With each new set, I'm always looking for the multiplayer all-stars. As someone who plays almost exclusively against multiple opponents in my Magic games, I love to find that card that over performs against multiple opponents in comparison to how it plays against just one opponent. I really like Gonti's Aether Heart, but it works as well against one opponent as three opponents so doesn't make the list. I want to showcase cards that thrive in a multiplayer format over a single opponent. I went through the cards in Aether Revolt, searching for multiplayer gems, and came up with these as my Top 10.
I love cards that scale up in multiplayer formats and Perilous Predicament does that so well. For five mana you get instant-speed removal that can take out six permanents in a four-player game. It should be mentioned that the value of a card like this is very metagame-dependent. In my meta, there is almost always at least one deck running a ton of token creatures or some kind of deck with plenty of small creatures. Perilous Predicament comes perilously close to doing nothing to them. For my group, a more realistic assessment is that I'm seriously hurting one player and the other two are only somewhat annoyed.
Even given that, I'm still loving this card! I'll likely be running it in a deck that is looking to scoop up whatever delights end up in my opponents' graveyards, so that bonus adds to the value.
In multiplayer games, Gonti's Machinations is going to accumulate a lot of energy for you. If you play it early in the game, every fetch land gets you energy. You can structure each round so you cost yourself a land on an opponent's turn when you didn't take any damage. Getting four or more energy should be easy.
If you choose to play up that side of the card with your opponents, it may even discourage them from attacking you. Why give you another energy? They don't know what you are going to do with it, so even if you have nothing to use the energy on besides Gonti's Machinations, that may be all the deterrent you need!
Assuming you don't care about energy in your deck at all, you are still going to cost each opponent three life and gain nine, assuming the typical four-player game. This is all for one black mana. This is the worst-case scenario for the card and I'll take that every time!
Normally for cards to make this list, they have to get better with multiple opponents, but in this case, it is here because of the starting 40 life in Commander games. In most games this generally results in gaining 20 life. In Commander, Exquisite Archangel gains you at least 40 life. This amount is outrageous. Phyrexian Unlife essentially gives you 10 more life and it shows up regularly in certain decks. Surely 40 life is worth it?
The trick is whether or not you'll get that benefit. You'll have to play it before you die, and a 5/5 angel can go a long way on its own to keeping you alive. You'll be wondering whether to block with it as your life total goes down, for fear of losing the angel before you die. And if you don't use it, are you just risking someone else having the removal that puts you out of the game? I'm not sure if it is worth it, but the lure will certainly have me trying!
I run a Polymorph deck with only three creatures and a bunch of cards that make token creatures. It is always a treat to see Progenitus make an appearance and Indomitable Creativity can do the same for artifacts. Run a handful of cards that make servos and/or thopters or even clues, but leave a handful of artifacts to find; Wurmcoil Engine, Platinum Angel, and Sundering Titan are just a few options.
Indomitable Creativity can also set up finding all your combo pieces. If you have only one copy of each artifact you need for your combo, you are certain to find all of it if you are searching three times!
There is also the flexibility of the card! If your opponents have a problematic artifact on the battlefield, you can take it out fairly easily. Given the number of opponents, this will likely be the case in practically every game you play!
I don't remember any demons in the Kaladesh storyline, and I can't imagine a demon being made easier to cast because of metal baubles, but here we are. The Herald makes the list because it forces everyone to discard on your end step. That it happens on your end step is probably better for your opponents, since they won't lose the card until after you have attacked them or done other things they would prefer that you wouldn't do, but it does hit them all and I (along with my close friend Vulturous Zombie) love that.
Cards like this play out so differently in multiplayer games than one-versus-one games. In one-versus-one, the opponent chooses the option best for them, which is usually the option you don't want. In multiplayer games, you get to choose the opponent! If you can convince Wilma that the Wurmcoil Engine that Fred just killed won't be coming at her, she'll likely let you put it back in your hand. Or perhaps Wilma is down to seven life and the idea of going to four is just too dangerous. Either way, Pia's Revolution is likely going to work the way you want it to far more often than against one opponent!
Four mana for a mini board wipe and I get a cheap card for free? With multiple opponents, I'll likely catch someone with token creatures or multiple small creatures and I love that!
What I can't decide is whether this is also some weirdly specific mana-fixing. With four color commanders being a thing, you may find yourself unable to pay the right color mana for that three color spell, but have the mana needed for Yahenni's Expertise. While I wouldn't pick this card for that strength, I hope it comes up for me!
If you play this early, you'll likely only catch your opponents with mana rocks on the battlefield.
"Only." As though setting your opponents mana development back a couple of turns is nothing! Early in the game, this will likely leave at least one opponent struggling. If you play it later in the game, you are going to catch the miserable, high-casting cost artifacts that win games for your opponents. This card is going to be good no matter when you draw it!
The card doesn't have the flexibility of Austere Command, but the ability to bring them all back has value. Returning one opponent's toys so they can deal with another opponent who is getting out of hand seems like a good thing!
One of the defining aspects of multiplayer games is the difficulty in attacking safely. Attacking creatures are generally tapped, and with multiple opponents you are leaving yourself open to multiple opponents attacking you back. Does it make sense to attack someone for three damage if you are going to be attacked for twice that much by other opponents? This is part of the reason why vigilant creatures are valuable in multiplayer games. They are available to defend.
With Paradox Engine, if you have a card in hand, and mana available to cast it, your opponents have to treat your creatures as though they are untapped all the time. This means that you can swing in with everything whenever you see an opening, with little risk of repercussion. You don't even need to have the spell in your hand to play. Your opponents just have to think you have it and they'll steer clear.
None of this even considers all of the creatures and artifacts that tap for mana in Commander games. This combo enabler will be crazy, opening up all sorts of combos to go off on anyone's turn!
Yahenni, Undying Partisan is going to be a house in Commander games. Play Yahenni, sacrifice one of your creatures to make Yahenni indestructible, then cast Damnation or another mass removal spell. Watch all the other creatures die and Yahenni get massive. With haste they can swing immediately, likely getting at least half of the commander damage you need to eliminate at least one opponent. Against one opponent, Yahenni will occasionally whiff, but against multiple opponents, Yahenni will be a force to be reckoned with.
Part of the joy of Yahenni is that the card doesn't ask much of you. You'll want to play creatures that you can sacrifice for the indestructible ability, and removal spells to boost Yahenni's size. These are things you were likely playing in the deck anyway, so you can try all sorts of different builds. It also makes Yahenni a great fit as part of the 99, since they work so easily with a lot of different builds. I can see Yahenni being a great addition to my 60-card Tombstone Stairwell deck!
I'd love to hear your opinion of some of the great multiplayer cards coming in Aether Revolt. Drop a mention in the comments below or hit me up on Twitter. I can't wait to get these cards in my hands!