Remember back to when you first started playing the game (if you can). It’s very likely one of the first things you were taught were the basic zones of the game. You learned what your hand was. You were taught that the library is where you draw cards for your hand from – and that drawing cards was good. You were taught that lands, creatures, artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers go on the battlefield (or for us archaic folks, “into play”). And you were likely instructed that if you cast an instant or sorcery, or if something was destroyed, it went to the graveyard.
As you developed your game experiences, you likely started to learn that the graveyard was more than just a discard pile. Cards interacted with the graveyard! Maybe they brought creatures back to your hand or they allowed you to cast the spell again. What fun!
Except for the down sides. Like the times another player would force cards from your hand or library into your graveyard against your will, or worse – when they would reanimate your creature to use against you.
It is those hard lessons learned early on that the graveyard isn’t just a repository of used cards – it’s also an available resource for both sides to exploit. In Commander, every card can be important to your chances of winning. It’s helpful to allow those cards a second life, if possible.
Today we have: Elixir of Immortality
Name: Elixir of Immortality
Edition: Magic 2011-2013 / Elspeth v Tezzeret
Focus: Life Gain / Card Retrieval
Highlights: Elixir of Immortality is a “Little Engine That Could” kind of card. It isn’t a card that gets much attention when cast, it’s not expensive to use, and it doesn’t really have any flashy aspects to it. And yet it is often used in opportune moments that can alter the course of the game. In such a tiny package, you’re getting four strategic options:
- The Five Life: Some argue that in Commander it’s just a rider, and, while it is a nice bonus, it’s more important in games of normal life totals. This is the min-maxers talking here. Five life on a cheap artifact means any deck can utilize it (even you Kozilek!). Is it the most efficient life gain card out there? Hardly. It’s not even the most efficient artifact-based one. But in tandem with the other benefits of the card, it certainly doesn’t make for a wasted slot.
- Graveyard Protection: Maybe your meta game doesn’t have a lot of milling going on (arguably not a common tactic in EDH but one that can be done). There will be board wipes though. There goes your army of big nasties. What’s more, if your enemy is using Black, there’s always a chance they’ll resurrect that creature to fight for the other side. Using this at the opportune moment prevents them from stealing your Kwik-E-Mart and promptly bludgeoning you to death with with it. Having the Elixir lingering around also serves as a nice deterrent from them even attempting it.
- Card Recycling: This is traditionally a problem for Red, even in Commander. Running out of important utility cards / noteworthy creatures / possible win conditions is painful. Being able to shuffle them back into your deck could make all the difference, whether you’re hoping for one card or ten. The odds are probably still low of drawing exactly what you want without some help, but any chance is better than zero, which is what it’ll be if it sits in your graveyard crying silently.
- Self-Replacement: Whether you’re looking for life, cards, or to cover your assets, Elixir of Immortality has the distinct ability of also shuffling itself back in to your deck. So, you’ll get to start the cycle all over again!
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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