When I was first introduced to the cat spoilers, my love of tribal was almost perfectly stroked by WOTC. Equipment cats, cats with flash, cats that did things in combat. WOTC was pulling me into a four ringed tribal circus. To me it was everything cats needed to get a ‘legitimate’ deck brewed up in my mind.
In the following days WOTC gave us Vampires and Wizards and for the most part, they stroked my love of tribal again. They gave us dragons, but everyone already knew about those from leaks long before. More importantly, WOTC wanted me to open my wallet and buy this Commander Product, and I’m thinking about it. I’m almost sold. Almost. So I made myself do this review.
I think that WOTC made some very solid tribal-maters commanders while also including commanders that I could see being played across all different types of playgroups. I think every legendary creature in this set is at least a halfway reasonable commander that I could see new and/or veteran players enjoying.
What I like most about the set is that WOTC made a bunch of the creatures have dual creature types. This makes their inclusion in multiple tribes that much easier.
With that said let’s move on.
I think the the set went too deep on tribal elements and doesn’t offer much of anything else. The commanders are unique and fresh, but they only printed 6 new artifacts and 15 new other non-creature spells and only one new land across all four decks.
I do think the card quality of the new cards is pretty decent in reference to previous commander sets, but I will say that if you like like commander because of artifacts, instants, sorcery cards, or lands you got shafted hard this year. I’m pretty sure those categories have very large pools of magic players in them. I feel like WOTC could have dabbled in Tribal instants and sorcery cards, such as All is Dust, or perhaps have printed more new lands that directly interacted with creatures of the chosen tribe.
This ultra-focus on new creatures (mostly legendary creatures) is fantastic if you were tinkering around with the idea of building new tribal brews around the four tribes. It’s terrible if you want to buy the product, tear it apart, and build non-tribal decks. There are solid playable non-creature cards like Hammer of Nazahn but they are few and far between.
It gets worse. I was surprised when the decklists were released to see that there were very few reprints in this set that are worth an eye-catching amount of money. On a quick run through MTG Goldfish pricing data on the reprinted cards I saw the top being Mirari’s Wake and the next closest being Captivating Vampire followed close by Nin, the Pain Artist. If you are planning on buying the dragon deck the highest value reprint you’ll get is Utvara Hellkite. The lands are mostly worth nothing, and I’m a little confused they didn’t print more man-lands such as mutavault.
I’m not saying you should buy magic products because there’s money in them but I do believe if you are an experienced magic player and already have a collection of EDH cards the reprints in these decks don’t look attractive. I think a lot more people than normal are going to be plucking singles from this EDH set.
It’s pretty simple in my eyes – if you really like the legendary creatures that they printed in this set its possibly worth it to buy in and get your boxed set of 4 decks. If you were not impressed, or felt like the set was too tribal, I would just stick to plucking singles.
I don’t think WOTC designed a bad set, I just think they went too hard in the tribal direction and didn’t give all the other reasons why people love EDH – instants, sorcery, land cards, etc – much respect. With a poor rooster of reprints to back this set up, I am not going to buy any of these boxed sets. From my perspective I think buying these decks would only be really useful to brand new commander players.