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Funning For Your Playgroup: Silver-Bordered Cards in Gold and Artifacts Appropriate for Commander

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This article is the final part in the Funning For Your Playgroup series, which explores silver-bordered cards appropriate for Commander. Un- cards offer a lot to a casual Commander playgroup with a strong social contract. Unfortunately, there is only one multicolored card suitable for a rules update in the Un- sets. There are quite a few more artifacts that are far more interesting though.

Multicolored

”Ach! Hans, Run!” 2RRGG
Enchantment
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may name a creature card, search your library for the named card, and reveal it. If you do, put that card onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library. That creature gains haste until end of turn. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step.

With mana ramp being the abusive mechanic in Commander, “Ach! Hans, Run!” may fit the Rules Committee’s banning heuristic for failing to create “variable interactive and epic multiplayer games.” With the ability to repeatedly Tooth and Nail that will enable “ubiquitous, frequently overwhelming, and repetitive” gameplay, this card should probably not be included in Commander.

Artifact

Giant Fan 4
Artifact
2, T: Move a counter from one target nontoken permanent to another target nontoken permanent. If the second nontoken permanent’s rules text refers to any type of counters, the moved counter becomes one of those counters. Otherwise, it becomes a +1/+1 counter.

Quite possibly one of the most desirable of effects for casual players is the ability to generate or move around counters. Giant Fan fits this perfectly without unbalancing a game state effectively functioning as a second Coretapper in a counter-generating deck.

 

Jack-in-the-Mox 0
Artifact
T: Roll a six-sided die. If you roll a 1, sacrifice Jack-in-the-Mox and you lose 5 life. Otherwise, Jack-in-the-Mox one of the following effects:
2 — Add W to your mana pool.
3 — Add U to your mana pool.
4 — Add B to your mana pool.
5 — Add R to your mana pool.
6 — Add G to your mana pool.

The Moxen are banned in Commander, but Mana Crypt is legal in multiplayer Commander for reasons unclear. (This is possibly because Mana Crypt is banned, legal only in Vintage and casual play. It should also be noted that Mana Crypt is banned in the French one-on-one Commander deck building rules.) Since this is a Mox with randomness, fails utterly 17% of the time, and has a five-color color identity, it may be closer to the Mana Crypt example than the Moxen example and merits inclusion in Commander. Playgroups will have to test and see if it is unbalancing in their environments.

Jack-in-the-Mox is one of the other marque cards from Unglued and is a collector and fan favorite. Despite the difficulties in acquiring them through trading, they’re readily available online for purchase and are particularly cheap through eBay.

 

Mana Screw 1
Artifact
1: Flip a coin. If you win the flip, add 2 to your mana pool. Activate this ability only any time you could cast an instant.

Coin flipping or chaos decks will love this card.

 

Paper Tiger 4
Artifact Creature – Cat
Rock Lobsters can’t attack or block.
4/3

 

Rock Lobster 4
Artifact Creature – Crab
Scissors Lizards can’t attack or block.
4/3

 

Rod of Spanking 1
Artifact
2, T: Rod of Spanking deals 1 damage to target player.

This card is just a better Telim’Tor’s Darts without the verbal mechanic some might find uncomfortable or embarrassing.

 

Scissors Lizard 4
Artifact Creature – Lizard
Paper Tigers can’t attack or block.
4/3

 

Spatula of the Ages 4
Artifact
4, T, Sacrifice Spatula of the Ages: Put an artifact, creature, enchantment, or land originally printed in the Unglued expansion from your hand onto the battlefield.

 

Time Machine 5
Artifact
T: Exile Time Machine and target nontoken creature you own. At the beginning of your your turn X of the next game you play with the same opponent, where X is the exiled creature’s converted mana cost, put all cards exiled this way onto the battlefield. (Time Machine and the creature stay exiled between games with that same opponent.)

Very much like the Double cards, Time Machine is strategically interesting in that it can create a tension for the next game that again cares not for what happens between games, which includes changing to a different deck. Mechanically, despite being a Quicksilver Amulet-type ability, Time Machine doesn’t exactly ramp the creature into play, just makes it consistently show up on a particular turn semi-appropriate for its mana cost.

 

Togglodyte 3
Artifact Creature – Golem
Togglodyte enters the battlefield with an on counter.
Whenever a player casts a spell, if Togglodyte has an on counter, remove that counter.
Whenever a player casts a spell, if Togglodyte does not have an on counter, put an on counter on it.
If Togglodyte does not have an on counter, it can’t attack or block and prevent all damage it would deal.
4/4

 

Urza’s Contact Lenses 0
Artifact
Urza’s Contact Lenses enters the battlefield tapped and does not untap during its controller’s untap step.
As long as Urza’s Contact Lenses is untapped, all players play with their hands revealed.
0: Tap or untap Urza’s Contact Lenses.

