The Commander War Chest is the best way to play Commander. You can find out more about the format here.
I’d like to start writing about my Commander War Chest updates for each set. There’s a couple of challenges that come with this. First, it’s been hard to test the changes from the last couple of sets because of self-quarantine. I don’t want to stack updates without actually testing the changes. The other issue is that Wizards of the Coast is dropping new products at a savage rate! Because of these issues, I’ll be writing about recommendations instead of actual updates. Let’s get started.
Mangara, the Diplomat – This is a tough one. It’s such a good white card, but it discourages attacking. That’s the opposite of what you want. Instead, you want to force the action to make sure games end in a timely manner. That being said, I’d consider replacing Archon of Absolution. Magara plays similarly but it doesn’t tax attacking as much as the Archon does.
Barrin, Tolarian Archmage – I like this card a lot! It fits right in with the blink sub-theme in blue. The tough part is finding a good card to replace. My sights are on Venser, Shaper Savant since it acts as a counterspell, and I don’t mind softening blue’s ability to counter. Another possible swap is Saheeli, Sublime Artificer.
Pursued Whale – This is an easy add. It is a huge sea monster in blue that forces action. What more can you want?
Sublime Epiphany – I like modal cards in the War Chest because they give players options. Counterspells have proven to be problematic so I’m always careful when adding them. For that reason, I would either pass on this card or I’d consider taking out Cryptic Command. Cryptic is a stronger card most of the time but does not offer the splashy impact that this can.
Teferi, Master of Time – In a four-player game, this seems busto! I like the looting effect since it allows more autonomy for players. I’m excited to try this out and I hope it’s not as busted as I suspect.
Waker of Waves – I’m interested in this as a Ponder replacement. I’m not a fan of the shuffling effect of Ponder and this does a lot for gameplay. It gives us a target for reanimation strategies, while also shutting down token strategies.
Eliminate – This seems like a fine addition to the War Chest. The functionality seems a bit light but there are a handful of Commanders at three-mana or less. It’s also a nice catch-all for cheap planeswalkers.
Brash Taunter– I have an unhealthy love for Stuffy Doll, and this is a sweet upgrade. It’s capable of a lot of damage, and it combos well with cards like Blasphemous Act.
Fiery Emancipation– Triple damage, Heeeeck yeah!
Double Vision – Interesting. My worry is that there are more permanents than there are instants and sorceries. I’d like to see how relevant this is while in play. I suspect it will be lackluster.
Terror of the Peaks – This is a welcome call-back to the card Pandemonium. I wouldn’t put Pandemonium in the Chest, but once you attach a dragon, it becomes much more interesting. I’d like to try this out.
Elder Gargaroth – I roll my eyes at these do-everything mythic rares that WoTC keeps printing. Personal hang-ups aside, I could see this taking a slot from one of the weaker six-drops like Kogla, the Titan Ape or Earl of Squirrel.
Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse– I like this card a lot. It comes down early and captures the Monarch. It can incidentally create tokens as well as bring some late-game heat. This would be an easy swap with Selesnya Guildmage.
Llanowar Visionary – I’m really interested in replacing Elvish Visionary with this card. It’s a higher impact card because of the mana acceleration that it brings.
Chromatic Orrery – I’m leery of adding another large artifact to the colorless library. One complaint I hear from time to time is “All these artifacts cost a million mana!” I’m also suspicious of the steep ramping capabilities of this card so I’ll be passing on it for now.
Mazemind Tome – This card checks a lot of boxes for me. It’s a low-cost artifact that employs the Scry keyword. Scry is a powerful mechanic that allows you to improve your draws or mess with other player’s potential draws. I’m excited to try this out.
Sparkhunter Masticore – This is a slam dunk. We desperately need quality cards to fill out the colorless library. I like the discard outlet and the relevant planeswalker ability.
I hope all you Commander War Chest fans enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed looked through new cards. I’m still dreaming about a post-COVID world where I can sit around the table with some friends and try these cards out. Thank you for reading.