Five Classic Commander Reprints Revisted

March of the Machine: Five Classic Commander Reprints Revisted

Jacob LacknerCommander

Jacob highlights five classic Commander reprints in the March of the Machine bonus sheet, with some pro-tips on some stellar new pickups to spice them up. Which will you build?

March of the Machine releases on Friday, and the main set contains many cards that will see play in many formats. However, one of the most interesting features of the set is the Multiverse Legends bonus sheet that reprints 65 legendary creatures from throughout Magic’s history. 

This collection features stunning showcase frames and treatments, and every booster pack contains at least one. Many of them make for really great Commanders, so I wanted to take a look at five of them and discuss how best to build Commander decks for them — with special emphasis placed on recent cards that weren’t around during their original release.

Zada, Hedron Grinder

In my opinion, Zada is the most interesting and unique mono-Red commander in Magic, so it is very exciting to see her reprinted at Uncommon. Her Hill Giant stats don’t impress, but her ability to duplicate your instant and sorcery spells can generate incredible value. 

A good Zada deck contains two main components. First, you need to have many ways to go wide. You are especially interested in cards that can generate multiple bodies. This way, when you point an Instant or Sorcery at her, you get as many duplicates of that card as possible. 

Luckily going wide with creature tokens in Red isn’t especially difficult. Even if we only look at the game’s very recent past, Red is replete with awesome token generators. Some of these newer cards that are a great fit for Zada are Manaform Hellkite, Sokenzan Crucible of Defiance and Squee, Dubious Monarch. The Hellkite can be especially spicy, because you are interested in casting spells, so it can end up generating several extra bodies a turn.

Second, you need to have instants or sorceries that are incredibly strong when copying them. While it is great to simply have efficient combat tricks that buff your whole board, the most powerful thing you can do with Zada is draw a bunch of cards while also buffing your whole board. 

This allows you to take out one player at the table on one turn, and then you often have the gas to finish off another player on the next turn. Drawing a bunch of cards isn’t something incredibly accessible for a mono-Red commander, but Zada can definitely get there.

Some of the more recent cards that do an excellent job in this role are Blazing Crescendo, Ancestral Anger and Fists of Flame. Each of these offer a boost for your creatures while also giving you access to some serious card advantage. Sometimes you can draw your way into even more spells that buff your creatures and draw you even more cards, often allowing you to win a single turn.

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

Brudiclad loves creature tokens even more than Zada does, though the two of them do have some similarities. Both want you to make as many tokens as you can, but they want you to do different things to take advantage of your token army. 

Instead of duplicating spells, Brudiclad wants you to make your tokens into duplicates of your most powerful token. Keep in mind that Brudiclad doesn’t specify what type of tokens will become copies of the token you choose. This means even your Treasure tokens can become creatures during combat. 

Basically, you want your board to consist of a whole lot of tokens of any type and one really powerful token to turn them all into. Brudiclad helps you out there by giving you a 2/1 every turn, but you still want other cards that can produce tokens. 

While Treasure is great with Brudiclad, Powerstones might be even better. Because he’s an Artifact, they can help power out Brudiclad earlier in the game, and unlike Treasure, they stick around. Then, once he’s in play, those tokens can become copies of your most powerful creature token. 

Urza’s Command is an excellent inclusion here because it can make both a Powerstone token and a powerful creature token. Visions of Phyrexia can generate card advantage and Powerstones. Karn, Living Legacy is a great Planeswalker for Brudiclad because he makes Powerstones and has an ultimate that pays you off for having many Artifacts in play.

The most important thing with Brudiclad is making sure that you have powerful creature tokens that are amazing to get multiple copies of every combat. You can accomplish this by creating token copies of creatures with See Double

Even if you aren’t making token copies of creatures, there are some  incredibly powerful tokens out there, like those produced by Pink Horror or Urabrask’s Forge. If you cast even one instant or sorcery while all of your tokens are Demon Horrors, it will absolutely devastate your opponents. Urabrask’s Forge creates an increasingly large and tramply token every turn and an army of those can quickly overwhelm your opponents.

