Commander Collection: Black Is A Weird Beast

Commander Collection: Black Is A Weird Beast

commander collection black is a weird beast on the surface it looks very similar to a signature spell book but underneath it’s an interesting romp through magic’s history the magic historian greetings owners of fine luxury cardboard rectangles my friends i hope the day finds you well because we are here to talk about commander collection black and as i said it does feel like a weird amalgamation of magic’s history and signature spell books however signature spell books are all done through the lens of one particular planeswalker so this is a somewhat different beast but overall it gives me the same kind of vibes with the collected mini set of cards so i have to say i am really enthused about some of the choices that they have made for this particular set now the first card we’re going to look at is liliana now this is liliana before she became a planeswalker this is essentially the card that tells the story of how she became a planeswalker and that’s probably part of the reason that it makes it feel like a signature spell book because this is literally where liliana came from so liliana was originally the daughter of a nobleman and she ended up destroying her brother in a horrific way so let’s go through the mechanics of the card and i’ll give you a little bit more details about that so two black and one for a 2-3 legendary human cleric with a lifelink whenever another non-token creature can you control dies exile liliana heretical healer then return her to the battlefield transformed under her owner’s control if you do create a tutu black zombie creature token so this is the tragic backstory to liliana she was the daughter of a rich nobleman okay but obviously when you’re a nobleman you’re powerful you got powerful enemies so her father had enemies that went ahead and poisoned liliana’s brother josue now liliana had been studying to be a healer this is part of the tragedy she ultimately wanted to save people’s lives but she also dabbled in secret in necromantic magic but from the viewpoint that if she could understand this death magic that would actually aid and enhance her healing magic so it wasn’t the evil style of necromancy but it’s still clearly black aligned right so what happens is liliana wants to cure her brother now the only thing that can cure liliana’s brother’s affliction are the roots of the esses tree unfortunately when she sets out to find these trees it turns out that her father’s enemies are a step ahead they’ve already burned all the groves of esses trees to the ground now into the picture comes the ragman a shadowy figure who tells liliana that if she is to use necromantic magic to revive the esses trees and then brew a potion from their roots that it will still cure her brother and this wasn’t a lie but it also didn’t reveal the full situation so liliana brews this potion administers it to her brother it does indeed cure the affliction that he has but at a terrible price he’s inflicted with a different sort of disease that ends up destroying him and reanimating him as a zombie so if you look at the ability on this card that’s what’s going on josu is destroyed and comes back as a 2-2 zombie and liliana’s spark ignites under the stress of it and to add to the coolness check this out this is the 2-2 zombie token that comes along with the kit and it’s literally josu that is josu depicted in the artwork it’s absolutely amazing the flavor level on this is through the roof this is not your normal everyday mindless zombie in fact josu ends up becoming like a lich lord which is absolutely crazy and liliana has to come back and put him down but this is the coolest zombie token i have ever seen and the way that it ties into liliana is amazing now let’s take a look at the planeswalker side of liliana because not only does it do the cool token making it flips into this version of liliana the defiant necromancer first ability plus two each player discards a card minus x return target non-legendary creature card with mana value x from your graveyard to the battlefield and i really love that that ability makes it feel like she hasn’t really come to full terms with her necromantic capabilities yet she’s new to it so she can animate everyday zombies but she can’t do anything with legendary creatures right she can animate other ones and bring them back with the semblance of themselves intact which is really cool and then the -8 ability is you get an emblem with whenever a creature dies return it to the battlefield under your control at the beginning of the next end step so basically it shows the progression that as you go along she gains necromantic power to the point where she can just raise up everybody which is awesome and the artwork is so good i love the downcast look on her face this contemplative sort of everything that i’ve lost some kind of vibe to it that’s really really cool man it looks absolutely fantastic and look what she’s holding in her hands as it’s like drifting away and oh it’s so so epic and the purple of her clothing really stands out dude this is some really evocative artwork i dig this variation quite a bit now lillian is not the only thing we have to talk about we have other cool characters we’ve got ghoul caller giza sounds like a bunch of geese two black and three for a 3-4 legendary human wizard this is a different variation of necromancer one black and top sacrifice another creature create x22 black zombie creature tokens where x is the sacrificed creature’s power the flavor text says come now dear brother if you wanted rules you should have called it a game not a war and this is quoting giza talking to her brother giraffe so basically these two individuals are locked in this necromantic battle and giza tends to favor the black side of necromancy whereas giraffe tends to favor the blue side of necromancy this is set on the world of innistrad where you have traditional style of necromancy which is black and then the blue style of necromancy which is more dr frankenstein like stitching people together and reanimating the amalgam of them i mean in some cases you’re not really going to see that much of a difference but it’s really the difference between raising zombies and making a frankenstein monster now