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Trade Secrets: Digging Up Commander Gold #1

EDH is a format that has been around for a while now, and chances are that every legendary creature has at one point been accompanied by 99 other cards of matching color identity: it’s all been done. Rosheen Meanderer, Blind Seer, even Riven Turnbull is somebody’s beloved general out there in the wide world of Magic. Every card ever has been in somebody’s deck: it’s as simple as that. Making your deck stand out can be tough, especially when you have six other Mayael decks being brought to FNM that all run Ulamog and Blightsteel Colossus the same as you. So, how do you keep it spicy? It’s all about the ingredients. There are TONS of cards out there with untapped potential that people just haven’t realized yet. The goal of this column is to bring to light some of the more obscure cards most may have overlooked. So, let’s get started!

 

Lands you control are Plains. Nonland cards you own that aren't on the battlefield, spells you control, and nonland permanents you control are white. You may spend white mana as though it were mana of any color. You may spend other mana only as though it were colorless mana.Celestial Dawn

Price/Foil; $0.50 / $2

This enchantment is basically Chromatic Lantern with a few minor differences. It changes the color of all your spells and nonland permanents, which can be useful with color-based field buffs or even other niche spells. The major downside it presents is that you lose abilities on your nonbasic lands, such as Reliquary Tower or Temple of the False God. Whether or not it is worth playing is up in the air, but you can’t argue that the foils look amazing and how great it is with Rith, the Awakener.

Dissipation FieldWhenever a permanent deals damage to you, return it to its owner's hand.

Price/Foil; $0.25 / $1

The only thing I can say about this is that the foils are too cheap. At the very least, it forces your opponents to build until they can kill you in one fell swoop, and even then they are open to die to your other opponents. The level of deterrent it brings is amazing, and as long as you aren’t doing anything degenerate with your board state, you will almost always outlive others. At most this card is abusable. You can retrigger landfall with City of Brass or Donate it to your opponent and go infinite with Memnite and Warstorm Surge. As a Rare from Scars of Mirrodin, there aren’t an overabundance of copies out there, and it’s splashable enough that even 5-color decks can run it.

 

Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.) 2Black, Tap: Put a petrification counter on target creature. It gains defender and becomes a colorless artifact in addition to its other types. Its activated abilities can't be activated. (A creature with defender can't attack.)Xathrid Gorgon

Price/Foil; $0.25 / $1

This thing is sweet in casual commander games. It is reusable removal that is flavorful as all get out, and a 3/6 Deathtouch blocker isn’t really shabby either. The fact that it stops them from using activated abilities is also super relevant, and some voltron decks that rely on indestructibility to protect their buffed up general just aren’t ready to see it turned to stone but left on the field, unable to be recast. This card has been considered hot trash since it’s release, but as long as you aren’t trying to pay for your mortgage by winning commander pods, this card is both playable and fun.

 

Lord of Shatterskull PassLevel up 1Red (1Red: Put a level counter on this. Level up only as a sorcery.) LEVEL 1-5 6/6 LEVEL 6+ 6/6 Whenever Lord of Shatterskull Pass attacks, it deals 6 damage to each creature defending player controls.

Price/Foil; $1 / $1.50

I have always been a strong advocate of level-up creatures for commander, as having something to dump your mana into once you have cast everything else not only keeps the game interesting for you, but can also yield good results, as you sometimes look like less of a target due to your ’overcosted’ creatures. Basically a 6/6 for six, Lord of Shatterskull Pass simply meets value standards. However, at max level, he can tear your opponents boards apart. Even casting Anger of the Gods before attacking will render almost anyone unable to block. It is very easy to put damage through with this guy, and he fits incredibly well into Mogis decks theme-wise. His release promo is likely hurting his growth, but the past year has seen some upward movement for him and that trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon. Play with him and you won’t be disappointed, especially after equipping Basilisk Collar to him.

 

Whenever a creature you control dies, put X +1/+1 counters on target creature you control, where X is the power of the creature that died.Death’s Presence

Price/Foil; $0.25 / $0.50

If you have a green deck that likes creatures, you need this enchantment. It literally steamrolls value for you, and it’s actually really broken with Primal Vigor on the field. Any green deck that ramps its best can appreciate it because it saves all your hard work in the face of removal. Don’t let the fact that it is so recent deter you, this card has a LOT of potential. Mycoloth, anyone? Also, the foils are worth less than a bean burrito.

OverabundanceWhenever a player taps a land for mana, that player adds one mana to his or her mana pool of any type that land produced, and Overabundance deals 1 damage to him or her.

Price/Foil; $0.25 / $1.50

Manabarbs plus Heartbeat of Spring. No card will start the game off more explosively and end it more quickly than this devilish little three-drop. Nobody complains about it, everyone gets excited about it, and it all wraps up before lunch. Every game I have ever played with this literally went four times as fast as comparable games. Riku and Animar are great places to stuff this, or you can 2-Headed Giant with the guy running Mindcrank and laugh as your opponents squirm.

Equipped creature gets +2/+2, has intimidate, and is a black Zombie. Whenever a nontoken creature is put into your graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay 4. If you do, return that card to the battlefield and attach Nim Deathmantle to it. Equip 4Nim Deathmantle

Price/Foil; $1 / $3

This has been a personal favorite of mine ever since I started playing the format, and it never fails to impress. The fact that you can recur your creatures with it is downright amazing. You get ETBs again and a free equip, and the intimidate is great too. Even if it gets destroyed along with your creatures you can use the trigger to return them one last time! Surprisingly, the fact that it turns your creature into a black zombie has actually saved me multiple times, it’s relevant in that you can block Mikaeus, the Unhallowed as well as Geth, Lord of the Vault and others. This card is nothing but upside, and it fits anywhere, even Tiny Leaders!

 

Commander Spotlight – Kazuul, Tyrant of the CliffsWhenever a creature an opponent controls attacks, if you're the defending player, put a 3/3 red Ogre creature token onto the battlefield unless that creature's controller pays 3.

Price/Foil; $0.50 / $1.50

Kazuul is an incredibly powerful general. He almost always offers free blockers for your opponents attacking creatures, and those blockers can kill anything without a beefy bun. He is fairly costed, and can be incredibly political at times, a rare occurrence with red decks. Playing against him forces hard decisions and your opponents have to deal with him if they can’t pay the extra mana or put flying or trample damage through. He’s also great with Warstorm Surge as well as Ogre Battledriver. With a buy-in price like his, you really can’t go wrong.

Tap: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. An opponent gains control of Rainbow Vale at the beginning of the next end step.Bonus Card – Rainbow Vale

Price/Foil; $0.50 / None

This land is so amazingly fun in EDH it isn’t even funny. The politics contained within it make games so much more fun. Sometimes two players will share the land back and forth and other times there will be that one guy ‘hoarding the vale’ that purposefully won’t use it just so nobody else can have it. It really helps players general attitudes because there is more interaction with each other than just choosing which friend to beat into.

 

I hope you enjoyed the first of many Digging Up Commander Gold articles by myself, Rath Barrios. Go ahead and leave comments below, tell me what I missed or even misread about a card, and especially any cards I haven’t highlighted that deserve it! Tune in next week for more Trade Secrets!

They stole my bedroom’s name when they made this card

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