Technology: Hidden Gems

August 21, 2015

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Technology


Guest article by Jon


As a lover of Commander format, I’ve come to notice that, like all formats, there’s a list of cards that show up in games more often than others. These staples are there for a reason; they’re good cards that can either fulfill multiple jobs well or one job extremely well. However, the staples of each color can become boring, or worse, expensive. Sometimes people also just like to change things up a bit, whether they have a budget or not.


I enjoy playing Commander decks, and also I enjoy decks that don’t use all of the same staples as everyone else.  Nothing against good cards that work, but after seeing the same cards in every deck that is able to run them, I tend to get a little case of “oh, it’s this card again…again.”


Over time, I’ve come to love some cards that people don’t expect. These underplayed gems have become fantastic fun. For each color, I’ve listed one of my favorite commons or uncommons, and made sure that each of these cards are cheap, making them easy to gather or pick up.


Are these cards game breaking? No. Are they good cards that can help change up a deck, or still be able to support a variety of decks? Absolutely. So without further ado, here they are with a brief description of why I enjoy them. I’ll also include the pricing from TCG mid, as well as from MTGOTraders for the online players.



White: Faith’s Fetters. TCG Mid: $0.45 MTGO: $0.01


This card has gotten me out of more sticky situations than I could ask for. For the low cost of 3W, it’s an Arrest that can be dropped onto anything your heart desires, with the added bonus of gaining you four life. Being able to stop a planeswalker before it can ultimate, or stop some artifact from being the key piece of a combo is at worst buying you life or even a turn. Most of the time it can change the tide enough to put you back in the game (or at least slow them down from winning it).



Blue: Oona’s Grace. TCG Mid: $0.15 MTGOTraders: $0.04


What’s blue love? Drawing cards. What’s better than drawing a few cards? Having a repeatable card draw effect. While some decks might love drawing lands, there are plenty of times that we find ourselves in top-deck mode, and “oh, another land” is the last thing we want to grumble. Essentially, this card gives every top-decked land the “Cycle for 2U” ability, which can really come in handy.



Black: Ashes to Ashes. TCG Mid : $0.33 MTGO: $0.04


This card is probably the closest thing on the list to a blowout card. I try to include one in every deck that is able to run it and I don’t believe I’ve ever been upset to draw it. While some people may not remember playing with Go for the Throat, or enjoy paying four life to cast Dismember for a single mana, you can now essentially have both of those in one card.  At the absolute worst, it’s a two-for-one. And, to do better than that, it exiles its targets instead of sending them to the “ever abusable” graveyard. Five life is absolutely worth removing a Sheoldred, Whispering One and a Consecrated Sphinx.  This is probably my favorite card on the list. Between three other players, there will always be targets.



Red: Vandalblast. TCG Mid: $0.27 MTGO: $0.01


This one is more well-known, but surprisingly I’ve almost never seen anyone play it. This card can go from a simply removing some opponents’ mana rocks (putting them a turn or two behind you, and giving you an advantage, which red can always use) to being a semi-board wipe for someone else, all while leaving you alone. This card, as far as open mana goes, can almost be a time walk under the right conditions.



Green: Nacatl War-Pride. TCG Mid: $0.31 MTGO: $0.01


Green has one of my favorite cards of all time. For those that don’t about this absolute beauty, I present: Nacatl War-Pride. I’ll be honest, I’ve had other choices first, but I’ve noticed that this is a card I run in almost every Commander deck that runs green. This guy, while being mana intensive (though not a problem for green), is not only a guaranteed three damage on whoever you’re attacking, but also that all of your other creatures will get in as well. Say they have 4 creatures, you attack with this and get four tokens, essentially netting you five attacking War-Prides. Also note that if you can find a way to make all creatures unblockable, or have a Bow of Nylea out, you can boardwipe defending player with expandable tokens. (Finally, remember that they stay until end of turn and are copies, meaning each surviving token will add three green to your devotion. Nylea’s Disciple anyone?)


What are some of your favorite cards and gems that you love to play with? Are they the staples, or do you prefer to play some hidden gems of your own?

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