Which Controversial Unfinity Cards Will Impact the Commander Scene?

For the first time in Magic’s history, certain cards from an Un- set will be legal in eternal formats, namely Vintage, Legacy, and Commander. As long as it doesn’t have an acorn security stamp at the bottom of the card, it is good to go. While the wackiest mechanics from Unfinity do have the acorn stamp (phew), there are a few others that will likely stir up the Commander format, thanks to twists never seen before.

But are all, or any of them, game breaking? We look at a few of the most controversial cards and mechanics to find out.

Space Jace – Setting New Sectors of the Battlefield

Who knew that 1 of the deepest minds in Magic: the Gathering would become a space ranger? Space Beleren is the Planeswalker Jace in space, and has the rather unique ability to separate all Creatures into 3 sectors – alpha, beta or gamma. He makes combat extra tricky because with his +1 activated ability, where Creatures can only block attackers from the same sector.

Since opponents assign sectors to their Creatures first, Space Beleren‘s owner can assign all his Creatures to the same sector, and later activating his -1 ability of putting a +1/+1 counter on each of them.

Apart from the power imbalance that Space Beleren creates, it also becomes a logistical challenge trying to keep check on which sector each Creature belongs to.

“how are you gonna remember what’s in each sector if it’s not just each opponent is represented by each sector? It’s basically limited to be boring or be creative and confusing” – Chris M.

The use of new counters would help but clogs up an already crowded Commander table. Space Beleren brings up memories of Pramikon, Sky Rampart, that also restricts who you can attack. However, the mechanics were clear and doesn’t complicate the board unlike Space Beleren. The space adventurer could easily become a shoot-to-kill target when it hits the Battlefield.

Attractions – Recurring Value with a Dice Roll

Attractions are like the recent Dungeon cards introduced in Adventures of the Forgotten Realms. They’re Artifacts that come onto the Battlefield only when you’re told to “open an attraction,” and do not need to be cast.

Each Attraction triggers at the start of your 1st Main Phase. Roll a 6-sided die, and if the highlighted number on the Attraction is rolled, you Visit that attraction for an effect. The strongest Attraction we’ve seen is Hall of Mirrors:

Hall of Mirrors can quickly make all your Creatures into Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobites, Ghalta, the Primal Hungers, or any other giant Legendary Creature you can think of, since the Legend rules doesn’t apply to this effect. It reminds us of Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer, except that Hall of Mirrors doesn’t need a token to copy, and its Legendary status doesn’t matter. This Attraction can be a game winner right there and then if you roll the right numbers.

But how easy is it to get the final effect? Not that easy, it appears. There can be no more than 1 copy of an Attraction in your Attraction pile, and with a minimum of 10 in the pile, that’s a 10% or lower chance of drawing it when you “open” an Attraction. Subsequently, you still have to roll the right numbers each turn (2 or 6 for this particular copy of Hall of Mirrors) for it to trigger.

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Most of the other Attractions are built around flavour rather than value. Spinny Ride taps down an opponent’s Creature, while Roller Coaster gives a +2/+0 buff to your Creatures till end of turn. Probably the strongest Attraction after Hall of Mirrors is Merry-Go-Round which gives Horsemanship to your Creatures with Power 2 or less.

Exchange of Words – the New Gilded Drake?

Most players choose their Commanders for their unique abilities within the card’s text box, and not so much their Power and Toughness stats. The old Gilded Drake is used in many competitive decks because you can steal an enemy’s Commander for a low 2 Mana cost, with effectively no drawbacks. Sure, they get a 3/3 Flying Creature, but in order to get their Commander back, first they have to kill it, and then recast it back onto their side of the Battlefield.

Unfinity has a strong Enchantment that mimics the old Gilded Drake.

The new Enchantment Exchange of Words from Unfinity is a fitting successor to Gilded Drake that should shake up the Commander scene. It costs an additional blue Mana, but it does pretty much the same thing – taking out an opponent’s Commander at least for the short term.

In fact, it’s currently unclear if letting your Commander die and recasting it will revert to its original text box, since the wording here is “as long as Exchange of Words remains on the Battlefield.” If that’s the case, then the only way to get your Commander back is by destroying Exchange of Words.

Stickers – More Hassle Than Good

Initially, stickers got on the wrong side of players, mainly because they didn’t want others putting them on their cards, or that they somehow would allow people to cheat.

“The stickers add weight and also size to every card you place them on, so technically they are marked cards. So if they are ever, say, Chaos Warped, you could call a judge for marked cards because they do everything the definition of what a marked card does, right?” – Jonathan C.

New MTG Stickers in Unfinity initially created an uproar but are actually well thought out

Turns out, the game rules for stickers has taken all of that into account. Stickers you get can only be placed on your own cards, and if any of those cards are shuffled into the Library or go back to the hand (a plausible scenario with so many bounce effects in Magic), those stickers are returned to the sheet and can be reused again.

For now, we don’t see any of the Unfinity cards utilising stickers that will create a ruckus in the Commander scene. They’re like ability counters that do not go away even if those cards go to the Graveyard, but they don’t appear to be game breaking in any way. As more players experiment with these, this could change down the road.

End Step

Give it time, but it’s likely that Unfinity will affect the Commander format no more than any regular set release. These days, even the launch of Universes Beyond Warhammer 40K or Street Fighter cards create more uproar for the community than a select handful of Un- cards. Even Sheoldred, the Apocalypse from the newest Dominaria United set will likely make a stronger and lasting impact that most of these Unfinity cards.

That said, Unfinity does add a good amount of laughter and cheer to any table, and for that deserves some merit.

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Ted

After playing from Tempest to Urza's Saga block, Ted took a 20 year break from the game before returning to the classic Plane of Dominaria in 2018. His favourite formats are Commander, Draft, and, grudgingly, Standard.

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