A First Glimpse at Magic: The Gathering—Commander 2016

Games Features Magic: The Gathering
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A First Glimpse at <i>Magic: The Gathering&#8212;Commander 2016</i>

Magic: The Gathering is powered by mana. Coming in white, green, blue, black, and red varieties, mana is the structure that players build their decks around. Want your deck to take your opponent down to zero life as quickly as possible? Red and white mana will be the heart of your deck. Want to vampirically drain your enemies of their life force while destroying all of their creatures? Black mana is going to be critical to that. Each color has an identity, and that identity is pretty clearly defined within Magic’s design.

Commander 2016, out November 11th, is a new set of Magic preconstructed decks for the Commander format. Commander, if you’re not aware, is Magic played with a 99-card deck constructed around a single legendary creature card. The legendary creature’s mana cost is important for Commander because the cards you include in your deck can only be the color of your legendary creature. If the commander of your deck is Akroma, you’re limited to white cards exclusively. If it’s Teneb, The Harvester, you’ll have access to white, green, and black cards.

Commander 2016 is an especially interesting set because it’s all about four-color legendary creatures. The decks are going to be weird. The creatures are going to have access to lots of different strategies. The new cards are going to be strange and exciting to keep up the wide array of things that the decks are going to allow you to do. How do I know? I mean, look at this:

Divergent Transformations_EN_HRR 2.jpg

The Magic designers have occasionally leaned into the erratic, impulsive nature of red mana with cards like Warp World, Fiery Gambit and Molten Sentry. While blue often erratically experiments with creatures, Divergent Transformations really puts the pedal to the metal when it comes to driving whole hog into your deck of cards to see whatever the hell your creatures turn into. Will your flying dragon become a grizzly bear? Will your vampire aristocrat become an Eldrazi horror? No one knows. That’s the best part.

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