Thursday, November 3, 2016

Commander 2016 Set Review: White & Blue

Welcome back, ladies and gents. Today we’re going to do a quick review of the white and blue cards of Commander 2016 (new stuff only). Let’s dispense with the long preamble and just jump right into it, shall we?


Duelist’s Heritage

I want to like this card, because it does a couple of things I like to do, namely, play politics and double-strike things. But I have my doubts about it panning out as its designs suggests. It’s probably decent, but I can see this being one of those cards I put in a lot of initial decklists, but is always one of the first things to get cut. That said, it seems like the kind of card a Queen Marchesa deck would like. I’ll almost certainly be trying it out there, but I don’t see a lot of compelling uses for it beyond “dirty politics” decks.

Entrapment Maneuver

Seems good against decks that like to attack with one big threat, a la Thraximundar. But it’s a bit conditional and expensive for what it does. I’m not a fan. Compare this to Comeuppance from a couple years ago, and this just really doesn’t stack up well. It generally wants to go into the same types of decks that Comeuppance and Angel of the Dire Hour go into, but those decks already have so many better effects. Decks that don’t want fancy Comeuppance-style “gotcha!” cards just want cheap, reliable spells like Swords/Path. It’s a tough world out there for White removal spells.

Orzhov Advokist

Wow, this is risky! I feel like it should have been one +1/+1 counter, but maybe that just wouldn’t be enticing enough to most players to make them swear off attacking you? I like it, but it’s not actually very good, in my opinion. You need to have some other defenses ready for when they decided to stop taking your bribes and beat your face in with the counters you bribed them with… but if you have those defenses at the ready anyway, what do you need the bribe for? Still, it’s one of those political cards that has to be at least tested in a Queen Marchesa or similar deck.

Selfless Squire

Another card that kinda fits into the same mold as cards like Comeuppance but isn’t quite as good. That said, this is at least a good deal better than Entrapment Maneuver, I think. It’s basically just a Holy Day with a potentially-large body attached. But it’s interesting because it also has synergy with Comeuppance and other Fog effects – it continues to feed off your other damage prevention effects too! The second ability is not just a one-shot effect, so don’t overlook that. It’s like if Draining Whelk had a separate ability that gave it more counters every time you countered something.

Sublime Exhalation

Boring sweeper is boring, unless you play large games involving 5 or more players. Then it gets a little more enticing. But for the standard 4-way games most of us enjoy, it’s basically worse than Day of Judgement.


Coastal Breach

Better than Sublime Exhalation but not by much. Still outclassed by a variety of existing spells in blue. But, like the other Undaunted cards, it certainly scales really well in larger games with 5 or
more players. In the default 4-player setting, this is not as almost-strictly-worse than anything the way Sublime Exhalation is, but the fact that it’s a Sorcery just makes it really hard to envision playing it.

Deepglow Skate

Well, dang.  GG.

Faerie Artisans

This is a really fun, wacky effect that can actually be quite good in the right settings. Just add a Panharmonicon or Doubling Season and you’re now getting all your opponents’ ETBF triggers x2. Other times, though, it might just make your opponents chuckle a bit as you get a bunch of useless, fleeting tokens that don’t do much. Combines well with Grave Pact and a sac outlet. Probably not going to be a staple of the format, but will be a fun, cool card to play around with at the more casual/fun oriented tables.

Grip of Phyresis

Ha! How adorable! Little germ guy is carrying a Sword of Wolves and Mill. This is a pretty narrow utility spell, though, making it feel like a sideboard card… which is odd for a format without sideboards. This is a card I really want them to print in foil someday, though, because it’d be great for my Big Highlander’s wishboard. That said, it’s getting a bit rare to find EDH decks with no equipment these days. I’m just not sure you want to jam this hoping to get lucky and see a Jitte or Sword of Value and Power on the other side of the table.

Manifold Insights

Well, hello there, 3-mana draw three! This is good, right? I mean, your opponents will give you the worst cards they can, but they can’t give you lands, so the worst 3 non-land spells out of the top 10 is still likely going to be much better than your average “Draw 3”, I would think. That said, the “feel bads” of having to put all the most saucy stuff on bottom is going to be a factor for some players. Even if it’s technically better than just, say, casting Divination, it’s the kind of card that will get judged by many players based on emotional response, at least in part.  That’s a trap even I fall into at times, but very few emotional responses are strong enough to trump by unbridled love of good card draw!

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