MTG: April Custom Commander Cards (Part Two)

WOTC Employees: This article is entirely about about unsolicited game designs, with example cards.

And now, the second half of the cards I made for my own edification and fun during the month of April! These cards have had a little bit of feedback and some rewording since their original sharing on Reddit.

Who Wants It: A big mana white deck that can afford to clear the board and wants some flexible removal for mopup, or creature decks that want to punish mana rock hungry opponents for blowing up the world a lot.

Some commenters were hung up on this card being a cast trigger. Personally, I quite like it – it’s both cleaner to template, and it’s okay for white, the colour with the least stack interaction, to have some effects that get to force their way through countermagic, with tools like hexproof or bounce still perfectly valid to protect them.

As it is, Tareq is a removal spell that you want to cast as soon as there’s a good target – if two opponents have one-drops, Tareq can ick them. Tareq can score some Sol Rings, in Commander.

Is Tareq particularly potent as an aggressive threat? No, not at all. But you’re going to be able to use them to nuke things, turn after turn whenever people make the environment too hostile for a 2/1. And maybe you can make it work in a really creature-heavy strategy that wants to blow up a one-drop permanent for each opponent and then maybe hit two or three more the next time around.

Who Wants It: Valuetown creatures, again.

White doesn’t have the best selection of etb-abusing creatures but it does have a lot of small creatures, and being able to turn your small etb-y creatures into bigger etb-y creatures seems a cool deal to me. The second ability was originally going to be an Anoited Procession effect, because again, the world of commander is so commonly a place where wraths run free, but it seemed that what I really wanted was to play in white’s ability to double up on effects.

I’ve been thinking for a long time now that white should be the tertiary colour for copying, and only able to copy its own stuff. That colour at the moment is kinda green, but it seems to me that if one colour has the ability to industrialise and multiply the production of useful things, it’d be the colour that believes in interdependent hierarchy.

Who Wants It: A kind of modern tallowispy-ass deck that is its own creation.

There aren’t a lot of good ways for white to dump enchantments in the bin but if you do go out of your way to do it, you can have a lot of fun with this rakshasa-ass cat fae. You could run a deck with Faiths Fetters style effects and sacrifice the enchantments that were locking down creatures in response to effects like pyroclasm, and get this critter on to the battlefield, cheap, and then suit it up with some fat aura that you binned earlier.

I think what I like the most about this card is its place as a commander paints a different version of its place in the 99. If it’s your commander, you’re very limited in what kind of cards you can have them bouncing and bringing back, and you may have to turn to artifact sources like Urza’s Tome or Smuggler’s Copter to start doing weird things with it like Eldrazi Conscription.

Offering is weird, but it’s not mine – there’s a cycle of five Offering cards in Betrayers of Kamigawa, weird set that it was.

Who Wants It: Lifegain pillowfort decks

There are seven cantrip instants (and more when you start involving cycling) that gain you life. There are a number of cheap sources that gain you a little life. I would love, love, love to see someone force an evasion ability onto Rahab and then attack, cast three cantrip lifegain spells and kill an opponent by dealing 24 commander combat damage.

She protects herself (when you gain life) but she’s expensive so you need to extend the game to get to her. I like this card a lot.

Who Wants It: People who wished they could play infect but don’t like the aesthetic.

One of the Into the North podcasters, I want to say Linden, said that Infect wouldn’t work in CEDH even if all your enemies shared a poison counter total. I liked that idea and tried to make a commander who could give you that play pattern. I used Awe instead of Experience counters because Experience counters can be obtained in a variety of ways and I wanted this to only care about its self-contained mechanic of getting ten creatures through at least once.

The only sad part about her is that she doesn’t actually have any particular synergy or use with existing Renown creatures, since she gives it out, and Renown only can work once for each creature. Beep boop sad toot.

Who Wants It: People who are, again, nostalgic for Kamigawa and Tallowisp.

It’s a simple, straightforward engine that asks you to make an interesting choice in building your deck. In mono-white, you only have so many aura cards that are great, and they mostly do different things. Similarly, you only have so many creatures that benefit from having a lot of auras around, and they give you a clear direction to go in.

Who Wants It: Me.

