War of the Spark: Commander Review Week 3

War of the Spark Commander Review; Week Three 3

Hello and welcome back to Helix Gaming’s review of War of the spark for the Commander/EDH format! I, again, am your host Steven and I hope you’re all ready for the Finale, or should I say Finales, of spoiler season.

No disclaimer this week because it’s all here!

Like Mario let’sa go!

Colorless:

Ugin, the Ineffable

 

What is it with colorless planeswalkers? It seems like they can’t be bad. All your colorless spells costing two mana less with no minimum, protection AND card advantage on a +1 ability, and removal for a minus. A very powerful card.

WHITE:

Finale of Glory

 

Probably the easiest of the Finales to evaluate. For X equal to one or two you’re not especially happy with this. Once you get up to 5 - 9 you’re doing great. And, as with all the Finales, once you get to X equal to 10 or more the card is dumb. This is also one that you want to just dump ALL of your mana into. Once at 10 or more you get 6 power for every mana you put into X which is absurdly efficient. Great card for token decks and ramp heavy white based decks.

Gideon Blackblade

 

Static ability is just Gideon doing Gideon things. The best thing about Gideon is he is dirt cheap. I don’t think he’s great for us. His removal is slow, and his support ability is lacking. On the plus side you can equip The Blackblade Reforged to him for an immediate flavor win. He’s not amazing but he’ll do. Being able to be a creature while also being able to use his abilities is a convenience that may make him stronger than all the other Gideons.

God-Eternal Oketra

 

What a bomb addition for zombie decks. And honestly just white decks in general. Tacking an extra 4/4 vigilance onto every creature you cast seems pretty strong. And it comes with a 3/6 double striker for 5. Just a rock solid card.

Blue:

Commence the Endgame

 

What an aggressively mediocre card. At worst it’s 6 mana draw 2 make a 2/2. For sure not worth it.  And the fact that the draw portion doesn’t get any better really holds it back. And as I’ve mentioned before one off amass cards, I don’t think, will be very good in commander, even though this one could make a pretty big dude. If you want a good draw spell out of this set, I recommend waiting for the Finale.

Finale of Revalation

 

Speak of the devil. Now this is an interesting card. I’m not sure that, at sorcery speed, the base form of this is good enough. However, the 10+ version is pretty ridiculous. So, the question is; is it worth it to have the low X version in the early game when you don’t really want it so that you can have the high X version later on? I’m going to lean on the positive side of that. At the very least you can use it early to draw a couple cards when you wouldn’t be doing anything anyway. It's just unfortunate that the exile clause is tacked on regardless of how much you cast it for.

Narset, Parter of Veils

 

Terrible name for a decent card. Gotta be careful with that static ability before we get to close to Leovold territory. The activated ability should have been -1 in my less than humble opinion but she’s a mere three mana so I can’t complain too much that she’s digging 8 deep and drawing me two cards. I fear that, outside of rude stax decks, she will fall into the 100-105 slot. Just barely out of the deck.

Narset’s Reversal

Let’s not forget that Narset is a karate master so skilled that she can bend magic with it. This card is great. Remand a card and get your own copy of it. The thing I look forward to most is getting someone’s Cultivate or Explosive Vegetation. Especially if I’m not playing green.

Black:

Command the Dreadhorde

 

Now this is a juicy card. Specifically, a juiced up Reanimate. Both in the fact that it can get multiple cards and that it can target planeswalkers. Oh and it can hit your opponents graveyards too! And in a format where we have a ton of life and a ton of reliable life gain this will be a strong card. Yet another reason I wish I could play Black in Trostani.

Deliver unto Evil

Interesting card. Choose 4 cards in your graveyard and get the worst two from among them probably isn’t that bad. And bonus points if you have a Bolas planeswalker you just get all four. Probably not an unreasonable card but definitely great if you’re playing Nicol Bolas, the Ravager and thus can readily have a Bolas around. Also can we just stop and appreciate that it seems like Seb McKinnon can do no wrong? What a phenomenal artist.

The Elderspell

 

Do you have planeswalker problems? Do you have one planeswalker you REALLY want to ult? Well then try Elderspell ™ brought to you by Bolascorp. But for real I think this card probably won’t be good enough unless your meta is full of superfriends decks. If you can use wish cards, then this is a fine card to include in your wishboard. Otherwise, it’s just too narrow.

