounterable board wipes were dumb, but you had to play around it. Because you are competing. EDH is not the big tourney with the big cash moneyz, this is our past time. our hobby. We play EDH because we are not competing, at least not actively. We are combining our decks to see what fun can happen. We play politics, we betray each other. We can combo with each other's cards to stop monstrosities. It's a mess. But it’s OUR MESS. WE made it together.
I can see how the change will affect the game, and I am more than aware of the kind of disgusting things that are now easier to accomplish. But you have to ask yourselves: "What kind of douche bags am I playing with and how soon can I ask them to stop?"