I don’t know, I really like Astral Slide and I wish it was good. This version of Joei came flavour first, with the two artworks of these two similar but not the same characters that I perceived as a kind of seasonally-affected half-fae femboy. The idea of him in my mind was someone who came and brought winter with him (representing the difficulty supporting large numbers of creatures) and then when enough time and seasons happened he became aware of what he was, and began his planeswalking.

I am this close to making Joei a fanwalker and going and frothing about him on tumblr.

Joei’s meant to also allow for a white deck whose commander both gets you to the late game and then supports you once you’re there. I like the transformational element of the card and I like how it can turn into a sort of astral slide for value or sort of pseudo-ugin.

Who Wants It: Equipment voltron decks.

This scared the redditors more than it did me. Personally, I see commander as a world of boardwipes, where equipment lay on the battlefield after wrath after wrath after wrath, so the idea that this sets up your first creature to equip to cheaply making her more of a hopeful Sigarda’s Aid than anything else.

Do people just leave your commander alone over there? I’d expect this to eat bolt the second I cast an equipment, and I would expect my opponents to not cast equipment while she’s on the table.

Who Wants It: White spellslingers.

Again, I think that ‘let’s do the same thing, again, but more efficiently this time’ is a very white ability. Much in the same way I think white should get a good share of flashback spells and graveyard casting, with the idea that white can ritualise their spells.

This design also predated Lurrus’ spoiling, so don’t I look like a stupid asshole.

Who Wants It: Honestly I don’t know, someone who loves Lammasu?

This card is supposedly good at protecting your stuff. But you’d need to protect it. It turns the first wrath into a terror, which is cool, and I can’t find a lot of 6 mana even harder to destroy permanents aside from Jareth.

And Jareth is cool.

The idea started out as a card that wanted the board to be hierarchal; only the most expensive permanent you controlled each time could be destroyed or venerated – only this critter gets to pick up equipment.

It does make Razor Golem into a cheap insurance though, which is cute.

Who Wants It: White commander decks that are hurting for card advantage.

Manifest is white. Making large volumes of mid-size dorks is white. Paying for your stuff is white. Mara can’t stick around super long and she is quite fragile on her own, but when you go to pay her upkeep cost, you will have the best chance to protect her.

I note that you can attack with manifests, then when they’re blocked or risk dying, you can just huck ’em into the exile zone.

Flavour wise what I wanted to represent was these caravans of traders moving along a desert path, nomads bringing stuff to trade, under the cover of desert disguise.

Who Wants It: Non-creature hate and staxy decks.

This was a lot more appealing two weeks ago before the banning of Flash.

The point of this card was to focus your deck on whether or not your deck worked without your commander. There was a conversation about this over on Into The North, where the question was about how if your deck didn’t care about your commander then why play a commander deck at all? Why not just play a Canlander deck?

This stuck with me because in the era of Flash Hulk and then Sushi Hulk, the only thing that mattered was whether or not your deck could cast one of four core win conditions, four of which were blue (and one which required you to have green in your deck). Decks weren’t being Zur decks and Inalla decks, they were all being Flash Hulk or Sushi Hulk decks. That sucks!

So here.

This hates every creature combo component that isn’t a commander.

Who Wants It: Lesbians.

Okay okay joking aside, Sephene is not meant to be a Sappho reference despite her aura of helpless incapacitation for the love of a woman: she’s meant to be a Persephone reference, someone who shows up for seasons and then has to leave for some reason.

What can you use her for, though? What’s she good for? Well, she’s a recurrent anthem-enabling army maker that’s based on Saproling Burst. Which was a pretty good card, and she’s a lot cheaper to go for the base.

Who Wants It: Reddit

This was the most popular card in this entire set. There were people mad when she didn’t say ‘white’ because their opinion was she only would be used then for artifacts and eldrazi, which is… stupid, because people will care about different big dumb spells. But whatever.

Who Wants It: People who wish Intruder Alarm Combo was good, and it’s still not that good.

I can’t believe I had two flip card ideas. Here, have a Serra Angel that turns into Intruder Alarm. Combo outlet and solid defender that can also just be a threat on its own.

And again: if you have any ideas or inspiration based on these, let me know! I hope you find these cards fun and have some thoughts based on seeing the flavour and mechanics I had in mind for ’em.

 

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