Commander Spotlight: Fable of Wolf and Owl

Of all the completely revolutionary aspects that came with the rise of the internet, few things were transformed more than the dissemination of information. The internet was always conceived as a means of sharing information and material with one another, but even its founders couldn’t conceive of just how much the world would run with that concept. From early bilateral messaging, to Usenets, to the rise in video distribution and social media, the rate at which stuff is vaulted into the world wide web and shared around with rampant fervor has been nothing short of revolutionary. It’s awesome in the strictest sense of the term.

Of course, that all comes with a giant caveat. Because although the internet was envisioned as a means of sharing specific data, it quickly evolved into a vehicle where anybody with a keyboard and a modem could put their views out there. At its most benevolent, the internet serves as a great equalizer, where anyone from a Nobel Laureate to Geoffrey the shut-in taxidermist can espouse their thoughts on anything – fictional or not. At its golden ideal, the internet is a public meeting square where billions of people can bring forth their own soapbox and voice what’s on their mind. It’s egalitarian. It’s idyllic.

And it’s totally not the way things went.

While plenty of such rhetoric exists, much of the internet as we know it now isn’t quite as rosy. For as it turns out, not everyone necessarily should be spouting their opinion out there for others to see and hear, especially when those views are used or encouraged to denigrate, harass, intimidate, or even dehumanize other groups. And unfortunately, there is a lot of that to go around. Whether it’s merely the bad take of the ill informed or the dangerous screed from a hateful mind, those thoughts and sentiments are broadcast to the world just as much as everything else.

There isn’t enough space in a piece like this to fully dissect the deep and complex world of internet content generation, but suffice it to say, if you want to put something out there, there is almost nothing stopping you from doing so.

On a less macro level, this also includes opinions regarding Magic: the Gathering. And not just from its player base or fans. There are plenty of people out there sharing their thoughts who help organize events, sell product, or work for Wizards of the Coast themselves. Including the head of R&D, Mark Rosewater.

Mark is known for being pretty opinionated on the matter of Magic design. Much of that stems from many, many years of experience and the confidence to back those opinions up, bringing with him an air of authority on a variety of MTG related matters. So much so that many of his most ardent followers take his stances as sacrosanct and How Things Should Be. However, just as many players find ways to disagree over the most minute details, leading to a lot of back and forth discussions on his Tumblr platform that encapsulate the modern day internet arena.

Among those many topics that come up from time to time are Mr. Rosewater’s various stances on Commanders’s deck construction rules, which, as a perennial reminder, Wizards does not control. Chief among them is his dislike of the fact that hybrid cards in Commander are treated like standard multicolored cards. Whereas a standard hybrid mana card could be utilized in either deck sporting its particular color, one of the quirks to the EDH world is that here the deck must contain both colors for it to be legal. He has laid out several arguments over the years as to why he feels this is less than ideal decision, and the EDH Rules Committee has responded in kind with their justifications why it is the way it is. Which includes, among other things, that it actually makes checking for deck legality easier.

Personally, I subscribe to the logic of the RC on this point and think such restrictions help better define the format. However, sometimes there are occasions where one can definitely see the benefit from going the other direction. Even in cases like this week’s card.

Today we have: Fable of Wolf and Owl

Name: Fable of Wolf and Owl

Edition: Eventide

Rarity: Rare

Focus: Token Generation

Highlights: During the Shadowmoor block, Simic-colored decks were all the rage, both in the casual and competitive sense. Some of the most dangerous decks sported cards like the nefarious Slippery Boggle, which added an up-tempo approach to this color pair. Blue / Green has always been a popular color with the casual combo crowd, but Eventide made U/G a viable contender in the aggro department as well. Which is why, somewhat ironically, one of the color pairing’s most appreciated cards wasn’t actually used in those builds…because it was deemed too darn slow.

What a nice problem to have.

Unsurprisingly, outside of that particular scenario, Fable of Wolf and Owl has become a mainstay favorite among Blue / Green decks that lean heavily into multicolor and hybrid cards, as to best make use of this enchantment’s baked-in token generation capabilities. Yet the card itself has even more wide-scale appreciation than that.

Fable is not a cheap enchantment. Coming in at six mana, it is most assuredly the kind of enchantment you build up your resources to get out. It’s also the type of enchantment that you want to time its drop correctly on as to best make use of its effects while it’s on the battlefield.

Fable’s two effects are similar and particularly useful. It states that for every Green spell you cast, you create a 2/2 Wolf token, and for every Blue spell, you create a 1/1 Bird. Either of these are admirable in their own right, but it also obviously means that the more you can cast cards of both colors, the more token synergy you can muster. Still, even in a more rounded Blue / Green deck, having this enchantment out ensures that nearly every nonland card you use will generate token creatures for you in some manner. These tokens can be used for a host of things, including swarm attacks, defensive blocking, spell fodder, and more, giving you copious gameplay variety. Although a monocolored deck would ensure more token generation of one kind or another, in Commander games any free creature is appreciated – especially if you’re trying to build up for a powerful attack or need to shore up your defenses.

It’s a bit of an unofficial axiom, but in EDH a free anything is usually worth it.

What’s more, so long you don’t go combo crazy with it, Fable is one of those midrange power enchantments that will make a good target if it starts becoming too effective but may be otherwise ignored if the tokens are sporadic and in small quantities. Finding that balance is essential to its survival.

This also speaks to the card’s main drawback: in and of itself the enchantment doesn’t do anything. It requires both being on the battlefield and you to cast a spell of the requisite color(s) to trigger, which means that its efficacy is entirely based on how often you’re casting spells. In the right deck, it has the potential to become a menace. In others, its wolf-tale may end up with more bark than bite.

Yes, Fable of Wolf and Owl may be the game’s take on a fictional parable, but there’s no need to spin a story about the potential this card can offer a Blue / Green deck – despite being forced into the pairing by those damnable rules.

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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