The Top Choices from Commander Masters for Traditional and Commander Cube

Now that spoilers for Commander Masters are complete, I want to focus on the 40 new cards we got from the commander decks. Each of the 4 new decks are centered around niche theme that players have been requesting for. For cube, this translates into more enablers and pay off cards that make the archetypes you want to include become a reality. Commander cards are all over the place when it comes to their inclusion into cubes. They polarize between being too narrow to be playable to format warping levels of broken. Between all that are some of the best designed cards for cube as WotC is less restrained with their approach to design and we can see their creativity flourish.

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Much like March of the Machine Aftermath, I will be discussing what I think are the top 5 cards from the Commander Masters Precon Deck for both traditional and commander cube. I based my decisions on innovation and power level. Power level is self explanatory so I won't go into that, but innovation isn't. Having interesting cards that develop underdeveloped archetypes or push into new design territory are important to the evolution and refinement of your cube. It allows you to incorporate new archetypes or strengthen themes that you want to include in your environment. The cards are not ranked in any order other then being a top 5.

Traditional Top 5

Rise of the Eldrazi is the card I'm most excited about for traditional cube. 12 Mana is a ton of mana to be dumped into a single spell, however once the effect resolves you won the game unquestionably. Gaining an extra turn with at minimum 4 cards in hand Now we ponder ways to play the card, similar to the ways Atraxa, Grand Unifier baffled players in the beginning, I foresee Rise of the Eldrazi doing much the same at least in cube. When looking at ways to actually play the card you have multiple routes. The simplest route is to ramp into this card. The triple colorless requirement is a concern so your choice in ramp matters. If you want to ramp it out via lands, make sure that waste is included among your basics. They can be fetched out with basic land ramp to ensure you hit that requirement. If you are planning the artifact ramp route, the colorless requirement is much easier to meet because the better mana ranks will be able to generate colorless mana like the Talismans or Thran Dynamo. Remember that treasures are unable to produce colorless mana. The other option you have to play them is to just cheat the card out. Cube has access to Arcane Savant, which essentially transfigures the mana cost of the card into 3UU, a deal I would happily accept without question. You may also use Mizzix's Mastery to play it for 4 or Mind's Desire to RNG into it. Regardless, this is not a card you are intending to hard cast, strongly reminiscent of Cruel Ultimatum, which I still fondly play in cube. This may not ft into everyone's cube, but I like the way it can change someone's draft and everyone is going to have a good memory of the card being played.

Abtruse Archaic feels very similar to Weaver of Harmony in functionality. Stat line wise it is fairly average with other options being available if you're looking for a beater. Where this card shine is in its activated ability. You are able to copy the abilities of any colorless source, which instantly gets me thinking about artifacts and colorless (including devoid) cards that have powerful abilities (Think 2 activations of The One Ring each turn!). This also include mana abilities from Gilded Lotus and Thran Dynamo and cycling/ channeling abilities. Then my friend told me this, "Lands are colorless." This is what got me really excited the potential. Now you're able to copy Rishadan Ports or the Kamigawa Cycling lands. This card gets even crazier as WotC has been putting out more lands with activated abilities. I can only see this card getting better with time, so definitely worth testing and holding onto the maybe board.

Omarthis, Ghostfire Initiate, another card that serves as an alternative to Hangarback Walker and can be seen as a colorless Elvish Visionary. The card serves as a great option for slower decks since it's colorless, scalable to any point in the game, and serves as card advantage should it get removed. As a whole package, this makes for a great blocker when played and amazing topdeck. When looking at the crossover in archetypes, it plays well with +1/+1 counters and aristrocrats.

Nyxborn Behemoth, Ghalta for enchantment, which makes it also a great payoff card if you want to support the arcehtype. Enchantment as an archetype suffers from struggling to create a strong enough board presence. It will opt in to playing do nothing or hate bears (not stax, you edh players) style enchantments just to generate card advantage, however cards in hand are not cards in play. Nyxborn Behemoth is a step in the right direction to allowing the archetype to land powerful plays to move the game forward. Outside of the archetype, it is still playable in reanimator shells and depending on the cube, most decks will opt for at least a couple of noncreature enchantments.

