Welcome everybody to the Command Valley. My name is Kaleb and today we are going to be talking about some of the brand new cards from Core Set 2021! We’re going to be covering the same cards that Landon and Griffin already covered in our latest podcast episode, so feel free to listen to the audio or check out the video below. If you haven’t already, please subscribe to us on YouTube and turn on notifications so that you can always stay up to date with our latest deck techs, set reviews, and gameplay videos. We super appreciate all of our subscribers and we hope you’ll subscribe, too.
Now, we didn’t want to spend too much time going over every single card in the set. So, we’re specifically covering the new cards from Core Set 2021 that we think will make a splash in the commander scene and we’ll talk a little bit about what kind of decks you could play them in. These are just our opinions and we don’t claim to know everything but we’re here to help give you ideas. Let’s start with the mythics.
Our first card is a brand new planeswalker called Basri Ket. He is the new mono-white planeswalker from the plane Ammonkhet–here to take Gideon’s place–and he’s got some cool abilities. This is a great card in any deck built around +1/+1 counters or the specific type of token he creates with his -2 ability. The first deck we all thought of that might want to run Basri was Peter’s new Winota, Joiner of Forces deck that is absolutely brutal. Basri’s -2 ability is great for getting more creatures to trigger Winota. He’s definitely not an auto-include in every white deck, but if it’s creature-heavy and/or really swingy, he just might slot in perfectly.
Chandra, Heart of Fire
Our next card is Chandra, Heart of Fire and she is comin’ in hot with some fantastic new art and some interesting abilities. She definitely seems a little more pushed for 1v1/limited play; however, if you are running a deck that cares about discarding cards, her first +1 ability might be something you’re looking for. Rielle, the Everwise, another new commander from Ikoria, is just the type of commander looking to benefit off of Chandra’s ability to discard your hand because you’ll get to draw the same amount of cards off of Rielle and then still get the bonus three cards off the top of your library from Chandra’s ability until the end of the turn.
Next up is Chromatic Orrery. I’ve been running a Jodah, Archmage Eternal deck since right before it even came out and it’s one of my favorite, more casual decks to play. Every ability on this card makes me want to play it in Jodah and with him on the field is almost like it’s free to cast because it can immediately tap for another five mana that can be used to cast whatever I want thanks to Jodah’s ability. In a five-color deck, the ability to draw a card for each color among permanents you control is fantastic.
Other decks I could see this card being perfect for are Kruphix, Eldrazi decks (like Kozilek, the Great Distortion), any artifact decks with affinity, and any other five-color deck. One thing to note is that this is NOT an auto-include in every deck as ramp. In 99% of decks, you don’t really want to be ramping once you’ve gotten to seven mana but early in the game.
Discontinuity is an interesting card. It is Time Stop meets Sundial of the Infinite. There are some cards in red and white that could benefit from being able to end the turn whenever you want for example Final Fortune–which is not really great but it is something you can do. You could Stifle your opponents’ fetchland while also ending the turn if you really felt like it. It could be used as a really expensive, pseudo counterspell that happens to ends the turn while your opponent has a spell on the stack. It can also be an extra turn spell if you play it on your opponents’ upkeep when it’s down to just you and them. I would really only use this in a deck that I know I am going to be able to abuse it even though being able to end the turn out of nowhere is a really powerful effect.
Fiery Emancipation is one of my favorite new cards from the set even though I don’t think it is one of the best. There is NOTHING bad about playing this card if you are the mono-red deck looking to burn down everything and everyone in your path, or the Gruul player that ramps into the biggest, baddest fatties faster than what should be allowed. Nothing bad about playing it EXCEPT that having this on the field is like painting a target on your back.
I absolutely love this for my super janky mono-red lifegain deck with Jaya Ballard, Task Mage at the helm (don’t knock it till you try it). But it would probably do even better in a deck like Heartless Hidetsugu–not to mention he is the character with the best lore in MTG history–or any other commander that you know can win you the game with this on the field because you will always have access to them.
Other decks to consider putting this in are Brion Stoutarm, Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded, and Purphoros, God of the Forge. Cards to use to win with Fiery Emancipation are Comet Storm, Chandra’s Ignition, and cards like Guttersnipe. In the end, I personally think the best use of this card is going to be in a Gruul deck as an Overrun effect to immediately win you the game after casting it.
My boy Garruk is back! He’s free of his curse and ready to trample in for the win. Well, maybe. Garruk protects himself really well with his -2 ability that is sometimes just a -1 and creating that token is really good in decks that want to create tokens like Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice, Ghired, Conclave Exile, Rhys the Redeemed, and, one of my favorite decks, Thromok the Insatiable.
Slotting him in to try and get to that ultimate probably isn’t the best thing to do–you may as well play Tooth and Nail instead–unless you are playing a deck with lots of proliferate, like Atraxa, or ways to immediately accelerate his loyalty. That emblem is very powerful; thus, making it super tempting to run in any deck with creatures. Just be sure you’ll be able to get there if that’s why you want to play it.
