July 11, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 4.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’ve heard it said that in many of Magic’s eras, the cards that looked relatively innocuous were actually among the most powerful. I think that was kind of true of the Odyssey block. Just look at any card with threshold – when you just see one of the cards, it’s not immediately apparent whether seven cards in your graveyard is easy or hard to achieve. That’s because it’s largely dependent on your deck and its gameplan.
Cabal Coffers is much more straightforward than that: it just about tells you in plain English that you want to have as many Swamps as you physically can. It does also have some subtlety, in that you don’t start getting a profit on the activation cost until you have three Swamps in play, and that it scales quite rapidly after that. That means it’s not so great in decks that want to be blazingly fast, but absolutely devastating in decks that can afford to be slower. We’re talking the ability to throw down multiple high-end Demons and cards like Mind Sludge when your opponent doesn’t have anything comparable. If anything, Coffers control decks are even stronger in casual play than they were upon Torment‘s release, as the expanded range of discard options and the existence of planeswalkers give them a way to better fight other control decks, and the wide availability of Ravnica dual lands means that they no longer have to be mono-black.
Cabal Coffers has become a Commander staple in black decks because of its absurd mana-producing potential. It taps for a black mana for each swamp you have…which could well be a lot of swamps if you have an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth alongside it. Not being able to tap for mana on its own does mean Cabal Coffers is not an optimal land to have in an opening hand as your sole land, and it takes time before you get a net production of mana; you need at least three swamps to get back more mana out of Cabal Coffers than you put in. But in terms of sheer production, few lands do it quite as well as this one.
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