It’s the time of year when everyone is doing set reviews.  While not horribly original, I am joining in on the fun.  But fun is the emphasis; I’m not pointing out the most powerful cards, or ones you should speculate on.  I am just going through and pointing out some cards I think are worth considering to add some sparkle in your decks.

Blind Obedience—This one is a little obvious, but Extort gets even more ridiculous in a multiplayer setting, and slowing the board down a little bit can help hold the more aggressive players at bay.  Be prepared for people to come after you for playing this card, though, so consider pairing it with Ghostly Prison or some other Propaganda effect.

Gideon, Champion of Justice—I get why he doesn’t look Standard playable, and maybe it’s even a stretch to see him as being potentially good in EDH.  But!  His plus one ability seems like it would get out of control against swarm strategies, and having a beater that’s indestructible and dodges Wrath effects doesn’t seem too awful for four mana.  Worst case he blanks an attack and soaks up a lot of damage; best case, people ignore him!  Either way, never use his Worldslayer ability if you want to have friends at the end of the day.

Luminate Primordial and Friends—I am just going to put these together, since they’re all bonker seven–drops clearly made for the Commander market.  They’re good!  You should play them!  But I think we’re going to see the banning of Deadeye Navigator as a result.  The green one in particular seems overpowered if you can keep doing it for two mana.  Sylvan Primordial, Deadeye Navigator and Lotus Cobra reads “Armageddon forever” if you have at least two opponents in a game.  That’s going to be cute the first time it happens, and then hopefully they’ll wise up and take Deadeye Navigator, one of my favorite cards, out of the format.

Realmwright—This is another enabler for strategies that rely on Cabal Coffers.  Sometimes it’s hard to really get that mana engine online in non-green multicolored decks, but Realmwright gives blue an option to take advantage of it as well.  Whether you’re just using early fixing, or late game comboing off with the might of the Coffers, this guy seems not entirely terrible, and easier for your opponents to interact with than Urborg often is.

Simic Manipulator—This guy is going into Azami, tout de suite.  He’s a natural fit for any blue–based creature deck that wants for a Control Magic effect, and unlike his predecessor, Cytoplast Manipulator, you don’t lose control when the Manipulator dies.  I just find it interesting that you can’t remove zero counters to steal zero powered creatures; that alone might keep this out of more spell–based blue decks.

Stolen Identity—I don’t know how great Cipher is going to be in EDH, but there are a lot of games in which one person is shields down and you can get in a free swing.  I am a huge fan of this effect in general, and particularly like Spitting Image for its ability to proliferate.  On the right creature, this can get similarly out of hand.

Crypt Ghast—If this spirit just had the Swamp ability, I think I would have been happy.  Unlike the Nirkana Revenant, jumping from four to eight mana in a monocolored deck has a far greater impact than jumping from six to twelve.  Add in Extort, which is again very multiplayer friendly, and you’ve got a spicy card!

Ogre Slumlord—I don’t expect to see this card make a splash in Standard or Modern, but he’s just goofy enough to work in Commander.  Sure, if he dies immediately you’ve done nothing for five mana, but the most common removal in EDH is mass removal, and this guy triggers for your opponents’ creatures as well.  “So you’re casting Wrath of God?  Great, I get 10 Rat tokens!” seems like the type of thing I wouldn’t mind saying in a game of Commander.

Wight of Precinct Six—Sometimes you just need a beater.  Aggro Black decks might appreciate a guy like this, since he’s just two mana, and you get a large creature in a multiplayer game.  Now, people don’t play Tarmogoyf in EDH much, so maybe it’s not enough to be huge for cheap.  But I see something like this having a shot, maybe in a Kresh deck.

Hellkite Tyrant—It is obvious how good this guy is in Commander, but let’s say it anyway.  It’s a lot of fun to steal your opponents’ Sol Rings, Swords, and other overpowered artifacts.  That he can be a win condition in a machine deck (maybe built around Slobad), is just icing on the cake.

Crowned Ceratok—Decks like Ghave like to mix tokens with counters, generally making their dudes bigger threats than their default 1/1.  Adding in a four–drop lord that, worst case, gives your 5/5 for five general Trample?  I dunno, seems playable to me!

Ooze Flux—Ooze Flux seems like it would be good in a similar deck.  Unlike Ooze Garden, and other past attempts to make this card, you can do it at instant speed.  So, if someone tries to kill your general or your beefed up soldiers with anything short of Wrath of God, for two mana you can salvage all the counters and end up with a huge Ooze to boot.

Assemble the Legion—Another card that is too slow for Standard, but might make it in Commander.  Proliferate is still a playable ability on cards like Contagion Engine and Contagion Clasp, and it doesn’t matter if they’re Wrathing your board if your army just comes back on the next upkeep.  Add in something like Mobilization, and you have the start of something truly terrifying.

Biovisionary—It seems crazy, but I actually want to win an EDH game with this card.  It’s a two–card combo with Rite of Replication, and there are many other ways to make creature tokens of this card to then Populate.  If you want a goofy win combo, this card is worth examining.