Grim Tutor is finally getting a long-awaited reprint–yes I said we’d talk about new cards, but this card was previously so rare that it’s basically a new card–and it’s got some absolutely gorgeous new art. I especially love that borderless, alternate art version which I was lucky enough to open in my prerelease box (I may or may not have cried tears of pure joy). You may have noticed that this is just a worse Demonic Tutor. And yeah, you’re right. But Demonic Tutor has been reprinted into oblivion and still holds a much higher price than I think this card will (I am not an expert, don’t quote me) making this a great “budget” option in place of Demonic Tutor OR just some really great redundancy in a deck that already runs Demonic Tutor. I hope you all get this card and love it.
Liliana, Waker of the Dead
As a necromancer myself, I am absolutely biased when I say I love Liliana, Waker of the Dead. But, she is actually a great card to run in any deck that wants to run a Liliana of the Veil, and, in some ways, I almost like her even more than Liliana of the Veil (hear me out). No, I don’t think she is better than the great Liliana of the Veil, but I love that her +1 ability still punishes players that can’t discard cards. In a mono-black deck built around making your opponents discard cards or a graveyard/reanimator deck, that is super spicy. Her -3 ability–despite being conditional–is removal and that makes her flexible. And if by some miracle you can get that ultimate off, that emblem is amazing!
Mangara, the Diplomat
There is a lot we could say about Mangara, the Diplomat. The bottom line is, this is something white definitely needs in our format. While consistent and reliable draw spells in colors like green and blue are going to be more powerful, Mangara does a good job of not totally breaking the color pie to give white what it needs. I wouldn’t run this in every deck that has white, but I would run it in every mono-white deck and Boros deck. You might not see a lot of cards from his first ability, but it’s going to be super common to see opponents casting two or more spells on their turns. It is commander after all. Quick side note, I personally would never run Mangara as my commander–he’s way better in the 99–but if that’s what you want to do there is nothing wrong with that.
Rin and Seri, Inseparable
Rin and Seri, Inseparable is going to become one of the most beloved commanders of all time in my opinion. Head to our channel to check out Griffin’s deck tech (which he dedicated to Momo, his dog) and stay tuned for a future gameplay video featuring this sweet new buy-a-box promo as Griffin’s commander. This is one of the few dual-tribal commanders out there and it’s currently the only one to be centered around cats and dogs. There are tons and tons of cats in these colors. Sadly, there are not a lot of dogs right now, but we’re sure to see more in future sets not only this set and Jump Start. Note that all creatures with the creature type “hound” are now dogs.
Terror of the Peaks
Terror of the Peaks is an absolutely fantastic dragon. Basically, any deck that plays and/or combos with Impact Tremors, Warstorm Surge, Purphoros, God of the Forge will want to play this and will combo with Terror of the Peaks. Putting infinite creatures into play with this bad boy on the field is going to let you deal infinite damage to your opponents. This can also deal damage to creatures which is super flexible and makes up for the fact that he is easier to kill than these other cards.
Teferi, Master of Time
Yup, you read Teferi, Master of Time correctly. I was sold before I even read a single loyalty ability on this planeswalker that was born to be played in commander. Being able to loot on every single player’s turns is incredibly powerful. In a game of “archenemy,” you could permanently lock out a commander or other serious creature threat (as long as he does not take any damage). I don’t even need to tell you how insane that ult is, but I will tell you that you can activate it after ONE turn cycle and keep him around (again, as long as he doesn’t take any damage) with a little enchantment called Oath of Teferi.
Some decks to consider playing this powerhouse of a planeswalker in are, of course, Atraxa, Azorius pillow fort and stax decks, and really any blue deck really. He’s just that powerful and all three of his abilities are things you are going to want to do anyway.
Barrin, Tolarian Archmage
Alright, onto the rares. We are going to pick up the pace quite a bit now. Barrin, Tolarian Archmage is going to be a lot better in the 99 than as your commander in my opinion. There are some pretty messed up and broken things you can do with him as your commander, but I really prefer him in the 99. Decks to consider running him in are Yuriko, Naban, and Inalla.
Basri’s Lieutenant has an insane amount of potential. If you have any sort of static ability or way of putting +1/+1 on creatures when they ETB and a sac outlet you can go infinite (Cathars’ Crusade, Good-Fortune Unicorn, Grumgully, the Generous). You could just win with Blood Artist and other cards like it. You could create infinite mana with Ashnod’s Altar or Phyrexian Altar. Mill your opponents out with Altar of Dementia. So, it’s ceiling is quite high and it’s got a pretty good floor, too, thanks to having a good body, pro multicolored (most commanders), and partial board wipe protection. It’s not Luminous Broodmoth, but it’s got potential.
Brash Taunter is so ready to be the second Stuffy Doll in my aforementioned Jaya Ballard deck. The fight mechanic on this guy is SO good. Not to mention, each time it is dealt damage you get to choose where he deals it back to, unlike Stuffy Doll. Fun things you can do with this card are fight your own creatures (enrage dinos or Thromok the Insatiable), play cards like Blasphemous Act or Star of Extinction, and block your opponents’ creatures. Other commanders to play this with include Torbran, Nin, the Pain Artist, Obosh, and Xenagos. I absolutely love this card. I can’t wait to play it (just be careful with creatures that have trample).
