Card Spotlight - Gabrian Commander
This week we take a look at a highly mobile early game creature. Gabrian Commander is great card and we explore the reason why he doesn't see much play.
- 3 2 Lore Thief 2
- 3 2 Spring Mochi 3
- 4 3 Frogify 2
- 8 3 Baeru, the First Wave 1
- 4 2 Gabrian Archon 3
- 10 2 Windfall 3
- 2 The Emperor's Command 3
- 3 2 Gabrian Commander 3
- 7 2 Mirror Phantasm 3
- 5 3 Aurora's Creation 2
- 2 2 Sunken Tower 2
- 4 2 Aurora, Myth Maker 1
- 1 4 Forbidden Library 2
Card Spotlight - Gabrian Commander
The Card Spotlight series reviews cards that we don’t typically see in competitive play. In the spotlight I'll talk about each card’s strengths and what decks could use them. Be sure to check out the video where you can see the card in action!
Gabrian Commander is a fantastic card because of it's great mobility and attack value. Charge 3 and Aquatic allows the Commander to cover a tremendous amount of space offering a strong harvester and aggressor. That’s not all, if you draw a card that originally cost 7 or more he gains Flying. This can be important because the Aquatic can limit Commanders movement. A good way to stop Commander from attacking your creatures is to block him with lands.
Gabrian Commander’s first home is Blue Sevens. This was a popular archetype in Early Access and utilized Blue’s “ramp” card Windfall. Blue Sevens used to ramp up with big bursts of Faeria using Windfall and overpower their enemies with empowered Gabrian Archon’s. Commander offers a cheap harvester that can swim right in-between two wells and collect Faeria. Blue Sevens ultimately fell down the tier ranks because of faster decks like Blue Jump and Yellow Events.
In recent times we see Gabrian Commander being played in a new archetype. The Metashaker deck building competition has given birth to a “zoo” style deck that uses Firebringer and Illusion of Grandeur as finishers. If you haven’t heard of the term Zoo it means a deck that consists primarily of low cost creatures.
Tale of the Old Turtle is an important card in this build because it reduces your three Faeria creatures down to one Faeria. This directly powers up the Illusion of Grandeur. Gabrian Commanders role in this list is to set up an early harvester that triggers Firebringer and potentially the Illusion. This leads to an explosive late game with huge creatures.
Why play Gabrian Commander?
Gabrian Commander is a solid 3 cost creature with enhanced mobility. A 4/2 creature can clear most threats within its Faeria cost range. Gabrian Commander trades with a lot of popular creatures in the game: Windstorm Charge, Triton Warrior, Axe Grinder and Wood Elemental to name a few. With Charge 3 it can be very easy to chase down these targets and get a good trade.
Gabrian Commander’s weakness is his vulnerability to removal. At a base value he is cleared by all the popular removal cards. This is a fair weakness considering this is one of the most mobile creatures in the game. His ability trigger pushes his values to 5/3 but is still taken out by Flame Burst and Wind Soldier. If your Gabrian Commander is removed by a Seifer’s Wrath or Soul Drain you lose 1 Faeria. If you manage to harvest once before he is removed it is an equal trade-off.
Overall I feel that Commander’s pros out-weigh the cons but why isn’t he seeing much play? The two decks I mentioned earlier are the only place where Commander currently fits. Both these decks are considered tier three decks and therefore have a lot of competition. Battle Toads is the usual culprit that pushes Commander out of the spotlight. Battle Toads is 1 Faeria more expensive but you get two creatures with mobility. This makes the card less vulnerable to removal and you get two harvesters instead of one.
Blue Seven’s is a perfect fit for Gabrian Commander because it fully utilizes all his abilities. Even then some Blue Seven’s decks prefer Battle Toads. You often build land to satisfy the Charge 2 of your Archon’s which also works for Battle Toads Jump ability. In this list we’ve chosen Commander over the dynamic duo.
Ramora originally called this deck list Triumvirate - three colours to match the three leaders of ancient Rome. This deck is a “zoo” deck which is a term that came from Magic the Gathering and was later used in Hearthstone. Zoo focuses on low cost creatures to flood the board which is exactly what this list tries to achieve. The only event ran in the entire deck is Tale of the Old Turtle. Tale is a necessary to snowball the stats of your Illusion of Grandeur. This list isn’t very competitive but a lot of fun. I’m hoping it gets more support in the Oversky expansion.
Gabrian Commander is a solid card but doesn’t see play because of Battle Toads. The Zoo deck is possibly the best place for Commander right now but he may see a resurgence in Blue Seven’s in the future. This card is also good in Pandora where removal events are far less consistent.