Mandate of Peace
– Commander 2019
August 28, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.67
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
We’ve had cards like Fatespinner that can force one or more players to skip various of their turn’s steps; before that, Fatigue from Urza’s Legacy targeted the draw step specifically. There’s definitely a precedent, then, including one that’s as highly specific as this card. It does offer something more than that, of course: preventing opponents from casting spells for the rest of the turn will often effectively end the turn entirely, which is a pretty low cost. I like that its timing requirement could force people to reconsider how they structure their plays during their turn – as regular readers know, I hold to Magic’s original promise of being the sort of game that doesn’t go the same way every time.
It’s costed notably aggressively, meaning that it may well turn out to be just as effective at slowing down creature decks and disrupting people’s turns in 60-card formats as in Commander. As if Turbo Fog needed any more help!
Mandate of Peace is a fairly unique ability: bring an end to combat, and keep your opponents from doing Things and Stuff afterwards. It’s a good pseudo-counterspell if your opponents try any really fancy combat tricks on you, since this exiles them before they have a chance to resolve. This does self-exile as part of the ability’s resolution, but who cares? Anything to abate an attempt to kill you is good, and this can leave your opponents wide open if you catch them off guard with this.
With that said, there’s another interesting angle to this spell: its mana cost is perfect for one of Magic‘s most abusable artifacts, Isochron Scepter. While the copy self-exiles, it gets around the issue of not being able to be reused without jumping through hoops, and it can make for a semi-soft lock where you can repeatedly deny combat to opponents. Isochron Scepter isn’t indestructible, of course, but it can be a tool to keep the game going the way you want it to.
I think the uniqueness and power of Mandate of Peace might make it a bit of nice sideboard tech to Legacy decks, but it’s not an all-star. Still, it’s a powerful tool to stop hyper-aggressive decks in the right hands.
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