As always, I have to thank reddit for their participation with this article – I couldn’t do it without you. You can find the original posts here:
And now, on with the article!
For the last week, I’ve been in North Conway, New Hampshire, camping. But I literally had 2 separate people call me and a buttload of texts about this card being spoiled – less because he’s cool, and more so because he makes everyone that looks at him double-take. Namely, the little, loyalty-less ability at the bottom of his 4 ability text box.
Teferi, Temporal Archmage can be your commander.
Wait, what? But, this is the planeswalker!
Well, Mark Rosewater confirmed that the next cycle of Commander decks will be mono-colored decks led by a pre-mending walker. Flavorfully, it actually makes sense. Before the mending, these planeswalkers were practically Gods – these are special – they can be a commander because they’re just that legendary. Of course, at the moment we have no idea what the other 4 will be as of the time of writing – I’ll talk about each of them as they’re announced.
So I decided when I got back from camping that I would immediately start off my week by getting Reddit’s Opinion of this interesting card. And what is the general consensus?
Well, as one redditor said:
And I honestly have to agree. On the surface, he doesn’t do much.
At 4UU, that’s already rather high for a planeswalker, especially ff he’s going to have a Commander tax on him. Another redditor stated this:
Used as a Commander, that 6 CMC is really gross considering he doesn’t come with any built-in defense. The Teferi pilot is going to have to work hard to be able to guarantee more than one use per casting, since it’s highly likely things able to collectively knock him back to the command zone will be on the table by the time he comes out. And then what does the Teferi player get for the trouble? Another four untaps, or some very mild card selection. Neither are al lthat amzing on their own; the Teferi pilot will also need to work to make either one worth it. Not unless there’s a stategy in the deck to allow the ultimate to be fired will it feel like he’s got enough value, I think.
5 starting loyalty is pretty solid, though. He has a +1, a -1, and a -10. +1 is a little low for a planeswalker without protection, but -1 isn’t bad, as even after a hit or two, if he’s still on board he’ll have the opportunity to either use his +1 or his -1. -10 is very, very high for a loyalty ability, but with 5 starting loyalty, that’s automatically reachable with Doubling Season.
So, what does he do?
Well, one redditor summed him up fantastically:
He’s very good in EDH.
+1 is a mini-Impulse at sorcery speed. Ticking up to draw a card with a little extra is great.
-1 is fantastic. At worth, this is a mana accelerator in a color that isn’t the best at it. At best, you’re abusing far more powerful permanents. The low cost for this is great.
-10 is a steep price for an ultimate. You can activate walkers each person’s turn at instant speed. That’s good, but not game-winning by itself. In fact, it’s pretty weak unless you have multiple walkers out. Notably immediately activated if you have Doubling Season out.
All in all, one of the most powerful blue planeswalkers in Commander, highly playable. Not an instant staple, not inherently broken, just good.
So let’s talk about his abilities, shall we?
+1: Look at the top two cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the other on the bottom of your library.
His +1 is pretty basic. Sleight of Hand is a good card, and it’s a great way to tick up a planewalker’s loyalty. There isn’t too much to say about his +1 – it’s solid card filtering that people wish was on Jace, the Living Guildpact
. Let’s move on.
-1: Untap up to 4 target permanents.
This is a ridiculously powerful ability, especially in conjunction with the new Chain Veil.
He lets you use the veil repeatedly if you’re also untapping things like Mana Vault and Grim Monolith. While this card is better known with Nissa, Worldwaker + Ral Zarek + The Chain Veil
+ 4 Forests for infinite planewalker abilities, Teferi, Temporal Archmage + Mana Vault + Grim Monolith + The Chain Veil plus something else to untap gives you a decent number of activations on all of the planeswalkers you control, and a solid amount of colorless mana from the other 2 mana you would get from Mana Vault and Grim Monolith after sinking 4 of it into the Veil. At worst, though, he turns himself into a 2 drop planeswalker by untapping 4 of the 6 lands you used to play. Ignoring the combo possibilities, his ability to untap 4 permanents is just really solid in just about any deck.
-10: You get an emblem with “You may activate loyalty abilities of planeswalkers you control on any player’s turn any time you could cast an instant.”
