Dromoka's Command

Posted in Perilous Research on March 12, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Hello and welcome to the second week of Dragons of Tarkir previews here on DailyMTG.com! Today, we'll be taking a look at one of my favorite spells ever printed. Magic is a game that rewards us for having options, and there's no shortage of powerful plays that can be made with today's preview card.

Options are important when we're playing Magic. I learned this lesson a long time ago, when I first saw the card Fire and Ice. Sure, each side of the card was fine, but neither struck me as particularly strong for Constructed play. An older player at my local store explained that the options presented by the card made it powerful. It was stronger than other cards that might have been better in a vacuum on either end because it always did something that was relevant to a specific situation.

Selesnya Charm was one of my favorite cards in Return to Ravnica. The card could create a body in a pinch, serve as a valuable pump spell, or dispatch of the best creature on the other side of the table. Any one of the choices on Selesnya Charm wouldn't be powerful enough for Constructed on their own, but given the wide range of choices, it became a staple in Standard.

Art by James Ryman

Cryptic Command is one of the best four mana spells ever printed. By giving us two choices between multiple powerful options, Cryptic Command almost always saved us from certain death, turned a race in our favor, or gave us a juicy two-for-one.

Now imagine that Selesnya Charm and Cryptic Command fell in love and had a baby. Let's take a look at Dromoka's Command!

Here's a spell that has the potential to win a game by itself. For just two mana, we get to choose two of the options available. One would expect the available options to be weak as a result, but we get four very relevant abilities, each of which should usually be worth a full card when played in the right spot.

That's the thing about Dromoka's Command. We're talking about a two-mana two-for-one (interaction in which we trade one card for two of the opponent's cards) that actually affects the board. Two-mana two-for-ones are super rare in Magic, likely because of how powerful they are. A card like Hymn to Tourach has seen extensive Legacy play because of its ability to take out two of the opponent's cards for two mana. In a format like Standard or Modern, Dromoka's Command is, perhaps, far more powerful because we're dealing with two cards that the opponent has already spent mana on.

Let's take a look at each of the available modes on Dromoka's Command and talk about how we can translate them into cards.

Understanding Your Options

The first option prevents all damage dealt by an instant or sorcery this turn. The most obvious use for this is the ability to save one of our creatures from a burn spell like Lightning Strike or Stoke the Flames, but it's also worth noting that it can be used to avert defeat altogether by essentially countering a massive Crater's Claws.

The second option, while seemingly the most narrow, may actually be the most important text on this card. "Target player sacrifices an enchantment" is actually a very powerful removal spell that deals with cards like Mastery of the UnseenEidolon of the Great Revel, Splinter Twin, Courser of Kruphix, Banishing Light, Whip of Erebos, and Doomwake Giant. Destroying an enchantment is pretty close to destroying a creature, in terms of power level, when we look at the current Standard environment. In Modern, this mode will give green-white players a more interactive game plan against Splinter Twin combo strategies that no longer requires curving out with Qasali Pridemage. It's also worth noting that because Dromoka's Command makes our opponent sacrifice an enchantment, it can deal with cards like Purphoros, God of the Forge. The card is a tested and approved killer of Gods.

The third mode is the most consistently usable option. A lot of the time, we'll be just tossing this in with one of the spell's other modes for a nice little bonus. Killing our opponent's Courser of Kruphix while pumping our guy is a pretty nice deal for two mana. Additionally, this mode can be used to make our Anafenza, the Foremost or Wilt-Leaf Liege beat a Siege Rhino in combat when an opponent taps out or it can help us win Tarmogoyf fights!

The final mode catapults this card from the realm of very good to absolutely bonkers. Now, at the very least, Dromoka's Command offers up a two-mana, instant-speed Hunt the Weak. Oftentimes, we'll have a creature that outclasses one of our opponent's; we're playing green-white, we've always got the fat. With the fight ability, we can often kill one of our opponent's creatures while also making them sacrifice an enchantment. In Standard, it feels like we'll be able to get Sidisi, Brood Tyrant and Whip of Erebos in one fell swoop with startling consistency. In Modern, we'll likely be able to use Noble Hierarch triggers to turn this into an efficient removal spell that's also pumping our guy, killing an enchantment, or countering a Lightning Bolt.

The Command in Action

All right, it's clear that this card is insane, but what type of deck are we going to put it in?

Let's start by taking a look at its most obvious home in Standard, Abzan.

Abzan

Dromoka's Command makes this deck a lot stronger in virtually every match-up as an efficient removal option with unmatched versatility.

Dromoka's Command isn't just a Standard powerhouse. The card seems like the perfect addition to green-white strategies in Modern.

Green-White

Last month, at Pro Tour Fate Reforged, we watched green-white decks excel in a field full of midrange and aggressive strategies. The green-white decks championed by team Face to Face and ChannelFireball needed to splash black to have any sort of game against Splinter Twin decks. Now, Dromoka's Command gives the deck a powerful removal option that happens to come with tons of random upside. It's also worth noting that the +1/+1 counter can reset the persist on our Kitchen Finks.

There's absolutely no doubt that Dromoka's Command will be a Constructed staple for years to come. Often dealing with two of the opponent's permanents for just one card and two mana, Dromoka's Command sets a new standard in versatile instants. Don't miss your opportunity to be among the first to play with exciting new cards like Dromoka's Command at your local Prerelease! Most stores are already accepting preregistration and there's only so much room.

Knowledge is power!

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