Single Card Discussion: Opal Palace

 

Hello and welcome back to the Single Card Discussion series! After my pieces on Amonkhet’s new Dusk // Dawn and Mouth // Feed, it’s time to take a look at yet another multiplayer gem that I feel has been sadly overlooked.

Today’s card is one that I’ve thought was highly useful since it was first spoiled, and though it does see play, I’m shocked that more players haven’t looked at it for EDH. Today’s card is the Commander 2013 land, Opal Palace.

Let’s take a deeper look at this potent card!

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FOF

Thus far in my Single Card series, I’ve looked at some great multiplayer gems.

• I started the series with Utter End, my favorite spot removal spell from Khans, here.
• I looked at a red card, Outpost Siege, my overall favorite card from Fate Reforged, here.
• Another red card, Greater Gargadon, a fantastic sacrifice outlet, here.
• I looked at the first monowhite card, the tricksy Seht’s Tiger here.
• The first blue card of the series, Gilded Drake, a potent thievery effect, here.
• I went over white control card World Queller and how to use its powerful effect here.
• I looked at the once-restricted blue recursion card Recall, the only blue card that can recur dead planeswalkers (plus any other type of card), here.
• I went over the first black card of this series, Commander 2014’s Flesh Carver, an excellent sacrifice outlet here.
• As part of my week-long look at Modern Masters 2015 cards, I looked at Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder, and his token-making prowess here.
• We went over the red sweeper Magmaquake, which hits all planeswalkers at once, here.
• I looked at Shrouded Lore, a strange black recursion spell, here.
• We discussed the power of tapping down opposing creatures with a trio of white cards: Glare of Subdual, Sandsower, and Diversionary Tactics, here.
• I took a look at two green recursion creatures, Hua Tuo, Honored Physician, and Loaming Shaman from Ravnica, here.
• I looked at an Innistrad favourite, Reaper from the Abyss, an excellent card for killing off opposing creatures, here.
• I looked at the powerful Magic Origins card Chandra’s Ignition, a mighty Wrath effect/player killer, here.
• I spotlighted Vorinclex’s potent new win condition and mana-ramp spell, From Beyond, and the possibilities of an Eldrazi sideboard here.
• I looked at my favourite modal spell from Commander 2014, the deceptively useful Wretched Confluence here.
• I looked at new Ally tribal leader General Tazri and how she would interact with the Allies here.
• I looked at the Mana Reflection/Soul of the Harvest love child, Zendikar Resurgent here.
• I looked at the super Purify slash big dude, Kalemne’s Captain, here.
• I went over one of my favorite lands from Shadows Over Innistrad block, Westvale Abbey (and its flip side, Ormendahl) here.
• I took a look at Amonkhet’s new powerhouse card drawing spell, Pull from Tomorrow, which is deceptively good, here.
• I went over the aftermath all-star, Commit // Memory, a powerful and flexible bounce spell and draw 7, here.
• I looked at a third Amonkhet card, as I looked at a second aftermath card, Dusk // Dawn here.
• Finally, I looked at a fourth Amonkhet card, Mouth // Feed, which was the third aftermath card that I really liked, here.

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Opal Palace is a land first introduced back in Commander 2013, and later reprinted in Commander 2016, and has been fantastic for me over the last few years, so I wanted to spotlight it today. On its surface, this card seems like just a re-skin of Shimmering Grotto, but this is really so much more.

Before we take a look at it, here are the EDH-relevant rulings on this card:

• 10/17/2013: The “number of times it’s been cast from the command zone” includes the most recent time. For example, the first time you cast your commander from the command zone in a game, if you spent mana from Opal Palace’s last ability to do so, it will enter the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter.
• 10/17/2013: The color identity of your commander is set before the game begins and doesn’t change during the game, even if your commander is in a hidden zone (like the hand or library) or an effect changes your commander’s color.
• 10/17/2013: If your commander is a card like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth that has no colors in its color identity, Opal Palace’s last ability produces no mana.

Simple enough stuff, and leads to this card being very straightforward, yet quite powerful.

When this card was first spoiled, I was elated. At the time, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave was our Golgari deck, and was based around a “+1/+1 counters matter” theme (this theme’s general has since been changed to Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice). Here was a land that was perfect for Skullbriar; adding to his stash of +1/+1 counters every time he was cast from the command zone!

Yes, this land adds +1/+1 counters, but it does much more.

For generals based around dealing 21 lethal commander damage to opponents, this land is excellent. I have seen this land turn even the most innocuous general such as Isperia, Supreme Judge into a player-killing monster; the Palace’s strength is letting any commander reach very large sizes very easily.

Opposing players will always have to weigh how badly they want to kill your general, versus just how big the Opal Palace will make your general when they make their return. Any card that makes people think twice about killing off my generals definitely gets a thumbs-up from me!

It’s worth mentioning that with the advent of the partner mechanic from Commander 2016, this land now does double duty. Every time you cast either one of your generals, they get +1/+1 counters. This vastly increases the usefulness of Opal Palace, and I’ve really enjoyed having it in the two four-color partner decks I have built (Vial Smasher the Fierce/Kydele, Chosen of Kruphix and Sidar Kondo of Jamuraa/Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist).

If you are building/have built an EDH deck with any of the partner commanders, I definitely urge you to give this land a try.

And of course, even though it has a spell-like ability, this land does also produce mana. This can either be a colorless land, or a way to filter mana into any color (again, just like the oft-reprinted Shimmering Grotto). As just a land that you can throw in your deck’s manabase, for this one card to do so much is pretty awesome.

I currently have this in all of my five-color decks, and most of the four-color ones as well, and it has always impressed me. It has been so good for me over the years that if I were to build them, it would find its home in a number of decks, such as Ghave, Guru of Spores, Daghatar the Adamant, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave, or any of the generals focused on general-kills.

Opal Palace is quietly one of my favorite Commander lands, and if you haven’t given it a try, I urge you to do so. It’s a great card, and tremendous budget option.

 

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