Commander 2016 (C16) is the newest product in the Commander series, which is a line of Preconstructed decks designed for the Commander format, getting released on a yearly basis since 2011. Commander decks are required to only use one copy of any given card and are built around a special Legendary Creature - the Commander card. The five new C16 decks will be released November 11, 2016. These decks will be available for sale as a set of five (also called a Display) and one at a time as single decks. All the decks contain 100 cards. Besides basic lands every single card will be different from each other card in the deck. 15 cards in each deck have never been released before and will become legal in the Commander, Legacy and Vintage format upon release. Every deck is skipping a different color, while using all of the other four colors, and will provide new options to play Commander, as there weren't any 4-colored Legendary creatures available as Commanders, yet!
Let's take a look at some of the new and returning mechanics on the cards you will be using in your Commander 2016 decks, or to update your existing and newly inspired decks:
While the four-color commanders, like Atraxa are very nice, the really exciting part for deck builders will be figuring out the implications of the new partner mechanic, which provides a lot more flexibility in building your Commander decks in the future. Every deck will also contain some two-color legendary creatures with a tendency to work well together and the partner keyword.
Two creatures with partner can serve as a deck's commander together. As you use the combined color identity of both commanders to determine what cards can be in your deck, you will be able to create a large number of new multicolor decks based on combining different partners. It is even advantageous to use such a tag-team instead of a traditional Commander, because your two commanders are treated individually for all special Commander rules. The "commander tax," the additional cost of 2 for every time you've cast a commander from the command zone, applies to each partner individually. So you can start casting the second partner once the first one becomes too expensive to replay. Just having access to more options at all times due to having two Commanders with different abilities is a great advantage already.
There is one small disadvantage as well, as combat damage dealt by each commander is tracked individually as well, making it harder to defeat players with 21 points of Commander damage, but that shouldn't come up all that often anyway.
Who wouldn't want a little discount? Whether it is buying cards or casting spells, cost reduction is always popular. What if your spells became cheaper the more opposition you are facing? That sounds too good to be true, especially as Commander games usually involve a lot of opponents. Whenever you cast an Undaunted spell, you count the number of opponents you still face in the current game, and reduce the cost of the spell by that much generic mana. It even works in a two player game to get a discount, but Undaunted will be most effective in large free-for-all scenarios. Throw yourself into the ring with 6 opponents, and enjoy casting Curtain's Call or Sublime Exhalation for a single mana!
Over the years there has been an uncountable amount of mechanics, so it is no surprise to see lots of them show up in Commander decks in general, and the C16 decks are no exception. Do you still remember all of them? Miracle, Proliferate, Cascade, Flanking, Domain, Converge, Living Weapon, Persist, Hideaway, Megamorph, Evoke, Extort, and more keywords will show up in your new decks, but all of them will be explained in reminder text - so don't worry!
Most mechanics are deck specific, but Basic Landcycling shows up in all five to fix your mana for your four-color extravaganza. Basic landcycling is a variant of the cycling ability, although it doesn't net you a random card, but a basic land instead. At any time you can pay the basic landcycling cost and discard the card to search your library for a basic land, reveal it, and put it into your hand.