I love the flavor of Hand of Vecna, especially as it combines with the Eye of Vecna and The Book of Vile Darkness that have already been revealed. Vecna is an important figure in Dungeons and Dragons lore – a lich who became a god, if I recall correctly – and his Hand was always a powerful evil artifact. Want to use it? Great, just go ahead and remove one of your existing hands and replace it with this. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine… at least, unless you remove the hand. Then you, uh, die. So there’s that.
Hand of Vecna is an interesting card for Commander. The card’s internal tension is interesting, of course – equip for two, or for “free” if you’re happy to pay life in lieu of mana. My first and potentially strangest thought is to put my hand away with something like Ignorant Bliss and Bottled Cloister, then equip this while under that effect, potentially at instant speed where necessary, but of course, that’s a lot more work than just paying two mana. Obviously, the ideal scenario is to turn the Hand, Eye, and Book (which I will absolutely call the “Tome of Eternal Darkness” by mistake a number of times) into a single Vecna token full of delightful triggered abilities, but that leaves you more vulnerable to bounce and exile effects, so that may be an imperfect situation.
It’s possible that we could do something with the life loss, or at least potentially ameliorate the loss. If you’re looking to pay life, who better to offset all that than Oloro? Even in the command zone, he supplies you with a steady stream of life gain triggers, and that lets us make full use of the Hand’s manaless equip trigger as well as the associated Eye’s life payments. K’rrik is also quite used to paying life, though if you’re looking to simply lose life quickly for no good reason, Gallowbraid and Morinfen are apparently options. Willowdusk, Essence Seer can turn your life loss into counters, but my favorite option is Vilis, Broker of Blood, who turns that loss into more cards – and that means more power and toughness from the Hand of Vecna. Use that to power up a huge Rite of Consumption or other Fling effect! You can also turn the payments into power via Font of Agonies, an oddball card that’s powerful under the right circumstances. Remember, though, that while the Hand lets you pay, the Eye simply takes.
You could also simply offset things with a Loxodon Warhammer, Basilisk Collar, or other lifelink-related effect – Heliod, Sun-Crowned, perhaps – and then just hit very hard. Commmanders that care about your hand size, like Alrund, God of the Cosmos or, even better, Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse, can use this equipment to effectively double-dip, while Damia, Sage of Stone will allow you to hurl your hand into a nearby garbage can or Hell Mongrel, equip this for free, and then redraw up to seven on your next turn for a destructive attack. Another option is freeing yourself of hand size issues with Kruphix, God of Horizons to really give the Hand some extra punch.
It’s surprisingly easy to get excited about Magic’s newest and most evil Empyrial Armor effect, and hopefully you find something fun to do with it that I haven’t even considered yet!