5 Underrated Commander Cards From Portal Three Kingdoms

5 Underrated Commander Cards From Portal Three Kingdoms

Jacob LacknerCommander

Portal: Three Kingdoms has a very interesting back story. When it was released in 1999, it was intended to be an introductory product for Asian markets. In other words, it was meant to introduce people to Magic with a simplified version of the game. In fact, for a long time it was considered separate from Magic proper, with cards from it only becoming legal in Legacy and Vintage in 2005!

The set is heavily based on real historical events and figures from China’s Three Kingdoms period (220-280 C.E.). As such, most of Magic’s more fantastical elements are replaced by more mundane flavor. For example, there’s no Flying in the set. It’s replaced with horsemanship, which is mechanically the same as Flying. Creatures with Horsemanship can only be blocked by other creatures with it.

They also printed some cards that are functionally identical to cards released in earlier Magic sets while stripping them of their fantasy elements. For example, Time Warp became Capture of Jingzhou.

While it was originally introduced as a powered down and simplified version of Magic, the set does actually feature several powerful cards that see heavy play in Commander. 

The three most heavily played cards in the set are powerful tutors. Three Visits can grab a forest and put it into play untapped, Imperial Recruiter can grab creatures with 2 or less power and put them into your hand, and Imperial Seal can grab any card and put it on top of your library.

However, there are some cards in Portal: Three Kingdoms that the community has largely overlooked. In this article, I’ll give you my picks for 5 underrated Commander cards from the set.

Underrated Commander: Dong Zhou, the Tyrant

Dong Zhou, the Tyrant
The 1,771st Most Popular Commander on EDHRec

Because of its focus on real historical events, Portal: Three Kingdoms has a whopping 31 legendary creatures. There were lots of candidates for this section of the article, but in the end I went with Dong Zhou, the Tyrant because I think he’s both unique and powerful.

The stat-line certainly isn’t good, but when he enters he makes an opposing creature do damage equal to its power to its controller. That ability can be a bit awkward, because it’s so reliant on your opponent having a big creature in play, but there are a number of things you can do to get maximum value out of Dong Zhou.

First, you of course want cards that let you raise creatures’ power. Unleash Fury, Rush of Blood, and Downhill Charge– are the cream of the crop here, since they have the ability to make an opposing creature’s power shoot through the roof. If you can cast one of these, there’s a decent chance your opponent loses from one Dong Zhou trigger.

You also want to find ways to trigger Dong Zhou’s ability as frequently as possible. While Red doesn’t have access to a ton of blink and flicker effects, it does have various ways to make repeatable token copies of creatures.  Splinter Twin and Jaxis, the Troublemaker are two of the best ways to do this. Keep in mind that these tokens will trigger the legend rule, but it doesn’t matter since you’re only interested in Dong Zhou’s ETB anyway.

Dong Zhou is definitely a little bit janky, but he pays you off for buffing your opponent’s creatures, which also makes him really unique. Your opponent probably won’t know what hit them (their own creature!) the first time you go off.

Overwhelming Forces

Overwhelming Forces
Played in .005% of Black Decks on EDHRec

Overwhelming Forces has a great name, because if it resolves, your opponents are surely going to be overwhelmed. While 8 mana is a pretty big hurdle, Overwhelming Forces definitely delivers on your investment. After all, it’s a one-sided Wrath that also draws you a ton of cards. 

Now, there is one small downside here. If you just read the card and don’t look at the oracle text, you might think this will take out every opponents’ creatures. However, it only destroys the creatures that one of your opponents controls.

Still, the game’s pretty much over for them if you resolve this. And, because of all the cards you’re likely to draw, all of your other opponents will be in trouble too.

Rolling Earthquake

Rolling Earthquake
Played in 1% of Red Decks on EDHRec

Speaking of sweepers, Red also has a great one in Portal:Three Kingdoms. Rolling Earthquake is effectively a P3K version of Earthquake, so instead of not damaging flyers, it can’t damage creatures with horsemanship. In most games, that actually makes Rolling Earthquake better. This is because there are only 39 cards with Horsemanship, and the ones that do exist are collectively not very good. Meanwhile, there are literally thousands of creatures with Flying.

In other words, Rolling Earthquake ends up being a legit sweeper that removes every creature on the board pretty often. That’s not something Earthquake can claim. And yet, Earthquake is much more heavily played than Rolling Earthquake is. 

Spoils of Victory

Spoils of Victory
Played in .023% of Green Decks on EDHRec

Spoils of Victory is a very nice ramp spell for five color decks. It’s one more mana than Rampant Growth or Three Visits, but the fact it can grab any land with a basic land type makes it worth it. Obviously, Spoils of Victory shouldn’t be slotting into every single Green deck, but if you’re playing a 4 or 5-color Commander, you should consider Spoils of Victory to help shore up your mana base.

Control of the Court

Control of the Court
Played in .002% of Red Decks on EDHRec

Control of the Court is a really powerful draw spell. Red just doesn’t normally get to pay two mana and dig four cards deep.

You do have to discard three cards at random of course, but you can turn that into upside. You can accomplish this by playing Control of the Court in a deck that pays you off for discarding cards or having cards in your graveyard. If you do that, Control of the Court really can feel like a two-mana draw 4.

For example, Rielle likes having spells in the graveyard and she’ll also replace the three cards you discard at random. Anje Falkenrath is a really powerful payoff for Madness, a mechanic that also happens to work very well with Control of the Court. She’ll often be able to untap and let you dig deeper in your deck any time you cast Control of the Court.

End Step

Those are my picks for five underrated Commander cards from Portal: Three Kingdoms. I hope I introduced you to a few cards you’ve never heard of that will upgrade your deck! Do you think I left out any overlooked cards from Portal: Three Kingdoms? Let me know on X.