Double Masters 2022 features a lot of old-school commanders, and Scott is here to take a look at 5 that have only gotten better with time!
Double Masters 2022 is just upon us, and it is full to the brim with incredible reprints. It has everything from multi format all-stars to sought-after staples, and even first time reprints of extremely high value cards. It’s likely to be one of the highest value supplemental sets we’ve seen in a long time.
We’re also seeing a lot of older commanders in this set: ones that were once hugely popular, but have mostly been forgotten thanks to the huge influx of new legendaries over the past few years. These commanders don’t deserve to be relegated to the binders and bulk bins, however; many of them are designed in such a way that as long as the card pool keeps growing, their options increase. This means that the more cards that exist, the better they get! I’ll show you five examples of these incredible creatures that are growing in power, and are not getting the love they deserve right now.
Zur the Enchanter is one of the most well-known enchantment commanders, thanks to his ability to repeatedly tutor for smaller enchantments. His ability is also much more flexible than it first seems, and it’s only getting better over time as more low cost enchantments keep getting printed.
Cycling has always been a popular strategy with Zur, as his ability can fetch Astral Drift to flicker creatures for value, or Drake Haven for more of a battlefield presence. More recent cards like Dying to Serve or Ominous Seas can give you greater redundancy, or even double up on your value output. If you’d rather a more direct approach, you can try an aura build. Public Enemy is a fantastic way to effectively goad all creatures, and I think it’s flying under the radar right now. In addition, cards like Nettlecyst and Michiko’s Reign of Truth give you more Ethereal Armor effects for an easy voltron kill.
There have also been a lot of generically powerful enchantments printed recently that can really push Zur back into the spotlight. Black Market Connections, Monologue Tax, and Smuggler’s Share are just a few of the incredible options available to you that have proven their worth recently.
Zur may be an old fogey, but this old dog is still learning new tricks. He can teach those new legends a thing or two about being a flexible and powerful enchantment commander!
Graveyard decks are incredibly popular, and come in all shapes and sizes. The Mimeoplasm is one of the most original designs, and while it may have been outshined by other Sultai commanders like Muldrotha, the Gravetide, it still remains one of the best creatures at the helm of a graveyard deck. The more creatures that are released, the more options you have for the deck, and the more combinations of creature stats and abilities you can make. This is what actually makes The Mimeoplasm get stronger with each new set, and will keep it from ever being anything less than great.
Like many generically good commanders, The Mimeoplasm is used by players in a number of different ways. Many use them as the head of an Ooze tribal deck, and there have been a number of great ooze creatures printed recently to really boost its potential. Green Slime and Uchuulon are two great examples of excellent new oozes that will help fill out a deck with decent playables. Kaldheim’s changelings are another great way to bolster the functionality of these less popular tribal decks, like Realmwalker and Moritte of the Frost.
There have also been a lot of great self mill options to help fill your graveyard quickly for The Mimeoplasm. Cut Your Losses may be a bit too “all-in” for some, but it’s a great card for immediately setting up your graveyard. Cemetery Tampering is a little more reserved, but it’s still extremely powerful as a self mill piece, while also giving you some excellent value. Angel of Suffering is particularly potent here, giving you an easy way to convert damage into a full graveyard.
If you’re just looking for great creatures to copy with The Mimeoplasm, there have been a lot of incredible ones in the past few sets, like All-Seeing Arbiter and Titan of Industry. As long as creatures keep getting printed, this commander will just keep getting better!
Toughness matters is another strategy that has been around for a long time, with Doran, the Siege Tower being the progenitor of the archetype. They’re another commander that gets better over time, as more printed creatures means more options. There was also a small toughness matters archetype in the Innistrad: Crimson Vow limited environment, which is bound to have some hidden gems for Doran!
First up, Rasaad yn Bashir from Battle for Baldur’s Gate is a fantastic backup for Doran. It’s always good to have a replacement for such a necessary effect in your deck, and Rasaad is among the best. He also turns into an absurdly powerful anthem effect, provided you have the initiative.
If you’re looking for some tricks or low power/high toughness cards, you’re spoiled for choice with additions from recent sets. Stoneskin and Refuse to Yield are incredibly efficient combat tricks that could immediately take out an opponent in the right situation. Catapult Fodder from Innistrad: Crimson Vow is a great way to give the deck a little extra reach, and Sculpted Sunburst can effectively exile all creatures except for Doran themselves.
