There are many ways that a 4 color creature in Magic could be costed; and that’s not to say that WOTC will necessarily repeat something as simple as Ink-Treader Nephilim. In the last commander product series we got legendary creatures that gave us the ability to gain experience counters. I would not be surprised if WOTC showed us yet again a new way to design commanders with the color identities in mind. Let’s look at ways the cards could be structured to support 4 color commanders.
Straight up RGWU
I’m somewhat doubtful that we will see 5 commanders in this set that only cost their 4 colors. If you have a expensive set of mana-fixing lands you can easily accommodate for most spells you are going to cast. Not only do you have lands, but you also have all the signets and other cheap color fixing mana rocks.
It is more a question of accessibility. I’m doubtful WOTC will employ a structure like this for all the commanders in this set because players don’t usually have access to really expensive mana bases. They want these sets to be accessible to new commander players and because of that the colored mana cost of the legendary creatures needs to be somewhat flexible.
Khans Block Commanders
I could see WOTC doing something similar with the new 4 color commanders. The RGWU commander could have RG in their converted mana cost and have activated abilities of the other colors in its ability. This makes the color identify 4 colors. It also solves the problem of creating commanders with low converted mana costs.
New Cost Structure
Perhaps we’ll see a new cost structure that allows players to be really flexible with casting their commander. Above is the idea for a 1-drop commander who has color identities for 4 colors. The commander with this casting cost would cost 1 mana of either black/green/red or white. It is sort of like a hybrid within a hybrid. I understand you could just have a single circle with 4 different color cutouts in it but I think giving the colors more space on the card gives benefit to the user experience of players who are trying to read/play with the cards.
You could also implement different effects based off of what colors you used to cast your commander. One commander could have a few different triggered abilities that could be enabled based of how many (or how much) of whatever color you pump into them as you cast them.
4 Color Land?
I would not be surprised to see another flexible land like Command Tower printed in the Commander 2016 product. It would make casting commanders easier and possibly give 5 color decks more tools to build with. In order to make the land not busted for Legacy/Vintage I could see them using the “any color in your commander’s color identity” language.
Whatever happens with the 4 color commander product release I’ll be glad to look and write about it. Make sure you follow Commander Society on Facebook so you are up to date with the Commander 2016 product release!