Khans of Tarkir: The First Spoiler (and a Couple of Words on Commander 2014)

San Diego ComicCon is going on right now, and (this year) it means a first look at three new products. There was the Commander 2014, including Teferi’s planeswalker version, which carries a line at the end letting you play him as a commander, and several sweepers from the From the Vaults: Annihilation (although no Damnation thusfar, which I would have thought to be a good selling point for the set), and a couple of cards from the next Duel Deck, including this fellow:

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Zurgo is also the face for Khans of Tarkir, and included in that set as well.

Aside the name, which I don’t like at all, lets inspect what we have here, so we can overanalyze every detail.

As we can see, Zurgo is a wedge commander, which should mean we’ll get a whole new batch of them. Hopefully. I don’t see why wouldn’t give us more for the rest of the wedges. These commanders probably take a quite of bit of time to design, so its better to do that within the expert sets, which get a lot more attention, than the supplementary products, which are probably of secondary priority to the R&D.

On the other hand, Zurgo feels very generic, with three pretty stock abilities. Perhaps he’s meant to push the format into a bit more aggressive direction. After all, it doesn’t take a lot to kill an opponent with him. Three hits and that’s it. I don’t think the +1/+1 counters matter that much, since he needs quite a few to become a two turn clock. Than again, blockers with a toughness of eight or more are not unheard of in EDH.

Of course, he wasn’t really designed for Commander in mind, if he’s to be the big, first spoiler of the set. He’s design is for Standard. Anything else would be a pretty strange move on WotC’s part.

We’ll see if this means that Lauri was right on his speculation that the commander product would somehow be tied in with the rest of the block. At first I thought Zurgo meant it would, but then I noticed he’s also be in the Duel Deck. I don’t think he’s getting three printings in one autumn. I think putting him into the Commander decks would have been a better idea overall.

Zurgo is also an orc. Haven’t seen those in a while. Last time was Coldsnap, and probably Ice Age before that. Not a well supported tribe. Hopefully that isn’t the thing their bringing back, which had been been clamored by players. That would be a bit of a letdown for most of us.

There’s a horde of other creatures behind him. I’m guessing the set and perhaps the block overall will be about tokens, even if this particular card doesn’t really do anything with them, either being an Anthem-effect (after Glorious Anthem) or a token generator. I do think the Convoke was saved for this set for a reason. It would have had a quite flavorful interaction with Gods.

On to the Commander: Despite what I said before, the two new cards would suggest the new Commander set would actually be monocolored. Why else would they choose these two? On the other hand, they are known characters, so perhaps that’s what WotC was going for. A bit like calling back to Ob Nixilis, and Avacyn in M15.

I wouldn’t mind monocolored. I’d actually love that. I love the challenge of one colored decks (and love avoiding the thought I would have to put into the manabase). I’ve actually played with 36 different monocolored commanders, plus three different hybrid commanders as basically monocolored (meaning the deck was built in such a way that only one color of mana could be produced).

ghoulcallergisa

Gisa hasn’t had a card before. If you don’t know who she is, she’s from Innistrad, and is the sister of Geralf. Both siblings are necromancers, and were pretty big part of the flavor even if they never received their own cards, which people were expecting a couple of years back.

teferitemporalarchmage

The new Teferi is a bit of a strange one. Doesn’t feel very strong at his cost, but he is a planeswalker, which has its own advantages in a format full of sweepers. It remains to be seen whether that is enough of a difference to make the high casting cost count.

I don’t know what they’ll look like yet, but I’m sure some day (probably pretty soon) I’ll try to build a deck around each of these cards.

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