Standard is losing a full adventuring party as Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is about to rotate out of the format. However, those adventurers (and more importantly their treasures) are poised to enter the dungeon that is Commander. As AFR exits standard it will be that much easier to pick up cards from the set, so it will be the perfect time to pick up some format staples (and maybe a hidden gem or two) for your Commander collection.
While the Ur-Dragon and its Scion may be hard to beat when it comes to five-color dragon decks, Tiamat is very close to dethroning thes powerful dragons. The dragon god refills your hand with threats right when you’d otherwise be running out of gas, and she is herself no slouch as a big flying beater. Volo offers the interesting combination of a deck building puzzle and a powerful clone commander in play. No two Volo decks tend to look alike, as it almost demands that you pick your favorite creatures and work your way through avoiding duplicates. Trellesara, meanwhile, gives everyone who dreamt of a legendary Ajani’s Pridemate exactly what they wanted, and Oswald performs spectacularly as a Birthing Pod for artifacts.
AFR brought a lot of stellar designs into the game, but the one thing the set did best was empower treasure-based strategies. Deadly Dispute is a cross-format all-star that feeds sacrifice decks while generating both card advantage and mana. This card is likely only going to go up in demand, so I’d grab it now before it’s more hotly disputed. Old Gnawbone is a treasure package in and of itself, shining if there are any artifact synergies but working fine on his own to generate tons of value. Xorn asks if you want more treasure, and the answer is always “yes,” while Kalain provides you with a serious power boost for leaning into the strategy. Finally, Treasure Vault takes up a low-impact land slot with the potential of having an oversized payout later. If your deck likes treasure, mana, or artifacts, Treasure Vault should have a home there.
Classing Things Up
Another mechanic that didn’t really pay off in standard are the classes. Few of them saw much play, as they ended up being a little too mana hungry and slow. Not being able to activate them at instant speed prevented everything but some fringe playability for Bard Class, but you should not sleep on these cards in commander. The multicolored classes in particular are all exceptionally good mana sinks, with Fighter and Sorcerer class fitting wonderfully into equipment and spellslinger decks respectively. Sorcerer Class in particular has pulled out some surprising wins in Locust God for me- all those locusts tapping for sorceries gets silly fast.
AFR leaving standard is almost all gain for Commander. The best cards for the format will be that much easier to obtain and the best cards from the set will rise to the top, which has the added bonus of making hidden gems like the classes (potentially) more affordable. What cards from AFR are you looking forward to picking up when they make their escape from standard’s dungeon?