Horobi, Death’s Wail

Horobi is certainly the most obscure Commander I chose to write about today, but this Legendary Spirit can be a ton of fun. Horobi really alters the game, since suddenly anything that targets a creature can now kill that creature. 

The effect is symmetrical and it isn’t entirely upside, but if you’re the one building around Horobi, you’re going to be more prepared to abuse it. You can accomplish this by running many cards that allow you to efficiently and repeatedly target creatures.

When you play Horobi, you’ll suddenly find that many cards you would never play anywhere else are quite effective. This is especially true when it comes to cards that let you easily target your opponents’ creatures. 

Where else can Sacred Armory, Bloodthirsty Blade, and Incriminate give you amazing value? With Horobi in play, the activated abilities for the two Artifacts effectively say “Destroy target creature” and Incriminate becomes an impressive 2-for-1. 

While running those kinds of cards is definitely fun, if you’re looking to go for a more optimal build, it is better to include cards that are already good that get even better with Horobi around.

Horobi turns the first two chapters of Life of Toshiro Umezawa into “destroy target creature.” The same is true of Tetzimoc’s activated ability, which allows you to destroy a creature for every Black mana you have. You even get to keep Tetzimoc in your hand and do it without casting any spells, making it very hard for your opponent to stop. Grim Hireling can destroy creatures very efficiently, whether you have any treasure in play or not.

Teysa Karlov

Teysa Karlov offers two very powerful effects, both upgrading your creature tokens and doubling your creature’s death triggers. To take full advantage of both of her abilities, the best thing to do is run creatures that produce creature tokens when they die. 

When you do this, you end up generating some insane value. For example, Bloated Processor generates at least two 3/3 Incubators, Kinzu will crank out token copies of your creatures and give them Toxic, and any creature with Afterlife will give you even more Flying tokens.

You can also combine her with additional effects that allow you to get even more value from your death triggers. Drivnod and Mondrak both make your dying creatures produce even more tokens and Kaya is a planeswalker who makes your tokens far better. She comes with a +1/+1 that buffs your tokens and a -2 that can double the number of tokens you make in a turn.

Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice

Finally, let’s take a look at Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice. According to EDHRec, Atraxa is the most popular Commander in the game, and it is easy to see why. Her four-color identity gives you access to a fairly broad pool of cards, and her abilities are incredible. 

Not only does she bring an impressive keyword soup body to the table, she also lets you Proliferate during your end step. 

The most powerful thing to do with Atraxa is lean toward a poison strategy. If you can get a poison counter on each of your opponents and combine that with proliferate effects (including Atraxa’s), you can win the game surprisingly quickly. This is especially true thanks to cards from Phyrexia: All Will Be One, which prominently featured both poison and proliferate.

Infectious Bite, Vraska’s Fall, Infectious Inquiry and Prologue to Phyresis all give you a decent effect for your investment while also putting a poison counter on each of your opponents. At that point, you can get the Proliferation train rolling with cards like these:

Vraska has a 0 ability that allows you to Proliferate. Tekuthal allows you to double your proliferate triggers. Ezuri draws you a card every time you proliferate and if you pay its late game kicker, it can proliferate twice when it enters the battlefield. 

Voidwing Hybrid comes with Toxic, allowing you to pile up some more poison counters, and it also comes back from your graveyard to your hand every time you proliferate. In other words, you can get it back every single turn.

Also, if you’re interested in a planeswalker-oriented version of Atraxa, my fellow Card Kingdom writers Adam and Kristen have you covered!

End Step

Overall, the Multiverse Legends bonus sheet is an amazing addition to March of the Machine. While these five cards are some of my favorites to be featured in the set, there are 60 more of them out there and almost all of them make for interesting Commanders.