What do the creature abilities Fear, Intimidate, Shadow, Flying, Trample, and Protection all have in common?
Well, aside from that they’re generally found on all manner of fun creatures, all of these abilities are used help the creature connect with your opponent’s skull. Flying creatures require a player has other Flyers (or those with Reach), Fear and Intimidate demand that to be stopped the blocker be a certain color or be colorless, and Protection is just the opposite – it’s only useful to sidestep defenses if the defender is using the stated color. Even Tramplers have to be massive enough as to beat the toughness of any creature(s) blocking it to be useful. Only Shadow gets someone through unfettered, but with one exception, Shadow isn’t found on any sizable creatures.
Not to mention, most of those abilities largely fall under the umbrella of Black, Green, and White. Admittedly, Flying is largely split between White and Blue, which sort of helps prove the point – if you want creatures that are simply unblockable, you’re looking to Blue already.
Red’s contribution to all this is largely spell-based. It’s held a long-standing tradition of spells that make some or all creatures unable to block. It can be potent (and potentially game-ending) if timed right, but the effect is as temporary as the spells they’re coming from.
Aside from the obvious – reducing your opponent’s life total and winning – the most common reason for wanting to get creatures through is because there are a lot of creature abilities that trigger off combat damage. A lot. In multiplayer games, if you want to have one of these triggers happen, you have two choices. You can either give the creature one of the aforementioned abilities to ensure they will get past someone’s defenses, or you attack an open player simply because you can.
Of course, the second option is much simpler, but in multiplayer environments even mild slights against a player neutral to you can push them into the Enemy column. Therefore, it’d be better to bestow upon your creatures some evasion abilities. So, let’s look at one such option to that end.
Today we have: Rogue’s Passage
Name: Rogue’s Passage
Edition: Return to Ravnica
Focus: Creature Evasion
Highlights: Rogue’s Passage is a very surface-level card; it doesn’t require a lot of explanation to its purpose. Still, in multiplayer formats like Commander, cards can have unintended purposes. Even this one.
Surely, the card is highly useful to make a creature unblockable for a turn. Are you looking to deal Commander damage, or simply just send your most massive beatstick of a creature at someone? Or are you simply trying to guarantee a creature ability trigger? Whatever the case may be, this card lets you do that handily.
Also since this ability is tied to a land it makes it far safer than an artifact or enchantment, and it can be used in any Commander deck. Granted, since it only generates colorless mana, decks requiring lots of colored mana may pass on it, but it can easily otherwise find a home in most settings.
The unintended use of the card is often overlooked. That is, the ability can be used on any creature, not just yours. In a setting as political as Commander, it can be very advantageous to assist someone else trying to deliver an important strike. . .
Or not. Sometimes players want someone to block on purpose for one reason or another, and if need be, this can put a stop to that too. Most of the time though, there isn’t much depth to choosing the card. You’ll mostly be sneaking your own creatures through, and the biggest question you’ll have is how a Lord of Extinction could possibly fit through that small of a passageway.
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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