You know what they say when you assume something? Yeah, that one. Well, last Renewal hit big with the Tavern Mages here. It was especially exciting to see MTG go to the Forgotten Realms. Strangely enough, when Zendikar Rising debuted around the same time as these groundbreaking announcements, one of the new mechanics caught our attention especially: the PARTY MECHANIC.
And “WHY?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you.
First, let’s revisit the mechanic. Basically, they were cards with triggers all according to the number of ‘party members’ on your battlefield. And the party could consist of any four creature types: Warrior, Cleric, Rogue and Wizard. Now, in Zendikar Rising, it didn’t make that big of a splash. But WE thought there was more at work here.
It’s simply because they introduced the PARTY MECHANIC amid the exciting announcements heralding Adventures in the Forgotten Realms as a set in 2021. We assumed the party mechanic would thrive in this set since, what’s D&D’s major component? A PARTY.
Now, to be honest, we didn’t take into consideration that Wotc probably wouldn’t reuse that keyword again, so soon, in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (AFR). So we’re over the anticipation of seeing it return. BUT we ASSUMED that since the Party Mechanic was SO D&D that it was just a given that this set would FEED this mechanic with the most amazing Wizards, Clerics, Warriors and Rogues yet. And it still could. But, we also realize that the Party keyword doesn’t perfectly scream D&D since the class Warrior doesn’t exist in 5E and should be instead FIGHTER.
SO, as we anticipate some awesome Party members to arrive and make Party a legitimate, viable force in Standard, Commander or any format, we get the faces of the Commanders for the four Commander Decks for Forgotten Realms. And, low and behold, they’re set up as four party members.
But, suddenly, there’s a problem. Most of he four given are not even the creature types that will trigger the Party Mechanic. We instead get a Paladin, a Warlock, a Barbarian and probably a Wizard. Well, one our four, right. But it’s a bad sign that we are obviously not on the same page with Wotc here.
Despite this fact and our disappointment, these four bring powerful D&D flavor to the game. And we’re glad for that much.
But what happened to the party mechanic? At this point, it seems like a mistimed keyword in the wrong set. Why Zendikar Rising? I know that set was also touted as an adventure worthy of a party of people. We just think it would have been better to wait for the Forgotten Realms set.
THE BEST PARTY CARDS
Not that kind of party! The best cards with PARTY as a keyword or triggers to it in some way.
We start with those who can be any of the party members. Now, this doesn’t mean each of these cards are a party into themselves. You still have to have four different creatures on the field to satisfy the mechanic’s requirement. BUT the three shown above are the most useful because they are any type of party member you need at any given time.
Hands down, Tazri, Beacon of Unity is THE PARTY COMMANDER. Not only does each party member bring Tazri’s cost down, but she can drop two of every color but white to search for your party members. AND, if you have one of the three versatile cards shown above, you can snag any one of them!
And, if you have problems with getting the exact lands, Dryad of the Ilysian Grove can fix that by making all of your land ANY land. The only problem is that the Dryad is leaving at Renewal season this year. But it’s definitely a MUST for a Tazri Commander deck.
But, the best cards to fuel your PARTY deck are cards that make tokens of the types mentioned as a part of the party.
Strangely enough, in Standard, the Warriors are the only tokens being made for the Party in Standard.
Battle for Bretagard not only makes a couple of warrior tokens in two rounds, but doubles them in the final phase of the Saga!
To finish standard warrior token makers, we have the two lands Great Hall of Stanheim and Skemfar Elderhall. Starnheim Unleashed, if Foretold, can be a powerful warrior token maker. And the Kaldheim Planeswalker, Tyvar Kell, spends nothing every turn to make one.
But how about the other Party members? Can we find token makers for them?
However, there are a few cards for commander that can make Wizard tokens. Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor, is good, but limited unless, somehow you can refresh her loyalty counters. Summon the School can keep the wizards coming as long as they’re Merfolk. But a Merfolk Party Deck would work, I think. Lich Lord of Unx continues to create cheap wizard tokens for one blue and one black mana. And since Tazri is all colors, all of these can be in that deck. A decent transform card is Docent of Perfection. Either side of this card spits out wizard tokens when you cast instants and sorceries.
For Cleric Tokens, Westvale Abbey might be a good engine to keep a cleric on the board. And, if you have too many, sac five of them for Ormendahl, Profane Prince!
And, while you’re in Westvale, you might want to check in with the Westvale Cult Leader. He pumps out cleric tokens every endstep. Only problem is putting up with Hanweir Malitia Captain who is a soldier and is no help to the PARTY until you control four or more creatures and gets transformed.
But the best may just be the god card that doesn’t get a lot of press. Heliod, God of the Sun!
Not only is it indestructible, but it gives all of your creatures Vigilance to boot! But what we want for the Party Mechanic is pumping out those cleric tokens!
And for Rogue tokens, no one does it better than Faeries! SO many great cards to multiply those pesky rogues. The Secret Lair Tribal Enchantment, Bitterblossom, pumps those tokens out every upkeep with one point of life loss. Marsh Flitter creates two upon entering and is also a rouge. A Tribal Sorcery for Rogues, Notorious Throng, explodes a number of Token Rogues equal to the damage done to your OPPONENTS this turn. Pay extra and get an extra turn with that one!
And, if you’re going to access the Faerie, you need to get permission from Oona, Queen of the Fae. She, herself, is a wizard and will help meet another party qualification. But she can pay for any number of tokens to hit the field.
And probably the best token maker for the Party Mechanic is Outlaw’s Merriment! It is a pain because you make the tokens at random, but every one you make fills a role in the party!
We’re just getting started here because we’ll need more than tokens to build a deck in Standard since we only seem to get Warriors. I think a viable Party Commander Token Engine deck could totally be made. I’m going to study this mechanic and see what I can come up with. What are your favorite PARTY builds? Drop them in the comments below. We don’t do this in a vacuum. We learn both from our mistakes and your victories! Later we will drop more articles with more about building a party deck.