Fate Reforged and What It May Bring

Fate Reforged is on the horizon. Sarkhan has made his trek, with the assistance of Narset, to the resting place of Ugin, the Spirit Dragon in hopes that he may quell the voices that ravage his mind, all the while avoiding the bloodthirsty Zurgo Helmsmasher, who Sarkhan once called his clansman. Despite Sarkhan’s attempts to evade the furious Khan of the Mardu Horde, Zurgo caught up to Sarkhan and Narset, looking to take the Planeswalker’s head. With the fate of the plane of Tarkir hanging in the balance, Narset has sacrificed herself to further Sarkhan’s cause, and because of that sacrifice, Sarkhan has entered the realm known only as Ugin’s Nexus within the Tomb of the Spirit Dragon, a cavern of spectral bone, pulsing with an energy Sarkhan has never experienced, though time seems to bend around the bones of the fallen dragon. He know’s not what he will find, he does not know if he will survive, all he knows…is that the voices that plagued him have fallen silent.

      

Fate Reforged is the second set of the Khan’s of Tarkir block, but you already know that. It is rumored to take place in the distant past of the plane of Tarkir, well before the clans eradicated the Dragons that once dominated the plane. Ugin is pulling the strings within the mind of the deranged Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, in what one can assume is a plan to prevent the Spirit Dragon’s demise at the hand of the Elder Dragon, Nicol Bolas.

While we have not seen any actual lore concerning anything past Sarkhan’s arrival at Ugin’s Nexus, and while we are at the very beginning of Fate Reforged spoiler season, this theory is well backed by the few spoilers we have seen.

“Ugin’s whispered summons led Sarkhan Vol to the moment that would echo down the centuries and seal Tarkir’s fate: the primal battle between Ugin and Nicol Bolas.”

Crux of Fate is the essential counterpart to End Hostilites from a pure functionality standpoint, but it’s flavor is far more interesting than it’s function. Sarkhan is going to see the battle that doomed his home world, and perhaps play a hand in changing its outcome. From a Commander standpoint, this card already has a home alongside Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund and, oddly enough, Nicol Bolas. It is a perfect, one-sided board wipe, and in Non-Karrthus lists, will almost always kill at least 90% of the creatures in play. It also combos very well with cards like Conspiracy and Xenograft should you choose Dragon as your type.

This next card was a Christmas Gift from Wizards of the Coast. As a huge lore fan, I called the fact that Ugin was the voice in Sarkhan’s head long before the Khans of Tarkir block was even announced, and once it was, I had this guy pinned for the second or third set from the get go. Once I had enough people convinced, there was a lot of speculation as to what an Ugin Planeswalker would do. The first ability was almost a given. Ghostfire is Ugin’s calling card, no pun intended. His second ability was a tossup, nobody could really determine an ability that would be strong enough for this guy and fit his flavor all the same, but most agreed it would be removal at the very least. What was NOT expected, was his ultimate. This ability is an essential mirror image of Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker. Instead of discarding, losing life, and sacrificing permanents, you draw cards, gain life, and gain permanents.

However, despite their similarities, when compared to Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker and pitted in a one on one battle, Ugin always loses.

Lets take a look at the most interesting facts about these cards in my opinion:

  • Both Nicol Bolas and Ugin cost 8 mana to play
  • Both planeswalkers are only three turns away from their ultimate ability when they hit the board, given that they use their abilities that increase loyalty for the first two turns.
  • Nicol Bolas can kill Ugin the turn he hits the board, but Ugin cannot kill Bolas the turn he enters play. His starting loyalty is one less than Bolas’s CMC, making even his minus ability fall just short.
  • Even if Ugin started out at 8 loyalty, it would require sacrificing himself in order to destroy Nicol Bolas.

 

Ugin is a definitive Commander card, though he could possibly see play in Modern Tron. His abilities are still phenomenally powerful, and his ultimate is game ending in most situations. Given the average power of permanents in Commander, I can definitely see this Planeswalker hitting tables and using his ultimate ability rather often. The best part about him? He can fit into any deck. His lack of color identity is great for the game. Commander games go long, and most decks pack some kind of ramp strategy, so 8 mana isn’t hard to achieve by turn 5 or 6, if not earlier.

NOW COMES MY FAVORITE PART

NEW COMMANDERS!

Yasova Dragonclaw was the first taste of Fate Reforged that Wizards of the Coast gave us, and boy do I love it when they give us new Legendary Creatures. My immediate thought is that she’s a previous Khan of the Temur Frontier, perhaps even the first, as we don’t know just how far back in time we’re actually going with this new set, and that gets me excited. If I’m correct, then we will be seeing another FOUR LEGENDARY CREATURES. The first Khans of the Five Clans of Tarkir could make an appearance, and what more can an Commander player ask for than more and more Legends.

Despite the fact that she costs only green mana to cast, her ability costs red or blue, giving her an overall Temur Color Identity. The inclusion of a hybrid mana cost intrigues me though, as they could have easily made it cost one colorless, a red, and a blue, and the ability itself is almost entirely red in function. However, this does have me wondering what the other Legends of Fate Reforged will bring to the table, and whether Hybrid Mana is making another significant appearance.

What other Legends would you guys like to see? Do you think Hybrid Mana is coming back? What ways can you think of to abuse our new Temur friend’s ability, and how will Ugin affect an already insane format? Let us know in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading. If you have questions, comments, or recommendations, please let us know in the comment section.  Your feedback is always welcome. And make sure to keep an eye out for more CMDTower in the coming weeks.

 


 

Evan Erickson

Writer and Editor

Author: Evan Erickson

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