For the Ancestors is looking to be one of the better green draw spells for cube. The card looks to be a merger between Heirloom Blade and Lead the Stampede. The instant speed with flashback is the big selling point of this card and though green does have card draw, this might be the most effecient one for a 1v1 format. The tribal component is a big part of the card and a major concern, but in most typical cubes, there is generally a high density of certain creature types in every color like elves, soldiers, human.

Commander Top 5

Anikthea, Hand of Erebos is looking to be the best option for an abzan enchantress themed commander since as it stands right now, there are no other real ptions other than Myrkul who is 7 mana. She is an enabler and recursion engine for constellation focused decks as well as an enchantment herself. Her ability is flexible and offers multiple build routes. It creates a board state of evasive enchantment zombie tokens from your enchantments in the graveyard. At face value, tokens and enchantments are an obvious route to build with hatebears being a subarchetype. With the tokens being zombies, you can use her as an enabler for zombie builds as well. I could be misinterpretting the ability, but if you can generate zombies without the need for an enchantment, then we might have a powerhouse on our hands. If not, the card will still be a strong build around card. With so much overlap on one card, this is looking to become a stable choice that has longevity in commander cube, especially since it is a commander, culminating in a card that is difficult to replicate and replace.

Titan of Littjara is a card I'm highly anticipating as I look to expand my tribal support in my commander cube and this card looks like a suitable top end in the format. This card is a card advantage machine with its titan esque ability of triggering on entering and attacking, fulfilling one on the foundations of commander gameplay. With its adaptive automaton flexibility of being any creature type, this allows it to at minimum enable itself and count toward its own ability as well as fitting into any tribal deck. It gets better as even in unthemed decks you will normally have a density of a certain creature type to still get value off the ability or at worst, whatever the commander's types are will fo as well. Thus as a card that is never bad, this easily earns it spot without any real challenge as long as you want to support tribal.

Abtruse Archaic for the same reasons as mentioned already, but much like other cards from previous articles, I am convinced this card will thrive much better the commander cube format over the traditional format. In a slower format, this card has a better chance at showing off what it can do especially since big value plays are a bigger part of the format than they are with traditional. The colorless flexibility is more notable as well since color identity prevents you from including cards.

Ghoulish Impetus reminds me that I am always a fan of forcing combat among players and having this option be available in black allows those players to partake in this. Goad and Deathtouch makes this much more potent than the effects we have seen previously as it discourages players from blocking. Even should that creature die this card will keep coming back to create more discord. As it is also an enchantment, constellation triggers will occur everytime this card reenters the battlefield making it an unreliable recurring source, which is still better than the one shot effects you typically get. Even in the worse case scenarios you put it on your own creatures to keep the effect relevant. This might be the best variant of this effect we had so far and I'm looking forward to how it will evolve my games.

Commodore Guff serves as an option for a planeswalker centric commander. His ability to add a loyalty counter alters the way players can play their planeswalkers as it adds more survivabiliy on them as well as getting them to closer to their ultimate abilities is they have them. That stuff only makes him a gimmick, where he becomes more of a real card is his other abilities where he provides card advantage as well as tokens to protect and cast more planeswalkers. It should be noted that he creates wizard tokens, which are not a common token type. This is solid for creating a density of wizards to enable wizard tribal. Outside of this build, he is lacking thus is an easy skip especially if you don't intend to support planeswalkers or wizards in a meaningful way.

The End Step

Though we only got 40 new cards, this set is looking promising for the commander cube format thanks to WotC responding to fans, though we're not the target audience, we all win in this regard. This set won't warp the way we play cube, it further develops underappreaciated playstyles making them better to play with. The colorless cards in particular are the most interesting to me as they seems more playable and have more powerful effects. Other than that, I hope you guys are enjoying Magic the way you want to enjoy it. In the comments below let me know which cards you're excited about from this set.
I was on a weekend getaway while writing this which is why some of the formatting is different. Let me know if this works for you or if you even cared. 

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