Hey everyone, Syggz here, but you can call me the Ageless Ascetic.
Today I will be going over five cards that should have been reprinted in the Commander 2016 set. The focus of this list will be aimed towards the casual side of commander, where spending $5 or more on a card is not a decision to be taken lightly. A common theme for these cards is that they can all be used in any commander deck, and I think that it would be beneficial if they were more accessible to players.
Without further delay, lets get into the list.
Note: All prices are taken from the cheapest printing on TCGPlayer mid as of November 16, 2016. Prices have been rounded to the nearest 50 cents.
#5 – Mind’s Eye ($9)
In my original draft, Rhystic Study held this spot. However, Rhystic Study’s taxation effect can be highly oppressive and even divisive, especially in a casual environment. Mind’s Eye fixes this by leaving the mana burden on its controller instead of taxing every other player at the table. While not necessarily a concern for most colours, Mind’s Eye allows colours that typically struggle with maintaining card advantage (e.g. red, white) to keep up with the pace of the Commander format.
While never being a cheap card to begin with, Mind’s eye’s price has only gone up over time as it is an older card that has not received a large-scale reprint. Hopefully we can see a reprint in a future commander product or conspiracy-like set so more players can have affordable access to this form of card draw outside of Rhystic Study decks.
#4 – Reflecting Pool ($7.50)
Multicolour lands are always in demand for commander decks, and Reflecting pool is easily one of the best all-colour lands in the format (second to Command Tower). Reflecting Pool works best in combination with other multi-colour lands to further help with mana fixing.
Fun Fact: Everyone knows that if you control a Command Tower, Reflecting Pool can tap for any colour of mana in your commander’s identity, but did you know that if you have a Vivid land in play, such as Vivid Crag, Reflecting Pool will be able to tap for any colour of mana? This is because Reflecting Pool does not care about any restrictions for producing mana, only what colours a land can potentially produce.
Reflecting Pool was reprinted in the original Conspiracy set, however over the past two and a half years, its price has steadily risen back up from its all-time low of $4.50. This gradual increase isn’t unexpected as Reflecting Pool fits into any multi-colour commander deck. What is a bit unexpected is Wizards’ decision to reprint Exotic Orchard in place of Reflecting Pool, especially after it was reprinted only a few months ago in Conspiracy: Take the Crown. Perhaps they wanted to include an inexpensive multi-colour land out of fear that people would be purchasing these decks for the wrong reasons (e.g. financial gain), or perhaps they wanted to encourage players to look for cards like Reflecting Pool as an addition to their deck. Regardless of their reasoning, it feels as though it was a missed opportunity to allow players to use cards from Conspiracy 2 to supplement the 2016 decks.
#3 – Coalition Relic ($9.50)
I am surprised Wizards did not include Coalition Relic in a four-colour commander set, especially when one of the commanders’ theme is proliferate. Coalition relic acts as manafixing along with the ability to produce two mana in one turn, a huge deal when compared to other 3-mana artifacts like Darksteel Ingot or Cultivator’s Caravan. Coalition Relic should have been included in the Atraxa deck as you would be able to proliferate the charge counter for even more extra mana during your next turn. In fact, the inclusion of Darksteel Ingot in the Atraxa deck may hint that Coalition relic was planned to be included in the original list, but was likely removed due to the deck already being financially desireable.
Like Mind’s Eye, Coalition Relic is an old card that has not seen a large-scale reprint. As a result, Coalition relic has slowly climbed from $3 four years ago to its price now.
#2 – Command Beacon ($7)
I think it was a mistake to not print this as a common in each deck in the original Commander 2015 set. Command beacon allows players to avoid paying commander tax by removing the need to cast your commander from the command zone. This is helpful if your commander is essential for the deck to function (e.g. Nekusar, the Mindrazer) or if your commander is already expensive to cast (e.g. Maelstrom Wanderer). Being a land, Command Beacon can be recurred using cards like Life from the Loam or Crucible of Worlds.
I think Command Beacon would have fit best in the Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder deck, as he is the only four-colour commander who does nothing the turn you cast him. I’ve often found myself choosing not to bother recasting Yidris after he dies simply because the payoff of being able to cascade next turn isn’t worth it after 6 mana. Including Command Beacon in this deck would help to alleviate that feeling instead of discouraging players after Yidris dies.
Command Beacon was originally only printed in the Ezuri, Claw of Progress deck, a product that was largely overlooked due to the competition it was up against (i.e. Meren of Clan Nel Toth and Mizzix of the Izmagnus). Just like Blade of Selves, the lack of supply caused Command Beacon to quickly rise to $12. Thankfully this card has been slowly dropping in price recently, however I cannot imagine that the current supply is there to meet player needs.
#1 – Chromatic Lantern ($5)
Yes, this card was printed in Commander 2016.
The reason I’m putting this card at #1, or on this list at all, is because of how they reprinted it. Chromatic Lantern is almost a necessity in every four-colour deck in order to assist in the nightmare that is creating a singleton, four-colour manabase. So what did Wizards do wrong?
It was printed in one deck, and not in the deck without access to green.
Chromatic Lantern was included in the Yidris deck, likely to add some appeal (both functional and financial) to a deck that was clearly going to be overlooked when compared to the likes of Atraxa and Breya. Now, I can respect Wizards’ decision if they did not want to print the card in more than one deck, but to not include it in the greenless deck (Breya) is truly mind-boggling. Not only is green the best colour (by far) at manafixing, but it is also the colour that already has access to Chromatic Lantern’s effect in the form of Joiner Adept and Prismatic Omen. I can imagine new commander players who purchased the Breya deck would be confused as to not only why this artifact was not included in their deck, but also at the idea that they would have to pay $5 more to get this one card that should have been included in the deck anyways from a design standpoint.
As far as financials go, $5 is a lot more reasonable than the all-time high of $10, however we will just have to wait and see how the following weeks will go before we can see if the Chromatic Lantern reprint was effective in making the card more accessible to players or if the new demand will result in stores pricing the card highly in order to stretch profit margins.
Overall, Commander 2016 was an OK set, if a bit dissapointing (but that’s a topic for another article), and I can only hope that Wizards will continue to learn from their mistakes and experiences to provide a better commander product in 2017.
See you guys next time where I will talk about the implications of keeping the nephilim as nonlegendary creatures.
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