The Over/Under - A Review of "Unfinity" Commander Predictions

Saw in Half | Art by Sebastian Giacobino

Cue the Laugh Track

Welcome back to The Over/Under, the article series where we predict how popular new commanders will become after a year of circulation. Last year, I guessed whether each Unfinity commander would go Over or Under 600 decks. Time to see how my picks fared.

If you want to walk (or perhaps hover) down memory lane, you can review last year's article here. Otherwise, keep reading, since I'll be referencing last year's analysis throughout. Let's get started!

Overall Impressions

As far as intergalactic comedies go, this one might've been a dud. Where Unstable felt fresh, zany, and fun, Unfinity felt forced to me. The mechanics mostly didn't get there (especially the stickers, which I still don't understand how to use properly), and the milieu felt less like a carnival and more like a cheap boardwalk. Worst of all, it featured mostly commanders that aren't even sanctioned in the format. I thought players might still play many of them—but boy, was I wrong.

If you don't believe my criticisms, believe the numbers:

Compare that to our previous set, Dominaria United, which boasted 98,741 total decks and an average of 1,316 decks per commander. Yes, that's 14 times more decks made.

That said, the set wasn't a complete failure. Though there weren't many Overs, there were still several interesting and unique commanders to choose from. Let's take a closer look.

My Solid Selections

This set had an obvious hit in Magar of the Magic Strings.

Last year's prediction: Over

Final deck count: 2,471

Lots of text, but Magar essentially turns your instants and sorceries into slightly larger Morph creatures that cast themselves when they hit. Last year I commented...

"You'll want to discard impactful yet expensive spells into your graveyard with cards like Faithless Looting."

That's pretty surface level, former self. Then again, it wasn't wrong, either. Just check out Rise of the Eldrazi, In Garruk's Wake, and Breach the Multiverse near the top of the page. Assuming you can make a creature unblockable, Rise actually becomes an auto-win, since you'll get infinite turns and attacks. Jeff Dunham must be so jealous of this ventriloquist.

Our next easy pick also happened to be my Can't-Miss Pick. I get one per set, and it's kind of like a called shot. Fortunately, I called it right.

Last year's prediction: Over (Can't-Miss Pick)

Final deck count: 1,450

Attractions are another mechanic that didn't quite work, in my opinion, yet they're pretty potent when Myra augments them with free spells. Here's what I said last year:

"Myra requires a heck of a lot of tracking, but the payoff is magnificent. You could easily set up multiple attractions, then add efficient yet impactful spells to each, such as Jeska's Will or Preordain."

I probably should've come up with a more impactful spell than Preordain, but you get the idea. Most Myra decks do indeed run it, plus other bangers like Inevitable Betrayal, which must be demoralizing for opponents. If Myra's fair is anything like the New York State Fair in Syracuse, parking's gonna be a nightmare.

Speaking of nightmares, the carnival staff doesn't want to see our third and final Over...

Last year's prediction: Over

Final deck count: 979

You read that right—we only had three Overs in the entire set. That's honestly more like Magic expansions of the past, but with so many commanders per set and such a thriving ecosystem, we usually see bigger numbers. Anyhoo, let's look back at my take on this gamer:

"The Most Dangerous Gamer gets bigger each turn, adds more and more value to the board, and sometimes snipes opposing permanents."

If you couldn't tell by my rather generic analysis, this commander is firmly entrenched in the goodstuff camp, meaning its cards are standalone high-power bangers with little synergy. Granted, you'll see a handful Attraction enablers like Discourtesy Clerk and Coming Attraction, but that's about it.

Now how about our obvious Under picks? We'll start with the Underest Unders I've ever seen.

Last year's predictions: Unders for both

Final deck count: 0 and 0, respectively

I've been writing these articles for five years now, and in those five years, a lot of strange stuff has happened (not least of all the "Storm Area 51" Facebook Event). Now we've got another thing to add to the strangeness: Commanders with zero decks.

Yes, I know neither of them are officially sanctioned. I know neither of them are particularly good (I called Fluros "too finicky" and Nocturno "a fairly arbitrary build-around"). I know some players might not have even realized both these cards have the partner keyword. Yet still, in all my time writing this series, no commander has ever put up a goose egg (except perhaps for The Goose Mother, but that's biology for you). Now we have two such scrubs in the same set. Even Rashka the Slayer has 10 decks, and it's from Homelands.


These next two didn't put up zeros, but they didn't perform very well, either.

