The boss of the Maestros is a seven-mana hoss of a card that generates value from three different angles, making it a worthy Commander and possible top-end threat in Magic: The Gathering Standard.
Lord Xander, the Collector was revealed on The Command Zone’s video today discussing the worldbuilding and design of the upcoming set, Streets of New Capenna.
The Maestros are wealthy Vampire assassins that appreciate fine art in every area of life. Lord Xander is the leader of the Red, Black, and Blue aligned family. The group emphasizes an aggressive game plan that prioritizes removal and disruptive effects used in proactive ways.
Maestros Charm was previewed earlier in the week and gave a glimpse at what the archetype wants to do. Each part of the modal spell is representative of a more aggressive look for the three colors. Lord Xander continues that trend and shows the Maestros are a formidable group to play in Standard.
Lord Xander, the Collector
- Mana value: 4UBR
- Type: Legendary Creature Vampire Demon Noble
- Rarity: Mythic Rare
- Stats: 6/6
- First ability: When Lord Xander, the Collector enters the battlefield, target opponent discards half the cards in their hand, rounded down.
- Second ability: Whenever Lord Xander attacks, defending player mills half their library, rounded down.
- Third ability: When Lord Xander dies, target opponent sacrifices half the nonland permanents they control, rounded down.
It’s hard to evaluate this card as a top-end finisher. Each ability is powerful, but it’s hard to see how it’s the best option for Standard lists looking to actually pay full price to cast Lord Xander. Most Maestros decks probably just want to cast Hullbreaker Horror as its finisher. Xanathar, Guild Kingpin is another option that looks to have more impact than Lord Xander does.
The issue that immediately reveals itself with Lord Xander is that by the time it’s cast, each ability isn’t all that great. In a non-Green list, a fair Magic deck that looks to cast this with lands won’t be able to play it until turn seven or later.
Aggro lists in Standard will go under and control decks will just counter Lord Xander and laugh. The enter the battlefield trigger is fine, but your opponent gets to pick what they discard and most decks are able to cast spells out of their graveyard. It’s not an ideal advantage play.
The attack trigger is excellent, but Lord Xander is a must-kill threat, and in a best-of-three context, the opponent will absolutely keep up removal to deal with it.
The death trigger will struggle against the plethora of exile and bounce effects in Standard’s top strategies like Orzhov Midrange or Blue-based control builds. There’s no guarantee that Lord Xander will die.
Reanimation is the way to break Lord Xander. In Standard, a shell built around Olivia, Crimson Bride can reanimate Lord Xander and swing in for nine damage and make your opponent discard half their hand. Junji, the Midnight Sky’s death trigger can also reanimate Lord Xander from the graveyard.
In competitive eternal formats, it gets even better. In Historic or Pioneer, there are cards like Unburial Rites and Liliana, Death’s Majesty that can reanimate Lord Xander on turn five.
New Capenna’s prerelease begins on April 22. The set releases on Magic Online and Magic Arena on April 28, followed by a global tabletop launch on April 29.