Hello, and welcome back to another edition of EDH Hidden Gems!
Today, I wanted to take a look at all of the new tribal cards from the last few sets.
I’ll be focusing on those spells that can be used to good effect by any tribe (so, nothing that is tribe-specific today, like Liliana’s Mastery). Let’s dive right in and take a look!
Last year, Wizards began to print some quality tribal cards here and there, though these were mostly focused on individual tribes (Zombies in Innistrad block 2/Amonkhet block; Werewolves in Innistrad 2; Aetherborn in Kaladesh, etc.) There were some cards printed that affect any tribe, however, and that’s what we’ll be exploring today.
I will say, Wizards has been doing an excellent job of making tribes matter again in recent sets, (especially recently, with Ixalan and Commander 2017), and there is now a ton of excellent new spells to support various tribes.
As evidenced by the popularity of Commander 2017, EDH players love tribal decks, so this is going to be a list of useful cards for such decks.
Let’s take a look!
TRIBAL CARD-DRAWING (Herald’s Horn, Kindred Discovery, Heirloom Blade, Kindred Summons, Vanquisher’s Banner):
One of the things I’ve been saying for years is that I love to play card drawing spells in EDH. Any spell or creature that draws extra cards is definitely one that I’ll look at playing, no matter what it is.
By drawing extra cards, you will be drawing extra threats to kill people with, hitting all your land drops, and drawing answers to their threats — all things that just so happen to win EDH games.
Hence, I was delighted to see that Wizards have printed a lot of new card drawing spells for tribal decks only.
I really like all of these cards above. Herald’s Horn is an excellent design, giving you cost reduction for your tribe (which we’ll talk more about in a sec), as well as a way to ‘draw’ more members of that tribe. Both Kindred Discovery and Vanquisher’s Banner reward you for playing members of the tribe by letting you draw cards, while Heirloom Blade is essentially a fixed Skullclamp, letting you ‘draw’ another member of the tribe when the equipped one dies.
These are each great cards for EDH and very potent ways to draw more cards, and I’ll be adding each one into my tribal decks going forward.
A TRIBAL WRATH (Kindred Dominance):
Let me just start by saying this: It’s about damn time this was printed.
For a very long time, the only tribal-specific Wrath was Harsh Mercy (which, let’s face it, is awful at killing the creatures that you really want dead). I have been wanting Wizards to print a tribe-specific Wrath for literally decades, and they finally delivered.
This card was, hands down, my favorite design of Commander 2017. It is going to be a tribal staple going forward in any black tribal deck, and is just a simple, yet very powerful card.
It really just surprises me that it took Wizards this long to print a card saying “Destroy all creatures but your tribe.” This card seems like one that should have been in print years ago.
I know that I’ll be adding it into all of my black tribal decks going forward, and it is going to be excellent for each one.
A MEMBER OF EVERY TRIBE (Metallic Mimic):
Much like Adaptive Automaton before him, Aether Revolt’s Metallic Mimic is a versatile card that counts as a member of whatever tribe your playing. With a casting cost of two, this is a very affordable member of any tribe, coming down early on and letting you go on the offensive. Add to this his use in pumping other members of the tribe (which we’ll come back to), and you’ve got a very useful member of any tribe.
TRIBAL MANA-FIXING AND ACCELERATION (Herald’s Horn, Path of Ancestry, Unclaimed Territory, Pillar of Origins):
With each MTG set that gets released, one of the major things I’m always on the lookout for is new lands and mana-fixing for EDH. Many people don’t seem to realize the importance of a good manabase in EDH; without having the right lands or dual lands, you won’t have the colors to cast your spells, leading to games where you get color-screwed (and this is no fun).
Hence, I am a huge fan of the new tribal mana-fixing cards in the recent sets, giving us lots of new ways to play our tribes of various colors.
We’ll start this section off with Commander 2017 land Path of Ancestry, an excellent five-color land with no actual drawback (“comes into play tapped” is a small price to pay for a five-color land that doesn’t damage you and has an upside). I’m planning to add this to each of my five-color tribal decks (Slivers, Allies, Dragons, Spirits, and Elementals), and I know it’s going to be amazing for each one.
Next, I’ve long been a big fan of Avacyn Restored card Cavern of Souls, but I’ve always hated the fact that it has a huge price tag, as all of my tribal decks want a copy. It seems that Wizards agreed with me that the price was ludicrous, as they’ve finally printed a version at uncommon in Unclaimed Territory, a card that will be jumping into all my tribal decks just as soon as I can get a dozen copies.
Finally, Wizards printed a pair of excellent tribal artifacts. Ixilan gives us Pillar of Origins, a great five-color mana rock for tribes; and Commander 2017 provided the aforementioned Herald’s Horn, which gives you a mana discount for your tribe on top of being a great card drawing spell.
All in all, these cards give us lots of great new ways to accelerate or mana-fix for the tribe of our choice, and I think they are each fantastic.
WAYS TO PUMP THE TRIBE (Metallic Mimic, Vanquisher’s Banner, Kindred Charge)
The final thing we’ll look at here is team pump effects, which Wizards has not forgotten in the rush of new tribal cards. In EDH (and multiplayer in general), sometimes the best way to kill someone is an Overrun effect, and so this section of cards is all ways to pump your entire team. Each of these is quite potent at what they do, with Vanquisher’s Banner both pumping your team and acting as card drawing (which is amazing utility), and each will be a great way to close out a game.
Wizards has clearly made an effort to print new tribal cards for EDH tribal afficionados, and each of these cards I’ve mentioned today will be excellent regardless of which tribe you choose to put them in. I know that I’ll be picking up a pile of each card and adding them into my existing tribal decks, where I expect each card will be amazing.
Wizards has given us the cards to make tribal decks good in EDH, now it is up to us to build those decks.
Now, if I can just get five-color tribal Spirits to not suck…