Commander Legends Set Review - Green
(Apex Devastator | Art by Svetlin Velinov)
Big, Green, and Angry
Welcome to the EDHREC set review for green in Commander Legends. There are a lot of cards to talk about, so let's get right into it.
Kamahl, Heart of Krosa
The first thing I noticed about Kamahl, Heart of Krosa was his mana cost. Eight mana is a lot, but Kamahl works best when you have plenty of lands in play. Pair him with another green Partner, like Kodama of the East Tree or Thrasios, Triton Hero, to help get extra lands into play, and then make them into 4/4 creatures with haste, indestructible, vigilance, and trample with Kamahl, Heart of Krosa's two effects. Kamahl will only let you attack with a third of your lands, though, so including Jolrael, Empress of Beasts and Sylvan Advocate helps make sure you can deal enough damage.
Kamahl will also reward you for branching out into white and going as wide as possible with tokens. Big spells like White Sun's Zenith and Finale of Glory will give you a scary board very quickly. Finale of Glory in particular is useful if you Partner Kamahl with Akroma, Vision of Ixidor, since each token comes in with at least one keyword. The new Akroma is also a good Partner for a ramp deck. She and Kamahl combine to make your lands into 8/8s during combat. You could also use Prava, of the Steel Legion for a mana outlet in the command zone, and an extra buff for creature tokens. Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder is another good candidate for this strategy, and gives us access to red for multiple combats.
Kamahl, Heart of Krosa triggers at the beginning of combat on our turn, buffing your whole team by three for each successive combat step. Even if we can't make infinite combat steps, Kamahl can make sure that just one or two is enough to end the game. We can even stack the extra power with Moraug, Fury of Akoum, especially since we're going to need to be ramping a lot in order to cast Kamahl. Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh is a good candidate for a Gruul pairing as a free attacker with good keywords, while Tana, the Bloodsower helps you go wide.
Apex Devastator is a very big, very silly card. Sitting at ten mana, Apex Devastator will let you Cascade into just about any spell you can imagine. This Chimera Hydra is obviously great in any deck that cares about Cascade. Both Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty and Averna, the Chaos Bloom will love this many-headed friend. I usually think of Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder as having a much lower mana curve, but it could be fun to stack as many instances of Cascade onto Apex Devastator as possible. If you use Jodah, Archmage Eternal as your commander, you could have Mealstrom Nexus, Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder, and Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty active at the same time, for a total count of seven Cascade triggers for five mana.
Apex Devastator could also find its way into decks that play individually powerful cards that reliably hit ten mana. In particular, I'd expect to see this in Temur and Sultai "goodstuff" decks, although Naya and Jund creature decks could certainly find a spot for it as well. Animar, Soul of Elements offers a steep discount, possibly casting Apex Devastator for two mana. For Sultai, Damia, Sage of Stone is often built as a big mana deck that plays powerful spells that you'll never mind finding off a quadruple Cascade. Apex Devastator is also a fantastic hit when you activate Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, and is a great place to use the ten mana that Ramos, Dragon Engine creates.
Reshape the Earth
Reshape the Earth feels a lot like Scapeshift. In a dedicated lands deck, Scapeshift will almost always search for at least ten lands, and enables the same combos as Reshape the Earth for roughly half the mana cost. The two cards have the same effect, but they are very different in the ways they achieve it. Sacrificing your lands can come with hefty risks, especially if you know that your opponents might respond with Aven Mindcensor or Opposition Agent. Reshape the Earth avoids those risks, and actually ramps you on your next turn, where Scapeshift leaves you with the same number of lands in play. Reshape will have a place as a redundant mass land search spell, but it will really shine in Ramp decks with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and Field of the Dead as payoffs. A Temur deck with Thrasios, Triton Hero and Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith will be right at home with Reshape the Earth at the top of its curve.
Reshape the Earth is also great for Maze's End decks. With Golos, Tireless Pilgrim as the commander you can find Maze's End early, and then immediately get all ten Gates you need to win the game. You might also choose to play that deck with Jodah, Archmage Eternal as the commander to cast Reshape the Earth for only five mana. Even if you don't plan on assembling a game-ending combo with Reshape the Earth, it will also find a spot in most Landfall or lands matter decks. Tatyova, Benthic Druid and Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait will both draw you a ton of cards. You can also use Archelos, Lagoon Mystic to have all ten lands come into play untapped. If one of those happens to be Mystic Sanctuary, then you can put Reshape the Earth back on top of your library to do it all over again.
Kodama of the East Tree
Kodama of the East Tree is an incredibly flexible card. It clearly fits quite easily into big stompy decks, whether you are playing creatures, enchantments, artifacts, or even planeswalkers. A better home for it, though, is in reanimator decks. If you cast Reanimate to bring back Vilis, Broker of Blood with Kodama of the East Tree in play, you can then immediately drop Kokusho, the Evening Star from your hand. This helps when a big creature would otherwise be stuck in your hand for several more turns, and puts a ton of pressure on your opponents. Ravos, Soultender is the perfect Partner for this strategy. If you also want to put extra lands into play alongside your big creatures, Tormod, the Desecrator will create a Zombie token alongside each reanimated creature to put a land into play with the Kodama's trigger.
