Last week, we kicked off my new Commander column Legion’s Landing here at Hipsters of the Coast with an article about the power of being able to reuse spells from the graveyard. This week, we had aimed to talk about good ways to upgrade your decks to capitalize on recursion. But it seems that time and space have shifted now that Commander 2019 previews have crashed into our timeline.

So, much like the Kingdom Hearts series, you’ll have to wait for the next numbered installment while we take a detour of indeterminate length.

Sevinne, the Chronoclasm

“The best moments are worth reliving”

The flavor text on Sevinne says it all—and you’d be forgiven for thinking this was way too convenient to line up with this article series. To that, I’ll say you’re a Magic player; it’s your old friend, confirmation bias. Some things are truly coincidental.

Sevinne is a 5-mana Jeskai 2/2 Human Wizard, with the following text:

Prevent all damage that would be dealt to Sevinne, the Chronoclasm.

Whenever you cast your first instant or sorcery from your graveyard each turn, you may copy that spell. You may choose new targets for the copy.

Sevinne is, in my opinion, one of the stronger new Commanders printed from this year’s lineup. Recursion is already one of the strongest aspects of Commander, alongside card draw and ramp. Focusing a deck around recursion was already not too difficult. Cards like Past in Flames, Mizzix Mastery, Torrential Gearhulk and Snapcaster Mage are staples in most Izzet spell builds. The opportunity to not only add White, but to gain double the return on recasting spells, is very, very strong. I’m really excited for this card!

The Next Best Thing

Whenever a new Commander is spoiled, I like to go back and look at the other cards we currently have access to. Is there already an effect out there? Is it better? Is it missing something?

The most obvious comparison is Kess, Dissident Mage, who lets you cast a spell from your yard each turn. Switching to Sevinne gives us access to White, but what do we lose by eschewing Black? Primarily, we lose the ability to build toward this flavor of Storm win condition using the black ritual cards like Dark Ritual, Dark Petition, and Cabal Ritual. I suspect that’s still possible in a Sevinne deck, but losing access to rituals and unconditional tutors like Demonic Tutor and Vampiric Tutor definitely hurts. We also have to lean more into blue for card draw, and white for recursion—Sevinne’s Reclamation is a good start. (More about that card to come.)

As far as removal, I think we actually get access to some better removal in White, so that doesn’t bother me too much. Plus, we get to trade in our Cabal Coffers for Smothering Tithe—who else is hyped to flash back Echo of Eons or cast the Memory half of Commit // Memory with Smothering Tithe in play?! Windfall fits neatly into the Wheels & recursion theme too, so I’m not too concerned to be missing out on Black.

Looking at the rest of the Jeskai sphere, we don’t have a huge amount on offer. The closest we have to Sevinne is probably Narset, Enlightened Mentor in the sense that she generates value from free spells. She’s pretty far off from this design space, though!

On the Izzet side of things, there isn’t much going on with recasting spells, Commander wise. Most Izzet generals tend to concentrate on either playing spells for reduced cost (Mizzix of the Izmagnus, Jhoira of the Ghitu), or being able to dig through the top of the library to get advantage or access to spells (Keranos, God of Storms, Melek, Izzet Paragon). Outside of this design space, most are centered around card draw.

This is a good sign, and generally bodes well for new Commanders. It’s why cards like Feather, the Redeemed tend to excite people more than say, Zegana, Utopian Speaker. Feather brings something new to the table, whilst Zegana merely does a poor impression of her previous incarnation. For this reason, Sevinne is likely to appear at a lot of tables this year. I might even build it myself.

Mission Briefing

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to improve the Sevinne pre-con. Here are a few things to be cognizant of going forward.

Firstly, many people have zoned in on Bösium Strip as a card that can finally see more widespread play. It’s a neat card, but graveyard order matters here. That means you will have to announce to the table that you are playing a card that cares about graveyard order, because there is a non-zero chance an opponent copies or steals the artifact—at which point their graveyard order suddenly matters. If they haven’t been ordering their yard along the way, that can create awkward scenarios affecting the gamestate.

With Sevinne being immune to damage, running damage-based sweepers could be of interest. Instant speed is preferable with cards like Starstorm, but old reliables like Earthquake aren’t to be sniffed at. If you’re wanting to close games with creature combat, look to run cards like Iroas, God of Victory and Tajic, Blade of the Legion in this type of build to further protect your board as you get into the red zone. The star card to consider here is undoubtedly Pyrohemia.

