By: Jared Yost
This week I will continue with my review of the Commander 2014 decks to see if there is anything currently undervalued now that the set has been in stores for several months and has been widely distributed.
For the white and blue decks, please check out the first part of my review.
Sworn to Darkness
Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath – For this guy, I’ll quote what I said previously about the planeswalkers from Commander 2014.
There are several factors that make me very interested in the C14 planeswalkers:
Only one printing (though this is a mass distributed product, I still feel this attribute is important in this case)
- Completely new planeswalkers that haven’t been seen before
- They are tied into the lore of Magic very closely, and they included throwbacks to Teferi and Freyalise which is awesome
- Unique Commander appeal, due to a slight rules twist that allows these planeswalkers to be played as generals
- Decently strong effects, since they are the headlining cards of their respective pre-cons
All of these attributes, in addition to the planeswalkers only being $5-$7 each, make the planeswalkers very desirable pickups from the C14 decks.
In addition, I’ll say that Ob Nixilis interacts well with life gain effects and we all know how players love their Sanguine Bonds and Exquisite Bloods. I think all the planeswalkers are going to be casual favorites for years to come and Ob Nixilis will be a decent pickup for $6 like the rest of them.
Flesh Carver – I really like this card if you can pick them up for cheap. Having a reusable sacrifice outlet for Commander decks can be quite powerful if you have combos that synergize with the graveyard or if you are creating massive amounts of token that can be sacrificed easily. I like the Carver because he also leaves behind a body in case he dies. So evasion in the form of intimidate plus a body left behind if he dies is a pretty good deal for me. If you can pick these up for bulk I’m sure they will appreciate nicely in the future.
Crypt Ghast – Despite the massive reprint it had in the Commander 2014 decks, Crypt Ghast is still about $1 retail. Players love being able to double their mana in formats like Commander and I foresee Crypt Ghast being a black staple for years to come. I like foils and nonfoils as pickups because even the nonfoils will be desired by casual players looking to building black commander decks.
Abyssal Persecutor – The Worldwake version of Persecutor is $3 retail while the C14 version is $1.29. Not sure why there is a huge difference in price but it tells me that Persecutor could eventually be worth more than bulk since some versions are still above $3. Persecutor is a really strong card with an easy to ignore drawback in the right deck.
Magus of the Coffers – Just like Crypt Ghast, Cabal Coffers on a stick is going to be a thing in black decks in order to generate massive amounts of mana in a single turn. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth has made sure that “swamps matter” effects are powerful in Commander. Planar Chaos copies are still above a $1, so picking up the C14 copies for bulk seems like a good play to me. Planar Chaos foils are actually pretty cheap for this guy too at $6 retail, so those might be worth looking into as well.
Ghoulcaller Gisa – Cards with lots of lore flavor and powerful effects seem like good pickups to me. Even though she is at $2.75 retail I think there is room for upward movement as time goes on. Outside of an Innistrad themed set, it is going to be super hard to reprint her, so I think the reprint fear with this card is pretty low.
Sol Ring – I’ll copy my thoughts on Sol Ring from the first part, just so you know I’m not skipping over it for any reason.
“Sol Ring has finally been printed so many times that it is now around $3 per copy. I really don’t think Ring is a great place to put your money anymore. Wizards has proven that they’re going to print this card in every single Commander pre-con that they make, so players aren’t going to be looking for copies that often. Foils are another story, however I feel that regular Sol Rings are past their price prime due to being reprinted into oblivion. ”
Jet Medallion – My thoughts on the medallions from the Part 1:
“The medallions are a great addition to any mono colored Commander deck, so even with the reprint they will continue to gain value over time. The Tempest copies haven’t been drastically affected by the mass C14 reprint, so even if you have the old school version you didn’t lose that much value (due to the new art and card look compared to the old version). I feel like each medallion has entered its low point going into the $1.50 and less range. I will be looking around for extra copies to trade into and buy for all the colors.”
Malicious Affliction – This card is very close to Legacy playable, but unfortunately it is so hard to trigger Morbid in Legacy that I doubt it will ever see play there. However, we might see it in a Legacy deck eventually if the format changes in order to support the card.
Even without Legacy play, Malicious Affliction is still a very strong card in Commander and casual formats. Two black mana to kill two nonblack creatures is very efficient. At $3.50, the price seems a little steep to me. However, if it starts declining down into the $2 range then it will be time to pick up copies.
Built from Scratch
Daretti, Scrap Savant – I think that Darretti is right in the middle in terms of planeswalkers desired from the C14 decks. He isn’t as popular as Teferi and Freyalise, however he is the most efficiently costed planeswalker at four mana and has a nice card filtering ability which is almost always desired by mono red decks. Since Wizards has now decided that looting is a red ability, the color has been getting more loot effects over time. Daretti is the culmination of those efforts (at least for now), as Tibalt was a failed experiment and the only other somewhat playable looting cards are Faithless Looting and possibly Tormenting Voice (along with of course Wheel of Fortune and similar cards).
One downfall to Daretti is that you have to play him in an artifact heavy deck. Otherwise, you can use him as a loot-walker but sometimes looting isn’t what you’re looking for in a Commander game. Yet, at $5 it is a very low buy-in for Daretti and I think he has plenty of room to move up from there.
Goblin Welder – With Urza’s Legacy copies still going for $6, if you can find C14 Welders for under $2 I don’t think you can go wrong with picking up some copies. This is a known Legacy card, albeit in a pet deck, yet Legacy and casual demand in addition to Commander will drive Goblin Welder’s price back up over time.