i love the fact that the artwork depicts her in the middle of activating her ability like one black tap sack another creature there she is she just takes the shovels like boom off with your head and he’s like ah he’s got his arms out stretched like he hasn’t realized he’s lost his head yet i don’t know if that’s supposed to be an already undead individual i’m guessing it probably is especially because it looks like there’s bones sticking out in the arm but just the way the hands are up like ah my head it’s got a it’s got a lot of fun to it i’m not 100 sure how she’s able to take one zombie and just like turn like if you have one two two zombie and sack it then all of a sudden you get two two two zombies how does that work is it because you chop the head off of one and then give it like little legs and pinchers and it comes at you and then the body the other one is just still running around capable of ripping people up i don’t know i love the joyous look on her face as she has beheaded this zombie it just she looks like a deranged bride who has escaped from her wedding and is just running around in the black gown chopping off people’s heads with shovels going do you know where my chemical romance’s black parade’s gonna be because i’m properly dressed for it either way i love it let’s move on because i’ll talk about these cards forever we’ve got ophiomancer up next one black and two for a two-two human shaman at the beginning of each upkeep if you control no snow snakes create a one one black snake creature token with death touch that’s amazing because it’s literally every player’s upkeep so this is fantastic for a sack outlet and also just for a nice little stay away from me blocker you got a 1-1 deathtouch snake that doesn’t mean anything to you of course i’m going to use it to block because i’m just going to get one next turn so who cares great from that regard the flavor text says her writhing boneless movements are unsettling to humans but hypnotic to her serpent brood and you see in the artwork you’ve got her doing this crazy dance there is a snake slithering around her and a whole bunch of other snakes just waiting in attendance staring at her attentively i like it it’s got like um like a half belly dancer kind of vibe to it and the concept of this woman connecting with snakes on this level is fairly off-putting and we also get a very cool token to go with it which is the snake token that actually matches the decorations that she’s wearing so they tie together and i like the fact that the patterning of the floor that this snake is on has a sinuous serpent feel to it as well although it’s kind of funny the snake does look a little bit silly if you stare too long at its eyes it looks a little less menacing and a little more goofy but overall i like this token a lot then we’ve got ferexian arena two black and one for an enchantment at the beginning of your upkeep you draw a card and lose one life the flavor text says a whisper of authority rises over a cacophony of grinding machines this is an arena full of ferexians and this showed up in the original old-school urza storyline where urza is forced to face off in a ferexian arena against gerard and gerard was created by urza urza spent hundreds of years basically nudging people’s bloodlines getting people to marry and whatever so that he could create particular heroes and gerard was supposed to be his crowning achievement that would help him destroy yogmoth and yogmoth was the father of machines the god of all the ferexians right so yogmoth ends up capturing arena and oh sorry not really he ends up capturing urza and gerard and making them fight in the arena so what was supposed to be urza’s salvation against yogmoth actually turns out to be his damnation as yogman twists it around on him and in the arena when they’re fighting there are thousands of ferexians watching but every single one is yogmoth so he’s experiencing his triumph through thousands of minds at once it’s an amazing concept man i love the flavor and this is a new piece of artwork with a different concept to it i’m not a hundred percent sure what they’re going for with this maybe this is supposed to be she aldrid having built a new ferexian arena because it doesn’t really have that yog moth vibe to it but it definitely gives the same sort of overwhelming menace and despair concept as some individual is being forced to fight off uh like a four-legged ferexian beast in the arena it makes me really curious to know are we going to be getting to see this is this like a precursor to something we’re actually going to be seeing in the storyline this is a great include then we’ve got re-animate so reanimate is one black for a sorcery put target creature card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control you lose life equal to its mana value when this card came out a lot of people didn’t like it because it came out many years ago and we were very dumb at analyzing cards and we we were overly concerned with cards that would make you pay life so the idea of having to pay a bunch of life to reanimate a creature when you could just use some other spell to reanimate them seemed like a terrible idea but through the lens of today where you understand the power level one mana to bring a creature back out of your graveyard like boom that’s worth it who cares how much life you have to pay you’re almost always going to come out ahead in this bargain the flavor attack says death is a small price to pay for immortality and that is a great quote and it’s attributed to baron center baron sandra is a very interesting legendary vampire who has sired a long line of vampires that actually extend out across multiple different planes of existence because baron singer exists from the days where planeswalkers didn’t create construct copies of creatures they actually pulled the creature the real baron center was pulled through the blind eternities to the location the plane walker was at so baron center has actually been to multiple different worlds and sired his own line of vampires across multiple realms i have to say i still hold to the flavor that we as planeswalkers summon up the original beast the idea of them being a construct it may help you sleep better at night if you if you feel bad morally about pulling these creatures