We really seem to love these things, and people know we’ll pay too much for them. Hell, my local is selling them for 50 USD, regardless of the 34.99 USD MSRP. From the Vault: Legends is, in my opinion, hilarious. As it’s all legendary creatures, you’d think it’d be more geared towards Commander… but it really isn’t. They’re great cards, but very few of them are actually what you’d use as a Commander, aside from Teferi and Progenitus. Many of them are perfectly playable, if not all of them, though, in Commander.
Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir is an amazing card, originally from Time Spiral, that makes everyone angry, other than the people who play him. It makes every counter spell in the game completely useless against you, making peoples Force of Wills and Dazes and even Mental Missteps useless while you’re dropping in creatures like air strikes with the flash he’s giving them. Teferi’s go for about 5 dollars a piece still, as many people like playing him in EDH and even some people in Legacy. I think he’ll see a bit of play in Modern; but being a triple blue 5-drop can be a difficulty in fast formats. All in all, Teferi is a great card, including the new art for him.
(Elspethftw’s Take: Teferi is just awesome versus control. Period.)
Kresh the Bloodbraided (from Alara Reborn) isn’t a great card (nor is he Bloodbraid Elf), but he’s one of the 5 Legends in Jund’s colors, making him a possible general, but you’d more likely play Adun Oakenshield as he’s only a 3 drop utility, making him a lot more useful than Kresh in any given commander game. Not a very impressive choice for a From the Vault card, honestly. I do prefer this art to the original art, though.
(ELSPETHFTW’s take: He can be a decent Voltron commander, though.)
Progenitus is one of my favorite cards ever printed, honestly. I’m all for Hydra gods and the such. And having protection far more ridiculous than Emrakul, The Aeon’s Torn, having Protection from everything gets ridiculous, on top of being shuffled back into the deck if it finds itself in the graveyard. This would probably only leave the field if they drop a Day of Judgment or Wrath of God (or Plague Boiler if you want to be more original). Progenitus is a card I’ll be taking another look at in Commanding Opinion, along with Plague Boiler rather soon. I’m glad Progenitus is in here, though I think I like the shadowy Conflux Art more.
Good old Doran, the Siege Tower. I’m rather disappointed he didn’t get an alternate art (I mean, they gave Kresh an alternate art, but not Doran?) but I certainly don’t mind seeing him in here. Assigning combat damage with toughness is amazing, especially since that makes Doran a 5/5 for 3, and even makes Spellskite from New Phyrexia a 4/4 for 2. It’s also all creatures that assign combat damage with their toughness, so Deceiver Exarch is hitting for 4 per copy after Splinter Twin (they may only make 4 billion Deceiver Exarchs if that’s the case) and Tarmogoyf is hitting for 1 more than it would be otherwise. Speaking of Splinter Twin, that leads us to the next card on the list…
(ELSPETHFTW’s take – A lot of people may not realize that Doran actually affects all creatures on the board, even your opponent’s. But in the right deck, that isn’t going to matter too much anyway, not as long as Tree of Redemption is around!)
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker, originally from Champions of Kamigawa (as it’s a Legend, it’s probably from Kamigawa Block) is Splinter Twin on a stick. That’s all that really needs to be said about Kiki-Jiki. Only difference is that Kiki-Jiki says sacrifice the copy, and Splinter Twin says exile the copy. Oh, and Kiki-Jiki has Haste. So he can copy Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite as soon as he hits the field, just like Splinter Twin. He costs one more red mana, but in Commander that means you have 2 Splinter Twins in a deck, along with running both Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite. I’m pretty sure with his reprint, we’re gonna be seeing KikiTwin making some appearances with Pestermite, doubling the combo from 8 pieces to 16 pieces, making the combo that much more difficult to stop in Modern. But I’ll get around to that later. As far as the art is concerned, it’s great art, but I honestly prefer the original art. Why? Because it has a dragon on it. But we’re not here to discuss my taste in card art.
(ELSPETHFTW’s take – I prefer old art too! Such an awesome card.)
They might as well have just written “everything is unblockable forever, win target game”. Why? Because Horsemanship was a mechanic restricted to Portal Three Kingdoms (with a few of the cards also printed in Master’s Edition III), and Sun Quan, Lord of Wu makes all your creatures have Horsemanship, himself included. And with there being only 36 cards in the entire game that even mention Horsemanship, it can get silly. He’s decently costed at a 6 drop and is just a very silly card in Commander, 6 mana being easy to get to. That being said, he’s still valued around 35 dollars for an original, and the reprint might fetch for around the same, if not a little less. The MSRP is 35, so he (along with another card from Portal Three Kingdoms that I’ll get to) is practically worth buying it by himself. He’s great in Commander, practically making him a win condition (especially if you’re playing infect or just Triumph of the Hordes, which I’ll review in Commanding Opinion as well) and just good for poking an opponent. As far as the art is concerned, it’s the same as the original, but that’s to be expected, as this is its first printing with a new border.
(ELSPETHFTW’s take – If you’re opponent is dead in one swing of your forces with Sun Quan on the board, it is Win Target Game. Horsemanship is probably one of my favorite mechanics in Magic of all time, simply because it’s on so very few cards. As Solemnparty said, he’s pretty good in a blue/black infect strategy, too.)
Cao Cao, Lord of Wei is a decent card. 5 drop that taps to make an opponent discard two. Honestly, Cao Cao isn’t really all that great. In fact, on the secondary market he goes for less than Sun Quan, originals going for around 20 and the From the Vault ones going for around 12 or so. Regardless, Cao Cao is another Portal Three Kingdoms card, and is nice to see another printing of. Like Sun Quan, he has the same picture as the original, simply in the new border.
(ELSPETHFTW’s Take – Cao Cao is a fantastic reprint that sees play in discard-oriented Commander decks. He’s a lot of fun!)
Captain Sisay, originally from Invasion, is a decent card, but I wouldn’t say it’s worth being a General. She tutors legendary creatures every turn just by tapping her 2/2 self. They go for about 3 USD on the secondary market, namely because of seeing play in Commander, as it searches commanders that got shuffled in off of an Oblation or Spell Crumple, plus any other legends you’d play. Another thing about Sisay is that she also got gypped out of a new art, which is rather disappointing. A lot of people were concerned about the fact it seemed Wizards didn’t take this From The Vault seriously with the alternate arts, 4 of the first 8 I’ve reviewed here do not have new artworks.
(ELSPETHFTW’s take: Actually, Sisay seeks out not only legendary creatures, but any legendary card, including lands, equipments (like Umezawa’s Jitte), artifacts, and enchantments. So she’s actually a pretty decent Commander, overall, especially being in my two favorite colors! Selesnya Forever!)
However, I’m going to cut off Part I here; next, we cover the remaining 7 cards in From the Vault: Legends…