Last week marked the beginning of War of the Spark preorders and they've already managed to break into the top-selling cards—even managing to take over last week's #1 slot. So without further delay, let's dive in.
Thought Lash is on Magic's reserved list, meaning Wizards of the Coast has officially vowed to never print it (or a functional reprint of it) ever again. Reserved list cards pop up every once in a while when people see a potential synergy. The scarcity of these cards creates more potential for huge price spikes if that synergy performs well. The newest card that synergizes with Thought Lash was revealed last week: Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. This is a cool combo since Thought Lash can actually hold off aggressive decks until you get your Jace in play, then you can exile your library and win the game with Jace's static ability the next time you draw a card. Conveniently, Jace's +1 ability does just that.
Gutterbones is a one-mana skeleton that can bring itself back from the graveyard. This card gets buffs from our #4 card last episode, Death Baron, so even without being a zombie itself, it may end up in some zombie decks. It is currently seeing play in budget decks, including Aristocrats and Skeletons which SBMtG did a deck tech of last month. In addition to fitting into those decks, Gutterbones' cheap mana cost and activated ability perfectly fit in Rakdos. But we'll talk more on Rakdos in just a minute.
Knowledge Pool has long been a Commander staple, fitting well in both chaos and prison decks, and that may be what's pushing this into the #8 slot. A less likely, but more fun reason could be the newly spoiled Karn, the Great Creator. As a four-mana spell, Karn, the Great Creator can search for Knowledge Pool, letting you cast it turn five. Any artifacts your opponents have with activated abilities can't be activated due to Karn, the Great Creator's static ability, making your spells less helpful for your opponents while you gain access to your opponents spells. In addition, Karn, the Great Creator can pull any of your artifacts out of the pool with his -2, keeping the good stuff for you. Like I said, it's not likely the reason, but I'm hoping somebody out there can come up with a fun artifact deck with Karn, the Great Creator because four-mana Karn is awesome!
Here's another powerful Commander card. With just a two-mana activation cost, this artifact can become a bomb like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, a powerful enchantment like Leyline of Anticipation or a utility artifact like Sensei's Divining Top. On top of all that, it can become a land, giving you access to mana or abilities your opponents have. This card's versatility combined with being colorless makes it useful in almost any strategy. Besides this, I haven't found any specific trigger to cause Mirage Mirror to jump to #7.
Rakdos has had some powerful cards spoiled recently. Dreadhorde Butcher and Widespread Brutality are my favorites. Dreadhorde Butcher is basically a new, more powerful Slith Firewalker. It's slightly harder to cast on curve, but with a nice explosive ability tacked on to make up for it. Judith, the Scourge Diva's buff makes Dreadhorde Butcher hit even harder, both with his attacks and his death trigger. With Judith in play, Widespread Brutality is also buffed by 1 damage to each of your opponent's creatures. I think War of the Spark's additions to Rakdos' toolbox may be what is pushing Judith, the Scourge Diva into the #6 slot.
This card is an instant Commander staple. Sacrifice this and pay one to give all of your spells flash until end of turn. It's close, but I think this is arguably a better version of Alchemist's Refuge. I may get some heat for that statement, but let's compare the two for a minute. There are 57 total Commanders you can play Alchemist's Refuge in. There are nearly 800 Commanders you can play Emergence Zone in. So for diversity of decks, Emergence Zone wins outright. Alchemist's Refuge costs UG and tap to activate and Emergence Zone costs one colorless while sacrificing itself. I'd say that is a wash because dedicating two specific-colored mana restricts your casting ability, while sacrificing Emergence Zone restricts its number of uses. They both tap for one colorless so they have equal usability as mana sources. While I think Emergence Zone wins by a sliver here, it all comes down to the colors you're playing with and what you plan on using it for. As an enabler for an infinite combo or a game-winning combat trick, you won't need to reuse Emergence Zone so that's probably the way to go. As an option for just getting creatures out on your opponent's turn, Alchemist's Refuge clearly has more utility. I'd be interested in hearing what you Blue-Green Commander players think. Will you be swapping out Alchemist's Refuge for Emergence Zone? Or maybe you'll play both?
Smothering Tithe is back in the Top 10 for a second week. After reading your comments suggesting that a video by The Command Zone caused the jump, I decided to check it out. I was not disappointed. Josh pulled off a brutal combo, casting Wheel of Fortune and forcing everyone to discard their hands and draw seven new cards. That's 21 triggers on Smothering Tithe. With a fresh grip of cards and 21 more mana available, Josh was able to pull way ahead. That turn was the perfect demonstration of just how powerful this card is in a multiplayer format. With its rise in popularity comes the inevitable rising price tag. Over the past two weeks Smothering Tithe has spiked from $4 to $12 and it doesn't look like it's done there. Some sellers currently have these listed at $14 dollars in preparation for the supply drying up. If you can grab these on the cheap, it might not be a bad idea.
As we've seen recently, planeswalker removal is a popular buy—but here we have something a little different. Not only does this five-mana sorcery destroy a planeswalker or creature, it also can bring one back from a graveyard. Not just YOUR graveyard, ANY graveyard. This is my kind of control card. Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side. Why water your lawn when you can just take theirs?
This card is one I've been excited for. In many cases this will be a Negate that gives you a 1/1 token with some added protection for the rest of the turn. In Commander this would be a great option to throw under an Isochron Scepter: repeatable protection while growing a bigger and bigger army.
Teferi, Time Raveler's abilities are incredibly powerful in—and against—control. I've gotta be honest, I'm really looking forward to seeing a control mirror when both players have Teferi, Time Raveler on the battlefield. The two Teferis lock each player out of casting spells at instant speed, which also effectively Negates the effects given by Teferi, Time Raveler's +1 ability.
And that's it for last week's Top 10. Preorders are in full swing, and I expect to be seeing more preorders in next week's episode.