2022 has been another bumper year for Magic so far. We’ve had a bunch of solid Standard sets and some neat supplemental products, too. However, with the sheer quantity of new cards to try out in Commander, it’s easy for some to slip through the cracks. Today, I’d like to reacquaint you with some cards I think deserve a second look.
The Restoration of Eiganjo/Architect of Restoration
This card might seem a little unassuming, especially judging each of the modes on their own. Restoration, however, is the very definition of “greater than the sum of its parts.” Early game, this helps you hit land drops, something every player should put way more effort into than they do (ramping isn’t everything).
The second stage can indeed ramp you, though, if that’s what you need. If you’re playing the kind of white deck I like to play, however, you’re going to return key creatures like Selfless Spirit, Remorseful Cleric or Cathar Commando.
When it transforms, the creature is sizeable enough to go on blocking duty, and it provides bonus bodies whenever it attacks or blocks. Plus, these spirits are great to Skullclamp if you’re not chump blocking with them.
Restoration outperforms in certain decks, too. Kykar decks will get plenty of value from extra spirits and ramp. Graveyard based decks can cycle Restoration in and out of the bin. Enchantress builds can draw a card when it enters and when it’s exiled and re-enters, transformed.
Restoration of Eiganjo is the mayo in your sandwich. It’s not as exciting as the meat and bread, but without it, you’ve got a dryer, less smooth experience.
Dragonspark Reactor is a forgettable draft uncommon. It’s reminiscent of Shrine of Burning Rage (a great Cube card). For that reason, many have thrown this thing into the bulk bin. I think you should dig it back out again, though. Treasure is very easy to produce these days, and there are certain decks that can turn this thing into a verified nuke.
Burakos/Guild Artisan is one such deck, and I’m confident you can use this thing to help delete one player while removing a key blocker from your next mark. It’s not limited to Rakdos treasure decks, though. Boros artifacts decks, from Akiri to Osgir, can enjoy the ticking time bomb of Dragonspark Reactor. Izzet has plenty of decks for this gem, too, and that’s not to mention all of the three and four color builds.
From one Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty artifact to another, and this time it’s Mnemonic Sphere. Maybe I just haven’t played against an artifacts deck for a while that isn’t Boros, but this one is just crazy value.
There are countless ways to bring this thing back from the bin, and paying two mana for two cards is a great rate if you can get in a position to cycle it again and again. While decks like Emry and Tameshi might seem the best for it, it’s also worth a look in general if you’re already running the likes of Goblin Welder or Sun Titan.
It seems we’re all pretty hyped up about the Warhammer 40k: Necron Dynasties Commander deck, and in particular, the excellent mill engine Out of the Tombs. Considering that, it’s pretty sad that Cemetery Tampering has been usurped somewhat in popularity — and I haven’t seen anyone running it yet.
I’d say it’s a neat piece of self-mill that is importantly optional, and it comes with some mana advantage. Sticking a Doomed Necromancer or, hell, a Living Death under it? That’s downright devious, and I can’t wait to pull it off.
One day… one day.
We’ve been inundated with decent white Commander cards this year. It’s unprecedented, to tell the truth, and so the initial furor over Smuggler’s Share was quickly surpassed by the incredulity at seeing the likes of Deep Gnome Terramancer and Archivist of Oghma.
While this card peaked at over $40, this enchantment can now be had for under $20, which is a much better buy-in. In my playtesting, it’s been feast and famine, and absolutely requires you to hit the right matchups. It’s this inconsistency when compared to, say, Smothering Tithe or Rhystic Study that has dampened people’s hype. It’s still absolutely playable.
Still, you’ll get the most out of it when played in decks that aren’t relying on cards like Smuggler’s Share for value. It’s really just gravy.
At the end of the day, it’s a bunch of racoons hopped up on mead. How consistent can they be?
Clones are a dime-a-dozen, and we get at least one every set. What sets Cephalid Facetaker apart is a very exciting sentence: Cephalid Facetaker can’t be blocked.
It’s also a clone that resets every turn, giving you flexibility to get the best attack or combat trigger in play. Most clones are used to take advantage of EtBs, but a guaranteed connection with a clone that has a decent trigger is sometimes worth much more. It’s also a Rogue, which triggers Party.
Honestly, Streets of New Capenna and its Commander expansion were a bit of a blur for me. I was (and still am) high on the warm, fuzzy glow of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty — and I skipped over a lot of the set because it just didn’t vibe with me.
That said, New Capenna has some absolute home-runs that require a second look. One of those is Body Count, which honestly feels insanely pushed. It costs as little as one mana to refill your hand, and it’s incredibly easy to trigger Spectacle in the aristocrats style decks that want to play this card. This should be much more of a staple, and I’m confident it will end up as one.
Greatsword of Tyr
The best part of running cheap equipment is that it’s your other, more spendy swords that tend to eat removal. Once your Sword of Feast and Famine and Shadowspear have bitten the dust, you’ll perhaps be left with Greatsword of Tyr, and I honestly think it’s very, very underrated right now.
It’s cheap to play, cheap to equip, helps push damage through and it puts a clock on things — especially if it’s on your Commander and that Commander has double strike. Sylvia Brightspear loves this, and in my deck full of cheap three to five mana value dragons, its value equipment like this that do the most work.
Altar of Bhaal
Altar of Bhaal is one of my favorite cards from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate. Too many people get hung up on the adventure mode of the card, but I am going on record to say that the card would be perfectly playable even if it didn’t fuel itself.
There are countless ways to make token creatures in the format, and exiling one of those pawns to bring back a haymaker from the bin for three mana feels *chef’s kiss*.
Descent into Avernus
Descent into Avernus is risky business, but it’s the kind of risky business that adds a lot of fun to games and keeps things moving. While there is an element of risk (giving opponents access to mana on your turn, prime time to interrupt your plans) you can lean into it and run plenty of “You did this to yourself” cards, like Bolt Bend, to punish them for interacting.
If you want to take this card to the next level, you can run it alongside the likes of Viridian Revelry and Karn, the Great Creator to hose opponents or increase your yields. At the end of the day, this is a fun card, and it’s the kind of card that I love to see at my tables. Even if I don’t win with it, someone else is sure to do something ridiculous, and that’s just as fun.
That’s just a handful of examples, but there are surely many more 2022 cards that have slipped our notice in Commander. What are some hidden gems you’ve discovered this year? Let me know, on Twitter.
Kristen is Card Kingdom’s Head Writer, and member of the Commander Advisory Group. Formerly a competitive Pokémon TCG grinder, she has been playing Magic since Shadows Over Innistrad, which in her opinion, was a great set to start with. When she’s not taking names with Equipment and Aggro strategies in Commander, she loves to play any form of Limited.