Conspicuous Snoop is going to be huge in modern and legacy. But what about our format? There have been some… interesting… cEDH builds floating around. But really, this is going to be going in Krenko and other Goblin Tribal decks. This will be great card advantage in those decks.
In my opinion, the best part about Double Vision is that it says you can copy your first instant or sorcery EACH turn. In some cases, this is just worse than Thousand-Year Storm. But the nice thing is, you don’t have to get your storm count up to copy your spell–you just get one. Together, they are nuts! Basically play this in any spellslinger deck that wants to copy spells and plays other cards like Twincast, Doublecast, Fury Storm, etc. There’s tons of support for copying spells. Commanders that come to mind that would be fun to run this in are Jeleva, Kalamax, and Riku.
Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
Jolrael gives off some major Gavi, Nest Warden vibes but in green. However, Jolrael only costs two mana to cast and she has a way of using the creatures she makes. In green, we’ve got plenty of ways of drawing cards on other players’ turns such as Heartwood Storyteller and Glademuse. There are also artifacts and enchantments that you can dump mana into to draw cards. You’ll most likely only be making cats on your turn, but you can still use that second ability and/or Overrun effects to win the game.
Kaervek, the Spiteful
We may or may not skip this card. It’s not the fact that I am writing this article at 2 AM and want to go to bed or anything. I just can’t imagine a deck that this wouldn’t go into (kidding). It’s definitely better than Elesh Norn (kidding again). Magic players, if you have a way to build this as your commander, please email us, tell us on YouTube or Facebook. Something. Moving on.
Liliana’s Standard Bearer
Liliana’s Standard Bearer has some really good things about it. Número uno, flash. Flash is great! We can play this on our opponents’ turn to get some value off of a Wrath of God. Number two is that his ability counts ALL creatures that died under your control so even tokens will help us draw cards with Liliana’s Standard Bearer. The absolute BEST thing to do with this card is to recur it in a deck like Meren where you can bring it back to the battlefield over and over again to get more and more value out of it.
Peer into the Abyss
Not only is the art on Peer into the Abyss absolutely terrifying, but the card itself is in Nekusar deck. This card alone (with Nekusar on the battlefield) will most likely knock out whoever you target it with and if you have ways of copying it or recurring it you can likely kill the entire table. It could also be used as card draw for yourself if you absolutely need it.
Radha, Heart of Keld
Radha, Heart of Keld is super cool in an elf tribal deck or lands matter deck. Being able to play lands from the top of your library is fantastic. Shove this right into your Lord Windgrace decks. I mean, if you want to. It will be pretty good.
Sanctum of All
Peter built an absolutely, janktastic deck with Sisay, Weatherlight Captain as the commander with the goal to get out this and all the other shrines (of which there are 10 others) because now he can. It consistently wins by turn 20 if the rest of us are playing Smash Bros. Here is the list for both cycles of shrines for those of you shrine-lovers like Peter (sorry, no decklist at the moment):
See the Truth
See the Truth was made for decks like Elsha, Kess, and Jeleva. The truth is, any deck that doesn’t have a commander that will allow you to cast this card from somewhere other than your hand basically just makes this card a bad Anticipate and you might as well be playing Anticipate in that case.
Subiru, Tulzidi Caravanner
Subira, Tulzidi Caravanner is a really interesting commander. The fact that Subira gives you the ability to make your small creatures unblockable while also giving you an advantage for them dealing damage is really cool and full of potential. Berserkers’ Onslaught makes it so that your creatures will deal damage twice which would cause Subira to trigger twice each time they get through. Bedlam is also a great enchantment to have because you won’t have to sink mana into her ability to get your guys through anymore. Cards like Torbran and Fiery Emancipation are also sweet in her deck.
Holy options Batman. The only way I’d play this card is if I am certain that I will be getting some sort of reduction on the cost because while providing a lot of options, being able to do all of them at the same time is a total corner case. It’s a fantastic card and the art is dope. Landon will probably play it and we’ll see how it does. Let us know how well it does or doesn’t work for you.
Teferi’s Ageless Insight
I wish Teferi’s Ageless Insight just said each time you would draw a card draw two instead. This is still awesome. If you have a deck that draws a lot of cards especially during other peoples’ turns then this is fantastic. Just imagine having this out with your Consecrated Sphinx (assuming it doesn’t get blown up since it always gets blown up).
Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose
Last, but not least, Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose. We’ve got a deck tech for this commander that you can go check out on our YouTube channel right now if you want. Landon will also be playing this deck in an upcoming gameplay video. Basically, the ceiling on this guy is that he combos with cards like Exquisite Blood and Blood Tribute. Plus, being able to turn lifegain into draining is super powerful.
Thanks so much for checking out this article. We hope that it has been helpful to you as you decide what you want to do with the brand new cards from this stellar Core Set. Please, be sure to check us out on YouTube and subscribe to our channel. It’s completely free and it’s the easiest way to support our ever-growing channel. Thanks!