While the Commander 2015 offering is a 'casual' product by its very nature, my review is from the point-of-view of a 60-card kitchen table player. Some of the new cards don't work very well in our environment, while others deserve multiple copies in certain decks.
Honestly, it was hard to whittle down the list to just fifteen. There are easily thirty new cards that I want to try in various casual decks. It is great to feel excited about Magic again!
15. DAWNBREAK RECLAIMER
Another awesome angel with beautiful art, the reclaimer is part of a cycle of 'I'll scratch your back and you scratch mine' cards, that allow you and one opponent to help each other out. The effect is powerful, but not one-sided...
...unless you are smart and play graveyard removal. "I'll reanimate my Akroma, and you get NOTHING!"
The downside is that your graveyard can be full of weenies and low-impact creatures, so you might have to get our your negotiating skills to return something more useful...
Let's face it, the real name of this card is SPIDER FOG.
"Spider fog, Spider fog
does whatever Spider fog does!"
There have been many one-sided Fog effects, but this one nets you some creepy crawlies in the deal. Depending on how many creatures are attacking you, the # of spiders you get may be able to take down one of the attackers. If not, you still have blockers to negate a future attack.
Bonus points if you throw a bunch of plastic spiders on the table when playing this card.
13. KARLOV OF THE GHOST COUNCIL
Teysa's grandpappy is the true patriarch of the Orzhov, and he loves to suck blood just as much as his ghostly brethren.
Triggering the life gain is pretty easy, and this becomes a much more powerful version of Ajani's Pridemate, who gets just one measly +1/+1 counter for each lifegain trigger.
I'm not sure how keen I am to shrink Karlov to take care of a single creature, but the ability is a nice safety valve.
Karlov easily fits into Orzhov decks, and can get out of hand quite quickly. Low cost and low maintenance. BUY NOW!
12. PATHBREAKER IBEX
Never has a goat been more scary... Pathbreaker Ibex gives you a potential overrun+ on each of your attacks, clearing the way to take out multiple opponents.
The ability is a bit slow, but it's also one that you never want to let your opponent untap with. The Ibex basically says "Deal with me, or die!"
I just wish this card had a more relevant creature type, like Beast, so that it could fit into more tribal-oriented decks.
11. MEREN OF CLAN NEL TOTH
Here we see the new Experience Counter feature. Even in 60-card casual games, Experience Counters will still stick around, so that's not an "EDH-only" rule.
Meren promises a Raise Dead each of your end steps, at the very least. We know, however, that green/black decks can easily sacrifice numerous creatures quite easily, like Eldrazi spawn and scion, and Meren can quickly become a daily reanimator.
At 3/4 for four mana, she's efficient enough for normal Golgari decks, and her ability will slowly grind out card advantage.
10. GRASP OF FATE
Sure, it's just a fancier Oblivion Ring, but when has that spell not been good?
This version can hit a threat from each opponent, allow you to (temporarily) take control of the board and deal with multiple threats. If you are already playing O-Rings in any deck, this is an easy upgrade.
Remember that the card says 'up to one', so you can get political and not remove a threat from an opponent's board, if you feeling generous.
Love the name, and love the art. This literal Rattlesnake card will keep opponent's threats at bay, while allowing you a cheap Regrowth effect. I hope this is a more budget-conscious replacement for Eternal Witness.
Sure, the effect isn't as one-sided, but the political aspect (there's that word, again) adds another cool dimension to the card. Need your opponent to wrath the board? Let them get back their wrath, while you re-load for the post-wrath wasteland.
...Or you can just get back a Fetchland on Turn 3 and give an opponent nothing from their empty graveyard. *sad trombone*
8. DAXOS THE RETURNED
Elspeth's ex-boyfriend is back, and looking rather sad :'(
I already have a B/W Enchantment deck, and Daxos will fit right into it as an enabler.
Daxos is cheap to cast, and can start pooping out little creatures to help trigger your Constellation abilities. While he doesn't look to be an All-Star, he's an easy include in specific decks, and makes a good late-game mana sink.
7. DAXOS'S TORMENT
Now we see why Daxos is looking so weepy. Aww, poor wittle Daxy!
This enchantment seems innocuous, but I think it is incredibly powerful.
It comes down as a 5/5 flyer, with haste, on your fourth turn, and multiple instances will give you a plump army of temporary demons to smack opponents around with. I'd love to attack for 10 damage in the air on my fifth turn, wouldn't you?
The tormentors also dodge most sorcery-speed removal, so Wrath of God isn't going to do much for your rival.
6. ILLUSORY AMBUSHER
"IT'S A CAT!"
Here we have a very interesting way for blue decks to draw cards.
Somebody attacking you with some giant monster? Flash in the ghost kitty and get back a robust return on your investment.
Yes, the kitty can be killed before it has a chance to block and deal damage, but, like any good stock, there is no return without risk.
The kitty also has four power, so it could take out some decent amount of attackers, too.
Combo corner: Play Blasphemous Act to clear the board...and draw 13 cards! *giggle*
5. RITE OF THE RAGING STORM
I love creating chaos, and I love cards that force my opponents to hurt each other.
Sure, you are giving every opponent a mini-Ball Lightning on their turns, but they can't attack you with it, and like any carpenter with a new hammer, they'll want to use it on something.
Just sit back and watch the carnage.
4. MYSTIC CONFLUENCE
Remember Cryptic Command, that annoying POS overpowered instant? Just like the original Command cycle, it seems that Blue gets the best one, and it isn't even close. (Thanks, WOTC)
Just casting the spell as it reads feels as orgasmic as taking a massive piss. Counter their spell, bounce their threat, and replace itself?
This card is just pure tempo and card advantage, and being able to select multiple modes makes this useful at any time of the game. Control decks will want a full playset of this bad boy.
Aww, it's a giant cute homunculus! ^.^ *squee*
Flavour Fail: How is this not an Ooze? It's a plasm, after all!
There have been many new clone+ effects, but this one has a bit of extra text that makes it even more useful.
Notice a few words missing at the end of that activated ability?
"UNTIL THE END OF TURN"
Yup, you can make this permanently smaller or larger, depending on the game state, and the effect doesn't just vanish after one use. Make sure you are aware of this little bit o' trinket text.
2. BLADE OF SELVES
While this sword doesn't boost your creature's power or toughness at all, it does add this incredible new MYRIAD ability to it.
Commander/EDH players have been touting this as the must-have card of the set, and it will only ever get better as better creatures are printed. With the way we have 'enter the battlefield' abilities tacked on to more and more creatures, this blade is bloody nuts!
Creature Denail: Blade + Flametongue Kavu or Shriekmaw
Creeping Mold: Blade + Acidic Slime or Indrik Stomphowler
Card Draw Insanity: Blade + Mulldrifter
The possibilities are endless, and there are definitely some crazy combos and shenanigans players can dream of. I bet a few epic stories will come of this card...just be prepared to be Target Numero Uno once you slam this down.
1. MIZZIX'S MASTERY
This, by far, is the sweetest build-around-me card of the set, and I already have dreams of abusing this card like Rush Limbaugh abuses Oxycontin.
There are so many expensive spells that I'd love to play, but THE COST IS TOO DAMN HIGH!
Just find a way to dump some of these spells into the graveyard, get up to 8 mana, and boom-chaka-laka!
There has to be more broken things that can be done with this spell, and I look forwarding to brewing.
So, what cards from this set tickle your fancy? There are so many new toys to unwrap!