Doran is also used as a Treefolk or Spider tribal commander; this is thanks to their creature type, and the typically high toughness of spiders. Folk Hero can provide card advantage for treefolk builds, and Crimson Vow saw some great support treefolk with Dormant Grove and Ancient Lumberknot. There have generally been fewer interesting spiders lately, but Doom Weaver is one of the few great new additions that can pack a punch and draw more cards.
Doran, the Siege Tower isn’t as good as they used to be. They’re better!
Sedris, the Traitor King is a powerful reanimator commander from way back in Shards of Alara. As I’m sure you can see by now, the running theme of “as long as they keep printing cards it’ll keep getting better” applies to Sedris as well. In the fourteen years since his first printing, there have been over 7000 new creatures! There are bound to be some powerful new reanimation targets in there, and that’s not even mentioning the ways to keep those unearthed creatures around!
Some of the most impressive reanimation targets have been in the sets from the past year or two. Creatures like Lord Xander, the Collector are gross, but they really get the job done! Firbolg Flutist is another, more friendly target, and Ancient Copper Dragon would be a steal at just three mana from the graveyard!
One of the typical tricks in a Sedris deck is to “reset” your unearthed creatures, so you don’t have to exile them on your end step. This is usually done by either flickering the creatures, or artificially ending the turn (effectively skipping the end step entirely). Displacer Kitten is an excellent repeatable flicker engine that can not only reset your creatures, but help you abuse enter the battlefield triggers. As for forcefully ending the turn, Obeka, Brute Chronologist is one of the best. The ogre time wizard can end turns prematurely, provided the player whose turn it is allows it. You’ll generally want to use this ability to end your own turn, letting you keep your creatures around.
Sedris may be old, and there may be some newer legendary creatures that can take the helm as a reanimator commander, but this Traitor King still has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the best of them.
Alesha, Who Smiles at Death is a commander that has seen extensive play since her release back in Tarkir block, and for great reason. Not only is she the first marquee Magic character created with the intent of providing trans representation within the game, but she’s also a really great commander that can be built in a number of different ways. Her ability to reanimate small creatures makes her perfect for an aristocrats or sacrifice deck, but a number of different tribes and strategies can make use of her abilities. Many players build her as a hatebears commander, others focus on goblins, humans, warriors, or even samurai!
If you want to lean towards the sacrifice route, you’ve got a lot of great new enablers and payoffs to choose from. Jaxis, the Troublemaker discards cards in order to make temporary copies of your creatures. She can discard creatures to bring back with Alesha’s ability, and you can sacrifice the copies for value. Cultist of the Absolute gives Alesha evasion as well as a way to sacrifice a creature every turn, and Mahadi, Emporium Master gives you a rebate for every creature you sacrificed.
For more of a hatebears slant, you have creatures like Baeloth Barrityl, Entertainer, who can goad token decks by themselves, or cause havoc if you can buff their power. Deep Gnome Terramancer, Archivist of Oghma, and Archon of Emeria are all terribly powerful creatures that can cause problems for your opponents, all while being easy to recur with Alesha.
If you’re looking for tribal options, there’s something new in nearly every set. Humans appear in every single set, with more than 70 new options this year alone! Even Warriors have plenty of options; there are seventy warriors legal in Standard alone right now, with Professional Face-Breaker being a particularly powerful one. Samurai were a main focal point in Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty, with more than twenty new samurai in that set alone! Kamigawa was also the plane that gave us a bunch of new goblins, like Twinshot Sniper and Goro-Goro, Disciple of Ryusei.
Alesha is a fantastic commander that can only get stronger over time. Double Masters 2022 even gave us a Master of Cruelties reprint, which is definitely one of the strongest creatures to complement the deck; if that isn’t a sign to give Alesha a try, I don’t know what is!
I hope this has shown you that just because a commander has fallen by the wayside, it doesn’t mean they haven’t been getting better. Do you have an older commander that has been gaining power over the years? Are there any other legendary creatures from yesteryear that deserve to make a comeback? I’d love to hear about them, so be sure to let me know over on Twitter! Happy brewing!
Scott is an Irish content creator and the Head of Budget Magic for the Izzet League. He focuses on affordable decks in Pioneer, Modern, and Pauper, particularly ones that stray from the mainstream. When he’s not writing about his favorite decks, he can be found talking incessantly about them on Twitter and on The Budget Magic Cast.