Notably, Kodama of the East Tree also triggers when you play lands. Kodama's Reach will put two lands into play, one of them untapped. Bounce lands also come in for free, since you can put the land you bounce back into play. If you make a token, you can put a land into play for free alongside it. Field of the Dead and a Simic Growth Chamber go infinite with Kodama in play, since the Growth Chamber will bounce itself only for the Field of the Dead Zombie to trigger Kodama of the East Tree over and over again. Pair Kodama of the East Tree with Vial Smasher, the Fierce or Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist for access to Impact Tremors and as many bounce lands as possible.
Magus of the Order
Continuing the "Magus of" cycle, Magus of the Order is a creature version of Natural Order. Natural Order is an ever-so-slightly absurd card that lets you trade an Elvish Mystic for Craterhoof Behemoth, or Razaketh, the Foulblooded, or any other creature you can think of. According to the data on EDHREC, Natural Order is played most in Green combo decks, like Varolz, the Scar Striped, to put Protean Hulk into play, and Rhys the Redeemed, to get Craterhoof Behemoth or Regal Force.
Magus of the Order is likely a turn too slow for more optimized decks, though. It will shine not as a combo-enabler, but as an additional Fiend Artisan in creature-based toolbox decks. It feeds Meren of Clan Nel Toth experience counters, and fills your graveyard for Karador, Ghost Chieftain. Kenrith, the Returned King can easily give Magus of the Order haste and is a versatile leader for reanimator decks.
Because Birthing Pod and Yisan, the Wanderer Bard chain their way up mana costs, there is pressure to end the game before you reach the top of your curve. Magus of the Order doesn't have that restriction, so you can perfectly respond to the needs of the game. No other card will let you go from Fyndhorn Elves to Acidic Slime and back down to Beast Whisperer so easily.
Kamahl's Will lets you choose between making your lands into 1/1 Elemental creatures with vigilance, indestructible, and haste, or having each creature you control deal damage equal to its power to a creature you don't control. If you have a commander in play, you can choose both. Turning your lands into creatures has several uses, including combos with Village Bell-Ringer, and a backup plan in Ramp decks like Radha, Heart of Keld. Tana, the Bloodsower decks could combo Kamahl's Will with Marton Stromgald to turn a wide board of tokens huge. And, of course, this works well with Kamahl, Heart of Krosa.
The fight mode on this spell is neat, but not the reason to play it. Kamahl's Will doesn't provide you with draws from Neyith of the Dire Hunt, so I think this fits better into decks that want it for the first mode and that can occasionally make use of the second.
Biowaste Blob is an interesting variant on Scute Swarm, growing exponentially with each new copy buffing every other copy as they go. The best place for Biowaste Blob is in decks that want to abuse tokens, such as Riku, of Two Reflections or the new Sakashima of a Thousand Faces. There are also some fun creature stacks you could replicate in a Mutate deck helmed by Otrimi, the Ever-Playful or Brokkos, Apex of Forever. As the only Ooze lord, as far as I know, it will also definitely fit into any Ooze-themed The Mimeoplasm decks. The tribe has been getting more and more support in recent sets, so I won't be surprised to see those decks popping up in the wild soon.
Court of Bounty
Being the Monarch always feels great, but Commander Legends comes with a cycle of enchantments to make it even better. Court of Bounty is great for Ramp decks, letting you put extra lands into play and potentially dropping your creatures for free. Mayael the Anima might appreciate that, and Jared Carthalion, True Heir definitely will. Court of Bounty is among the best ways for Jared to reclaim his throne. And of course group hug decks will be able to make great use of this card. Using Propaganda effects to protect the Monarch token is already a solid game plan, and each Court makes that strategy stronger. An Abzan deck also gives you access to Court of Grace and Court of Ambition as potential win conditions, perhaps with Anafenza, the Foremost as a commander.
This is a strange ramp card. It could be right at home in a Group Hug decks but could draw more attention than you'd like. Players tend to dislike effects that steal permanents, and lands are especially sacred in Commander. Rootweaver Druid will let each player ramp by two, and they can choose not to, so it should avoid some of those bad feelings, but that will vary player by player. The search being optional is important to remember, though, in case anyone is planning to follow this with Opposition Agent.
Rootweaver Druid does combo nicely with Agent of Treachery, however. Agent of Treachery shows up often in Yarok, the Desecrated and Roon of the Hidden Realm decks, so the Druid might find a home there. Overall, though, all players have to do is agree not to search and this card will be quite disappointing to play.
Anara, Wolvid Familiar
Anara, Wolvid Familiar lets you turn any other Partner into Zurgo Helmsmasher. She offers excellent support to an aggressive deck when paired with Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder or Akiri, Line-Slinger, where the addition of green adds much needed ramp and card draw. Anara also pairs with the other keyword soup commanders in the set, Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh and Falthis, Shadowcat Familiar. I think she works best with Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder, though, so you get access to the best board wipes, and Equipment tutors to swing with Worldslayer while keeping your commanders on the field.
Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood
Green is the color of big creatures and even bigger mana. Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood celebrates this by rewarding you every time you cast a spell which costs six or more. Gilanra has potential as a Partner for Brinelin, the Moon Kraken, but could also find a spot in Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma decks. You might also consider Gilanra if you are going to build a Cascade deck with Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty or Averna, the Chaos Bloom at the helm. Getting a free spell, a land from your library, and drawing a card off of Sweet-Gum Recluse is a lot of extra value.
If you'd rather just play aggressively and attack, Dargo, the Shipwrecker and Sengir, the Dark Baron are both big enough to draw you a card. Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder is another option to make an aggressive deck. Naya has a lot of great creatures to choose from, and Bruse makes sure they deal a lot of damage very quickly.
Halana, Kessig Ranger
Halana, Kessig Ranger is a great card for fight-based strategies. She fits right into Neyith of the Dire Hunt and Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma, both of which want to fight and play big creatures. Halana also synergizes with Alena, Kessig Trapper to power out one big creature by casting another. Gruul is a great color combination for Halana, Kessig Ranger, giving you access to haste and trample for your big creatures, which she lets clear out any potential blockers as they enter play. Playing a tribal deck opens up the possibility of utilizing Mana Echoes to always be able to pay for Halana's ability. Dragons are probably the best choice, thanks to Lathliss, Dragon Queen and Utvara Hellkite. Terror of the Peaks slots in nicely as well to throw extra damage around, either to take out any creatures bigger than your Dragons, or to put pressure on life totals.
Numa, Joraga Chieftain
Elves take up the Golgari colors in Commander Legends, with green being represented by Numa, Joraga Chieftain. While you can spread the +1/+1 counters across your creatures, they will have a bigger impact if they're stacked onto key creatures. Marwyn the Nurturer and Gyre Sage can create monstrous amounts of mana, and Joraga Warcaller will pump the rest of your team for each counter it gets. To make sure you have as many Elves as possible, pair Numa, Joraga Chieftain with Nadier, Agent of the Duskenel. Every time Nadier leaves play you make a 1/1 Elf Warrior token equal to Nadier's power, which works perfectly alongside the +1/+1 counters from Numa. Numa's trigger only happening at the beginning of combat limits your ability to do anything too crazy, although, with the help of Ashnod's Altar and Nim Deathmantle, perhaps, although both cards should go into a Numa/Nadier Partner deck anyway.
Moving on to another commander that cares about +1/+1 counters, we've got another Ooze. If you focus on going wide and spreading your +1/+1 counters out over your tokens evenly, Slurrk, All-Ingesting might be a decent Partner for Numa, Joraga Chieftain. A more effective Partner might be Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor, who allows you to sacrifice your creatures on your own terms. Throwing three creatures into the graveyard at once gives the rest of your creatures an immediate three power boost at instant speed. That is a neat little Overrun that also draws a couple cards.
Alharu, Solemn Ritualist could be another decent Partner for Slurrk. They help get counters onto your other creatures, and also have a relevant ability that triggers when a creature with a +1/+1 counter on it dies. Reyhan, Last of the Abzan is a temping Partner as well, but white cards like Cathars' Crusade and Felidar Retreat are almost too powerful to leave out.
Slurrk also fits into Nethroi, Apex of Death decks that seek to reanimate a large number of zero-power creatures all at once, along with Biowaste Blob. This giant Ooze could also find a home in Yannik, Scavenging Sentinel and Nikara, Lair Scavenger Aristocrat decks as another source of +1/+1 counters for your board.
Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer
Splicers are an interesting concept, and ideas for Splicer Tribal (technically Golem tribal) decks have been floating around for a little while now. Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer finally gives us the perfect commander for this strategy. Not only does it create the all-important 3/3 Golem artifact creature tokens, it rewards us for sacrificing those tokens. You'll want to pair Ich-Tekik with a white commander to gain access to most of the other Splicers and the flicker support to be found in Selesnya colors. Akiri, Line-Slinger is an excellent choice, as she will also grow alongside your Golem army. If you'd rather focus on graveyard interactions, Ravos, Soultender will let you play blink and reanimator, and also functions as an anthem for your tokens.
If your preference is to play artifacts rather than tribal, then you might consider Armix, Filigree Thrasher or Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor. Keskit can make excellent use of the Golem tokens to feed your graveyard and grow Ich-Tekik. On the other hand, Armix doesn't benefit from the Golem tokens, but Ich-Tekik doesn't need the artifacts hitting the grave to be tokens, either. A Golgari Krark-Clan Ironworks deck is certainly not something I have seen before, but it seems like a real possibility now.
Cascade, Cascade, Cascade, Cascade
And that brings us to the end. There are a couple of great reprints in this set, including Three Visits, which I am very excited for but didn't have the space to talk about. I'm also excited to see very powerful cards mixed in with lower-powered, more unique cards that open up new possibilities. These include Golgari artifact decks, and a number of different Naya Equipment decks. What decks are you looking to brew with the new cards? Some new Partner pair, or are you just adding to existing decks? Let me know in the comments!