- Ghave, Guru of Spores
- Anguished Unmaking
- Hardened Scales
- Dragonlord Dromoka
- Kederekt Leviathan
It’s time for the graveyard shift for Magic: The Gathering’s Double Masters 2022 preview season. The weekend is always a quiet time for spoilers, with fewer cards revealed ahead of the bumper crop we can expect over the next week.
Despite the slowness, we’ve still had some excellent cards revealed. From a combo-potent commander to numerous staples, Double Masters 2022 is really shaping up to be where all the Commander spice we hoped for from Baldur’s Gate went.
Ghave, Guru of Spores
Two generic, one white, one black, one green legendary creature – Fungus Shaman – 0/0:
Ghave, Guru of Spores enters the battlefield with five +1/+1 counters on it.
Pay one generic, remove a +1/+1 counter from a creature you control: create a 1/1 green Saproling creature token.
Pay one generic, sacrifice a creature: put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.
Aside from having one of the best creature type lines in all of Magic, Ghave is infamous as being one of the most unintentionally broken commanders in the game. It’s scary to think we’re getting a set with both Ghave and Phyrexian Altar in it, as whenever they see play together the answer is usually some kind of infinite or instant-win combo.
One of the best-known combos for Ghave is found in cEDH (competitive commander), and uses the cards Young Wolf and Earthcraft to produce infinite Saproling tokens with infinite +1/+1 counters on everything. This also works with Phyrexian Altar, making both of their appearances in Double Masters 2022 terrifying.
Regardless, Ghave’s inclusion confirms that one of the goals of this set was to include a lot of the format-defining commanders in a single set. With Ghave, Muldrotha, Augustin IV, and Zur the Enchanter all potentially being found in booster packs, this is feeling more like a Commander Legends set than anything else so far.
One generic, one white, one black instant:
Exile target nonland permanent. You lose three life.
Anguished Unmaking is one of the best removal spells in the game, and is a staple in both Commander and Modern. While it costs more than something like a Path to Exile (which is also in Double Masters 2022), it’s still cheaper than many other, more recent exile effects, and it allows you to instead exile any nonland permanent instead of just a creature.
It’s also important that Anguished Unmaking doesn’t give your opponent a resource advantage in the same way Path to Exile does. While you’re losing three life to do it, you’re not giving your opponent a land, which in faster formats like Modern could make or break a game.
One green enchantment:
If one or more +1/+1 counters would be put on a creature you control, that many plus one +1/+1 counters are put on it instead.
For an effect that doesn’t seem to do a whole much on the surface, people absolutely adore Hardened Scales. The beast of +1/+1 counters decks, for one mana it boosts any counters strategy and slots into so many combos that it’s almost single-handedly driven an entire Modern archetype for years.
Decks that run it tend to revolve around modular abilities alongside The Ozolith. By running multiple copies of Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp; you can beef up one copy with The Ozolith and Hardened Scales to turn a 1/1 insect into a 9/9 with potential flying. Throw in some other modular creatures like Arcbound Ravager and Arcbound Javelineer, and Hardened Scales is doing a hell of a lot of work.
Of course, in Double Masters 2022 draft, the intent is going to be more supporting the Abzan (green/white/black) +1/+1 counters archetype. Here, it can give Ghave an additional +1/+1 counter and keep its Saproling engine going, or it could help buff the entire board when played alongside a Thrive.
Four generic, one green, one white legendary creature – Elder Dragon – 5/7:
This spell can’t be countered.
Your opponents can’t cast spells during your turn.
This is a reprint-focused, three-colours-matter set, so of course we were going to see plenty of reprints from the Tarkir block.
Dromoka isn’t the most popular commander in the world, but its ability is still powerful. Preventing your opponents from casting spells during your turn isn’t something that happens often in white/green decks, instead being more of a blue effect on cards like Teferi, Time Raveler and Tidal Barracuda.
Having the freedom to advance your gameplan without sneaky interaction from your opponents is incredibly handy. It’s even more important when drafting Double Masters 2022, as while there has been lots of combo potential revealed for green/white/black, a lot of it is slower and may require a turn or two to set up. Having the breathing room to go digging for the cards you need without anything throwing a spanner in the works will help make this archetype a lot more consistent.
This is the first of Tarkir’s Dragonlords to have been revealed for the set. Considering we already have a cycle of the Shadowmoor block Lieges already included in the set, it’s tricky to see whether this means we’ll also see Atarka, Silumgar, Kolaghan, and Ojutai make their way into Double Masters 2022 as well.
Six generic, two blue creature – Leviathan – 5/5:
When Kederekt Leviathan enters the battlefield, return all other nonland permanents to their owners’ hands.
Unearth: six generic, one blue.
Blue doesn’t have much access to board wipes. Instead, it tends to use mass-bouncing effects, such as Cyclonic Rift, Cyclone Summoner, and Kederekt Leviathan to get your opponent’s pieces out of the way.
It isn’t as powerful a wipe as, say, a Damnation, as your opponents will untap with all their lands and a hand full of stuff ready to play (potentially giving them more enter triggers too), but Kederekt Leviathan is meant to give you a brief window of opportunity. If your lucky, your opponents will have more cards than lands needed to play them too, which will force them to prioritise their main pieces and get those annoying extra distractions out of the way.
By throwing in the unearth ability, which lets you play it from your graveyard for a single turn before it exiles itself, you’ll also always have access to a board wipe in your graveyard. One in the hand your opponents don’t know about is good, but forcing them to play carefully, knowing the sword is looming over their head, is even better. It’s also worth remembering that the white/blue draft archetype for this set is based on flickering, which could let you wipe the board each and every turn.
This isn’t the biggest card of Double Masters 2022, especially in the same day we’ve had Ghave and Anguished Unmaking. But it is one of those cards that is an unassumingly powerful game piece that many people haven’t ever encountered before.
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