Magic’s newest expansion has us journeying into the glistening, oil drenched heart of New Phyrexia as allies from across the Multiverse race to stop Elesh Norn from conquering countless planes. A new set means new cards, and we’re continuing our review with the colorless cards.
Last time we covered the monocolor cards, and this time as usual we won’t be looking at everything, and we’ll be doing this primarily but not exclusively with an eye for Commander play.
Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut
BPhillipYork: This is not a good card, but a great card. Totally fun, callback to the original Juggernaut. You can try to make it good with a bunch of cheap token creators.
FromTheShire: The art is sick, it makes everything into the Juggernaut, bitch…. solid flavor. Unfortunately Wizards has done the thing where they give you a one off tribal leader for something obscure that would be fun to do for the memes and then the Commander doesn’t actually care about said tribe at all. Kind of a bummer in that respect.
Loxi: This is a card to appeal to 7 year old me who wants to bash through walls at mach-5. This is a cool card, but I have one single gripe with it: do you actually want to play real Juggernauts with this card? It only benefits Juggernauts as a tribe when it’s in play, and if it is in play it makes everything else a Juggernaut. Do you really want to play Juggernauts with your Juggernaut? That is the question.
BPhillipYork: I can’t think of any particular way you could abuse this, in a sense it’s ramp, and there are some ways to tutor lands to your yard, but what’s the point? In theory you could use this to have multiple Gaea’s Cradles or Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx you could tap one then sacrifice it then use the Safehouse.
FromTheShire: This is one that scales with your ability to copy artifacts, or can offer you some interesting options if your opponents are self milling or getting their powerful lands blown up. There are a lot of ways to untap artifacts as well, so depending on what it’s mimicking I could see this being part of a combo.
Loxi: This is a cool card for the purpose of ramp actually. It’s a colorless card that can be treated as both a ramping land and a utility land all in one artifact-wrapped package. If you’re in a graveyard focused artifact deck/land deck or a self-mill deck of any kind, I’d give this a try just because it can provide a lot for a single card. Think of it like a land wild-card as long as you can keep your ‘yard full.
Monument to Perfection
BPhillipYork: I think this is a cool card, fetching lands for 3 is a bit pricey, but for mid or battlecruiser games it’s viable. Becoming a 9/9 with toxic and indestructible is fun.
FromTheShire: It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen people playing with Journeyer’s Kite, and while this gives you some extra utility in what it can fetch and can eventually become a creature, I don’t foresee this seeing much play. It’s not bad per se for non-green decks but I think people have mostly moved past this.
Loxi: I’ve had the opinions for a long time on cards that fetch lands to your hand, and I’d like to reiterate that here: people sometimes view it as “faux ramp” since it doesn’t actually put cards in play, but I think that’s selling it a bit short. Realistically it reads “draw 3 cards: guarantee all 3 of them are lands.” In this case, it’s a bit more specific than that, but I don’t think its too bad especially in Mono-White and Colorless decks aside from the obvious 5c include. I wouldn’t go hard out of my way to run the weird Spheres or Loci for this, but it doesn’t seem awful if you’d want those cards anyway.
Staff of Compleation
BPhillipYork: I think tap pay 4 life and draw a card is strong, especially with the option of proliferate and other things going on. It has to be the right kind of deck but potentially really a powerful card.
FromTheShire: The options are very solid, but the life loss makes this more of a utility piece than a combo off and win one like Domination.
Loxi: Staff of Domination 2.0, which I think was a missed opportunity to be ‘Staff of Damnation.’ It’s a pretty cool card, I think it really shines if you want that proliferate effect since basically all these are pretty useful. Agreed with BPY: it’s really strong in the right deck, but be careful you don’t burn yourself out with it.
Sword of Forge and Frontier
BPhillipYork: This is boss, one of the better swords of. Also the 9th sword, so there in theory should be one more sword. Exiling a card off the top and an additional land is really solid. The 3 cost and 2 to equip is still kind of pricey, but there are some interesting ways to make it pay off. Seems really solid with Neyali, Suns Vanguard.
