Commander Spotlight: Delirium

Here we are friends, at the end of the whirlwind party that has been the guild Commander picks. And who better to end the party – and start the afterparty – than the wild and hedonistic Rakdos? These are the people who will dance and sing and cavort to their legs fall off.


That’s probably also why they have such a hard time finding attendees for their events. To them, pain and cruelty are all part of the calling. The Rakdos simply don’t do moderation. It’s not that they don’t do it well – they don’t do it at all. To be part of the Rakdos is to perpetually live on the edge, until your reckless choices result in someone being carted off to the morgue. It could be you, or it could be your opponents. So accept the invitation and let’s find out!

People generally dislike Blue/White guilds because of their insistence on control: control of what gets played, what gets to resolve, what stays on the board. Essentially, that color pairing is about telling you what you can and can’t do, and as we’ve stated, it can be infuriating to be on the receiving end of it.

Red/Black exists on the exact opposite end of the spectrum, and they too can be infuriating for the mirrored reasoning. That is, they often have the least amount of focus when it comes to their explosive behavior. They often don’t care what’s happening so long as something is. In duel formats, this is irrelevant since there’s only a single opponent to be affected by their outbursts. In multiplayer games, including Commander, it takes more effort to remain in a neutral-to-positive state with the other players. The last thing you’d want to do is to go from a game of EDH to a game of Archenemy with one card. And Red / Black has quite a few of these such cards. Even if they affect the caster too, your chances of winning drop substantially if you’re throwing around Skull Rends and Breath of Malfegor without something to back those provactive statements up with.

Because of that, you may ponder if there really are a lot of representatives for Red/Black that could channel the color pair’s chaotic and destructive power into something a bit more worthy of a decent Commander card.

As it turns out, we have one for you.

Today we have: Delirium

Name: Delirium

Edition: Mirage

Rarity: Uncommon

Focus: Damage Dealing / Damage Prevention

Highlights: The name alone should tell you what kind of afterparty we’re throwing here. The question becomes, “how badly does a creature hate its own skin?” With Delirium, we’re about to find out. Delirium, Blacklash‘s older sibling, is actually doing a number things in one broad stroke:

1. For starters, Delirium is a purely reactive card. Unlike Backlash, you cannot use it proactively. That is, however, the only advantage Backlash has on it. But it does mean that it’s not just something you cast to see what happens.

2. Delirium taps a creature down if it’s untapped, though it can still affect tapped creatures – say, once they’re already attacking or activating some crazy ability you don’t approve of.

3. In purely chaotic fashion, it makes the creature punch its controller. As always, this may not help with someone’s 1/1 Saprolings/Soldiers/Goblins, but if they come barreling at you with a Blightsteel Colossus, a hulked out Kresh, or any number of other particularly massive creatures, this can cause some serious damage to a player. Or potentially just kill them outright. It just won’t be the player the controller originally had in mind.

4. If Red/Black were a company, their tagline would probably be “Adding Insult to Injury since 1993”. For you see, with Delirium this spazzed out creature being targeted is not only is forced to be tapped and have it deal its damage, but then it prevents any combat damage the creature would actually deal. Presumably this is because it’s too busy freaking out. This can be beneficial to make sure you also don’t end up with loads of damage, but it also provides another use for the card. One of those small 1/1 tokens would normally be a waste for such a card, but if it had, say, a Quietus Spike attached, and you had no blockers, this card’s ‘spot fog’ could prove highly useful in such situations.

At the end of the day, the Rakdos are going to flail about, and it’s a bit useful to be able to take that philosophy and point them in the direction you’d like them to flail. Both Red and Black are powerful colors in their own right, and when put together, well, who doesn’t like a bit of fireworks? That’s what makes the Rakdos’s parties so enticing.

Plus, I’ve heard the punch they serve is to die for!


And so ends our stint of the two-color Commander choices. Next week, we’ll be back to being far less discriminating in our choices. In the meantime, we’ll keep the light on for you.

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