Consuming Aberration—It is rare for a Commander game to end by mill.  Sure, there are some combos that do this (like Altar of Dementia, Revilark and Karmic Guide), but it’s rare for a deck to win by doing this the hard way.  Consuming Aberration’s untargeted opponent ability might finally solve this problem.  Instead of wasting your cards on one player, this card mills everyone while you’re otherwise advancing your board.  When combined with some of the other blue–black mill cards, like Nemesis of Reason or Circu, there might be a critical mass to make this strategy viable.  And, worst case scenario, you can just shove the Aberration into a Wrexial build for value!

Duskmantle Seer—Now this is a Dark Confidant I would not feel embarrassed to play in Commander.  The friendly nature of his ability makes more sense in an EDH game than a one–on–one format, and he forces you to be a little more casting cost conscious when building your deck.  So while everyone else is choking on their free cards, you can draw little one for ones that are less awful because of the card advantage.  Plus, he swings with evasion when you actually need to end a game.

Gruul Ragebeast—There is nothing I dislike about this card.  It wants to be in a Green/Red ramp deck that’s dropping big monsters.  Mayael would probably love this effect.  Often those decks want to focus solely on ramp and beef at the expense of removal; this helps with that vulnerability.

Lazav, Dimir Mastermind—I was trying to avoid talking about the guild leaders, since a lot of them seem obvious in their use.  Like, Zegana goes in a creature deck that wants to draw cards.  Aurelia goes in decks that like to attack.  Obzedat goes in Standard decks.  Borborygmos is unplayable, as usual.  But Lazav just seems like a ton of fun.  I like Sakashima the Imposter, and having a Hexproof version that can upgrade over the course of a game seems great to me.  Plus, he’s a HEXPROOF general with a relevant ability.  There is a reason that those things are few and far between.  Expect to see Lazav decks, and expect not to know whether it’s planning to beat face or to just advantage you out, because this guy can be built either way.

Merciless Eviction—Yay.  Another wrath for Commander.  How exciting.  /sarcasm  I will admit it’s nice to see “Exile all Planeswalkers” on a card, but this just isn’t spicy to me.  It’s inevitably going to see a ton of play, but I still don’t think it’s a better card than Austere Command.

Signal the Clans—Green and red are not known for having a ton of tutor effects.  Sure, there’s Fauna Shaman and Worldly Tutor (and Survival if you play against high-powered decks), but the flavor here is amazing and the effect is really cost–effective.  I like it.  I think it’s going to give some of the more face–bashy EDH decks a bit of reach.

Urban Evolution—I want to play with this card.  It’s not exciting, as it is literally a Divination stapled to an Explore, but that’s just the type of effect I like to be doing in EDH.  It’s worth the extra mana to play something like this over Harmonize or Concentration, and the ramp is likely going to be relevant when you cast this on turn five and draw into a sixth land.  Anyway, it’s not as flashy as some of the other cards, but I think it’s going to see a lot of play.

Whispering Madness—I think this is a playable card, but then again I thought Jace’s Archivist was going to be jammed into a bunch of blue EDH decks and I think I am the only one who plays with it.  It’s a repeatable Windfall, which again might be an interesting thing to cast on Wrexial with Urborg out.

Immortal Servitude—This card seems like a building challenge more than anything else.  Perhaps it will reward people who keep their curve low, something that a few of my friends have been trying to do as of late.  But it’s no Debtor’s Knell, and graveyard plans are a little vulnerable to the hate that people have started to play.  So I don’t know!  It has a lot of potential.  That it does.

Illusionist’s Bracers—Every once in a while I get it in my head to make a pinger EDH deck.  Maybe I would base it around Nin, with a Trinket Mage package to get Basilisk Collar.  It’s possible that this card will be the final shove I need to make that happen!  It’s also possible that this card will be a dud.  I’ve been thinking about the Bracers since they were one of the first cards spoiled, and to this day I am still not sure if they’re amazing or terrible.  Time will tell.

Thespian’s Stage—Another land for Ulamog!  This has become my refrain whenever they spoil a new land without color identity; I play some stinkers in that deck.  But this land has the added benefit of actually being good!  It’s Vesuva, but it comes into play untapped and can be used for mana immediately, both issues that Vesuva has.  Plus, you can keep upgrading it, whereas Vesuva has to have a good target on the board when you play it and is then stuck unless you can find a way to bounce it.  I like it, and hope to acquire many copies of this card to put in all my decks.

And that’s the set.  Bloodrush seems like an awful Commander mechanic, which is perhaps why Red seemed to offer so little.  Cipher may be amazing, but it’s going to take time to figure out if any of them have appropriate costs to be worth playing in a format known for mass removal effects.  Extort is amazing, and Battalion is less so.  And Evolve… well, Evolve is on a bunch of limited cards.  We’ll see if Fathom Mage and Gyre Sage break out.  As you can probably tell by their absence above, I am not optimistic.  Anyway, I’d love to hear what you’re interested in!  Putting new cards into a beloved Commander deck is a ton of fun, and a set like this should have a lot of gems.

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