Welcome back to week three of Monday Magic: COVID Edition. It has been 51 days since my last summoning and while this is a paltry figure compared to the real-life numbers afflicting millions, it is nevertheless a number that has taken its own toll here. For one, much of the drive behind this series is fueled by, you know, actually diving into EDH and the myriad ways it can unfold, and by not being able to participate in that, any resulting articles would come off as disingenuous efforts to simply put out content for the sake of it. Secondly, unlike many dedicated Magic-only sites, I’m not going to continue putting out material as if nothing is happening.
I mean, sure, we could break down Commander-friendly Ikoria cards or talk about how the set managed to have a card get banned before it even released, but…it doesn’t feel right. But I’m sure we get to Ikoria stuff eventually.
Instead, for the time being the cards chosen each week are more personal in nature than they may otherwise normally be. These are cards that I’ve specifically had a desire to put into a deck but have been unable to for one reason or another. I must confess, this unwritten list itself is lengthy and can take some time sifting through – a byproduct of only having eight or so active Commander decks and 25 years of cards to pour over. There are so many little hidden gems sprinkled throughout the game’s history that would accentuate a deck’s flavor, utility, or synergy, and these cards are often overlooked or ignored in favor of newer releases. Whether it’s card availability, how long someone has been playing, or simple laziness, it’s much more common to find decks chock full of newer cards over older ones – unless the older card is powerful enough to be worth chasing down.
When it comes to my personal efforts to counteract any of those tendencies, early on in the EDH days I made a conscious deck building decision that any deck of mine must include one of these sidelined cards I’ve wanted to use forever but haven’t – even if there is a card that may technically be more optimal. Sometimes there end up being multiple cards that do this in my 99, but I forced myself to always include at least one. If nothing else it makes good table talk explaining why that card is in the deck when it comes up, but on more than one occasion such cards have also proven to be pretty useful – either because someone wasn’t expecting them or they underestimated its usefulness.
Which brings us both to this week’s card and full circle to current events. Because as it turns out there are a growing number of manipulated yahoos out there thinking that a global pandemic isn’t as serious as they’ve been told, despite their only real protection being the very distancing efforts they’re now actively protesting.
Humans – at least the humans of our world – don’t innately come with the types of damage and targeting protection familiar to the Magic universe. So they should probably listen to the experts.
Within the game, on the other hand, there are more arcane means of protecting yourself and those around you…
Today we have: Archetype of Endurance
Name: Archetype of Endurance
Edition: Born of the Gods
Focus: Creature Protection
Highlights: Archetype of Endurance was part of a creature cycle from this set that not only granted all of your creatures a blanket effect but nullified your opponents from being able to have it so long as it was on the battlefield. It creates a two-degree swing of efficacy that is simply hard to say no to in a multiplayer setting. In the case of Endurance, the ability granted is Hexproof – which means in its case it protects itself and your creatures while stripping any such protections from your opponents’ creatures in the process, making them even more vulnerable to removal.
Unlike those cards, which are pure enchantments, the Archetype also doubles as a sizable 6/5 creature, which can be useful in combat. It’s unlikely you’ll want to commit it to attacking or blocking when the danger exists to lose it, but it can be useful all the same to take out token fodder or be used for a quick 6 damage against an undefended opponent.
The main issue with Archetype of Endurance for most though it is its cost. At eight mana, it’s not the cheapest enchantment around. It will take some time to build up the resources to use it, true, but usually by that point you also have other creatures that could benefit from some shielding. But its cost unfortunately also makes some Commander players balk at considering it.
Of course, the two best retorts to that are:
- Many overlook the fact due to its wording that it’s an enchantment that can’t be targeted by your opponents. That alone is notable.
- Where else would such a card be more ideally suited than EDH?
If you can get Archetype of Endurance onto the battlefield, the amount of creature protection it provides is well worth the effort, as usually anything short of facing down a more sizable army or board wipe will give you significant board advantage.
Plus, there is a certain level of enjoyment watching people try to figure out how to deal with it. Turns out that being adequately protected is a good thing. Who knew?
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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