This week esteemed writer AJ Hale writes about Khans of Tarkir and its impact on the commander format.
Khans has now been out for over a month and the cards have already taken a hold of multiple formats. It’s good to see a set introduce so much power to so all magic formats. Today I will be spotlighting my format of choice; Commander.
Being spoiled with so many legends in Theros block, Khans has just five, one for each of the clans and like the clans they represent, each Khan varies significantly. Narset, Enlightened Master is the strongest of the Khans, she lets you cast free spells! There are so many ways to abuse this ability. Narset having hexproof to help protect her is an added bonus. Just imagine using Scroll Rack or Soothsaying to stack Omniscience and Enter the Infinite to the top of your deck before attacking with Narset…
Sidisi, Brood Tyrant is my next favourite. She mills and gives you zombie tokens; I can jump on that wagon. She gives you additional value for filling up your graveyard so I’m on board with building a re-animator style deck around her. Her zombie generation is a little restrictive as it doesn’t give zombies equal to the creature cards milled. She is a flavourful general and too often people don’t have answers to graveyard based strategies.
The final three Anafenza, the Foremost/Zurgo Helmsmasher/Surrak Dragonclaw I like to group all together as they are all aggressive generals. Surrak protects your team from counter magic and provides them with trample. Zurgo has haste and is indestructible on your turn while Anafenza provides counters to fellow attackers (seemingly the nemesis of Sidisi). All of these Khans are solid with plenty of abilities but they still seem more suited to be added to Commander Decks rather than to be the Commander. Each has value but don’t have the build around feel that Narset and Sidisi have. Zurgo may be the best of the three, building it as a Voltron style deck might be the strategy; he certainly works well with Worldslayer…
Clever Impersonator is the biggest addition to Commander from the set. Phyrexian Metamorphmade its mark in the format since it gave you two options on what to copy (Artifact or Creature). Clever Impersonator pretty much breaks this open with the ability to copy anything but a land. There is literally no downside to the Clever Impersonator; whatever you need copied he can do it.
Villainous Wealth is a card I’m itching to cast for a ridiculous number and then hopefully cast it again and again. There are few things that could be more satisfying that casting a Genesis Waveon your Opponents deck.
Duneblast is a perfect board wipe for any deck in Abzan colours. Clearing the board and allowing you to keep your commander in play is worth the seven mana this spell costs.
All the Ascendancys in this set are interesting but Temur Ascendancy is my favourite. It combines both Fires of Yavimaya and Garruk’s Packleader into one card (although it triggers on four power rather than three). For creature based Temur decks being able to haste your Avenger of Zendikarand its plant tokens is invaluable and the extra card draw will help keep your deck ahead.
Khans is set that is high on power level and should continue to change Commander as well as other formats for years to come. Let’s hope the next set Fate Reforged is a home run as well!