Basalt Monolith isn’t banned with Mesmeric Orb in the format, so it’s logical to assume the Urza’s Contact Lenses can be allowed into Commander as a Telepathy variant.

 

Urza’s Hot Tub 2
Artifact
2, Discard a card: Search your library for a card that has the same name as the discarded card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

This may have a place in a Mishra, Artificer Prodigy that wants to do weird rules shenanigans, but generally it will be “unusable in Commander” like Squadron Hawk, Skyshroud Sentinel, and other similar cards.

 

Urza’s Science Fair Project 6
Artifact Creature – Construct
2: Roll a six-sided die. Urza’s Science Fair Project has one of the following effects:
1 — Urza’s Science Fair Project gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
2 — Urza’s Science Fair Project deals no combat damage this turn.
3 — Urza’s Science Fair Project gains vigilance until end of turn.
4 — Urza’s Science Fair Project gains first strike until end of turn.
5 — Urza’s Science Fair Project gains flying until end of turn.
6 — Urza’s Science Fair Project gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
4/4

With a 33% chance to have a negative effect and plenty of better artifact creatures available at the six-mana slot in Commander, Urza’s Science Fair Project will only see play in chaos-themed decks.

 

Water Gun Balloon Game 2
Artifact
Whenever a player casts a spell, that player gets a pop! counter.
Whenever a player has five pop! counters, that player puts a 5/5 colorless Giant Teddy Bear creature token onto the battlefield and remove all pop! counters from all players.

Water Gun Balloon Game is extremely powerful in decks like Talrand, Sky Summoner, as yet another way to generate creature tokens by playing lots of cheap spells. Unfortunately, since pink isn’t an officially recognized color in Magic, it’s best to make the Giant Teddy Bear tokens colorless under modern design templating.

 

World-Bottling Kit 5
Artifact
5, Sacrifice World-Bottling Kit: Choose a Magic expansion. Exile all permanents originally printed in that expansion, except for basic lands. (Token creatures and counters created by that expansion’s cards are not removed.)

Similar to Apocalypse Chime, World-Bottling Kit is an expensive way to get rid of pesky non-commander permanents with hexproof or shroud. However, the ability to consistently gain card or resource advantage for ten mana in an Eternal-based singleton format by nailing more than one permanent from the same expansion is unlikely. As such, it is most likely still better to just build around sacrifice effects or cards such as All Is Dust and other board wipes.

 And Then There Was Un-

Since it is unlikely that Wizards of the Coast will ever need to standardize the Un- sets tournament legality, here is a .pdf file of the Oraclized Un- Set Visual Spoiler. This is simply a quick reference guide for anyone interested—it is not intended to be used as actual cards. Instead, it serves as an electronic file to be easily accessible on a portable device by interested parties in conjunction with the Commander social contract.

It is clear that the Un- cards will ask a playgroup to make some adjustments. However, the vast majority of playable Un- cards add enough to the game to merit their inclusion. With a proper social contract in place, newer players can find very interesting and potentially powerful effects for their decks at budget prices. Older players who have these Un- cards just sitting in their collections for years would finally have an opportunity and excuse to sleeve up and play. Despite the Commander Rules Committee’s stance on the sets, give the Un- cards a try and see how they play. If there are any comments, feedback, or personal experiences, please add them below.

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Kirsin Koch

Kirsin Koch

@duneecho     -     Email     -     Articles

Kirsin Koch works as an IT professional and trainer. As a Magic: The Gathering player since Revised in 1994 and one of the original founding members for CasualPlayers.org, he deeply enjoys Commander, Legacy, and Draft.
Kirsin Koch

About the author

Kirsin Koch

@duneecho     -     Email     -     Articles

Kirsin Koch works as an IT professional and trainer. As a Magic: The Gathering player since Revised in 1994 and one of the original founding members for CasualPlayers.org, he deeply enjoys Commander, Legacy, and Draft.

7 comments

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  1. Kirsin Koch

    Feedback from the community suggests the following change:

    Water Gun Balloon Game 2
    Artifact
    Whenever a player casts a spell, that player gets a pop! counter.
    Whenever a player has five pop! counters, that player puts a 5/5 white and red Bear creature token named Giant Teddy Bear onto the battlefield and remove all pop! counters from all players.

  2. Justin

    Great series of articles, lots of awesome gems here, especially for Zedruu. Just following up on our conversation from Twitter:

    For Zedruu, I’m definitely throwing in Clambassadors, Free-For-All, and Psychic Network. I’ve been looking to make Zedruu a little less mean (maybe drop some counters out of it, and some of the really ugly cards, like Pyromancer’s Swatch), so these will be some nice replacements. I ran Checks and Balances and Burning Cinder Fury of Crimson Chaos Fire by my playgroup, and they weren’t too crazy about them, so will hold off on them for now. Maybe I can sway them eventually!

