- Kaalia of the Vast
- Food Chain
We’re in the home stretch of Magic: The Gathering’s latest preview season, and Double Masters 2022 has suddenly decided to drop a billion different combo pieces on us all at once. We knew this set was going to be high-powered, but if you’re a fan of running away with a series of triggers quadrillions long, there is a lot in today’s previews to appeal to you.
On day seven of the Double Masters 2022 preview season, we’ve had one of the game’s best Auras, one of its best Mardu (red/white/black) commanders, one of its best artifacts, and even a cEDH staple that hasn’t been printed in a booster pack since 1999. That is a lot of bests for just one day of spoilers.
One green enchantment – Aura:
Enchanted creature gets +2/+0 and has trample.
When Rancor is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, return Rancor to its owner’s hand.
Rancor has long been considered one of the best Auras in the game. For many people, it doesn’t look like it’s up to much – +2/+0 and trample isn’t exactly the wordiest, most complex effect to impress a player.
However, for one mana, having a way to force damage through your opponent’s blockers is wild. Particularly in formats like Pauper and Modern, where the lower starting life total makes an additional two damage hurt even more, it can be a game-winner.
Even better is that Rancor is incredibly hard to get rid of. If the creature it’s enchanting dies, Rancor comes back to your hand to let you play it again. This does open up some combo potential in Commander, most notably with One with the Kami and Phyrexian Altar.
All you need to do is enchant a creature with Rancor and sacrifice it to the Altar to produce at least two 1/1 Spirit tokens. Rancor returns to your hand, you have one green mana from the Phyrexian Altar, and you can repeat the process indefinitely for infinite enchantment casts and infinite creature tokens.
This wasn’t a card we desperately needed a reprint for, as it was last printed in the Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Commander decks. That being said, it’s always nice to see Rancor.
Kaalia of the Vast
One generic, one red, one white, one black legendary creature – Human Cleric – 2/2:
Whenever Kaalia of the Vast attacks an opponent, you may put an Angel, Demon, or Dragon creature card from your hand onto the battlefield tapped and attacking that opponent.
From the sheer number of Commander 2011 commanders Double Masters 2022 is receiving, it wasn’t too hard to predict we’d see Kaalia of the Vast at some point. That being said, of all of them, Kaalia is probably the one we needed the least. It’s the only legendary creature in Double Masters 2022 so far to also be in the original Double Masters, and there it received new, borderless art for the first time.
Kaalia is one of the game’s go-to flying tribal commanders, thanks to giving you easy access to the game’s three strongest flying creature type: Angels, Demons, and Dragons. We’ve also seen lots of Dragons in Battle For Baldur’s Gate, which could be a great way for players who came in with that set to experience something spicier with Kaalia.
She also synergises nicely with Aurelia, the Warleader, another commander confirmed for Double Masters 2022. While you won’t get the first attack trigger if Aurelia enters attacking with Kaalia’s ability, having both attack together allows you to dump even more creatures from your hand onto the battlefield. Chuck in Kamigawa’s Isshin, Two Heavens As One to double all these attack triggers, and maybe a 2022 Kaalia deck looks very different from a 2020 one after all?
One generic, two white creature – Elemental – 3/1:
When Flickerwisp enters the battlefield, exile another target permanent. Return that card to the battlefield under its owner’s control at the beginning of the next end step.
There was no way we weren’t going to get Flickerwisp in this set the second it was announced that the white/blue/black draft archetype is centred around flickering. Alongside Restoration Angel (also confirmed for Double Masters 2022 today), it’s the go-to flickering creature.
Though Flickerwisp does the slower form of flickering that only returns things at the beginning of the next end step, it can flicker any kind of permanent. Lands, artifacts, enchantments, and planeswalkers can all be targeted, which opens up a whole host of new strategic plays. Even the very fact it returns things during the next end step can be useful. Suppose you have an instant-speed flicker source, like Deadeye Navigator or Ephemerate. In that case, flickering the Flickerwisp itself on your end step could help you remove an opponent’s powerful card for an entire turn.