Finale of Eternity

 

This is, in my opinion the most questionable of the Finales. The low X version can be pretty bad. I mean if you can kill three 1 toughness dudes for 3 mana that’s fine but once you start going up it becomes harder to justify the cost, especially at sorcery speed which appears to be a common theme for these cards. Once you get to 10 though you get your quarter of a Rise of the Dark Realms. Obviously, this is also worse than Rise since it costs you 12 mana to do and doesn’t get the sweet things your opponents may have played. However, Rise is always Rise and is 9 mana every time. Finale has uses outside of that which helps in the flexibility department.

Price of Betrayal

 

Impact unclear. I bring it up because it's 1 mana for a solid piece of tech. Worth considering but I don’t expect it to be a card that is especially exciting.

Spark Harvest

 

Got tokens lying around? Like to sacrifice things? Need removal? As long as you don’t need at instant speed and can reliably fulfill the sacrifice part Spark Harvest will do work for you. But otherwise probably just stick to Hero’s Downfall and other, instant speed kill spells.

Red:

Finale of Promise

 

Now this is how you do a big red mythic. You can pay 3 to flashback a couple of little one drop spells or you can go big and fire off 6 spells for 12 mana. Great card. Maybe the best finale or at the very least the second best (stay tuned the green one is pretty great too).

Sarkhan the Masterless

 

This may well be my favorite of the Rare planeswalkers. The static is very powerful protection. Dragonlord Silumgar has an awfully nasty look in his eye all of the sudden. Sarkhan’s +1 could very well be game ending in a superfriends deck but even by himself he gives you an extra 4/4 to beat face with. And on top of that he brings extra dragons with his – ability as well. Can’t wait for this guy.

Green:

Finale of Devastation

 

Remember how I said that the possibly best Finale was yet to come? Yeah? Well we’re here folks and this card is bonkers. You get Green Sun’s Zenith but for one more mana you get to pull from your graveyard if you want and you aren’t limited to Green creatures only. This is the only one I truly feel good about without it’s ten or greater mode. That said the 10 or greater mode is also ridiculous. +X/+X and Haste until end of turn. A minimum of +10. Go get your Craterhoof Behemoth.

Planewide Celebration

 

This is interesting. 7 mana is a ton, but this could be very powerful. Use one mode to get back Eternal Witness and then do whatever you want with the other three. Could be neat in Superfriends or +1/+1 counters where you can do that and then proliferate 3 times. Also useful is that proliferating 3 times makes the new Tamiyo’s minus ability to get a card out of your graveyard free while you do whatever else with the fourth choice and all your other planeswalkers and creatures you’re proliferating. Making dudes gets an honorable mention as useful. What do you mean four options?

Return to Nature

 

What a useful card. Naturalize is a decent card and this is just better. Blow your opponent out on their recursion. Is a nice bonus to the artifact and enchantment removal.

Multicolor:

Bioessence Hydra

 

What? WHAT? This card is pretty hard to evaluate. At first blush it’s wild. I think most decks probably play one or two walkers which probably isn’t enough to justify this guy. However, if you play several or even better a Superfriends deck this card is a legit threat. Consider some of the uncommon planeswalkers in this very set that come with upwards of 7 loyalty. With the new Kiora you can power this down a turn faster, draw a card, and have a 10/10 trampler. I think my favorite way to abuse this, however, is with Simic Ascendancy. This can get a ton of counters very quickly. Toss in things like Atraxa and Evolution Sage and this thing could get ridiculous and turbo up Simic Ascendancy to win out of the blue.

Casualties of War

 

Forevermore a BG staple card. Destroy one of each permanent type. However, unlike similar things such as Decimate, you don’t have to have a target for each thing to cast it. I would have liked to see it be an instant but hey, we can't have everything. Great card.

Despark

 

And thus, Godhood dies. Commander doesn’t have the reputation of being where expensive cards go to die for nothing. This card is phenomenal removal. For sure it will miss important things, but it will stop most of the things that are actually scary.

Heartwarming Redemption

 

This is a rather surprising card. An instant speed wheel just for you that draws you one more card then you had before. And on top of that it gains you life! A fine card.

Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God

 

Now this is the juice, the one we’ve all been waiting for, the Big Bad, Nicol MFing Bolas. And he’s in all his glory just before the fall we all know is coming. And there is no word more appropriate than “glory” for, possibly, our last Bolas card. Having all abilities of all planeswalkers, your opponents included, is just insanity. You can use planeswalkers like Dovin, Grand Arbiter or Gideon, Champion of Justice to jump up with Bolas ridiculously fast, or just use Karn Liberated once. The possibilities with Bolas’ static effect are endless. And that’s just the first of his four abilities. His +1 is raw card advantage. Draw a card and exiling a card from EACH opponent. Madness. And if you can’t get rid of the thing you want with the + then use his -3 to get a creature or planeswalker off the board, which helps clean up things that may stand in the way of his ult doing its thing. And the ult is game ending. Quite literally. Granted this is commander so it can be difficult to stop an opponent from having a legendary creature or a planeswalker lying around. Just don’t forget about that mana cost. Every now and then you may find that triple black while in three or more colors just doesn’t show up.

Niv-Mizzet Reborn

 

MY BOY! And rumors of his death have been greatly exaggerated. No hyper-genius ancient dragon worth this salt wouldn’t have a backup plan in the case of his death. Especially one with a job as hazardous as guildleader of the Izzet League. As for his card it’s hard to say. At his best (If you’re lucky enough to have the card fall in your favor) he’s a 6/6 flier for 5 that draws you ten cards. At his worst he’s a 6/6 flier that gets you through a huge land pocket, which isn’t actually so bad when you think about it. But on average he’ll be that same 6/6 flier that draws you about 3 or four cards. Which is pretty damn good for the cost of the deck building restriction he places on you. In the 99 he’ll depend on your build. Many Ur-Dragon builds will be able to support Niv.

Oath of Kaya

 

A big fat meh from me. The only place I see this being good is Aminatou who can blink it in and out to reuse the Lightning Helix part. The second ability is pretty lame though. Only triggering once, no matter how many creatures and only when they attack your walkers, not you is pretty bad and won’t be deterring anyone not at 2 from attempting to kill your walkers.

Soul Diviner

 

A very interesting card. A bit on the slow side but being able to remove any kind of counter from almost anything (I assume they didn’t want to break Sagas) to draw a card for only a tap. And on a 2/3 for two that can stem off some early aggression. Fine card though.

Ashiok, Dream Render

 

Now this is how you make a commander level hate card. 3 mana to shut off your opponent’s searching their libraries by itself is a good card. But add to that four or five uses of the activated ability of mill 4 then exile each opponents graveyard and were rolling. Mind that even if you mill yourself you don’t hurt your own graveyard so if you’re in that sort of deck go hard and have fun.

Huatli, Sun’s Heart

 

I tell ya Huat-li this is pretty meh card. If you’re already in Doran, or Arcades then maybe it’s fine? Eh.

Artifact:

Firemind Vessel

 

A fine card. Not quite to the level of Thran Dynamo but maybe just a tiny bit better than Worn Powerstone. That is in multicolor decks. The fact that this has to produce different colors of mana means that decks like Mono White and Mono Red won’t want this. But for ramp and color fixing all in one card you can do a lot worse.

Land:

Blast Zone

 

I think I’ve said every week that getting effects into your lands is always a good thing. And here I say it again with the greatest emphasis. This is a sweet land. Especially if you can get that one counter off of it so you can toss a land to tell the Token deck to go die in a fire. Unlike its artifact cousin, Ratchet Bomb, this one takes a not insubstantial mana investment to get where you want it but it can be with whatever mana you have left over whenever you can. Start going through your decks mana bases now to find the flex slot you can cut for this.

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That's all for now, and War of the Spark spoilers have come to an end. But fret not friends, the adventure isn't over! Check back in soon for Modern Horizons and Core 2020. And comment on our blog or facebook with you own thoughts on how some of these cards could work in your commander decks!

ALL IMAGES BELONG TO WIZARDS OF THE COAST AND THE ARTIST WHO CREATED THEM. SPOILER GALLERY

Article written by: Steven Mace

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