Commander Spotlight: Elemental Resonance

Welcome back to week thirty-five of Monday Magic: COVID Edition. This means that as of today it’s been 282 days since my last summoning, at which at this point I feel it’s just become another number – a statistical figure to add to the bag of other statistical figures we’ve been inundated with throughout most of 2020. For all intents and purposes, 282 is a fairly arbitrary number, and for most people it holds no meaning. Here, however, 282 stings a bit. As mundane as something like socializing with fellow geeks may be, 282 days is still a really long time – more than 9 months. That’s more than 9 months since I’ve seen quite some people I’d grown accustomed to seeing on a monthly basis. For some it’s now been more than a year. It’s a painful realization, true, but at the same time thanks to the entire year seemingly becoming unstuck in time, the entire calculus behind tracking such a metric has become a bit mired in repetitiveness, hasn’t it? How different is 280 days from 270, really? Than 290? What will it feel like when that number finally does hit the annum? Will it actually mean anything different then than it does now?

It’s a temporal quandary that can only be known by finding out. And, alas, it’s something most of us are bound to learn soon enough.

We’ve been comparatively fortunate through all this despite having some repeated exposure to pandemic hotspots here at the CR. Thanks to people taking sensible precautions, listening to expert guidance, and so forth, the number of people we know who have contracted it is relatively low, and all those who did have all recovered. We’re also lucky (and grateful) that most of the people we know have been able to maintain some form of stability in their life, whether that means remaining employed at their jobs, connecting with immediate families, focusing on creative enterprises, and finding ways to interact with the world despite being largely isolated from it. None of this to say that it’s been easy or stress-free, but we’ll take it all the same.

For as absolutely bonkers as this year has been (and it has), I would be remiss in concluding the final Magic article of the year on a down note. Because as supremely not great as our collective situation continues to be and how much it has monumentally upended lives and livelihoods, I nevertheless remain hopeful that things will begin to improve in the weeks and months to come. All we need is to be patient for just a bit longer.

Coincidentally, patience in Magic also has its advantages. And it does have some relevance this week. Ish.

Throughout this series’ COVID-based focus, where rather than dive into a Magic-centered topic with a Commander card at the center I carry on by sharing Magic cards I’ve wanted to put into an EDH deck for quite some time but haven’t for one reason or another, the act of a topical tie-in to the larger article has been largely absent. This time around, though, this week’s card achieves both the goal of championing a card I’ve long desired to use and fits into the overall idea of being rewarded for your perseverance.

When paired with last week’s card, it’s also happens to work on a thematically festive level too. I mean, it is technically a lit up tree…

Today we have: Elemental Resonance

Name: Elemental Resonance

Edition: Dissension

Rarity: Rare

Focus: Mana Generation

Highlights: In the grand scheme of Commander games, Auras aren’t generally the most sought after card type. Costly Auras doubly so. For a lot of Magic players there is this looming anxiety in the back of their minds with respect to casting permanents with high costs for fear of it being a failed investment. The notion of putting out a 6+ costed card onto the battlefield only for it to be quickly swept away by some kind of removal is already something players constantly contend with. Commander is a format that celebrates being able to use more expensive cards, true, but the fear of such cards being short-lived is a hard thing to shake. Because of this, Auras are seen by some as only compounding the problem as their very nature means you could risk losing two cards at once with a single spot removal.

It’s a sentiment that I understand but not one that I let dictate my card choices. I am not an anti-Aura player. If there is a useful but costly Aura that properly fits the deck idea, I have no issue running it. Sure, it could be blown up, but it would also be just as possible were it a standalone permanent as well. Does a potent Aura make the enchanted card more tempting to kill off? Sure. But it often also makes said card all the more advantageous for you in the meantime. You can never assume anything will stay on the battlefield for lengthy periods of time. Auras are no exception. There’s no reason to malign them unnecessarily.

That all being said, with respect to Elemental Resonance, longevity will be your biggest concern. Because given what this amazing card is capable of, it does paint a rather notable target on whichever permanent you use it with. But it’s worth it.

Elemental Resonance has long been card I’ve wanted to use in EDH, but the stars haven’t quite aligned to date. Much like last’s week’s card, it’s mostly been a color issue. If Red is currently my least frequented EDH color, Green is second. Ironically, while the last deck made prior to the pandemic was indeed a tricolor deck with Green in it, that deck is fueled predominately by lower-costing creatures and wouldn’t benefit me all that much there as it could elsewhere.

For just four mana, when it enters the battlefield, Elemental Resonance attaches to any targetable permanent. While there are certainly reasons you may want to limit your choices to your own permanents, one of the biggest advantages this card provides is being able to slap it on another player’s permanent instead. This serves a dual purpose of diminishing that 2-for-1 loss concern on your side of the battlefield and making another player’s card more tempting to destroy instead, while at the same time benefiting from another player having thrown down a sizable permanent of their own. Even if you get just one round out of it (though it’s likely to see at least a few), the card more than pays for itself.

A deceptively simple effect, Elemental Resonance states that during your first main phase, you add the enchanted permanent’s mana cost to your mana pool, which can include color, thereby turning practically any nonland permanent into your very own mana rock. As any player who has used mana accelerants before will attest, the benefits are pretty self-explanatory. Even on something as “small” as a 4-cost card means adding 4 free mana each of your turns – drastically ramping up your spellcasting potential. Enchanting a 6+ card potentially ensures being able to cast one of your own heavy hitting cards every turn absolutely free (barring color requirements). Such a prospect is hard to say no to. So…don’t.

With a low casting cost that easily gets a return on investment, the ability to speed up your deck’s efficacy, and the ability to park it on anything on the battlefield you wish, Elemental Resonance is a gift that will keep on giving. That is, so long as you’re willing to be a little patient in getting to that point.


Happy Holidays to all and stay safe out there!

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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