Ryan Bez

Magic: The Gathering Commander 2014 is a Fresh Take on Simple Ideas

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This year’s annual release of Magic: The Gathering Commander products keeps things simple while introducing new and fun ways to play everyone’s favorite casual Magic format. Released November 7th, Wizards of the Coast’s Commander 2014 line of products is available for a MSRP of $34.99 and has 5 new single colored decks available. Featuring new takes on some of Magic lore’s most popular characters as well as a few new ones, this year’s release introduces five new Planeswalker Commanders: Nahiri, the Lithomancer; Teferi, the Temporal Archmage; Ob Nixilis, of the Black Oath; Daretti, the Scrap Savant; and Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury. While certainly the star of the stage, these five new Planeswalkers are accompanied by the following decks: Forged in Stone, Peer through Time, Sworn to Darkness, Built from Scratch, and Guided by Nature.

1 down, 499 to go...

1 down, 499 to go…

The five new Planeswalkers include an additional line of text on their cards allowing them to be your commander; but as always, there are multiple other legendary creatures available for you to choose as your commander. In addition to the new Planeswalkers, Commander 2014 includes several other new Magic cards. While previous releases in the popular Commander series may have only featured one or two new cards that would be used outside of the commander format, this year’s release is full of many cards across different colors that players will want to collect and use in other Magic formats such as Legacy and Cube. The Containment Priest, a powerful new white creature, has a lot of promise to shake things up in the Legacy format–home to some of Magic’s most powerful cards.

When Wizards of the Coast initially revealed the decklists for this product, it appeared to be filled to the brim with mythic and regular rares. While some decks are more densely packed with rares than others, Peer through Time only has 29 while Forged in Stone has 41 for example; each deck still feels like an amazing value for the consumer. These decks also contain many great commons and “uncommons” and are sure to include commander favorites such as Sol Ring, Swiftfoot Boots, and the cycle of diamonds; one for each color.
Each deck does a great job of feeling unique from the others by offering different playstyles and themes. In the case of the deck Built from Scratch, Wizards did an amazing job of exposing players to a unique and lesser explored playstyle focusing on an artifact centric commander and deck. However, the deck Guided by Nature feels a little stale and straightforward as it focuses primarily on the Elf creature type which has been featured in many other Magic products throughout history. These decks are great starting points for people new to the commander format, and even if they begin to feel stale to you they contain many essential commander cards from which you can build your own decks.

Daretti makes a strong first appearance.

This year’s Commander 2014 releases are not only a great value for your money but provide a great product full of fun ways to enjoy Magic. While on their surface single colored decks seem plain and unexciting Wizards was sure to introduce exciting new cards that showcase new ways to play commander as well as provide fans of other formats new tools to build decks with.

Not looking to purchase all five decks this year? Keep an eye on WatchPlayRead as I go more in-depth with each individual deck starting next week.

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