Last year's predictions: Unders for both

Final deck count: 2 for both

My thoughts on Katerina were as follows:

"I don't know who or what 'Myra's Marvels' is, but I do know one thing: This card will appeal to cat owners. It should also appeal to the same people who go on r/EDH and ask for feedback on their Fork decks, because this is a really odd build-around condition."

Good news: I finally figured out what "Myra's Marvels" are. Bad news: They all stink—especially Katerina. Turns out neither cat people nor Fork enthusiasts tried building her (unless there are only two such people on the internet). In fact, I must admit, I'm worried about whoever built these decks. After all, when Kelsinko Ranger is one of your go-to creatures, an intervention is needed.

As for Ignacio, you'd think he'd perform a little better with all the Secret Lair alternate artwork we have these days, but no dice—or Treasure, as it were. I think my thoughts were summed up best by this sentence:

"I find it hard to believe 600 players will find this random build-around condition appealing."

At least Ignacio was close. Only 598 decks more and he would've made it!

Our next card is funnier in concept than in practice.

Last year's prediction: Under

Final deck count: 7

Last year I wrote...

"Look, I know cards are wordy these days, but even the wordiest don't require a demonstration."

...And I stand by that take. However, I'll admit I never actually visited the URL, so for the sake of thoroughness, I did so this year. It's a concise and well-made clip from the LoadingReadyRun crew, but there's this horrifying part where Kathleen crumples a Magic card to demonstrate what not to do, and I felt traumatized just watching it. Maybe that's why Devil K. Nevil scored so low...

I'm grouping this next trio to make a point.

Last year's predictions: Unders for all three

Final deck count: 5, 28, and 15, respectively

I could pull last year's analysis on this batch of cards, but instead I'll just say this: When a mechanic appears on three different commanders in three different color identities and can't get more than 50 decks amongst them, the mechanic probably didn't work as intended.

I think the issue wasn't the complexity so much as the payoff. Mutate, for example, is a very complicated mechanic, yet commanders like Otrimi, the Ever-Playful remain popular because they're fun and interesting. Not so much with stickers. If I want to change the letters in my commander's name, I'll use a Sharpie, thanks.

And now for our final power trio of crummy commanders...

Last year's predictions: Unders for all three

Final deck count: 59, 35, and 34, respectively

Un-sets frequently offer build-arounds with weird specificities, e.g. Spike, Tournament Grinder. Sadly, these all missed. New Capenna native "Brims" Barone, Midway Mobster came the closest, though even last year I spotted the issue:

"I remain skeptical of these arbitrary build-arounds. They're funny in theory and I'm sure they'll pick up some decks. But 600? That's a lot of hats."

I probably should've made a Caps for Sale quip in there somewhere, but oh well. Let's proceed from my successes to my failures.

My Big Mistakes

I had eight incorrect predictions, and all of them were projected Overs that went way, way Under. Here's the least egregious of them all:

Last year's prediction: Over

Final deck count: 407

Oh captain my captain, you actually came pretty close. Perhaps the issue was the rules text, which is about as lengthy as a flash fiction story. However, once you get the gist, it's fairly intuitive: Each turn, one nonland permanent becomes a Vehicle. Furthermore, this is a format-legal commander, which likely explains its superior performance to most others in this set.

Maybe that's why I'm still surprised it didn't fare better. Here's a snippet of my original analysis:

"I think [Rex is] best with cost-reducing mechanics, like Convoke and Affinity, since their power/toughness as a Vehicle will be far greater than the cost paid to cast them."

We see a bit of that in Rex's Top and High Synergy cards, most notably Chiss-Goria, Forge Tyrant and Blast-Furnace Hellkite (how have I never seen that Hellkite before?). I also didn't yet know about the Prototype mechanic from The Brothers' War, another cost-reducer that works well with Rex.

All that said, this captain still couldn't land the craft, and I wonder if it's a symptom of the set's poor popularity overall. If he'd been printed in Dominaria United, for instance, I suspect he might've had double the decks, if not more.

This next commander's poor performance was another surprise:

Last year's prediction: Over

Final deck count: 199

I know it's another unofficial commander, but seriously, this card is so sweet! I mean, how often do you click a commander and see Battle of Wits as its top High Synergy Card?

This next one is another shocker, though for different reasons than you might expect:

Last year's prediction: Over

Final deck count: 116

Unsurprisingly, Vorthos is perfect for Vorthos players, since she adds mechanical cohesion to decks that often have none. However, that's not the real surprise. Let's refer back to last year to set the stage...

