Last updated on December 16, 2022
Seedborn Muse | Illustration by Forrest Imel
2020 was an interesting year for Magic products (and also the world, but let's not get into that). Not only did we get some fantastic new Standard sets, Wizards really upped the ante with a huge swath of supplemental products.
Commander Legends, Mystery Boosters, Secret Lairs, and Double Masters to name just a few. They also introduced a new product similar to Signature Spellbooks, but this time specifically focused on Commander players: Commander Collection.
Let’s take a look at that.
What Is Commander Collection?
Worldly Tutor | Illustration by Cristi Balanescu
The Commander Collection is a series of products similar to the Signature Spellbooks. It’s a collection of 6 reprinted cards focused around one specific color plus a copy of Command Tower and Sol Ring with art themed to the color.
The cards are centered around the Commander format, aimed for multiplayer play with common cards played in the format as well as iconic cards from the Collection’s color. They also feature brand new art and come in foil and non-foil versions.
The new art and flavor text is a huge plus to these sets since it’s usually filled with references to legendary creatures and bits of lore that really shine for the Vorthos nerds like me. A careful eye can spot all of the references to other iconic characters in Magic's lore as well as flavor text to bring you back into the beautiful world that’s been so carefully crafted over the last 25-odd years.
Gavin Verhey covered the biggest reason why products like this are sorely needed: reprints. Reprints keep players in the game. They also draw in new players because they can come into the format at a similar power level to other players without needing to shell out big bucks. Keeping important, heavily-played cards easily accessible is key to keeping a format healthy and growing.
Reprinting popular and important cards is essential to keeping formats accessible. One of the biggest reasons why formats like Legacy and Vintage have fallen to the wayside is availability and price. It's hard to get important staples like dual lands when the Reserved List still exists.
The average player probably isn't willing to shell out $4,000 to $5,000 for a Legacy deck, let alone enough players in a community to foster a healthy playgroup. Keeping playable cards readily available means that all players have similar access to the same cards and nobody gets left out.
What Versions Are There?
Ophiomancer | Illustration by Caroline Gariba
There are currently two Commander Collections. The first (Green) was released in late 2020 and the second (Black) will be available in early 2022. Each Commander Collection comes in a non-foil and a premium foil variant, with only WPN stores selling the foil variants.
The first Commander Collection to hit the shelves, this one forgoes the idea that green is all about fat creatures and ramp spells and offers some of the more unique cards in the color.
While the only real “fatty” is Omnath, Locus of Mana (and that's a stretch as a 3-mana 1/1), powerful cards like Worldly Tutor and Sylvan Library make this an essential set of cards that can fit into a lot of decks.
- Bane of Progress
- Command Tower
- Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury
- Omnath, Locus of Mana
- Seedborn Muse
- Sol Ring
- Sylvan Library
- Worldly Tutor
Commander Collection: Black (2022)
The second entry into the series hasn't hit the shelves yet; Commander Collection: Black is slated to come out on January 28, 2022.
Featuring a handful of cards that aren't really iconic or staples in Commander, this collection features cards that revolve mostly around the dominant idea of the color: sacrificing resources for power. While most of these cards lack reprints, they aren't exactly staples and you don’t see them at the table a lot, aside from Reanimate and the occasional Phyrexian Arena.
- Command Tower
- Ghoulcaller Gisa
- Liliana, Heretical Healer / Liliana, Defiant Necromancer
- Phyrexian Arena
- Sol Ring
- Toxic Deluge
- Commander Collection: Black is a boxed set of eight reprinted cards themed to one color and what it does bestin this case black, the color of ruthlessness and opportunity
- Toxic Deluge
- Ghoulcalller Gisa
- Phyrexian Arena
I feel like Commander Collections are a bit of a hit or miss so far. Commander Collection: Green comes with some great cards that desperately needed reprints and are staples of the color (with Sylvan Library and Worldly Tutor being two stellar cards in any green deck). Commander Collection: Black, on the other hand, has… well, it sure has some cards in it.
It's hard to really compare the two because of how good the Green collection is compared to how underwhelming the Black version is. Wizards really decided to just pick some random black cards and slap a fresh coat of paint on them instead of truly looking at what cards are iconic and playable in the color.
Sure, a lot of these green cards aren’t necessarily the most played, but they can slot into almost any green deck and serve a great purpose. Plus Sylvan Library is only missing from most decks because it’s so hard to find.
- Commander Collection Black: $42(most expensive single: Toxic Deluge at $18.50)
- Commander Collection Green: $115 (most expensive single: Sylvan Library at $41)
You can see that the value of these collections is pretty similar but a lot of the cards in Commander Collection: Black are around $20 apiece. The prices for cards in Commander Collection: Green are more varied, with the cheapest being Bane of Progress.
These are the cards you want to keep an eye out for if you’re looking at them based purely on power or value:
Those are the best picks out of the two sets. Heck, the Commander Collection: Green printings of those cards are also the cheapest printings right now, so you can snag them without needing to buy the entire collection if you don't want the whole thing.
Wizards hasn’t said whether not it's a “print on demand” set or just “print until we're done selling this” set, but Commander Collection: Green is still readily available at several online retailers despite being over a year old. Despite all of the printing and shipping issues we've seen over the last year, it seems like these won't be in short supply like some of the supplemental sets have been.
Commander Collections are available pretty much wherever you buy your Magic products from. Because they're still in circulation and not particularly difficult to find, your LGS should have the non-foil version of these sets.
If you're close to a WPN store, they'll probably have the foil versions available if you want something shiny. Online retailers like CardKingdom, TCGPlayer, and eBay could also fulfill your need for cardboard if buying locally isn’t an option for you.
Sylvan Library | Illustration by Bryan Sola
The Commander Collection series is an interesting new product. It’s a good attempt from Wizards to introduce important reprints to improve Commander and incentivize collectors with unique new art on iconic cards.
While we only have two products in the series so far, I think the concept is great and I'm excited to see more. I’d love for WotC to put a little more effort into their card choices and play around with more than just one color every two years. The idea of a Commander Collection: Phyrexian or Commander Collection: Boros is really exciting, more so than just another monocolor set.
What do you think? Are you excited about either of these Collections? Let me know in the comments down below or head over to our Discord if that’s more your thing.
Stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll see you in the next one!
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