Commander Spotlight: Palliation Accord

Welcome back to week sixty-four of Monday Magic: COVID Edition. It’s been 492 days since my last summoning.

For the last 6 weeks, I have found myself working extensively on a deck. This deck, however, was not of the Magic variety. It was instead of the attached to a house kind. Though I did find myself pondering at times about similarities between the two.

Whether thinking about constructing a deck for gameplay or one to walk on, there are a number of characteristics that both versions share. Both iterations require a solid foundation to work from. Both benefit from the time and patience in planning and putting them together correctly. Both are capable of styles ranging from the simple yet functional to the ornate and flashy. And both provide a rewarding sentiment when they’re finished, functional, and ready to enjoy. Though their end purposes are wildly different, the processes around building one, as it is with so many construction-related matters, are remarkably similar. In that effect, I take solace in the fact that while the Magic decks in these parts are still abnormally silent, the methodology around making and improving them has not become rusty on my part – even if the need to work on a deck has been almost laughably silent these many months.

Clearly I have been keeping myself occupied with a multitude of other matters in the meantime, but yes, this does mean in other words that things have not changed since last week. Or the week before. Or, well, you get the idea. The impasse continues. All I can say to that effect is that our groups are trying to find the time, but it has been slow-going in getting commitments thus far this summer. So stay tuned to find out if we’ll indeed meet or exceed the 500 day threshold!

In the meantime, per usual we carry on by looking at Magic cards I’ve personally wanted to put into an EDH deck for some time but haven’t for one reason or another. This time around, we have a card that exists in a strange dichotomy for EDH cards: not overpowered but still one that has a habit of getting picked on nonetheless.

Today we have: Palliation Accord

Name: Palliation Accord

Edition: Dissension

Rarity:  Uncommon

Focus: Damage Prevention

Highlights: In the days prior to Commander being the dominant casual format, it wasn’t uncommon for players to have decks tailored to multiplayer gameplay in nearly the same manner. For myself and my play groups over the years, multiplayer casual was almost exclusively the gameplay style of choice. Among them for me was a behemoth of a Blue / White deck. I’ve referenced to this deck before as The Fortress, an experimental deck of over 130 cards. During one of its many, many tweaks over time, I included Palliation Accord to see how it would fare. Which, as it turned out, did both better than I expected but amusingly worse than my opponents think it did.

At its core, Palliation Accord is an Azorius-flavored defensive enchantment fueled by the actions of your opponent. While it won’t propel your position in a game forward, it is capable of providing an ample damage buffer to stave off combat or direct damage attacks and buy you time to set other plans in motion. And it mostly does so just by…sitting on the battlefield.

For a moderately-costed five mana enchantment, Palliation Accord’s passive trigger states that whenever an opponent’s creature becomes tapped, it gets a counter. This can range anywhere from creature activations, tap-down effects, or simply an opponent engaging creatures in combat against you – or even another player. The more opponents you have, the more creatures they have, and the longer the enchantment sticks around, the higher the number of counters on it climbs.

And it is that aspect which is both its blessing and its curse.

Functionally-speaking, the more counters Palliation Accord has the more useful it is to you, thanks to its activated ability. This ability says that for each counter you remove, it will prevent a damage to you this turn. In EDH, you’ll generally want (and even need) a fair amount of counters for it to be efficient at blunting the attack of a singularly large or numerous mid-sized creatures. Therefore, to get its most effective use – either as pure damage prevention or mere deterrence from being attacked –  it takes a little time to charge up. Once it does, it can can often make a notable difference in smoothing over attacks headed in your direction, or better yet, serve as a deterrent from players even attacking in the first place. If you have 30 counters on it, and the best their attack can do is remove a fraction of those but deal no actual damage to you, it can temper the desire to attack.

At the same time, many players have an intrinsic apprehension about any card on the battlefield with an extensive amount of counters on them – be it creature, planeswalker, or even enchantment. In many cases there is an unspoken association between counter volume and table threat, lest through some machinations those counters be leveraged into some kind of powerful combo move or shift in power balance at the table. As a result, such cards tend to be spot removal targets. Unfortunately, this can sometimes include Palliation Accord. For although it’s hard to be abused in such a way, it’s also not uncommon for this enchantment to quickly amass 10, 15, 20+ counters in a few rounds. Not only does this set up an ample shield in your favor, to some it becomes an invitation to destruction. Sure, it can bed popped in response to a removal or board wipe effect, giving you one final damage shield, but its perception of being highly powerful does become the one real strike against it.

That all said, though, Palliation Accord is still well worth the inclusion in a Commander deck. At worst, it gives you a buffer period to avoid damage while you adjust your board position. At best, it can be a highly useful tool to capitalize on board activity without overtly bothering anyone.

Suffice it to say, the next time I’m in a position to add this to a new deck – a Magic deck that is – Palliation Accord will surely be among the cards considered. It’s high time it made the leap over to EDH on my part. And I for one often can use the extra defenses.

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!