What makes Commander (and Magic writ large) so enticing is the sheer volume of existing deck ideas. Do you want a clockwork army, or a swarm of tokens? Are you purely looking to advance your own agenda, or are you out to stifle other players? If you want to disrupt someone’s actions, do you attack their hand, their library, their life totals, their mana, or their creatures? Will you commit to a linear battle strategy, or do you specialize in subterfuge and misdirection?
Or do you simply just say screw planning at all and wing it?
Any and all of these ideas are possible. The limit to a deck’s purpose is constrained only by the cards in existence and a player’s imagination, and given the ever-growing size of the game’s card pool, the former becomes a smaller concern every year. Effectively, if you can concoct a deck idea around mechanics, tempo, theme, flavor, or anything in between, it can be built. And that’s a phenomenal prospect.
Commander decks are no exception; no two Commander decks work exactly the same way. Card choices vary, as do players and the people they play with. Even if you’ve only experienced a handful of EDH games, you’ll quickly grasp that concept. Some people will have decks designed to be aggressive and mean, taking their primal might out on others as effectively as they can. Other decks bide their time, waiting in the shadows and being demure, until they can pull off their ultimate trick, twirl their dastardly mustache, and secure the win. Still others go the political route, playing defensively and trying to navigate a game of continually shifting allegiances as they try to attain victory by more passive means.
The thing about decks that don’t rely on a straightforward means of winning, though, is that they can often be glass cannons if they’re deprived of their precious defenses and important creatures, and they can be very frustrating to deal with if you’re not the one playing them.
So let’s fix that.
Today we have: Curse of the Nightly Hunt
Name: Curse of the Nightly Hunt
Focus: Combat Manipulation
Highlights: As far as Red Auras go, it’s a fairly small list. In 20 years of the game’s history, there exists only about a hundred of them, and they’re not terribly varied. The overwhelming majority exist in at least one of six subcategories:
First strike, Haste, the ‘ping’ ability (tapping for one damage), a static buff to a creature’s power, making a creature unable to block, or forcing a creature to attack if able.
Curse of the Nightly Hunt falls into the last category, although it’s much more potent than most. For starters, it causes all of a player’s creatures to attack, rather than just one. This creates situations where someone is forced to purely go on offense, regardless of whether or not they want to. While it can make a player more aggressive and potentially dangerous, never quite knowing who they’ll attack, it also makes them very vulnerable to retaliation.
It’s likely in many cases one would go after the Aura’s owner if possible, but it’s also just as likely that they’ll go after the most open player in an effort to keep as many of their creatures alive as possible. This creates interesting board dynamics where one player has to prey on another in order to preserve themselves.
Curse of the Nightly Hunt also has the added benefit of only affecting one person. This makes it far less dangerous in a Commander game than something like Grand Melee, which could draw the entire table in league against you. Instead, Nightly Hunt forces someone’s battle tactics out the window. Of course, the motivations for who gets cursed varies from game to game, but it’s usually used to either wreak havoc on one of the aforementioned combat-averse decks, or to erode someone’s defenses in order to inflict some serious damage on them.
Either way, you’re disrupting order, unnerving the establishment, and generally causing a bit of a ruckus – whether you have a purpose to it or not. And that’s precisely what a good Red mage does.
Keep an eye out for us to be regularly featuring other more accessible-but-worth-it Commander cards going forward. In the meantime, we’ll keep the light on for you.
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Do you have a particular Commander card to suggest for us to shine a future Spotlight on? You can send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org