Incredibly, despite debuting in 2008’s Eventide and having been reprinted a dozen times, this is the first time Flickerwisp has ever received new art. It really hammers home that, despite being a white creature, it’s also a horrific flying moth elemental Facehugger thing. The art is amazing, but please never make us see the underside of a Flickerwisp ever again, Wizards.
Four generic artifact:
If an artifact or creature entering the battlefield causes a triggered ability of a permanent you control to trigger, that ability triggers an additional time.
It’s a Double Masters set with a flicker-driven draft archetype, of course we were going to get an enters-the-battlefield (ETB) doubler like Panharmonicon. It’s one of Magic’s most iconic artifacts outside of Sol Ring and Black Lotus, and it’s also going to cause a lot of havoc in Double Masters 2022.
Panharmonicon is a ferocious combo piece, particular in facilitating infinite flickers and ETB triggers. In Double Masters 2022 alone, we’ve already got Venser, Shaper Savant, which combos with Panharmonicon and Peregrine Drake to allow you to produce infinite mana, infinite storm count, and infinite ETB triggers. We also have Restoration Angel, which alongside Felidar Guardian, is one of monowhite’s primary infinite flicker combos.
Panharmonicon fits so nicely into not just any flicker deck (which this set will more than facilitate with both Aminatou and Roon included), but any deck that tries to drown their opponent under ETB effects. Considering that we just had Streets of New Capenna and its alliance ability, a Panharmonicon reprint in Double Masters 2022 is the ideal time.
One black creature – Zombie – 2/1:
Gravecrawler can’t block.
You may cast Gravecrawler from your graveyard as long as you control a Zombie.
The scourge of Zombie decks and yet another major combo piece being included in Double Masters 2022, Gravecrawler is an unassuming creature whose purpose is seemingly to just throw themselves at the enemy time and time again.
That is, of course, until you realise two cards also being printed in Double Masters 2022 are Phyrexian Altar and Blood Artist. One of the set’s draft archetypes is about sacrificing creatures, so with these three cards and just one other Zombie, you’ve got a way to infinitely kill off and bring back Gravecrawler for an easy Blood Artist win.
On top of being a hit for the draft environment, this is another example of how Double Masters 2022 is bringing the finishing touches to many Commander products released in the last year. This reprint comes just a few months after Innistrad: Midnight Hunt’s Wilhelt the Rotcleaver shot up to become one of the format’s best Zombie tribal commanders – throw in a Phyrexian Altar, and you’ve got an infinite swarm of Zombies for an otherwise simply okay preconstructed deck.
Two generic, one green enchantment:
Exile a creature you control: Add X mana of any one colour, where X is one plus the exiled creature’s mana value. Spend this mana only to cast creature spells.
While it has appeared in the Set booster exclusive The List, this is one of the biggest gaps between a debut and another booster reprint we’ve seen in Double Masters 2022. The last time we saw Food Chain was 19 years ago in Mercadian Masques, and in that time it has become a star of the cEDH (competitive Commander) format.
Despite looking like a card for pod decks at first – which aim to sacrifice gradually-stronger creatures in order to play the heavy hitters way ahead of your opponent – the trick with Food Chain decks is actually to use lots of creatures you can cast from exile, such as Eternal Scourge and Squee, the Immortal.
As Food Chain produces one extra mana, you can generate infinite mana with just one of these creatures. Eternal Scourge is the best card for this because it’s colourless, allowing you to produce any colour with Food Chain and always have enough to constantly play, ‘exile’ to Food Chain, and recast your Commander from the command zone.
Any commander with green and a decent ETB effect plays nicely with Food Chain. For example, Omnath, Locus of the Roil deals damage equal to the number of Elementals you control to any target when it ETBs. Even if you only have Omnath out, the infinite ETBs Food Chain and that infinite mana provide give you an incredibly quick victory with minimal effort.
Sitting at over $50, Food Chain desperately needed a reprint to help make these broken combos more accessible. As an added bonus, Daarken’s new art features the return of a card many people remember fondly from Theros: Beyond Death, the Ironscale Hydra.
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