Commandfest Online 2 - The Future of Commander Panel
Hello All! We just got done listening to Gavin Verhey and a few other folks from Magic R&D give a very exciting panel talking about the future of commander for 2020! This panel kicks off Commandfest Online 2 this weekend! In this panel, they discussed a couple of new products coming this year that we had known about, but now we have a lot more to talk about with them both. They were both spoiled on the Command Zone Podcast last year, but now we have more cards and art to show off with these new products!
Commander Collections Green
So the first product that was discussed on the panel was Commander Collection Green. This is a box set, similar to the Spellbook series, where there are 8 cards in the box that are all Green Commander staple cards. They all have new art, and there are 2 versions of this product, a non-foil version and a premium foil version. I have to say, the art for each of these cards are absolutely stunning. Here are the cards that are going go be in Commander Collection Green:
This is quite a line up! Here's the cards close up so you can take a look at the beautiful new art!
I have to say these arts are really something special. While Command Tower and Sol Ring aren't necessarily "Green" cards, the art aligns with the flavor of the color identity, and in the future Commander Collections for each color, there will be a Commander Tower and Sol Ring with different arts that align with each of those as well. Commander Legends
The second product that was discussed was Commander Legends! This is an auxiliary set, where each booster pack contains 20 cards in it! It's meant to be drafted, and then once you draft, you build a commander deck from those cards, and play a commander game with 4 people! We'll break down how the draft process and everything works here in a little bit.
Lets break down some of the basics about the set. First off, it's a set that's meant to be drafted. Each pack has 20 cards, with 2 slots in the pack being Legends, and there's 1 foil in each pack. In the set, there are going to be 71 new Legends, as well as 32 reprinted legends from any point in magics history. They stated that there was no limits on time or place in Magic where these cards could be pulled from. There's going to be mostly new cards in the set, but there are Reprints in the set as well. There will also be 4 Evergreen mechanics in the set, one of which is a brand new one. We'll talk about more specifics as well once we get into the cards themselves, but let's talk about Draft.
Commander Legends is a set that's meant to be Drafted. Now you may be asking, how is it possible to draft commander? Well here's how the draft is going to end up going. It will start like any normal draft. Each player has 3 packs. Now instead of drafting 1 card, each player will draft 2 cards for each and every pick of the pack. After everyone drafts, the 3 packs, you'll build a 60 card deck, including your commander, and split up the 8 player pod into two 4 player games. Deck building is effectively the same as building a commander deck, except for 1 thing. You can have duplicates of cards in your deck, but you probably will maybe have 2 copies of a card in a deck, rather than 4 or 5 copies as this is a bit of a bigger set. Color identity, commander damage, all still apply here as well.
But this raises a couple questions. First off, let's say you draft a 2 color commander. You start picking up great cards for 1 of the colors, but not so much of the other colors. Then you get passed a staple in a completely different color that's just too good to pass up. What then? Do you ditch the first commander you picked, and hope that you end up finding another commander that fits the color identity you are now going towards? Well the R&D team have thought about this, and have come up with an amazing solution: Mono-Colored Partner Legends! Partner was a mechanic in Commander 2016, where you had 2 commanders and you could have cards from each of their color identities in the deck. Those were multi colored cards, but now we have mono colored partner cards coming! This solves that problem where if you picked up say a UB commander first, and then got passed a green staple, you could take that card in confidence as you now have the opportunity to pick up a mono colored partner commander or two to allow you to be color fluid in your draft picks. They also said that there were going to be about 30 non-partnered 2 or 3 color commanders in the set as well
Here's a couple of the new Mono colored partner commanders that you can expect to see in the set
Halana and Alena are two characters that were featured in a Story that Wizards wrote a while back, and people have been asking for more about these two, and here they are! Now while these two partners happen to have synergy with each other, I expect there will be more mono colored partner commanders in the set that will be a bit more generic.
Now the second question that comes up with the draft is, what happens if at the end of the draft, you don't have a commander? Maybe the draft just didn't quite come together, and you couldn't find a commander that fit what you were looking to do? Well, they also have a solution for that too. Meet The Prismatic Piper.
Look at that art! Seb McKinnon really knocked it out of the park with this one. Let's talk about this card here since there's a few things about this. The Prismatic Piper is a commander that is always available to you to use. Think of it as a "basic" commander. Like a basic land. You can even use 2 of these guys if you don't have any commanders at all, but have 2 colors of cards you drafted. Now, the folks at R&D have said that it's rare that you don't end up with a commander at the end of the draft. There's a LOT of legends in the set, nearly 1/3 of it, so there's a high chance you'll find a commander that fits your theme and goals.
