Commander Spotlight: Profound Journey

What a difference a couple weeks can make.

Welcome back to week thirty-seven of Monday Magic: COVID Edition. We are now closing in on another numerical milestone in this rather somber tracking project, as it’s been 296 days since my last summoning. It’s hard to overstate how long 300 days really can be for something as trivial as a card game, but the oddity at this juncture stems less from the length of the duration itself and rather how, as strange as it may be, this passage of time somehow feels both much longer than 300 days and much, much shorter.

Oddly, I’ve taken comfort in the fact that this sense of time warp is not unique to you or I. Indeed, numerous folks from academia have weighed in on this phenomenon, and while it may largely boil down to sociological and psychological factors at work, there is something to be said in being reassured it’s not just you.

I’ve also taken comfort in that we have now, blissfully and finally, limped into 2021. Most of us are cognizant that a mere change in the calendar isn’t going to miraculously adjust our collective fortunes, but there is nevertheless a catharsis in being able to say that 2020 is officially behind us. There are still several months to go before we’re all out of the woods, but with multiple vaccines actively being rolled out and a new government poised to take over in the US in the coming days after several years of ineptitude and turmoil, even just acknowledging the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is something to look forward to.

I’ll certainly take it. Even if it is for the time being purely a change in one’s state of mind vis a vis the current state of affairs, it’s one I firmly decided to take advantage of.

Case in point, over the holiday interlude I took it upon myself to start digging through every major set released since the end of 2019 (basically all the way back to Throne of Eldraine) for new deck ideas, new future cards for this series, and, honestly, merely just to see all the excellent multiplayer-friendly cards of the last year (there were quite a few!) that 2020 made impossible for me to properly process. Realistically it’ll be some time before these endeavors will lead to new EDH games played or newish cards showcased, but it was nice to break the malaise that had overtaken my interest in the game and start up again from the last sets I recall having a firm grasp on.

Put more simply, it was wonderful to be able to dive into something so trivial as a card game again.

Sometimes you need to take a step back to move forward.

Funny enough, running with this sense of rejuvenation reminded me of a particular card – which just so happens to be this week’s card pick.

Throughout this series’ COVID-based interim, we’ve mostly showed off Magic cards I’ve wanted to put into an EDH deck for quite some time but haven’t for one reason or another rather than basing it around a Magic-centered discussion topic with a particular Commander card at its core (as is the traditional format). There’s still likely to be more of that in the weeks to come, but I greatly desired to start 2021 off with a return to some sense of getting back to normal. Hence this week’s tie-in.

And it’s a good one. Aside from embodying a much lauded effect, the symbolism behind this card was too good to pass up here.

Today we have: Profound Journey

Name: Profound Journey

Edition: Dragons of Tarkir

Rarity: Rare

Focus: Permanent Recursion

Highlights: Looking at cards like Profound Journey, I am often reminded of the journey the game developers themselves have taken with respect to card recursion in White over the years. Since the game’s very beginning White in some form has been able to separately recover Artifacts, Enchantments, and Creatures from the graveyard – either back to your hand or directly back on to the battlefield. Yet for a long, long time there was great reluctance to simply combine these disparate effects into “return target permanent” for a number of reasons.

For one, there was concern that returning permanents to your hand strayed too much into Green’s recursion sphere; likewise they’ve long been wary of stealing Black’s ability to return creatures directly to the battlefield. Then they were worried that expressly giving the effect to White at the same card costs as Green or White would make it too powerful. While they finally settled on a criteria they were happy with – only affecting smaller targets at lower CMCs while being unrestricted with more expensive cards, this development took until at least 2010 to really solidify. Luckily, the years since have seen a small but notable uptick in frequency of permanent recursion in White, including Tarkir’s Profound Journey.

Although the card costs a fair amount at 7 mana, Profound Journey is an excellent addition to a Commander deck. Its sole purpose allows you to select any one permanent in your graveyard and return it directly to the battlefield. Whether that means bringing back a powerhouse Creature, a utility Artifact or Enchantment, a highly prized Planeswalker, or even a potent nonbasic land that got picked off is entirely up to you. While it’s likely not a card you’re likely to use until at least the midpoint in a game (particularly after a board wipe or a particularly costly combat), Profound Journey gives you ample flexibility to bring back any one permanent card directly back into the fray, depending on your current needs. Offensive or defensive, large or small, this provides room to make the best choice you feel possible in the moment to bolster your board state.

But there’s a bonus! Thanks to Profound Journey’s Rebound mechanic, during your next upkeep you get to do the exact same thing a second time. Yes, barring some corner case shenanigans, Profound Journey will ultimately let you pick and return two cards for the price of one. Even for some card cost sticklers (who for some reason play Commander?), getting two cards instead of one more than offsets the initial casting cost of the card.

Profound Journey is the kind of card that elicits the idea of trekking through a perilous situation and being able to benefit from it on the other side – be that an in-game board wipe or a year long pandemic that prevents you from playing in the first place. Which just seems like the perfect encapsulation to start off this year with.

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!