Commander's Brew Episode 263 - The 25 Most Exciting Commander Cards from Zendikar Rising


Looks like we're back among the floating hedrons and cereal bowl "islands" once again with Zendikar Rising, and like previous Zendikar sets you have to do a little exploring to really find the Commander treasure in these lands.

I say lands because quite literally some of the best cards in this set are also lands. The Modal Dual-Faced Cards (henceforth known as MDFC's ) are the true stars of this set, providing subtle advantaged to the deck building savvy enough to use them. MDFC's are a sneaky form of card advantage that provide their users with smooth land drops when they need them, and useful spells in just about every other instance. Take Ondu Inversion for instance. You draw this card in your opening hand or early enough and you have a tapped "plains" - a minor drawback to be sure, but draw this card late and you have a Planar Cleansing for two more mana. Both of the drawbacks on this card are real but when you put both a tapped plains and an eight mana board wipe together on the same spell, you have an incredibly useful card that makes a strong case for itself in just about every deck that can run it.

The only big questions about these cards in my mind is how many are we allowed to run (keep in mind you probably have some other regular ETB tapped dual lands) and how many lands can I replace with them? I'd say in a two colour deck, for the first two or three MDFCs you are pretty safe to straight-up replace basic lands with them. However, once we start getting into three, four, or five of them or we're talking about three or more coloured decks, I'd suggest something like a 2:1 ratio of MDFCs in and lands out, meaning that the other card you'd have to replace is a spell.

This is just my best estimate, definitely play with these numbers in your own decks and tell us what you think works here in the comments or over on Twitter.

Moving on to the other exciting cards, we have the legendaries. ZNR gives us some sweet new commanders to play with like Tazri, Beacon of Unity, both providing us with a new Party-themed five colour deck while also supporting Tazri's previous tribe, Allies. We also get a new Omnath who has gained yet another colour (White) in Omnath, Locus of Creation. Four colour Landfall looks busted with this elemental at the helm.

Some other cool Commanders are Ashaya, Soul of the Wild (definitely some shenanigans are afoot if all your creatures are also lands), Zareth San, the Trickster (rogues are ninjas!), and Moraug, Fury of Akoum (land=more combats).

We also got a sweet reprint in Lotus Cobra but oddly enough not much else. Looking through the set don't sleep on the possible new staple, Lithoform Engine. I don't know what Mono-Black deck doesn't run Feed the Swarm, and Felidar Retreat gives an incredible tool to the White go wide/token/counter decks we all know and love.

Finally Ancient Greenwarden gives us another card that lets us play lands from our graveyard and Leyline Tyrant breaks a fundamental Magic rule while using it to burn your face off.

Overall Zendikar Rising looks to be a decent Commander set, providing us with a lot of useful if not super flashy cards for our decks while still providing some gems that we can get everyone can get excited about.

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