Dualcaster Mage – How the mighty have fallen. What was once a $15 card is now hovering around $4.50. I’m not sure if the judge foil reprinting of Dualcaster Mage and Feldon of the Third Path will affect the nonfoil price, since judge foils are so rare these days due to the foil distribution shakeup. However, I think that Dualcaster Mage is a pretty awesome card for Commander and might even see some eternal play if red keeps getting more love from Wizards over the years. $4.50 and lower is a good price to pick them up if you’re interested.
Feldon of the Third Path – Though the card never started out at a very high price, I still think that Feldon is one of the stronger mono colored generals to come out of the C14 series. His ability to copy any creature in a graveyard for a turn, without exiling the card permanently (which means that you can repeatedly copy the same things if you choose), is not something that we see Wizards allow very often. Crappier cards than Feldon have required us to exile the re-used cards in graveyards, so I think that for $1.50 you will have a great spec on your hands.
Solemn Simulacrum – Since we can expect this card to be in every ohter Commander release from this point out, I don’t think it is worth picking up even though it is card that is ubiquitous in the format. At $4, there are better cards to get that will go up in price sooner than Solemn Simulacrum. Like Sol Ring, I think the days of this card gaining value are over since Wizards continues to reprint Sad Robot.
Wurmcoil Engine – The most exciting card to receive a reprinting in C14, due to the Modern and Legacy applications of the card. I think that $12 is pretty close to the floor for Wurmcoil Engine – if it isn’t reprinted in Modern Masters II. I’m not sure if they will reprint it there, with the C14 reprint being pretty recent, however I can’t rule it out until I see the set list. I’ll be keeping an eye on Wurmcoil Engine and if isn’t reprinted in MM2 then it will only go up over time.
Ruby Medallion – See my thoughts on the Medallions in the Sworn to Darkness section.
Chaos Warp – Even though Commanders can’t be tucked anymore, I still think Chaos Warp is one of red’s most solid removal spells. Most of the time, I’m not even targeting someone’s commander with this because something even more threatening needs to be taken out. Though Wizards has proven that Chaos Warp is bound to get the reprint treatment in Commander products, I still think that if you can get them for $2.50 or lower you’re doing pretty good.
Scrap Mastery – I really like this card because it has Daretti’s picture on it (hard to reprint) and grants red a recursion spell that has never been seen before for artifacts. Being able to return all your binned artifacts is really powerful. This card is currently less than $1, which means that it is a pretty good speculation target. I’ll be picking up a few extra copies for the future.
Guided by Nature
Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury – One of the two most popular Commanders from the release, Freyalise should be a high priority for those looking to collect planeswalkers from the C14 set. I’ve talked about the planeswalkers plenty before, but even though Freyalise is $7 I still think she has plenty of upward mobility due to the casual demand she generates.
Ezuri, Renegade Leader – This is more a Tiny Leaders spec than anything else. Unless Ezuri is banned in the Tiny Leaders format, the elves deck is one of the stronger decks I’ve seen. At $2 and less, it seems like a good pickup to me. The only issue is if he sees a Modern Masters II reprint, than the price will probably drop to $1 and stay around there. Without a reprint though, I could definitely see Ezuri trending upwards over time.
Immaculate Magistrate – I like this card because it represents two things casuals love, Elves and counters. +1/+1 counters specifically seem to speak to the casual crowd well. At $1.50 and less it seems like a card that is bound to increase in price over time on the back of casual demand. The Lorwyn version is still $4.50 after all.
Creeperhulk – What an awesome Commander card! Being able to ramp out into the hulk and then turn all of your mana dorks into 5/5’s with trample is pretty insane. I’m not sure how this card is still bulk. I think it is a great spec target for future gains.
Titania, Protector of Argoth – Though a steep buy at $6, I wouldn’t mind trading for a few as a speculation. This card is awesome in casual player’s eyes since it gives protection from land destruction, one of the most hated types of cards in casual games. Being able to beat someone in the face for destroying all your lands is very satisfying. $6 might not be the floor for this card but I feel like it is very close. I’ll be watching Titania closely for any future price movements.
Siege Behemoth – I like this card because it provides a way for green players to push through that extra damage, but on a budget unlike Craterhoof Behemoth. Buying in cheap here could yield decent returns in the future.
Lifeblood Hydra – I think this hydra is pretty awesome. It provides a huge trampler than can draw you a bunch of cards when it dies, kind of a green Sphinx’s Revelation with the life gain considered. Certainly cheap at $1.50 or less, I would expect this card to go up over time based on casual demand.
Emerald Medallion – See my thoughts on the Medallions in the Sworn to Darkness section.
Song of the Dryads – Now even better with the new Commander rule, Song of the Dryads was already pretty awesome for green removal. Pick up some extra copies and set them aside for future growth.
Wave of Vitriol – One of the more powerful artifact and enchantment wipes, this card is sure to be included in mono green commander decks that don’t utilize many of these card types for quite some time. It is so devastating when cast because it gets around indestructible, which is key when playing against cards like Darksteel Forge. This card is super cheap right now, so you can pick up several copies to hold for gains.
This concludes my review of the Commander 2014 decks. What did you all think of the decks this time around? I thought they were much more powerful than the C13 decks and provided quite a bit of financial value, in addition to the card and synergy strength of the decks, for the MSRP.
Did I miss anything you think is important from the C14 decks? Let me know in the comments.