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Stacking the Deck: Planeswalkers and Dragons of Tarkir Finale
The Dragons of Tarkir prelease is this weekend, so it's a perfect time to finish covering the set. We're going to start with the set of Command cards at the Rare level. These cards are like the cycle of Commands from Lorwyn only they are of the colors of each clan. Let's get started.
Ojutai's Command is an instant that casts for two colorless, one white and one blue. Choose two. Either return target creature card with converted mana cost two or less from your graveyard to the battlefield, you gain four life, counter target creature spell and/or draw a card. People instantly went nuts when this card was announced because it's a brand new Cryptic Command. Four mana to counter a creature and draw a card is pretty good in my opinion. Honestly, countering a creature and getting any of the other effects off is pretty sweet for any cost. This was a great start to the cycle of Commands.
Silumgar's Command is an instant that casts for three colorless, one blue and one black. Choose two. Counter target noncreature spell, return target permanent to it's owner's hand, target creature gets -3/-3 until end of turn and/or destroy target planeswalker. It's nice to see that Blue/Black and Blue/White Control both get their own command. Same thing as Ojutai's Command, gaining an effect while countering a noncreature spell is pretty nice. Destroying a planeswalker and giving another creature -3/-3 seems like the best value of this card outside of countering a spell. Killing a Chandra while killing a Rabblemaster pre-combat sounds like a pretty good two for one to me.
Atarka's Command is an instant that casts one green and one red. Choose two. Your opponent can't gain life this turn, it deals three damage to each opponent, you may put a land card from your hand onto the battlefield, and/or creatures you control get +1/+1 and gain reach until end of turn. The versatility of this card is ridiculous and the cost makes it even better. Two mana to deal three damage to each opponent and give everything +1/+1 and reach? You get so much value on this card, it's disgusting. If you don't feel like letting your opponent reap off of creatures with lifelink, negate the life gain and burn them for three and make them think twice about gaining life against you. The card is funny and is a possible powerhouse across many formats.
Kolaghan's Command is an instant that casts for one colorless, one black and one red. Choose two. Either return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand, target player discards a card, destroy target artifact and/or deal two damage to target creature or player. Not as cheap at Atarka's Command but the card is still good. You can recur back a Rabblemaster after it dies and blow up their Rabblemaster in the process. Blowing up Whip of Erebos is also another strength for the card. The thing I like the most about this card is that it forces your opponent to discard at instant speed. Wait until your opponent is top decking and make them discard this during the start of their main phase. It can be mean, but this is the Mardu/Kolaghan Clan we're talking about. They're not one to pull punches.
The final command is Dromoka's Command. It's an instant that costs one green and one white. Choose two. Prevent all damage target instant or sorcery spell would deal this turn, target player sacrifices an enchantment, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature and/or target creature you control fights target creature you don't control. Once again, cheap and strong. This card is virtually a counter to burn spells in Green/White Devotion and Abzan. You can also pump a creature up and force that creature to fight. The card also has a built in way to get rid of troublesome enchantments like Jeskai Ascendency, Whip of Erebos and Temur Ascendency. It also works against Constellation decks because you can force your opponent to sacrifice Courser of Kruphix, Doomwake Giant or Eidolon of Blossoms. Overall, the card is playable in different formats and can be a staple in Standard.
Brace yourself, the Planeswalkers are coming. Narset Transcendent is a planeswalker with six loyalty and costs two colorless, one white and one blue. You can plus one her to look at the top card of your library. If it's a noncreature, nonland card, you can reveal it and put it into your hand. This ability alone is good enough to put her in any Blue/White list, let alone Blue/White Control list, until the end of time. The lack of creatures in Blue/White control means that as long as you dodge lands, you're always going to dig deeper into your deck. Her minus two ability gives the next instant or sorcery you cast from your hand Rebound. Again, ridiculous. Rebound a protection spell. If you're playing Jeskai, rebound a burn spell. Rebound Treasure Curise or Dig Through Time. The card can apply a massive amount of pressure or let you dig for a massive amount of cards. If you rebound Dig Through Time, that's a fourteen card dig for at least two mana. Her minus nine is where she really shines though. You get an emblem that prevents your opponent from casting noncreature spells. If you're in a control mirror, you win with this ability. Taking out anything that isn't a creature is deadly in the proper situations. Unless you're playing a heavy creature aggressive deck, you'll have a massive advantage with this card. The bright side to that scenario is that you're keeping your opponent from pumping their creatures up. Overall, Narset is one of the best Planeswalkers out there. I'm happy that she's playing a bigger role in the story after she got killed off by Zurgo in the previous timeline.
Next up is the Dragon Savior himself. Sarkhan Unbroken is a planeswalker with four loyalty that casts for two colorless, one green, one blue and one red. It's funny that the only card that's a part of an old clan is Sarkhan himself, it's even funnier when that clan is Temur. His plus one allows you to draw a card and float a mana of any color. This ability enough makes him amazing. Drawing a card is a Magic player's favorite line of text, but floating any color mana to go along with it is fantastic. His minus two puts a 4/4 red dragon creature token with flying onto the battlefield. While it's not as good as making Sarkhan himself an indestructible flying dragon with haste, this isn't bad. We just got spoiled with the previous Sarkhan's plus one ability. His minus eight is the most ridiculous three lines of text of the set (well almost). "Search your library for any number of Dragon creature cards and put them onto the battlefield. Then shuffle your library." I know he saved the dragons and all, but this is too good. This card screams, "make a five color dragon deck with every dragon and dragonlord in it!" At least make a Temur colored dragon deck, he fits right in. If you want to play anything dragon related, you'd be a fool not to put him in it.
Haven of the Spirit Dragon is the successor and better version of Crucible of the Spirit Dragon. You can tap for a colorless or tap for a mana of any color if you're using it to tap for a dragon. You can pay two and tap it to sacrifice it and put a dragon creature or Ugin planeswalker card from your graveyard to your hand. A four of in any dragon deck, ever. This makes the five color dragon deck look a lot more possible. You can also sacrifice one to add back a dragon of your choice or Ugin himself. Adding a dragon back is cool, but nothing's better than looking at your opponent's face after you add back the Ugin that they worked so hard to kill.
Each clan comes with a monument for their dragonlord. It's an artifact that costs and can add one of the two colors of their clan to your mana pool. You can also pay four colorless and the two colors of the clan to make it into a 4/4 flying dragon artifact that's the colors of the clan. They're interesting to say the least but I don't see them being used much outside of Limited.
Finally we're going to talk about some of the reprints in this set. Evolving Wilds, Naturalize and Tormenting Voice each get the reprint. Evolving Wilds is fitting flavor wise due to the change in the timeline. The artwork itself looks pretty cool in my opinion. Naturalize fits flavor wise as well due to the destruction of the old ways meaning the destruction of the Ascendencys and any artifacts left behind. Finally Tormenting Voice gets an instresting reprint. Instead of Sarkhan hearing Ugin's voice from the past, Ugin's hearing Nicol Bolas' taunting voice.
Well there you have it, we're finished with Dragons of Tarkir coverage. As prelease approaches, I look forward to cracking my packs and bring honor to the clan of Ojutai (weather permitting). What clan will you pick at prerelease and what decks will you play with pride over this new format. Until the next big news hits the magic community, thank you for reading.