    I also play a sea monster centric Zegana deck, so I’m going to toss in Land Aid’ ’04. As we discussed on Twitter, I’m an opera singer, so this seems too perfect to not include. And I love the suggestion of Bronze Calendar, will definitely find a home for that, maybe in all my Commanders!

    Finally, I run Krenko as a Commander as well, so Goblin Tutor, Mons’s Goblin Waiters, and Yet Another AEther Vortex will be finding a home in there. Thanks again for this series, really awesome!

  3. Kirsin Koch

    I think Checks and Balances is probably despite their hesitation fine simply because requiring two to three other players to continually discard a card to Force of Will can be quite a resource drain. There are going to be many times where one of those two to three other players simply won’t have the card to pitch while simultaneously advancing their own board state. Hoping to discard to “counter all the things!” simply can’t be a viable strategy, especially when that strategy can be used by the rest of the table against you. I plan on testing it out in my Oloro deck and will update this with any results. Free-for-All is similarly in my Oloro deck as an enchantment-based creature board wipe (the deck plays as Opalescence/Replenish control deck), but I haven’t gotten to play it yet.

    Also, wow, Pyromancer’s Swath is horribly mean in a Zedruu deck! For some reason that just never clicked for me and the only Zedruu build I ever played against didn’t include it. I can see Burning Cinder Fury of Crimson Chaos Fire being too advantageous in a Zedruu build. By the way, I am glad to see your playgroup is utilizing the social contract.

    Also, thanks to you I just caught another fix I’ll have to make. Here’s a corrected card and I’ll see if I can get the visual spoiler updated to the correct text and post and update to you in the comments here:

    Psychic Network U
    Enchantment
    Any player may look at the top card of another players’s library at any time.

    My previous interpretation failed to let teammates look at other teammates’ top of the library and that’s not correct. It needs to be more similar to Field of Dreams.

    Clearly, We Are The World or Everybody Wants To Rule The World should be sung while searching for Land Aid ’04.

  4. Justin

    Good points about Checks and Balances – I ordered one, regardless, so I’m sure they’ll be fine with me taking it for a spin once. Let me know how it goes with Oloro!

    Pyromancer’s Swath is horribly mean, there is no doubt. So far, the intention has been to use it as a last resort/way to police the game/when I’m about to win, and no one has complained, but I’ve been looking to replace it and make Zedruu a little more “greathearted” for a while. I think cards like this will make the deck more fun and less control-ly (well, still fairly control-ly, heheh). Yeah, the social contract works great for us! We basically just go off the official ban list, and then make adjustments from there. Everyone is generally cool with using banned cards every once and a while as long as they aren’t abused.

    Yep, “We Are the World” sounds pretty much perfect. I suppose I could also take requests from the other players. I think a whole tradition could rise up around this card.

    Just a P.S., my regular playmate mentioned that using Frankie Peanuts (http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Card/Details.aspx?multiverseid=73950) as a General could make for some pretty interesting games.

  5. Kirsin Koch

    There are some interesting discussions and articles out there regarding Frankie Peanuts that are worth looking at:
    http://community.wizards.com/forum/magic-general/threads/2060881
    http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/as61 (relates to sixty and four casual deck construction, but still is interesting)

    From the Unhinged FAQTIWDAWCC (http://www.wizards.com/magic/tcg/article.aspx?x=magic/faq/unhinged):
    “What happens if you give an answer and then something happens that keeps you from doing what you said?

    Note the words “if able” in the ability. You have to abide by the answer if able.

    Must the question be about a game-related item?

    No, but please be aware that the question shouldn’t be about anything that your opponent(s) would find objectionable.”

    The only reason I skipped on Frankie Peanuts is the verbal mechanic component. Since that is not an aspect that is normally a required part of the game and something everyone normally has to be comfortable with to play, it was something those on the bleeding edge of the social contract like your group already have worked out for yourselves.

    For all the available legendary creatures in Unglued/Unhinged, consider:
    Frankie Peanuts (without the verbal mechanic, he’s only a 2/3 for 2WW, but works for rhox tribal decks)
    Johnny, Combo Player (included in the articles, but probably broken as a commander)
    Richard Garfield, Ph.D. (skipped in the articles due to some people not being comfortable with Mental Magic, but is there for players who don’t want to run his alternative card Phelddagrif – http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mf15)
    Jalum Grifter (skipped in the initial article due to a physical mechanic component)
    Timmy, Power Gamer (included in the article and as a mono-green commander, Quicksilver Amulet on a stick without haste is good, but fair and requires a warping the deck around additional card draw for creatures)

    Black is the only color in Unglued/Unhinged that did not get a legendary creature that could possibly serve as a commander.

  6. Justin

    Thanks Kirsin, great points here! My regular playmate is putting together a Frankie deck. We’ll let you know how it goes! We’ve started filming all of our matches, so maybe we’ll do a special “Un-Episode”, where we both crack out silver bordered cards.

  7. Kirsin Koch

    Definitely send me a message with a link to the game play if anything interesting turns up. I’d like to see.

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