There are a variety of reasons why most Commander decks are multicolored. Having two or more colors opens up all manner of thematic and strategic combinations that may not be as robust (or even possible) with a single color. It affords players additional freedom to experiment with different Commander choices and creates nearly endless possible permutations on how to construct that deck. When working beyond a single color it’s not uncommon to end up in situations where two decks using the same Commander will look and act completely differently to one another.
And of course, using more than one color has the potential to alleviate the limitations that a single color may have – something usually more evident in formats where games tend to go longer than the time it takes to order a pizza.
This doesn’t mean monocolored EDH decks are completely ineffectual. Far from it. Thanks to artifacts and an ever-growing card pool to choose from – including those specifically designed for multiplayer – single color deck options are every bit as viable as their more vibrant siblings.
Well…most of them anyway.
While it’s true that every color can stand toe-to-toe and has the depth of options necessary to make themselves a contender, Red decks still operate with a slight handicap, even though concerted efforts have been made in recent years. Most of this because the color’s philosophy is based around killing their opponents as quick as possible, which runs counter to multiplayer gameplay. Because of this, Red’s weaknesses are amplified more so than the rest, due to things such as its inability to easily remove large creatures and a complete inability to deal with enchantments without some colorless help.
So, with that knowledge in mind, it’s almost a little cruel to go and suggest this week’s card, for with next to no investment, you can completely cut the legs out from under these decks with minimal effort. But sometimes you can only take so many beatings from a Daretti, Scrap Savant, Feldon of the Third Path, or Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker before you want to hit back a bit. And in those cases, we have a very thorough neutralizer.
Today we have: Absolute Law
Name: Absolute Law
Edition: Urza’s Saga
Focus: Damage Prevention / Board Control
Highlights: Absolute Law came out during a time when Magic still considered color hosers to be a decent tactical option, though even by the time of the Urza block they were already ramping down the power level of them compared to sets previous. Still, the tandem pair of Absolute Law and Absolute Grace not only fit the set’s storyline but tied well into its mechanical desire of enchantments mattering. This card duo just happened to hit both Red and Black in a way that they had next to no answer for.
Make no mistake: Absolute Law is a mean card despite its text only being six words long. With one simple sentence, this two mana enchantment can be easily splashed into plenty of decks looking to completely hamstring their fire-based opponents. By giving Protection from Red to every creature on the battlefield, the effects can be devastating. It ensures that creatures (be it an opponent’s or their own) can’t be targeted by Red cards, they can’t take damage from Red sources, and Red creatures can’t block. At all.
That’s kind of Red’s three biggest attributes.
The effect of such a card is crippling on its own, but the fact that it’s an enchantment only compounds the issue. For Red-heavy decks built around doing lots of damage through spells or large creatures, the result ranges from catastrophic to being completely taken out of the game, with their only hope being to deal damage to the player directly. But without being able to block, that approach will put them on a different timer all their own.
There are a couple of limitations to Absolute Law though. The first is that like many hosers it is very situational; it does you no good without a Red opponent. The second is more of an ethical one, as you can argue that it can go against the ethos of EDH being a casual fun format if abused. The last thing you want is to completely ruin someone else’s fun by making their deck completely useless. As such, given how effective it is, if you decide to run this card use it sparingly or ensure that it’s always included in the deck regardless of who’s sitting at the table. The only thing worse than overly relying on such a powerful card would be to intentionally only cycle it in when playing That Person at your kitchen table.
Lastly, don’t be surprised if someone else comes along to destroy it on a Red player’s behalf – especially if affects them directly. Red may have some occasional issues in Commander games, but that hardly means it doesn’t have fans.
And the last thing a Red mage wants is a White mage dictating law and order to them.
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.
You can discuss this article over on our social media!