Commander’s Lenses: N is for Nifty

N is for Nifty

We all have cards we think are under-played. Right? While thinking on what to do for my Commander article for Kirwans’s Game Store, I reached out on Twitter for some suggestions on what are some real nifty cards to play. Some of these cards are probably going to be no-brainers for a few of you. But that is the joy of hidden gems, right? Getting to see your pet cards recognized as good.

Of note, these cards are not auto includes in every casual or Commander deck. In fact, some of them are pretty darn situational. The idea is to illustrate that with a little research, you can expand your strategy pool.

The List

Riptide Shapesifter - Onslaught

Riptide Shapesifter – Onslaught

Riptide Shapeshifter is pretty fun when you have bombs in your deck of a very specific creature type. In a lot of the Blue decks I see in Commander, they run a Consecrated Sphinx or an Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre as some powerful threats. This card is a sweet way to tutor them up and cheat them into play. Granted you lose the cast trigger for your Eldrazi, but you still get an Ulamog pretty early. Aside from the ability, this card is pretty meh. It’s a 3/3 for five mana which is pretty bad. In a 60 card casual deck, I would recommend running him to find some beefy finishers of the same creature type. Since he is costly, make sure that the card you are tutoring up is worth the smack down.

Nim Deathmantle - Scars of Mirrodin

Nim Deathmantle – Scars of Mirrodin



Okay. If you are not playing Nim Deathmantle in Commander you are doing it wrong. Maybe some of you have heard of a card named Recurring Nightmare. No? Well, go check the banned list. Notice that it is on it. Then go read the card. I’ll wait right here. Oh, you’re back? Good. This card is very strong. Even if your strategy is not based around creatures, this card gives your key creatures insane survivability. And when built around properly, this card can get right silly. Also, giving a creature +2/+2 and intimidate is nothing to snuff at either.

Impromptu Raid - Shadowmoor

Impromptu Raid – Shadowmoor

Impromptu Raid came my way thanks to my friend Danny. I have always been a fan of way to cheat cards into play. One of my early favorite Magic cards was Call of the Wild. This card is Call of the Wild meets Sneak Attack. I can see myself playing this in a Mayael the Anima Commander deck. That way, I can put a big beefy creature into play and then punch my table in the face. Another fun thing is to combine this card with blink effects to keep the creatures in play. Another great way to get value is to combine this card with Greater Good for some good card draw.

Mangara’s Tome - Mirage

Mangara’s Tome – Mirage





My friend Jason pointed Mangara’s Tome out to me. I usually am not a fan of cards like this. There is a huge chance someone goes ahead and blows this up and ruins your day. However, some colors are not very good at tutoring. I am looking at you, White and Red. While this card has some serious fall back, being smart with the cards you set aside is crucial. Do not set aside your win condition or your ability to get back in the game. I tend to use these cards to set aside multi-threat answers. So cards like Hull Breach, Bant Charm, and Austere Command. If you stick to cards like this, while leaving other answers still in the deck, you don’t lose out when someone steals your Christmas away.

Brittle Effigy - Magic 2011

Brittle Effigy – Magic 2011

Thanks to this card, I have greatly considered making an article about Trinket Mage and the many different packages you can have with him. Brittle Effigy is one of those rare pieces of spot removal without restriction. Yes, it is vulnerable to being blown up by artifact removal. But, that honestly doesn’t matter. Because at the end of the day, Brittle Effigy can be played in a variety of deck styles and can be ran in any color combination. Also, exile is a powerful form of removal with very little ways for that creature to come back.

Worm Harvest - Modern Masters

Worm Harvest – Modern Masters






When I went to Twitter, Jack LaCroix suggest Worm Harvest as an underplayed card. Which was weird to hear. Worm Harvest is a fairly popular card in G/B/x decks here in my local play group. Worm Harvest requires a little more build around then some of the other cards on the list. The thing about Worm Harvest is the consistent creature generation thanks to Retrace. Because of this the more you cast Worm Harvest, the more out of control it gets. Also, this card pairs EXTREMELY with Creakwood Liege. If you’re going to build a Commander or 60 card deck with Worm Harvest, you need to include the Liege. Another card to consider is Sprout Swarm. While I am not a huge fan of token strategies, Worm Harvest plays nicely with the other snowball token generating card.

The Final Word

Hopefully this list has been a little helpful for each of you. I think I will try to make this a regular article that comes out once a month. What cards do you play that you think others should give a try?

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Amanda Stevens

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