Be careful about cards that cast copies from exile, like Spelltwine. The exact wording means that it won’t trigger Sevinne, as the cards are cast from exile; but it’s still a card I anticipate doing a lot of work in the deck. After all, getting value from cards in your graveyard is the name of the game. Besides, Spelltwine is super fun: you get to cast one of your opponent’s spells! On the other hand, cards like Mission Briefing that cast from the graveyard and then exile the spell as it resolves will work. Mission Briefing seems a windmill slam for this deck, and I’d be surprised if it isn’t in the pre-con.

Sevinne’s Reclamation

Sevinne wasn’t the only card we saw from the Mystic Intellect deck. The next card is perhaps just as exciting to me as a long time Boros player:

Sevinne’s Reclamation is superb value in a color that struggles to compete in that sphere. White recursion of permanents has so far largely been limited to expensive, splashy plays. They tend to recur creatures (Bruna, the Fading Light and Karmic Guide), or they return smaller permanents (Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle and Sun Titan). Sevinne’s Reclamation gives White a sorcery that can not only fire off Sun Titan’s ability once in isolation, but twice from the graveyard.

This last part is perhaps the most relevant to the average Commander player. In a mono-White or White/Red deck, that means potentially grabbing two pieces of equipment, or creature plus equipment. Think getting back Sigarda’s Aid and Sword of Feast & Famine, or Resplendent Angel and Bishop of Wings, or Crucible of Worlds an Tectonic Reformation. The power comes not from the ability—which is strong—but from the potential to recur a strong synergy, often straight after a board wipe.

Looking to other colors, the next obvious home for this is Aristocrats. Getting back two creatures with cards like Victimize was already great, but being able to grab your enabler and your Skullclamp? This thing is pure value. Teysa and Athreos decks will love this, and the likes of Judith will have to look on longingly. It would be rude not to mention, too, that being able to essentially cast Rampant Growth followed by Explosive Vegetation (provided you have a few Fetchlands or similar) in White is just gravy.

Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero

I’ve saved the most exciting spoiler for last. It’s a Boros legendary with a very relevant ability. Let’s take a look at Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero.

When Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero dies, exile him and return to the battlefield all artifact and all creature cards in your graveyard that were put there from the battlefield this turn.

This is an absolutely solid ability. Let’s get the obvious things out of the way first: in Breya or a similar artifact based deck, you can go nuts with an “Eggs”-based strategy. This means cycling artifacts over and over for incremental value to build up to a win, usually during one long turn. Gerrard can enable this, especially if there is a way to copy him, or fish him out of the graveyard in response to his ability.

The design team for C19 have been clear to word Gerrard’s ability such that if you choose to send him to the Command Zone as his ability resolves, it will still resolve. The ability triggers when he dies, and you’re choosing to change zone when he is then put into exile as part of the ability resolving. The added upside to this is that if you have a way to return him to the battlefield in response to his ability, you’re laughing. Cards like Angelic Renewal, Adarkar Valkyrie, and Sigil of the New Dawn all interact favorably with this approach.

There are probably a number of cool ways to set up board locks with this ability, but one of the most straightforward would be having Gerrard, Adarkar Valkyrie, Oblivion Stone/Nevinyrral’s Disk, and Urabrask, the Hidden. This allows you to give the Valkyrie haste, and any blockers your opponents play will come in tapped. You can fire off the Oblivion Stone every turn if you have the mana.

If you want extra insurance, add Hammer of Nazahn and Swiftfoot Boots to the mix—Gerrard will become nigh on untargetable as you attempt to get the board locked down. If he does go to the Command Zone, getting him back into play consistently could be a challenge. Look to Inspiring Statuary to help absorb some of that Tax; being able to tap equipment and other artifacts for Improvise is nice.

Aside from doing broken things with Gerrard, there’s still plenty of excitement to reinforce existing decks as a recursion piece. Being able to bring back all of your artifacts and creatures as a one shot ability is very efficient for Gerrard’s cost, and I’m excited to slot him into various decks to try him out. Equipment based decks like Akiri, Line Slinger and Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder will jump at the chance to get more strong recursion. Decks like Kaalia of the Vast will be interested in the chance to insure their commitments to the board.

In Closing

The initial spoilers from Commander 2019 have been promising so far, and I think there will end up being something for most players. I know I’m excited to pick up the Mystic Intellect deck. Recursion and the ability to use the graveyard is as important as ever, and the cards we went over today prove that and then some.

Next week, we may have some more juicy spoilers to look into. Or we might be able to jump off into the rest of the vast Commander card pool to pull up the choice recursion cards for your consideration. Either way, we’ll have fun with it.

Catch you next week!

Kristen is a lover of both Limited and Commander, and can most often be found championing the Boros Legion when called upon to sit down and shuffle up. Based in the UK, she works as a software developer, and her love for the Legion is second only to her appreciation for Lord of the Rings and Mass Effect.

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