Maestros Ascendancy – Streets of New Capenna
Date Reviewed: April 27, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
It’s interesting that each syndicate gets an Ascendancy, as in Tarkir – I personally might have predicted an Ultimatum, as in Alara (“I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse”). Having said that, Grixis decks have an interesting new tool here: there are lots of cards that do parts of this card’s effect, and few that have them all in the one place. Snapcaster Mage is definitely repeatable if you try hard enough, but there’s something to be said for using as few cards in your combo or synergy as possible (harder to disrupt). Even though it requires a deck with specific characteristics, those characteristics are spells to cast and creatures to sacrifice (presumably with their own synergies), so you’ll not only have parts of the deck that are good on their own, but also a good chance of having some of them at any time you draw the Ascendancy.
Limited: 3/5 (I wouldn’t rule it out, though you do need to be very aware of what else you’re drafting around it, and it has many more natural boundaries)
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
In the right hands, recursion can be very scary, and Maestros Ascendancy offers that if you can spare a body. You’re locked into only having an extra spell on your turn, but being able to recast spells is nice, especially since this lets you pay alternate costs! The cost is to sacrifice a creature, which may or may not be ideal, as you have the tension between wanting to sling lots of spells and needing fodder to pay into casting the spell; at least Maestros goes in that route more with their mechanic encouraging (in)human sacrifice.
Triple colored mana is the other sticking point, and I think that may well be a problem. Three-color decks are decently supported with the new triome cycle, as well as pathways and the Innistrad non-basics, but I’m unsure yet of how good three-color decks will be in Standard. This strikes me as a hard investment outside of Standard, since Grixis generally doesn’t want to throw away its creatures in the handful of viable decks in deeper formats. I’m possibly underselling this, though I do think there are plenty of friends for this in Commander.
Limited: 2.5 (you’ll need spells you want to recast, creatures to spare, and the ability to generate Grixis colors)
Commander [EDH]: 4 (pair this with Bitterblossom and thank me later)
I love this card. A permanent sort of Snapcaster Mage that’ll make spell decks so happy and their opponents cringe. I’m sure combo decks will have some way to generate cheap creatures (I’m thinking either token generation or low casting cost mono red creatures) to be able to play big game moving spells from the graveyard. This card is going to be a problem in some format, its too good to not build a combo deck around!
Commander [EDH]: 4/5
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