When playing Magic, regardless of the style, format, or setting, there are certain things that hold true no matter what. These include such deep revelatory gems such as:
- Losing always sucks.
- There is always someone you know who loves the token swarm approach.
- For non-Blue players, well-timed counters feel like you just got blindsided in a car accident – and are about as fun as one.
- For Blue control players, no matter what rationalizing you espouse about the skill and methodology required, other players will still find you annoying.
- Valuable cards are valuable. People who brag, fret, obsess, or otherwise continually bring up card prices as a means of a card or player’s worth are not.
- No matter what any player does, there is an answer to it somewhere.
- Every color does something you don’t like, and every color doesn’t do something you wish it could.
That last pointer has to be reiterated to some crowds on a regular basis, as the topic comes up seems to come up with every new set. Unfortunately, it never sticks. No matter how often it’s explained that every color has advantages and disadvantages, and that while the colors are unequivocally equal factions, that doesn’t mean they are identical.
Take, for example, card draw. It makes for such a great example because it’s simple and evident. Sure, every color is capable of drawing cards, but White is, without a doubt, the worst at it. Usually it’s relegated to cantrip cards – a spell that lets you draw a replacement card as part of its effect. By contrast, Blue is easily the best at drawing. It rightfully should be; card draw is part of that color’s identity.
However, it’s often overlooked in all of the focus on the front runner that the #2 color – Black – is hardly suffering. It just usually comes at a cost.
Usually that averages out to be one life per card.
Usually – but not always.
Today we have: Harvester of Souls
Name: Harvester of Souls
Edition: Avacyn Restored
Focus: Card Draw
Highlights: Harvester of Souls is precisely the type of card that Commander likes to see. Unlike almost all other Black creatures that permit you to draw cards in exchange for life, this one accentuates another aspect of the color’s traits: the graveyard. One of the color’s biggest attributes is killing off creatures, be it in single instances or through widespread destruction. Therefore, this lets Black play around in territory it’s already familiar with and be rewarded for doing so.
While it didn’t see a lot of widespread use when it originally came out due to its 6-CMC cost, it becomes an ideal creature around the Commander board due to the slower format and propensity for creatures to not be long-lived. Whether combined with said targeted destruction effects over a long period of time or used in conjunction with a mass creature wipe, it proves to be highly advantageous for the player without the risk of losing life to achieve it. This is especially useful in stages of the game where card draw would be really helpful to a player, but they aren’t able to make the normal exchange of life for it.
Moreover, it’s not like the creature can’t hold its own on the board either. A 5/5 Deathtouch, regardless of the circumstances, is not exactly something to take take for granted. When paired together with it’s primary ability, the result is a creature that is useful to a player at any stage of the game.
Yet strangely enough, for all of its efficient demonic packaging, it still doesn’t generate a lot of threat in most cases. Consider that a bit of an unholy bonus.
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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