Commander Spotlight: Unexpected Results

Multicolor cards (or gold cards as they’re often called) are pretty great. Multicolored cards often act as a bridge between abilities, giving you access to a function that the individual colors themselves can’t actually do by themselves. Lightning Helix, for example, gives White decks the means to deal direct damage and Red decks the means to gain life, something neither of which would ever see otherwise. In some cases, the various color makeups can even create abilities that are wholly unique and independent from their source colors. By pooling together mana of different colors, both cards and the decks they make up provide a nearly limitless array of possibilities, and when you get right down it, that interpolation between colors truly goes to the heart of how the game works.

Some things aren’t as limited to color as it may seem, however. Things such as, say, being unpredictable. Things such as, say, this week’s card.

Today we have: Unexpected Results

Name: Unexpected Results

Edition: Gatecrash

Rarity: Rare

Focus: Card Advantage / Land Fetch

Highlights: When most people think of taking gambles in Magic, they usually think of Red, as that is the color most likely to have random outcomes as part of its color makeup. Red mages are much more willing to take risks for bigger payoffs, especially compared to other colors known for being much more methodical. However, both Green and Blue in their own ways also dabble with the idea of playing with chance outcomes, with cards such as Genesis Wave or Polymorph. In that way, Unexpected Results isn’t nearly as strange an ability for this color pairing than it may first seem.

Or to hammer the notion home even further, consider the fact that the wording on this card is largely taken from an artifact anyway. Yes, in Magic, chaos is truly colorblind.

The primary intended effect of this four-cost spell is quite simple: taking a gamble on casting something useful from your deck for free. The obvious desire is for you to shuffle into some giant creature, potent artifact, or devastatingly powerful spell. And in all fairness, if you’re willing to play the odds, it’s entirely possible to do so.

Yet the one hurdle many players have with this card is its inherent unpredictability. As with any Simic-colored shenanigans, there’s going to be a bit of strangeness in its outcome. This one is no different. Just as you may reveal into something completely amazing, so too could you reveal something that for one reason or another you don’t want to (or worse, can’t) cast at that moment, leaving you with the option of either casting something at an unideal time or wasting the effect of Unexpected Results.

Still, one of the best things about casual play – and Commander specifically – is that not every card will be used for its original intended effect, either because the scope of the format is different than in Constructed play, or there are new interactions since the card’s printing that make it work in ways that are, well, unexpected. In the case of Unexpected Results, it’s the former. Because the best use for Unexpected Results isn’t necessarily to bank on stumbling into your deck’s one badass beatstick: it’s as a land fetch card.

Statistically, the most common card type by far in EDH decks is land. Therefore, your odds of revealing a land from this is much higher than anything else. Curiously, it’s the land clause of this card that often goes unnoticed, which is paradoxically what players can use it for to its fullest potential in long Commander games. That is, if you reveal a land, it goes straight onto the battlefield and you get the spell back, allowing you to spin the fate wheel again.

This gambit is potentially quite lucrative, especially if you take into account how rare what this seemingly innocuous spell is accomplishing. Repeatable land fetch in general is fairly uncommon. Repeatable land fetch that doesn’t limit itself to basic land and goes straight onto the battlefield and doesn’t force you to play with the top of your library revealed to accomplish it? There’s just four cards in all the game that do that, and of those, one of them (Primeval Titan) is banned. This fact alone should make it a worthwhile consideration for Commander.

Yes, this is the type of card that doesn’t have a guaranteed outcome, but really, most of the game ultimately boils down to taking little chances here and there. It’s always present when we’re at the table. Unexpected Results is just a bit more overt about it. But if you’re willing to take a chance, the rewards are well worth it.

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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