FromTheShire: Immediate top tier sword. A lot of the cycle is really only useful for the +2/+2 and protection, but both of these effects are great, especially since the Boros deck this is likely in can struggle with card draw and even more so with ramp. The protection itself is pretty solid too, between red’s damage based abilities and the sheer number of green decks out there these days.
Loxi: It’s not as much of a powerhouse as Sword of Feast and Famine, but this one is definitely up there for swords. Like a lot of the swords, you can basically jam this anywhere the protections won’t screw you over. Any White and/or Blue equipment deck could run this with ease, especially since they can’t always land ramp well on their own.
The Filigree Sylex
BPhillipYork: Board clear = X mana value is usually pretty strong, but the speed on this one is fairly slow, its ability to be a nuke for 10 damage in Standard would be solid but in Commander it’s a bit meh.
FromTheShire: I know a Powder Keg wannabe when I see one, and you’re not any closer than Ratchet Bomb. I imagine this will see solid play in Standard but for Commander we have much better options.
Loxi: Ratchet Bomb callback here is pretty rad. I like this card a lot because I’m very partial to Ratchet, but I don’t necessarily think it’s crazy good. A place where I think this shines is as a tech card for playgroups that run token heavy decks, since this is a 2 mana flexible sweeper to clean off tokens.
BPhillipYork: This card seems well designed to cause chaos in Commander. Great for group-hug profit decks.
FromTheShire: Goes in the group hug deck with no win condition that I hate, otherwise no thank you. Even in group hug I don’t think handing out this many cards is a good idea. Plus it’s on a creature that dies to everything.
Loxi: I don’t really like making everyone draw cards willy-nilly, but this really could punish certain decks. The problem is I don’t really see it punishing them as much as just accelerating someone else. Maybe if you like Nekusar, the Mindrazer and want to be a bit less threatening.
The Monumental Facade
BPhillipYork: That hat just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Moving oil counters is useful for getting things going with proliferate or something like that, and that seems useful, but this will mostly be pretty lackluster, but is also a Sphere for things that care about Spheres, so far only one.
FromTheShire: Are you an oil counter deck? Probably automatically worth the include. Any other kind of deck? Skip.
Loxi: It doesn’t enter tapped, so this is probably pretty good in some colorless decks that might have cards that care about this. Also in Migloz, Maze Crusher, since that’s a Commander that would always be happy with as much oil as a car dealership.
The Mycosynth Gardens
BPhillipYork: People are all excited about this card, and I do think it’s neat. But this whole “turn 1 double Sol Ring” well then what? Potentially it can be an early game huge payoff, but the real payoff here to me is artifacts you really want to double their effect. Having a second Panharmonicon or Sphinx Bone Wand is more fun and effective to me.
FromTheShire: The amount of times where this is going to be in hand with an artifact that lets you pop of early is going to be low, but the opportunity cost is low so live the dream. There are likely to be other targets in your deck as well, and in specifically an artifact deck the sky is the limit.
Loxi: If you’re in artifacts, it’s a good utility land. If you aren’t, I don’t think losing a land to copy a random artifact is a great tradeoff. I wouldn’t jam it everywhere, but the fact that it can filter mana is a nice touch.
BPhillipYork: This one seems fairly 0 impact for Commander, until more cards care about spheres. A 5-color land for Phyrexian tribal is a possibility though.
FromTheShire: Between the current set, the previous Mirrodin block, and all of the older creatures that have been errata’d to be Phyrexian now, this actually has a pool of just under 400 creatures it can be used to pay for currently which might actually be enough to build a solid Vorthos or theme deck out of. Worst case it comes into play untapped and gives you a colorless anyways, so you’re not missing much by including it.
Loxi: If you’re a madman and want to go full Phyrexian, go nuts with this. I think we should revisit this one later in the year to see if there is a bit more to use with this one as the Phrexian sets unfold.
That wraps up our look at the set’s colorless cards. Join us next time as we upgrade the companion preconstructed decks released alongside the set. In the meantime, if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.