Back with this years Commander review. This time around the Partner, Undaunted and 4 color creatures don’t do cube any favours but we still have a few cards to talk about.

Ancient Excavation

In the cycle of  basic landcycling cards this one easily stands out the most. Not a standard Dimir card, but helps out a couple black/blue strategies. A fairly powerful card with Reanimator or Combo driven decks and to help fuel cards with Delve or Delirium this card is definitely worth trying out. Being able to flush out big guys, card types or filtering combo pieces is pretty powerful at instant speed while also being able to make sure you hit your land drops if necessary. Being 4 mana may not allow it to be around for very long, but a fairly interesting effect I’m excited to try out.

Ash Barrens

Ash Barrens’ printing comes at a great time as many cubes have begun to incorporate colourless Eldrazi. It’s a great card for most multi colour decks while also being an easy colourless land you can add to your list to make pesky Eldrazi a little more cast able. Overall it feels a tad worse then Evolving Wilds or Terramorphic Expanse, but a better addition then Grand Coliseum if you care about the colourless fixing.

Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder

Not super excited for a 4 mana 3/3 but wow it packs quite the punch. Being able to supercharge an ally creature or even himself if he needs to, is quite the threat. Unfortunately you can kind of ignore him if you have enough chump blockers or block him more favourably if you force him into attacking with another creature to get the damage through.

Frenzied Fugue

An interesting take on a Threaten effect but at 4 mana, I think Zealous Conscripts is much better. It doesn’t really fit into most red aggressive decks, and I’m not quite sure if it has a home in Red/X decks. Most of them aren’t hurting for this kind of effect. It may be interesting, but I don’t know if it’s a necessary effect.

Magus of the Will

Black’s 3 mana creatures are hurting and Magus of the Will is a very interesting card. Most of Black’s 3 mana creatures are either small utility guys, or are fairly efficient attackers but at the cost of double black mana. Magus is a passable creature in the early game that scales super well into the later parts of the game. Early on his ability most likely gives a spell or two flashback, but the longer the game goes on the higher and higher the ceiling of this card gets. Being able to buy back premium spells you’ve already cast or being a pseudo reanimator effect buying back a team of guys or maybe a Grave Titan is fantastic! Not to mention if you support Storm in your cube this card seems like an instant include. He is kinda slow but a solid include nonetheless. Very excited to try him out.

Reyhan, Last of the Abzan

Another solid Golgari creature to add to the list of growing green/black cards that aren’t just removal spells, Reyhan is a solid 3/3 with a modular-like effect being able to grow a guy after it dies. A good fit in most rock style decks.

Selfless Squire

A very powerful card in a lot of creature matchups, she can turn a back and forth game into a one sided affair quickly. Letting through some attacks to create another threat without having to lose any of your creatures. The big problem with her is she’s rather situational. Always wanting to wait and try to maximize value out of it and never running it out as an embarrassing 4 mana 1/1. She’s more of a sideboard card than anything unfortunately.

Silas Renn, Seeker Adept

Not quite Shadowmage Infiltrator or Dimir Cutpurse, Silas Renn relies on you to be playing a fairly high number of artifacts to generate any kind of value off him. Also being forced to cast the card on the spot instead of just returning it to your hand is another strike against this potential slugger.

Stonehoof Chieftain

Another interesting Ramp/Natural Order/Maybe Reanimator target, Stonehoof Chieftain is quite the creature. With or without a team, Stonehoof Cheiftain is sure to end the game quickly with just its raw power. Having indestructible makes him a huge individual threat but I don’t know if that makes him better then existing options. Hornet Queen makes a bunch of small annoying bodies with evasion, Woodfall Primus dies easier but takes down some permanents in the process (same goes for Terastodon) and Craterhoof Behemoth just ends the game with any amount of creatures in play. All of these creatures impact the board when they come into play making them worth the investment immediately. Can’t say the same for the Chieftain unfortunately.

Thrasios, Triton Hero

I don’t think Thrasios is too far off from playable in Simic. Simic’s card pool is pretty shallow and Thrasios is an interesting fit into existing green/blue decks. He’s an early body that helps you get to the midgame that gives you something to do with (a lot of) extra mana. It lets your play the dance of holding up permission or tricks while having the option of drawing a card. 4 mana isn’t the best rate but it does come along with some library manipulation. I’m always trying to find another solid 4th Simic card (along side Mystic Snake, Edric and Kiora) and I think the Triton Hero is worth a try.

Vial Smasher the Fierce

Vial Smasher seems like a pretty easy fit into cube. He’s a welcome addition to the lacking red and black 3 drop slot. Vial Smasher threatens a lot of damage on either player’s turn. Searing Spear’s into Lava Axe’s on your opponents turn, or making Hellrider, Hero of Oxid Ridge or anything with haste that much more painful.

Honorable Mentions:

Akiri, Line SlingerCould be a great creature, but it’s in the wrong colors.

Breya, Etherium Shaper Great utility creature, great colours, but her cost is just a little steep.

Tymna the Weaver Another okay 3 drop for black but Orzhov is packed full of established options.

Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice Another great creature if you can cast her. Very few Proliferate interactions but body almost makes it worth it. Almost.

Crystalline Crawler – Great if you go really deep in multicolour.

Duelist’s HeritageSilverblade Paladin as en enchantment. An interesting card but just double strike isn’t good enough on its own.

Prismatic GeoscopeLooking very similar to Gilded Lotus, Prismatic Geoscope is an interesting card if you want to help support 3+ colour decks but probably a little weak along side the great amount of artifact mana we already have.

Every Commander set has so far given us a ‘staple’ (Scavenging Ooze, Toxic Deluge, True-Name Nemesis, Mystic Confluence to name a few), but I’m not sure I can say the same this time around. I think Ash Barrens is the card that will be remembered from Commander 2016, which is pretty damn modest when you think about it.

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