Why You Should Add Nissa, Vital Force to Your Commander Deck
- Posted on
- By Fair Game Staff
While lacking the flashy appeal of other Nissa planeswalkers, Vital Force can be a powerful card in any green Commander deck, providing reliable card draw and moderate utility with little risk.
For anyone paying attention to the Magic story recently, talking about a Nissa might bring up some sour feelings. Everyone’s favorite Zendikari tree-hugging elf was part of the planeswalker strike team that visited New Phyrexia in hopes of stopping Elesh Norn before she could launch an invasion of the multiverse. And, well, that didn’t go so well.
But in our time of grieving, let us look back on fonder times.
Like the appearance of Nissa, Vital Force in Kaladesh.
At first glance, it seems like she is a pretty textbook example of what a five-mana planeswalker should look like. You tick her up to defend her (the 5/5 elemental stays around until your next turn) and you tick her down for utility. It’s certainly not on the same mana-ramping power level of Nissa, Who Shakes the World. She doesn’t play into any go-wide strategies like Nissa, Voice of Zendikar.
But then you realize how many loyalty counters Nissa enters with … and how many it takes to activate her ultimate ability.
In an ideal world, you drop Nissa on turn four (having ramped up to five mana), use her +1 ability to slap a defender on the board, and then wait for the turn to come back around to you. Most players are still getting set up around turn four, and might not be able to send any damage across the battlefield.
The next time you untap, upkeep, draw, you activate Nissa’s ultimate and enjoy free card draw for the rest of the game. Congratulations, your Evolving Wilds now has a free Divination attached to it.
And this is assuming that you’re playing Nissa out onto a dry board. If you have any proliferate shenanigans from Phyrexia: All Will Be One, it’s very possible to ult Nissa on the same turn you play her.
I really can’t overstate just how powerful Nissa’s emblem is. Consistent card draw (almost) every turn. Kodama's Reach becomes a cantrip. Late game commander often consists of top-deck mode extreme, where players have all the mana and resources they need to end the game – they just need the spells to do it. Nothing is more frustrating in these circumstances than drawing a basic land. Nissa, Vital Force changes all of this.
It’s also worth mentioning that Nissa’s -3 ability is not irrelevant. If the blue player counterspelled your game-winning Craterhoof Behemoth, you can either shrug your shoulders and move on, or you can leap into your graveyard to like you’re Hercules and the Behemoth is the soul of your Beloved descending into the River Styx. (Spoiler Alert for a 25 year-old Disney movie and 2500 year-old myth.)
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