Zendikar Rising is about to be released this friday and for the first time the classic Planeswalker decks have been replaced with Commander decks. These decks you can check out from here. The price of the decks will be cheaper than the usual, yearly commander decks making these very easy to get and affordable options especially for newer commander players.
In the last article we covered the arsenal of products that are aimed for Commander players that will be and were released in the year 2020. In the future Commander products will be more present throughout all the future Magic expansios as well. The commander as a format has found it’s place as the most played casual format around the world. Wherever you go to visit a LGS you can find people playing commander in the gaming area.
Let’s get into the business! The Zendikar Rising Commander decks are named Land’s Wrath and Sneak Attack. The first one is mainly land themed and focuses around landfall triggers and ramp. The second one is a combination of Rogue tribal and mill theme.
Both decks include the most iconic Commander staples Sol Ring and Command Tower alongside the new favorite Arcane Signet. The similarities between the decks basically end up here. The decks don’t share a color between each other, the Land’s Wrath being Naya (or RGW) and Sneak Attack being Dimir (UB). The commander for Land’s Wrath is Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor whose special ability will animate player’s land into a X/X elemental creature at the beginning of combat. The X is decided by the power of Obuun. Alongside this, Obuun has a landfall trigger that will put a +1/+1 counter on target creature. Costing four mana Obuun might not be the most competitive or strongest commander there is. Nevertheless if the player will get fast enough some power to Obuun the land creature will become a decent clock to combat the opponent's life total to zero. The other cards in the deck are focused on landfall triggers and ramp as you might have already guessed. With these ramp spells Obuun might end up to the battlefield even on turn three thus making it a possibly fast beater!
A little bit misleadingly named Sneak Attack has fairly nothing to do it’s similarly named red card counterpart. The commander in the deck is Anowon, the Ruin Thief which is the first double colored version of Anowon! The main game plan for the deck is to attack with creatures that have Rogue subtype and Anowon gives +1/+1 to all the Rogues you control. Whenever a Rogue deals combat damage to a player that player mills cards equal to the amount of damage dealt. And if the player mills a creature card, Anowon let’s it’s controller draw a card.
The deck consists of mainly Rogue creatures and cards interacting with graveyards. Anowon seems to be fairly strong because of it’s card drawing ability. Before this there hasn’t been such a straightforward Rogue Tribal commander so Anowon will fit this assignment as well.
Generally speaking the power level of the decks is fairly low as you might guess from the fairly affordable price tag. There will be four new prints in the commander decks: Trove Warden, Geode Rager, Enigma Thief and Whispersteel Dagger. The ones coming in Land’s Wrath deck, Trove Warden and Geode Rager feel strongest in my opinion the latter two being a tad narrow. Of course the ones from Land’s Wrath are both focused on landfall triggers but as lands are played in pretty much all commander decks they will probably see play in some other decks as well.
When comparing the decks the Sneak Attack has a bit more reach and is maybe a tad more powerful compared to Land’s Wrath. One reason for this is especially Anowon's ability to draw cards. Also the Rogue tribal archetype seems fun and fresh ideas on how to build and improve the deck start to flow immediately. Land’s Wrath suffers a bit about the fact that the commander Obuun doesn’t seem to be ultimately strong as a commander. However if you want to have especially Naya colored commander for your lands deck there are not that many good options so for that color combination Obuun will probably be the one with the most reach.
If you think about upgrading the decks, the Land’s Wrath will be a lot easier to find suitable cards worth trying as there are literally dozens of cards that can fit to the theme and colors. Upgrades for Sneak Attack take a bit more consideration as you could expand the reach of the deck to multiple ways: Either play more Rogues, put in some mill cards, or maybe some cards that interact with the opponent’s graveyards? Sneak Attack offers possibly more options to which direction you want to upgrade the deck but Land’s Wrath is probably easier to fill with great synergies around the land theme.
All in all both of the decks offer a solid money to fun ratio as they are literally pretty cheap. As of myself I will get these decks and sleeve them to be my casual decks to play with precon-level decks. If you end up with some pennies in your pocket to a LGS during the Zendikar Release day I would highly recommend you to get your hands on these as there won’t be easier access to fully built Commander precon decks!
Pekka "Löhis" Löhönen