Available now are five new preconstructed commander decks with color combinations of the shards from the Alara block. Read more for in depth coverage of each commander decks.
Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (blue white black): This deck has a heavy artifact theme and an even larger life gain theme. The high life total can be used for stall or make ridiculous payments for card effect like Toxic Deluge or Greed.
This deck is full of life gain so you have a comfortable cushion between you and your opponent’s life. Oloro gains you 2 life every turn even if you haven’t played him yet! When he’s out, you can basically drain 1 life and draw 1 card every turn. The deck has pretty good synergy and is most playable from the box. The cards themselves are alright but the most attractive inclusion has to be the powerful Nevinyrral’s Disk!
Your alternate commander is Sydri who focuses more on the artifact theme than the life gain part. Sydri is a little trickier to play and build around but the deck gives plenty of staple artifacts. Adding cards like Staff of Nin and Dreamstone Hedron is the perfect chance to craft your own Wurmcoil Engine.
Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge (black blue red): Coming from Innistrad is a vampire that nets you free spells! Jeleva’s deck is all about casting power spells and then doing it again!
The most important thing is to keep Jeleva alive long enough to make at least one attack. Doing so once will already compensate her cost. Creatures are few and weaker but the spells are top notched. Draw your spells, cast them, copy them, bring them back and repeat. Even when you’re out of steam, certain effects allow you to steal your opponent’s spells.
Nekusar is the alternate commander. Nekusar is more readily playable imposing a 2 damage per turn clock on your opponents. There isn’t really much strategy other than keeping him on the field for as long as possible making him a very splashable (if not generic) commander should you run black blue red.
Marath, Will of the Wild (green red white): Marath’s deck is simple. Ramp lands, board wipe, and start dropping an onslaught of giant creatures.
Marath is a versatile commander with 3 different effects. It grows stronger each time you cast it from the command zone and even more so if you have Doubling Season or Primal Vigor on the field. The deck is a traditional creature aggro deck but it the excess number of board wipe cards in the deck seems to get in the way of your big creatures.
Gahiji is the alternate commander. It is good at rallying +2 power for all attackers whose strategy is more aggressive. It’s ok but it’s no Overrun which I’m glad it’s not. Personally, I’d just stick with Marath for versatility even if it costs a bit more.
Prossh, Skyraider of Kher (red black green): Prossh likes sacrificing a lot. This deck also does well in token generation and permanent destruction too. Prossh comes with a bigger token army each time you cast it from the command zone.
Prossh’s deck is very demanding asking for a lot of set up and sacrifices. Thankfully some cards help you recover advantage after making sacrifices. I find it strange how none of the cards in the deck ever featured the devour mechanic. The deck certainly went for quantity over quality helping you trade excess cards for the destruction of your opponent’s cards.
The Shattergang Brothers is the handyman alternate commander. It can take down any noncreature nonland permanents with a price. While it’s not straight up destruction, sacrifice effects help get past indestructible and hexproof.
Derevi, Empyrial Tactician (white blue green): If you like tapping and untapping cards, there’s no one better than Derevi to do the job. The secondary theme is flickering creatures to abuse “enter the battlefield” triggers. Derevi likes to be “cheated” onto the battlefield from the command zone using its ability for 4 mana.
Overall Derevi can be a dangerous commander capable of lockdowns if not careful. The fact that it can be put to play for 4 mana without fear of being countered means you’ll be seeing it played a lot. The deck itself can use a little work though.
Roon of the Hidden Realm takes a different direction with a heavier focus on flickering creatures. Roon is pretty versatile whether you decide to use it as a flicker engine or as a sturdy creature. It requires a build around but abusing “enters the battlefield” triggers at any time is powerful this format.
Top five new cards I think are Legacy playable
Serene Master: The monk that kills virtually all creatures that it battles with (besides protection from white and indestructibles). It even gets past deathtouch and lifelink. Available only in Oloro’s deck.
Toxic Deluge: Want a Mutilate that costs 1 less and less black intense? Toxic Deluge is the go to card if you can afford the life payment. Available only in Oloro’s deck.
Unexpectedly Absent: More often than not this is going to be a 2 mana white removal spell for just about any card. Respond to an effect that shuffles the library means that permanent is not coming back for a while. Paying X is optional and makes for a good end of turn mana sink. Found only in Derevi’s deck.
Restore: Sure it doesn’t give advantage like Life from the Loam but Restore puts that land directly to play ready to use. If you placed a land like Gaea’s Cradle, you’ll immediately get your mana back. Restore is found only in Derevi, Prossh, and Marath’s decks.
True-Name Nemesis: I’ve saved the deadliest card for last. In multiplayer, this is going to be a pain for one player. In 1 vs 1, True-Name Nemesis is unstoppable and is essentially Invisible Stalker’s big brother. This merfolk is found only in Jeleva’s deck.
That’s the rundown of the decks. I would recommend picking up any deck you can find as each are powerful in their own way giving staples for both Commander and Legacy format. It is definitely going to be a popular item for Magic players. If I have a choice, I would lean towards Jeleva’s or Oloros’ decks.
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