Welcome back to Commander Week! How about that card we got to spoil yesterday, huh? I’m already putting my Haakon, Stromgald Scourge deck together. However, today we’re going to be looking into a neat little tactic: Reading your cards! Crazy, right? We’ll start with an old favorite of mine, Mangara of Corondor. Mangara is pretty neat- he can exile any permanent you want gone! Need to take out a Blightsteel Colossus before you die? Done! Need to take out a troublesome enchantment that’s protecting your opponent? Poof! Even a scary land like a Dark Depths that’s about to go off can be eaten by Mangara. The catch is that Mangara goes with it- and even as your Commander, that tax is gonna add up (and you can’t rely on yesterday’s Beacon forever!). So what do you do? Simple: you read your card. Exiling Mangara isn’t a cost to activate his ability, which many people assume- it’s PART of the ability (everything on the LEFT of that colon is a cost, everything on the RIGHT is the ability). So you can activate Mangara, then “save” him somehow (return to your hand with a Whitemane Lion! Exile it temporarily with Otherworldly Journey!), or you could even untap him with a card like Thousand-Year Elixir and use him over and over again to exile multiple things!
While we’re speaking about reading your cards, let’s look at a card more likely to be a Commander rather than a card in a Commander deck- Merieke Ri Berit. You can tap her to steal a creature for as long as she stays tapped- and you can choose to LEAVE her tapped, unlike normal creatures. If she becomes untapped or leaves the board, she kills the creature she stole- how rude! So, similar to Mangara, the trick here is the way her ability is worded. Merieke destroys the creature when she becomes untapped, but what happens if she’s untapped before the ability that steals the creature has resolved and creates that little effect? Nothing! So you could use your same untapping trick (except jacked to 11, because Merieke is blue and has access to things like Freed from the Real and Pemmin’s Aura to tap her targeting a creature, untap her immediately, and repeat. Once all her activations resolve, you steal multiple creatures instead of just one! On the flip side, you can steal something and then untap her to kill it. With the same Pemmin’s Aura or Freed from the Real, you could activate her, let the activation resolve, and THEN untap her to kill as many creatures as you please. In fact, Merieke equipped with a Thornbite Staff can destroy every other creature on the board!
Sometimes your cards can show you neat little tricks- all you have to do is give them a quick second read to make sure that they don’t do something a little different than what you ASSUME they do!
Today’s Rules Tip was written by Trevor Nunez