"If you've been reading this series for a while, you've probably noticed that five-color commanders never, ever go Under. I'm not exaggerating: I've written these articles for four years and I've never seen it. For that reason, it's tough to pick against Vorthos—not that I was going to."

It took five years, but the streak is finally broken. A five-color commander has finally gone Under. Granted, it's an unofficial commander, so should the history books have an asterisk next to the record? I'll let the readers be the judges of that.

For our penultimate commander, let's talk about common. Not Common the rapper—common the rarity.

Last year's prediction: Over

Final deck count: 49

I was off the mark on this one—though not entirely wrong with my predictions. Here's what I prognosticated:

"[Lila] is sort of like the menu at Cheesecake Factory, in that there are tons of options, yet none are especially good. Even so, I think players will find their favorites. You could build a classic Pauper Bogles deck, for example (minus the titular Slippery Bogle), or a common-based combo deck built around Midnight Guard and Presence of Gond."

Indeed, both Midnight Guard and Presence of Gond appear in 36% of Lila decks. Problem is, the rest of the cards are lousy. I didn't realize how bland the average common is until seeing them all, but it's true. If you enjoy playing with Cathar Commando, you're in luck. Otherwise, I understand why you steered clear.

I've saved my worst pick for last:

Last year's prediction: Over

Final deck count: 1

By sheer numbers, this is my worst prediction of all time...599 decks short of the mark! I'm not sure what I was thinking, especially when the other four cards in the cycle were such obvious Unders.

"I think two is your magic number, since two free counters per creature is both impactful and realistic...Plus, there's a long history of famous Hardys, including Tom, Thomas, and George, so that's got to count for something."

All three of those Hardys would be ashamed of this Hardy—and of me, for that matter. (P.S., I forgot to mention the Hardy Boys.) But whoever this lone deckbuilder is, I salute you. Since the first card on your list is Argothian Swine, I know you must be extraordinary.


Correct Picks (22)

  1. Magar of the Magic Strings - Over (2,471 decks)
  2. Myra the Magnificent - Over (1,450 decks, Can't-Miss Pick)
  3. The Most Dangerous Gamer - Over (979 decks)
  4. Katerina of Myra's Marvels - Under (2 decks)
  5. Fluros of Myra's Marvels - Under (0 decks)
  6. Nocturno of Myra's Marvels - Under (0 decks)
  7. Devil K. Nevil - Under (7 decks)
  8. Ignacio of Myra's Marvels - Under (2 decks)
  9. Angelic Harold - Under (5 decks)
  10. Dee Kay, Finder of the Lost - Under (353 decks)
  11. Truss, Chief Engineer - Under (58 decks)
  12. Monoxa, Midway Manager - Under (109 decks)
  13. Meet and Greet "Sisay" - Under (22 decks)
  14. The Space Family Goblinson - Under (314 decks)
  15. Tusk and Whiskers - Under (28 decks)
  16. "Brims" Barone, Midway Mobster - Under (59 decks)
  17. Grand Marshal Macie - Under (35 decks)
  18. Roxi, Publicist to the Stars - Under (15 decks)
  19. Spinnerette, Arachnobat - Under (15 decks)
  20. Pietra, Crafter of Clowns - Under (39 decks)
  21. Ambassador Blorpityblorpboop - Under (220 decks)
  22. D00-DL, Caricaturist - Under (34 decks)

Incorrect Picks (8)

  1. Solaflora, Intergalactic Icon - Over Under (81 decks)
  2. Hardy of Myra's Marvels - Over Under (1 deck)
  3. Jermane, Pride of the Circus - Over Under (17 decks)
  4. Claire D'Loon, Joy Sculptor - Over Under (199 decks)
  5. Lila, Hospitality Hostess - Over Under (49 decks)
  6. Captain Rex Nebula - Over Under (407 decks)
  7. It Came from Planet Glurg - Over Under (87 decks)
  8. Vorthos, Steward of Myth - Over Under (116 decks)

My Unfinity Correct Prediction Percentage: 73%

My Overall Correct Prediction Percentage: 74%

I've been hovering right around my average for the past few sets. With my upcoming review of Warhammer, let's hope I fare better. Until then, happy stickering!

Read more:

The 600 - Predicting the Popularity of Warhammer 40k Commanders



Kyle A. Massa is a writer and avid Magic player living somewhere in upstate New York with his wife, their daughter, and three wild animals. His current favorite card is Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds. Kyle can be found on Twitter @mindofkyleam.

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