Very cool stuff! Now let's show off some of the other cards that they previewed today.
Let's talk about these a bit. First off, one of the new cards, Sengir, the Dark Baron is a new Rare partner commander, and is one of the cards that had it's art previewed on the Command Zone Podcast. Really cool design, calling back to the original Baron Sengir, but he has some new tricks up his sleeve. Next here, we see Command Tower and Commander's Sphere with extended art. Yes these are both in the main set, and there will be extended art cards for some of the cards in the set. This will make the drafting experience great and will definitely be great pick ups when they get passed to you, or if they get passed to you. Lastly, we see a reprinted commander here, Prosh, Skyraider of Kher, but he's gotten a fancy new frame! This is going to be the showcase frame styling for the Legends in the set! Even the common and uncommon legends will get this treatment!
Now one thing to note here, the new legends that are in this set can show up in these new frames in addition to their normal frames, but the 32 reprinted legends will only show up in this showcase frame.
Another REALLY sweet thing that's coming is a new type of foiling for the showcase framed legends, Etched Foiling. They ended up showing off one of these on a video for you to see over on Good Morning Magic, which you can see here. The Foiling on this looks stunning! While Gavin said that from a feel perspective it doesn't feel much different than a normal foil, the textured look gives the cards some more pop and it looks really sick.
The other really cool piece of art that was shown off was the special promo art for Sengir, the Dark Baron, which was done by Pete Venters, the Original artist of Baron Sengir. Here is that card
This version is a promo and will be available at pre-releases and other special events.
The last of the cards previewed today are the Enemy Battlebond lands!
Yup! The last 5 lands in this cycle which was introduced in Battlebond, are finally coming to us in Commander Legends. They also can be in the extended art forms as well, which are available in Collectors Boosters.
Yes, there are Collectors Boosters, but they didn't go into too much on that, other than those will be 15 card packs rather than 20 cards, since those aren't mean to be included in the draft experience of this set. Another product that they didn't talk about, but that Gavin mentioned in his video yesterday was that there will be 2 precon commander decks for this set, with 3 new cards each that will not be in the main set.
White in Commander
The other topic that they covered this morning was the color White in Commander. There has been a LOT of talk about white and how it's the weakest of the colors in commander. They hear the feedback loud and clear and are making strides to bring up the power level of White cards over all going forward. A few things that they have been discussing as baseline improvements are things like more card draw for white. They mentioned Mangara, the Diplomat (from Core 2021), as a model for how they will be approaching card draw for white in the future. They also said they were looking at having cards that allowed for persistent or recurring threats and permanents, alternate win conditions, and some form of ramp. With these design changes, they also may be adjusting aspects of white as a color identity as far as cards that they can print go. This is a process that will take years to implement in full, not months, so it'll be a trickle effect, but they did preview one more card that's going to be in Commander Legends that takes advantage of some of these ideals, in Keeper of the Accord.
Now that's a pretty powerful creature right there. Note that these effects triggers on EACH opponent's end step. With Keeper of the Accord, you can keep up with the ramp decks by getting more lands directly into play, and also build a board of tokens that can be great for buffing or chump blocking. If this is the kind of card that we're looking to get in the future, white is looking like it's going to be able to fight it's way back into fray and reclaim it's share of the color pie. Important Information
With that, that's all of the cards and information that has been released, except for the most important information of all: Release Date and Pricing. The release date for these two products are as follows: Commander Collection Green releases on December 4th, 2020 and Commander Legends Releases on November 6th, 2020. Expect the Precons to also release around this time. As for pricing, they didn't say anything about Commander Collection Green, but for Commander Legends the price per pack will be more than a normal booster, but less than a commander product. My expectation is that the price will be somewhere between $7 and $10 per pack, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was around $15 a pack as well.
You can read more about these cards in their respective articles on the mothership below:
Thank you guys so much for sticking with me! There's so much to unpack here and I'm excited for more previews to come in the future! Be sure to check out Channel Fireball's Twitch page for Commandfest Online Matches today and tomorrow! This event is a charity event, with donations going towards the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund so definitely check that out! There's some cool Donation incentives that will effect the commander games that are going on during the stream! You can also check out more info about Commanderfest Online here.
Be sure to also drop a comment below on your thoughts about these two products, what cards you're excited for and if you're going to pick up some of these cards. Be sure to check out our Youtube Channel for video content from myself and other TSJ Staff. Join our Discord if you're looking for an awesome magic community, and consider becoming a patron if you love what we're doing and want to support us! There's some awesome things coming down the pipeline so you'll want to be tuned in for that! Thanks for reading and we'll see you next time!