through the blind ether but to me the idea of being a planeswalker and finding these epic beings and summoning them to you and having them battle on your behalf is way more epic and it will always be the lens through which i view magic the gathering the artwork is really sweet man you can see this moon with this individual who’s being reanimated they’re grasping at their throat it looks like they were probably choked out somebody tied some kind of silk around their throat and choked them out now they’re being lifted back up out of the grave still probably grasping at their throat because this is a moment after it happened like who knows how long it was between when they died and when they came back it could have been hours maybe a day at most because if you look at it there’s no real there’s no real rot or anything on this body but either way your life’s ending as you’re going and then all of a sudden you’re being reanimated so the last thing you remember is blacking out as you can’t breathe and then all of a sudden you’re alive again but your brain’s still fighting like i don’t want to die but dude you’ve moved past that you have moved past the realm of death and i love the subtlety of all the skulls that are flowing in the background you might not notice it at first because you’ve got this figure rising into the sky their hand outstretched in front of the moon with the bats flying around and you’ve got the trees with their little sinuous fingers they’re little branches like claws reaching out but then behind it you have a whole wave of undeath these skulls that are lurking there it’s very atmospheric and i like it very very much moving on we’ve got toxic deluge one black and two for a sorcery as an additional cost to cast this spell pay x life all creatures get minus x minus x until end of turn and now my favorite part the flavor text i am greater than rain and nourishment i am glistening oil and perfection it’s a quote from young month man i love it the glistening oil is how ferexia propagates it flows through ferexians it is the life blood of ferexia and if you actually take a look at the artwork the first thing you’re going to notice is that this rain is insanely toxic look how green it is it’s acidic it’s eating pits into the ground the sky has a very sickly green and yellow vibe to it and then when you actually take a closer look you can see in the sky there in the middle it’s yogmoth look up there it’s yogmoth he’s in the clouds just raining doom down and i love that it says i am greater than rain and nourishment i love this as a card concept so much i’m a sucker for old school yogg moth references this is so flavorful moving on we’ve got the black aligned sole ring just like in the commander collection green we got a saw ring where the ring was floating above a tree trunk in this case we have the accoutrements of a black mage you’ve got skulls with candles in the eyes you’ve got the soul ring itself which is actually drawing in this black miasma you may think at first that the black miasma is pouring out of it but if you pay attention to the candles you can see that they’re being pulled in along with this dark magic so soul ring if you don’t already know is one mana to put out tap to add two the crazy thing is is i’m so used to solving every other card i read first this one i just started talking about the flavor because i’m like everybody knows solring the flavor text says deep within the forsaken cavern a new shadow emerged to devour the light this is awesome the ideal soul rings that are particularly attuned to different colors is a lot of fun it’s all just cosmetic right it doesn’t change the power that’s emanating from it every soul ring gives neutral colorless mana but the flavor concept behind each soaring is key to each color and that is a winning concept for me i have to admit i’m a mono green fan so i still desperately want the green saw ring over this one but this would be my second choice for songs because it’s absolutely amazing i love the flavor of it the dark altar with the energy pouring in pulling in on the candles the the skull with its like cracked in top and candles in the eyes it’s just so good it’s got such an epic eldritch kind of flavor i love it all right so let’s talk about the final card in the secret layer this is the command tower so this is a lamb that taps for one man of any color in your commander’s color identity and this one has been keyed into the concept of black through the artwork and the flavor text the flavor text says it’s a bit much i know but it reminds my visitors who really holds the power here and that is dave real kane now i have to say i really like gavriel i think he’s an awesome planeswalker the story children of the nameless that was written by brandon sanderson that goes into detail about him is really fascinating and it makes me wonder where this stronghold is where has he built this tower right like take a look at that artwork it actually kind of makes me think of is it galacticus if you’re if you’re like a comic book person let me know if me saying galacticus makes sense when looking at the top part of this tower right the artwork is crazy because you’ve got a bunch of these crows and ravens and you’ve got the like the dark lifeless branches of the trees in the forefront along with the shadowy top which gives it that kind of black doom feel and the lightning would add to that except it’s creating sort of a rainbow northern lights effect as well which actually diminishes the amount of menace to me in a way the colorfulness makes it less drab and imposing so i feel like if it was darkened more and didn’t have the purple and aqua and yellow coloring in the middle that it would end up ultimately giving that dark uh like flavor a little bit better but otherwise really cool card so that wraps up all the cards in this particular set let me know your thoughts in the comments below if you like what i’m doing and enjoyed the video then click like so youtube knows you liked it and other than that if you love what i’m doing join my patreon i’ll see you all for the next video big thanks to all my patrons goodbye for now
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Commander Collection: Black Is A Weird Beast

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