Kristen takes us through her predictions for which classic Commanders we’ll see as Etched Foils in Commander Legends.

One of the more interesting facets of Commander Legends will be the Etched Foils, available occasionally in regular packs, and one of the main draws in Collector packs. It’s a fresh treatment for premium cards, and one that I have to say, I’m kinda diggin’.

The first and only one we’ve seen so far is Prossh, Skyraider of Kher, a classic Jund Commander that for many players is infamous and synonymous with Food Chain combos. A classic in every sense of the word, which I’m sure will please many. It’s hard to get a feel for this more metallic foil treatment without seeing it in person, and Gavin Verhey has a great demonstration of how it looks on his Good Morning Magic channel:

It’s safe to say that these Etched Foils look pretty badass. But what Commanders are we likely to see reprinted in this slot?

Commander Legends: The 32 Reprints

Well, it’s interesting you should ask, as I think thirty-two is a really interesting number. You know what fits exactly into 32? All five mono-colors, all ten guilds, the five wedges, the five shards, the five four-color combos, and two other slots. That’s two slots free for WUBRG and Colorless. When Wizards pick their cycles, the number of cards is often indicative of what we can expect, and this is far too elegant a fit to be anything else.

The only thing that’s really going against this theory for me right now is the fact that the gold etching is only really appropriate for multi-color cards; a gold etched Mono-color card might look flat out wrong. That said, there’s nothing stopping them doing a colored etching.

I’m going to approach this with an open mind to there being exactly one of each color combination, though. We’ve already seen Prossh as our Jund entry, so what else are we likely to see? I thought I’d take today to run through my predictions.

Mono Color

Though the likes of Sram, Senior Edificer and Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle are popular in their own right, there’s nothing like a legendary Angel, and Avacyn, Angel of Hope is a crowd pleaser. At the helm of many decks, and at home in many more, Avacyn is an iconic Magic character, and one that is a mainstay of the format. Despite a reprint in Double Masters, I’m convinced this will be the Mono-White card of choice. God-Eternal Oketra and Heliod, Sun-Crowned are too new, and nothing else in White is quite as popular.

I hemmed and hawed for a while when selecting the Blue entry, because I think it’s just as likely that we get a Talrand, Sky Summoner here as a way to spread the value across the cards; no cycle is every truly all bomb level cards. I think Urza, Lord High Artificer is a great candidate here. It’s a fan favorite card, and one that has needed a reprint ever since Modern Horizons made it a chase card in Modern and Commander. Urza will sell packs to non-Commander players, and that’s not to be overlooked.

So, again, I think this slot could also end up being Sheoldred, Whispering One or Toshiro Umezawa, but all said and done, Wizards do a love a good pun. Gonti, Lord of Luxury in luxurious foil would be a home run.

Although there are some other prime candidates, none fit the mold for classic as much as Krenko in this category. While I’d love to see Neheb, the Eternal here, or even Purphoros, God of the Forge, the latter has had a Secret Lair this year, and the former is not quite classic enough. Krenko is a legend.

This slot is unlikely to go to anyone other than Ezuri for the same reasons Krenko is the top billing for Red. Everyone loves a good Elfball, and Elves are an iconic Commander deck. The only thing going against both Ezuri and Krenko are that the draft environment probably won’t support tribal builds, but these cards are slated to appear rarely in draft boosters anyway, so I don’t think its relevant.

The Guilds

Azorius is an odd one. For, as many Grand Arbiter Augustin IV players there are, I don’t see it as being a strategy Wizards wants to promote—and I completely agree. Brago is the safe pick here, but Raff Capashen, Ship’s Mage has a decent enough chance at a bite of the apple. He’s a bit of a sleeper and I know many people love to play that kind of deck.

Dimir is a little harder. While The Scarab God and Oona, Queen of the Fae are great candidates, both have had recent repritings in 2XM and Secret Lair. The Scarab God is the more popular, and everyone loves Zombies; but I actually feel like Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow makes more sense. It keeps the overall EV down for these cards, thanks to multiple cheap printings, and I’d say Yuriko is a mainstay of the format—zombies have other Commanders they can follow.

Second-generation Rakdos is a format classic, a home for Eldrazi and other big splashy spells. It’s a deck you’ve likely come across in your time, and a Commander that could do with a reprint. Nothing else in this color pair is as popular without being a lot newer, and too new for a reprint.

While this slot could easily be Borborygmos Enraged, I think we’ll see a little value here and see a nice reprinting of Omnath. This is the year of Omnath, afterall, and with the Green one in Commander Collection: Green, and a four-color version heavily touted for Zendikar Rising, it makes perfect sense to sate people’s desires to collect all copies of their favorite Mana generating jelly baby.

Voltron is likely to be supported in some capacity in the draft environment, and occasionally dropping a Sigarda into the pool will provide for a nice easy drafting experience. The only other candidate I can reasonably see here is Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice. Trostani isn’t quite what I’d call iconic, though. At least not as iconic as Sigarda.

