January 22, 2018

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New Brews from Rivals of Ixalan

Who’s excited about the new legendaries Rivals of Ixalan brings us? [Hands shoot up] Thought so. Let’s celebrate with a quick brainstorm on some of the most interesting ones!

Rivals includes a whole cycle of Elder Dinosaurs. If you brew with one of them as your commander, you even still get to call it EDH and be accurate! I won’t go into each of them, but I will touch on a few of the more interesting ones!

Etali, Primal Storm is certainly the flashiest of the bunch. (I realize it doesn’t have flash, but you know what I mean.) Here we have another mono-red commander that asks us to brew slightly differently. From all of us red-hearted players, thank you. (I also realize that biologically, we all have red hearts.)

To capitalize on this effect, we’re going to need some haste! Whenever I’m in this position, I actually like Expedite. It’s cheap and it helps us get to our more permanent haste enablers. Plus our opponents never see it coming! Next we’re going to want to get some extra combat steps. World at War is friendly on the wallet, and if we plan for the rebound turn, it doesn’t cost us any mana that turn. And, since we can expect to get some flashy free spells, why not a Dualcaster Mage to double it up?

Nezahal, Primal Tide does a lot of neat stuff we like, and would be hard to gloss over without thinking of a brew. It’s got some built in card draw, plus it protects itself with it’s bounce ability.

I think I’d want to favour cheaper card draw in a deck with this, like a Words of Wisdom. Those extra cards my opponents are drawing have a good chance of triggering Nezahal’s draw trigger anyway. Don’t think I didn’t see that seven power, Nezahal. We could get the job done in three hits of Commander damage, or even less with a Strata Scythe. Since we’re in blue, getting our Elder Dino through with something like Thassa, God of the Sea sounds like a solid plan.

If you thought Gishath was our big dino Commander, Zacama, Primal Calamity would like a word. It’s definitely expensive, but untapping our lands on the same turn is a big game. Having a mana sink (or three!) on our Commander is very useful. I’d want to load up on land ramp, as opposed to artifact ramp. Far Wanderings has been a favourite of mine for ages. Since we’re loading up on lands, I’d want to consider running Omnath, Locus of Rage as Zacama’s liutenant, along with some other landfall all-stars. And just to rub some salt into things, I’d love to stick a Bear Umbra on Big Z. Because only I get to have enchantments or artifacts, obviously.

What’s Azor, the Lawbringer doing here on Ixalan? That’s for the story people to explain. I’m more interested in how to brew a crippling control deck around this Sphinx.

Being able to Sphinx’s Revelation on attack is interesting. For a control deck, we want mana up though other players’ turns, so tapping out on ours isn’t ideal. I’m thinking we start to use this for just a couple cards at a time, leaving up plenty of mana for a nice Forbid with buyback. I want Azor to be able to reliably attack safely, so our pal the Archetype of Imagination ought to do the trick. As a backup, I’m definitely going to want Taigam, Ojutai Master for added counterproofing in addition to getting more value out of my blink spells, like Momentary Blink. Blinking Azor sounds pretty mean. Not my style, personally, but I know you meanies are out there!

Elenda, the Dusk Rose has tough competition in the black and white commander market, but her abilities seem fun to try to break. I’m going to want to get a Darksteel Plate on her ASAP so that any wrath turns her into a monster. Plus I think we’re going to want to let Elenda hit our graveyard, if our opponents do manage to somehow kill her, in order to reanimate her. It would be nice if she could visit her vampire token family. Rescue From the Underworld is a great way to facilitate that family reunion. Let’s say that things work out, and Elenda comes back to visit her little brood of tokens. Wouldn’t she be so happy to sit in the Dragon Throne of Tarkir to pump up that little army into lifelinking behemoths? Happy Mother’s Day!

So, now that Rivals is officially released, who the new Commanders you’re excited to brew around? Do you have any other ideas for these ones? Let me know in the comments!