This is a pretty impressive ability in Multiplayer, and is still pretty solid 1v1. Now, before I go any further, Matt Tabak (Magic the Gathering Rule’s Manager) has confirmed that this means you can use one every single turn – between all players. Meaning, if Teferi is still on board after, he can -10, and then +1 each of your opponent’s turns, for example. Of course, this -10 loyalty is namely important because of Doubling Season, and his starting loyalty of 5. He can immediately ultimate, giving all of your planeswalkers this ability.
So on to the last ability:
Teferi, Temporal Archmage can be your commander.
This is where all of his contraversy lies – why is Wizards letting us play these planeswalkers as our commanders? People are genuinely split on this matter.
There are small complaints, like the location of the ability box.
I don’t like the commander ability is on the bottom instead of the top. I think it makes the card visually unbalance.
This is one I actually agree with. They put Garruk Relentless‘s ability to flip to Garruk, Veil Cursed in the right place, and that was in Innistrad!
It isn’t a huge deal, but it that looks better than Teferi. Moving on, though.
One redditor says that he really, really doesn’t like that they’re printing Planeswalkers like this.
I may be in the minority here but I really dislike it when Wizards makes cards that directly or indirectly reference a specific format. Just like with Conspiracy, I feel like it breaks the fourth wall and makes it so certain cards are unplayable in the formats that they are legal in (besides the specific format they were created for e.g. Command Tower). I have no problem with Wizards printing format based supplemental products with cards that are designed to play better in a certain format, but when you get to the point where you have an entire new card type that only works in on format (conspiracy) or a planeswalker that directly references a format, I feel like that goes against the spirit of the game. I realize this wasn’t exactly what you were asking so I apologize for the aside but I felt like this was a good place to voice that opinion.
It’s an opinion I personally respect – when card games refer to their own formats makes me cringe a little bit. When the Conspiracy cards were spoiled, for example, I was unhappy that they’d eat up slots in my packs. Luckily, they made those cards their own slot in the pack instead of replacing, but any time they print cards I won’t want to play or can’t play in any format makes me a little annoyed.
The other argument is that he just isn’t really a great Commander.
Put him in Superfriends, but he’s awful as a Commander. He’s a really cool idea – not only because of the commander aspect but because he don’t have planeswalkers that interact with other planeswalkers in positive ways – but Arcum Dagsson, Vendilion Clique, Azami, Lady of Scrolls, etc aren’t exactly in danger of losing their thrones as the best Mono-Blue commanders and the reason is precisely because they chose to make Teferi mono-blue instead of UW or something.
Your choice of planeswalkers for a deck headed by him includes Jace the Mind Sculptor, the rest of the Jaces, Tezzeret the Seeker, and Tamiyo. None of them can protect themselves, they all belong in different types of decks, and it’s not like mono-blue has the undercosted creatures to protect multiple planeswalkers. Also the only one that can actually serve as a win-con is the most hated card in Magic.Beyond his interaction with planeswalkers there’s really no reason to use him over the completely busted options Mono-blue currently has access to, thus the resounding “meh” that he’s being greeted with.
/u/Malaveylo makes the best point here – mono-blue superfriends isn’t really a thing. The upside is you also have access to Karn Liberted, which he failed to mention, but that’s it. As a Commander, his ultimate just doesn’t have enough of an impact to be relevant in mono-blue.
Another redditor points out that his color is a severe downside.
Main drawback of him as commander is losing access to non-blue walkers. His ultimate really wants a wide variety of dudes to run on and just him, Jace, and Tamiyo aren’t really making the best use of it.
While there’s also the one Tezzeret, this is still pretty much the nail in Teferi’s commanding coffin. He just doesn’t have enough back up. If these decks produce even more walkers, perhaps – but unless we have more relevant mono-blue planeswalkers, it’s likely he won’t see much play as a commander.
What I’ve gathered from this is that Teferi, Temporal Archmage is an awesome planeswalker, but he is not Commander material. He’ll see tons of play in the format, but he won’t be getting Commandered very often. He’s mostly just a really strong Superfriends card, and will see a lot of play in that. In fact, you can already see me talking about him in another article I did on Angus Mackenzie superfriends. His -1 is also just a pretty solid ability, and will see play in some blue decks.
As far as Commanders, hopefully our other 4 will be stronger, and I’ll cover them as they’re released.
Until next time,