That’s right, there’s a part three to this three parter!
Megatron presents some captivating stuff here. Particularly, he’s just a really high power creature — 7 power is one of the cutoff points for a commander clock. If Megatron deals combat damage to a player three times in this form, that player is out. You could build a version of this deck that wants to use, say, Aurelia, The Warleader and something for double strike to just delete opponents.
I wouldn’t, mind you: I think if you’re going to do that kind of thing in commander, you need to be able to do it repeatedly, and quickly, because otherwise you’re just telling one player they need to sit the game out. When you’re talking about an artifact creature, there are a lot of ways to blow him up.
What I like about Megatron is his means to turn a lot of leeching, or bleeding effects or just evasive creatures into a giant pile of mana. But that unbound mana production doesn’t just want to be poured into X-mana spells like Walking Ballista — because his back end cares about being able to cast spells with big mana costs to kill creatures and do excess damage to opponents.
I really like this because it creates a puzzle. You need artifacts you don’t mind sacrificing, you need them to have big mana values, but you don’t want to have them stranded in your hand. That means you need artifacts that you can cast for potentially big amounts but also don’t want them stranded in your hand waiting on other things, like say, Myr Enforcer. This is a pretty perfect space for the Prototype effect, where you can cast cards for cheap early on, but later on when you have large chunks of colourless mana available from Megatron, you can drop the bigger, more expensive versions. Prototype also pulls me towards playing with flicker and resurrection.
What I’d Look For: Artifact creatures with good mana values and price discounts, ways to recur or flicker creatures.
We have this already! Hey! Hey hang on a minute, we already have this! It’s Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit! What makes this better?
Oh it’s a five mana 6/8? Okay yeah that’s… probably a lot. And if it’s all you have to cast, it’s a 5 mana 8/10?! what the living hell? That’s incredible. And it self-recurs?!
Alright, Optimus Prime is a house, like an absurd beast of a card. I think this might be the most prepostrously big commander card I’ve ever seen and it has no green on it anywhere. When you look at Jeskai commanders, you normally are looking for tricky or evasive things, you’re not looking for things that can kill a player on their own like this. And I’m not kidding: Optimus on his own serves for 8, then 7, then 8 again – three attacks and he gets worse. He’s so tough too. Killing him resets the count, it doesn’t even get rid of him.
Optimus is huge.
I don’t feel like making him into a two-hit machine (like, say, giving him Double Strike) is a wise move. He’s so tough that if you put him alongside smaller creatures he’ll make your wider options better. Plus in those colours, there are cards that can spend counters, too. He can team up with Arcee and put counters on her, Arcbound Reclaimer can recur other robots, Etched Oracle and Mindless Automaton can draw cards. There’s also the Abzan counter boosters and Simic counter checkers, like Sapphire Drake and Abzan Falconer.
What I’d Look For: Combat! Stuff in these colours that wants to get on the board and attack. Counterspells and protection spells that just keep your things around and stop combo wins.
Ultra Magnus has always been troubled as being the Bigger Dork in any given Transformers Story. Even in Animated, which addressed his character as an old, mentorly figure from a power structure that doesn’t have the flexibility to adapt to the current situation with the Decepticons, he was still always a narc’s narc. This version, depicted here from the G1 version of him, is, in my mind, voiced by Robert Stack, and has just such a Second In Command energy. It’s even a line in the movie – I’m not a leader, I’m a soldier.
Alright, then, that’s how Magnus doesn’t project a powerful personality. What’s his card do? Well heckadilly, he’s a 4/7 haste indestructible for 5.
That’s… that’s really good right?
Like just a 4/7 haste indestructible would be enough on his own. And he makes all your other creatures indestructible as well. And yeah, then there’s the other side of him, which lets you cheat creatures onto the battlefield, tapped and attacking, but then you don’t get the indestructible. Phew hard to say.
The indestructible and formidable combo makes me imagine wanting to attack with a bunch of small creatures – only three more power to keep Magnus from flipping – which also makes me think of deathtouchers, witherers, or infecters. Things that blocking them does cause a problem, but you don’t want to just let them serve forever.
A really twisted thought is to diminish Magnus’ power so that he can serve keeping more things safe, but that’s really silly. You can stack it though – so a card like Coastline marauders can attack, show Magnus a 0 power, then once his ability resolves, resolve its ability granting a giant amount of power. Or oh hell, you could run it along cards like Rasaad Yn Bashir, just smash people with toughness! That’s really cool!
Lots of options here.
Still, Magnus is a green red white commander, and I personally think that that makes him a perfect place to play with big value. I mean all those greatest hit cards that are ‘just sweet,’ where Magnus can cheat them into play, or protect them in a big sweeping attack. I think my impulse here is fair Naya, head up by this sad soldier.
What I’d Look For: Two colour cards in this colour wedge that both enable building up mana and late-game high value plays. Ironically, there’s probably use for Prototype here too, since Magnus lets you cheat in big expensive cards.
There! That’s all of the Transformers cards considered, and what I think I’ll do with them when I get started making decks about them!