I wrote about a few of the spoilers for Commander 2018 earlier this week, and now the decks have been spoiled fully. I wasn’t seeing much to be excited about then, and I’m still feeling pretty indifferent about the new set at this point. There are a couple of new cycles that seem okay, and some individual cards that I wouldn’t mind for other decks or as build arounds, but for the most part there isn’t a single one of these precons that I can’t wait to get my hands on, and that makes me sad. However, that doesn’t mean that I won’t buy the product, because each deck will come with staples and a handful of cards that I’ll want, but it’s also probably wiser to just buy singles. Some of the reprints are handy, but there isn’t anything that’s an expensive card being reprinted that makes me want to jump on that particular deck. Overall it’s a lackluster product and I’m surprised given Wizards’ track record this year. Dominaria was amazing. Battlebond was spectacular. Ever Core Set 2019 had some chase cards in it. Commander 2018 is the worst thing to release this year. But don’t let my doom and gloom bother you, perhaps there’s something there for people that I’m not seeing, and if you’re a new player in the format these are still a great way to get a bunch of cards on the cheap so you can play with your friends. First up, let’s look at the new cycles.
The first new cycle is a storm cycle. The Storm keyword hasn’t been used much over the years, but it usually revolves around how many spells you cast in a turn, then you copy the storm spell for however many spells cast before it. Rather than being that keyword, this cycle functions a little bit differently. Each of these storm cards counts how many times you’ve cast your commander that game, and then you get copies of the spell equal to that. It’s the same sort of mechanic but made to work via EDH. Of these my favorites are Skull Storm and Genesis storm, the former being a finisher in the right deck, the latter being some nice tutoring.
Lieutenant isn’t a new thing, we had these in past commander products, but there are one for each color at this point, and that’s a nice feature. Each of them will give you a boon as long as you control this creature and your commander. I’d say the blue and green versions are probably the best but each could find a place in many decks. Next up, let’s look at some of the individual cards that I think are worth finding homes for in your decks.
The Heavenly Blademaster is a nice creature. A 3/6 flying double striker, it gives an anthem to your other creatures equal to the number of auras and equipment attached to it. That’s powerful in a deck that’s dealing with auras and equipment, but probably not good in a voltron deck because you won’t have other creatures to benefit from the anthem. Magus of the Balance is a nice land destruction tool that isn’t as harsh as Armageddon. Lastly, seeing some of the miracles reprinted is nice, and Banishing Stroke is a good one, putting a permanent on the bottom of its owner’s library for one mana if you happen to be able to cast it for its miracle cost.
Another miracle, a reprint of Saheeli’s Artistry (which is a really good card from Kaladesh) and a new card sharing its commander’s name: Animatou’s Augury. This one exiles 8 cards from the top of your library and ramps you by one land, then for each non land type you can cast a spell for free. It’s expensive and can whiff, but when it goes off that’s a good card.
Yet another miracle reprint, and three cards I really like. Sower of Discord is Saskia’s ability on a different creature. It’s also a demon, so it fits well in my Kaalia deck. Moonlight Bargain is some nice card draw in black, but a little on the expensive side. Night Incarnate is a nice board clear and is cheaper if you evoke it. Great for Meren and other reanimators.
Blasphemous Act is a commander staple for red. Enchanter’s Bane looks to be a new one. It’s an Enchantment that deals damage to another enchantment’s controller equal to that enchatment’s cmc. So if someone drops a propaganda on you, drop this on their propaganda, and good times will ensue.
Green feels like it got the most love this time around. Nothing here is absolutely amazing, but there are some good useful cards. Graveyard hate, commander tax reduction, recursion, enchantments matter and some big creatures. Looks good.
Some interesting new cards and some reprints in multi-color. I really like the new Legendary Ninja, and it’s an interesting thought to build Esper Zombies. Many white zombies were introduced back in Amonkhet so it’s probably doable but probably not that effective. I’ll stick with Dimir Zombies myself. Some interesting cards here but still nothing spectacular.
Colorless and Lands:
More reprints in this category. We’re getting the slow fetch lands, a new scry land, and some others. Duplicant is a staple to a degree, and unwinding clock goes well in decks looking to combo with artifacts. Otherwise nothing amazing.
And that’s that. If I end up picking up some of these and finding some new brews I’ll be sure to share but as of now I’m not overly impressed. A shame really, as this is supposed to be the best time of year for us EDH players. Anyway, you can see the full decklists here.