Commander Spotlight: Perilous Forays [Repost]

Editor’s Note: We’re off today in celebration of the US holiday. Enjoy this Monday Magic article, which was originally published in October 2013. But it has a labor-based theme, so…

As players, we have a habit of pigeonholing the colors into their basest aspects while contrasting them with one another. Whether it’s done to simply convey a color’s core essence or used dismissively about its usefulness, players often resort to speaking in shorthand when discussing what it means to be that color. Red? Well, that’s the color of direct damage, goblins and dragons. Blue? Counterspells and fliers. And for Green? Mana acceleration and creatures – lots and lots of creatures.

As the color of nature, Green’s mission statement has always centered around a creature-centric philosophy. Green mages prefer to match their brawn against others, using the raw power of the wilds over deceptive spells and fancy enchantments. It’s why it gets a higher percentage of creatures compared to the rest, and why so much of its utility is based around creatures or combat. As a result, this causes some players to think that Green isn’t as “advanced” as the other colors. However, while it is the color with the most straight-forward philosophy and the least amount of nuance, anyone on the receiving end of an Overrun can attest that Green is just as dangerous as the rest. This is especially true with the overall shift towards more potent creatures in the game.

Green is adept at strategies around both large behemoths and a swarm mentality. Players can cultivate hordes of saprolings / squirrels / insects, or giant forces of nature (conveniently including Force of Nature!). Usually though, you have to commit to one approach over the other. Token decks require some extra utility cards, while gigantic creatures necessitate taking advantage of Green’s other major trait to generate the needed mana.

Commander, on the other hand, does not hold to the same conventions as normal decks. It allows players to experiment with different ideas than you’d see normally, including the ability of combining these two Green tactics into a single deck. And, as it turns out, there’s just the card to do it.

Today we have: Perilous Forays

Perilous Forays

Name: Perilous Forays

Edition: Ravnica

Rarity: Uncommon

Focus: Land Ramp / Mana Acceleration / Creature Sacrifice

Highlights: Perilous Forays is a card with a very simple ability: sac a creature to get a land. There are two immediate effects, although the implications for such an ability are far more widespread. First, sacrificing an inconsequential token creature for a land provides you with the mana necessary to put out your heavy hitters more quickly. Secondly, land ramp in Commander thins the deck out, allowing you more chances at the cards you want to cast. With access to viable token production, this card can help churn out basic land with relative ease in a format that continually craves mana.

Of course, its usefulness doesn’t stop there. For example, Perilous Forays’s sacrifice mechanic (like all sac mechanics) helps prevent someone from stealing your creature or doing other detrimental things to them. Alternatively, you can be more proactive with using the sacrifice engine to your advantage. A card like Fecundity would let you draw cards, and a Grazing Gladehart lets you gain life from it. Of course, branching outside of Green also opens up a whole host of additional opportunity, as there’s an entire color that has zero issue sacrificing its own for more power.

Perilous Forays is a workhorse card that does what it’s supposed to do with relative ease. What’s more, it’s the type of enchantment than be put down in many cases without drawing any immediate attention. Land ramp by itself in most metas is not enough to get someone’s ire up. However, with the right deck, Commander, or if you think it’s wise to pair with an Emeria Angel / Rampaging Baloths, this seemingly benign enchantment could bring all sorts of attention in your direction…

But hey, it doesn’t have the word Perilous in the name for nothing.

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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