Teysa might seem a little new, but the Orzhov probably financed this gold etching in the first place. She’s an iconic aristocrats Commander, super popular, and could easily make it onto the shortlist.  I can also see this being Elenda, the Dusk Rose, particularly as changing the dies rule could have been rushed along somewhat in response to reprinting Elenda. As far as more classic picks, maybe Obzedat, Ghost Council?

Though Jhoira of the Ghitu is pretty classic, and a fan favorite, Mizzix takes it here because I think as an occasional draft pick it makes for more exciting deckbuilding. Mizzix is a super popular Commander, and having at least one entry that cares about experience seems reasonable.

If Mizzix can make it in, then Meren certainly can. She’s arguably the most popular Golgari Commander of all time, and doesn’t require much build around to make work in draft. The Gitrog Monster is a reasonable candidate, but thanks to Korvold many players have moved on. It’s also a complex and demanding card to make work in a draft environment, and I could see it being rough on newer players.

So apparently Justyna’s gorgeous piece got licensed by Wizards. Aurelia, the Warleader is pretty iconic all said and done, and I know I’ll be rioting if we instead get Brion Stoutarm. I could see Feather, the Redeemed being a decent candidate due to popularity, but I feel War of the Spark is just that little bit too new. Besides, Aurelia? Come on. They have to!

Again, I feel like this could almost be Edric, Spymaster of Trest, but Ezuri is another one of those iconic experience counter Commanders that has too many fans to ignore. Tatyova, like the Gitrog Monster, requires fetchlands to make work optimally, so it’s unlikely we’ll see either in this set as it would just lead to difficult conversations about what Wizards wants for the format.

Shards & Wedges

So here’s where things get interesting. If we assume some of these cards are picked to curate the format—e.g, not printing Grand Arbiter—then the most popular Esper Commanders here, Oloro and Zur, are both far from fun. Still, they are classic, and of the two, I see Oloro as being the pick. It’s an old boogieman of the format, and could do with a reprint.

Grixis has some stuff competition. Marchesa, the Black Rose and Kess, Dissident Mage are both pretty iconic, but I think Nekusar is probably the most iconic of the bunch. That said, Nicol Bolas isn’t out of the running, being one of the original Elder Dragons himself.

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say Uril is going to be in the Naya slot. Mayael digging five cards deep isn’t very relevant these days, especially with cards like Gishath, Sun’s Avatar and Atla Palani, Nest Tender on the scene. When it comes to classic Naya, Uril was definitely an early mainstay; and with Voltron likely to be a theme in draft, Uril is another card that can be built around for that archetype.

I think Bant could go either way between Derevi and Roon of the Hidden Realm. Honestly, I really dislike the play patterns Derevi propagates, and having a way to cheat Commander tax and snowball games seems horrible, even if it will end up only being on rare occasions. For that reason, it’s probably more likely to be Roon.

Karador or Ghave, eh? There’s more to do with +1/+1 counters these days, and cards like Atraxa are just generally more popular. Not many things replace Karador, Ghost Chieftain, though. I think he’s a shoe-in for this slot.

As much as Zedruu is dear to our hearts, I can’t see it being a card that ends up being considered for a draft environment. Narset, on the other hand, is a very fun and splashy Commander, and one that has just as many fans.

Despite tantalizing us in the Secret Lair Oozes, The Mimeoplasm could still do with a reprint. Of the Sultai Commanders, Mimeoplasm is only really rivalled by Damia, Sage of Stone when it comes to the reprint possibility. Muldrotha is a little new.

I can’t see another reprint for Kaalia here, as much as it’s likely Atraxa will take one of the four color slots. Although eminence is pretty powerful, Edgar is a fan favorite, and would really enjoy a reprint. Vampires as a deck would also appreciate the gaudy gold, for what it’s worth.

For Temur, beyond Animar, I think Maelstrom Wanderer is a home run as a classic of the format. It would enjoy a reprint, and represents a pretty unique strategy that’s fun, splashy, and everything that Commander should be to a lot of players.

The Rest

As for the rest, I think the four color Commanders from 2016 could all easily see a reprint here. Atraxa, Saskia, Breya, Ydris and Kynaios & Tiro of Meletis are the only real cards for these slots, unless they print new Commanders for them and slot them in here. This doesn’t line up with what’s been said, though; that these 32 cards are classic Commander cards.

For five color, I could see Scion of the Ur-Dragon, The Ur-Dragon, Child of Alara or even Horde of Notions fit the slot, but Najeela seems the most likely. As far as pure reprint value, this would fill the chase slot along with Urza. Then again, it could be Progenitus, which would kinda suck.

For colorless, I think there’s only one real contender here, and that’s Kozilek. Though there are some other colorless Commanders, many of the popular ones actually have a color identity, and none of the others that could fit this slot are as popular as Kozilek. It could do with a reprint, and it should get one here.

These are my picks for Commander Legends Etched Foils; what are yours? Did I miss anything obvious? Let me know on Twitter to continue the discussion.

Kristen is a UK based Commander fanatic, and can these days be found looking out of the window, forlorn, at the lack of Mass Effect remaster news.

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