I know, I know, I’m constantly switching Commanders…

Minsc and Boo, Timeless Heroes is an extremely powerful planeswalker. 

Like, grossly powerful.

On the surface, they’re one of a long line of powerful four mana Gruul cards that have had impact across multiple formats. The formula for these cards are pretty straightforward; You’re efficiently costed, typically three to five mana, you have a pretty solid body, and you do two or three things that either give you a huge lead on the board, or give you card advantage. 

Minsc and Boo checks all of these boxes.

Four mana is already a sweet spot for planeswalkers. While the days of Jace, the Mind Sculptor dominating a format are long, long behind us, Minsc and Boo are pretty close, even when it isn’t on the battlefield. As a commander, it’s going to impact the board at all points of the game. Whether it’s just making a 4/4 hamster on turn three or four and going to town with it early, or drawing a bunch of cards to keep the pace going. I think I need to emphasize this; The value of this card does not stop, ever. You will always get what’s stated on the card. You will always retain the value it gives you, even when killed multiple times. You will continue to have a means to a board presence. The longer it stays on the board, the more of a snowball it creates by itself.

Most Minsc and Boo decks in casual Commander take advantage of super efficient ramp and creatures that maximize high damage at a good rate. You’ll see a lot more pump spells in these lists due to how synergistic they are with, well, everything the deck is trying to do. If things really go well, you can establish your board early, get a hamster going, and use a pump spell to refill your hand. Or you +1 your commander to pump Boo, to cash it out and continue the pressure. In cEDH, a lot of this is also true, but way more accelerated due to the cheap mana rocks. You can very early take out one or two players, snipe the Ad Nauseum player, or steal a game with Final Fortune ahead of schedule. 

I think there’s something else you can do with them, though.

I previously dabbled around with the potential of Yasova Dragonclaw. As a commander, she definitely isn’t too powerful, but she promotes an archetype that is; utilizing Birthing Pod effects, and using your opponents’ creatures to enable it. I think this can apply directly to Minsc and Boo, Timeless Heroes as well.

The first thing we have to ask ourselves is: Is losing blue a big deal. I think the answer is “kind of”. You lose access to a lot of permanent Control Magic effects, but still retain all of the temporary ones. If you decide to go the Birthing Pod route, which I think you should, you retain most of the payoffs at most mana values. What you gain out of this shell is an outlet in your command zone that will always function as a way to turn your treason effects into burn spells, which is a great way to push your plan over the top, or grind things out, or protect your planeswalker. Having two colors means your curve must be tighter. You have plenty of win conditions to put on the pod chain. With Kiki Jiki, Mirror Breaker being the hallmark there for cEDH and high powered, even without infinites, you’ll have a toolbox full of interaction and ways to disrupt your opponent without sacrificing efficiency or burst damage. The tricky part is building the deck. You’ll have to balance out your toolbox, your pump spells, your removal, and your ramp. It’s a tough ask, but I think it’s worth exploring.

Stealing and dealing is an archetype I think is underplayed, and I want to see what potential it could have!

Anthony Lowry (they/he) is a seasoned TCG, MMORPG, and FPS veteran. They are extensively knowledgeable on the intricacies of many competitive outlets, and are always looking for a new challenge in the gaming sphere.

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