Commander Corner: King Macar, the Gold-Cursed

Welcome back,

I remember a year or so back when Journey into Nyx came out, and I saw [c]King Macar[/c]. I was on a bit of a black kick at the time, and was obsessed with that color. Every deck that I built had to be running that color. I was looking for a mono-black general, but none of the previous ones appealed to me.

They were either too straightforward, like [c]Anowon, the Ruin Sage[/c] or [c]Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief[/c], or just boring like [c]Mikaeus, the Unhallowed[/c] and [c]Sheoldred, Whispering One[/c].

[c]King Macar[/c] was different though. He was unique, flavorful, and powerful. I just couldn’t seem to get him to work at the time. I decided to just leave him go and build something else. So for this week, I decided to go back, do some extensive research, and finish what I started a year ago. Lets take a look at [c]King Macar, the Gold-Cursed[/c].

King-Macar,-the-Gold-Cursed

He may be cursed, but his misfortune is to our benefit. I do feel bad for him though.

[d title=”King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (EDH)”]

Commander

1 King Macar, the Gold-Cursed

Lands

1 Cabal Coffers

1 Myriad Landscape

1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

1 Reliquary Tower

31 Swamp

1 Vault of Whispers

[/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Colossus of Akros

1 Crypt Ghast

1 Darksteel Colossus

1 Darksteel Juggernaut

1 Dread Cacodemon

1 Erebos, God of the Dead

1 Geth, Lord of the Vault

1 Grave Titan

1 Kuldotha Forgemaster

1 Lord of the Void

1 Mycosynth Golem

1 Myr Battlesphere

1 Nirkana Revenant

1 Pestilence Demon

1 Platinum Angel

1 Reiver Demon

1 Sheoldred, Whispering One

1 Thopter Assembly[/d]

[d]

Instants

1 Doom Blade

1 Hero’s Downfall

1 Tendrils of Corruption

Sorceries

1 Consume Spirit

1 Crux of Fate

1 Decree of Pain

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Diabolic Revelation

1 Drain Life

1 Exsanguinate

1 In Garruk’s Wake

1 Profane Command

Enchantments

1 Greed

1 Koskun Falls

1 Phyrexian Arena[/d]

[d]

Artifacts

1 Blinkmoth Urn

1 Caged Sun

1 Champion’s Helm

1 Clock of Omens

1 Cranial Plating

1 Darksteel Forge

1 Darksteel Plate

1 Ebony Horse

1 Gauntlet of Power

1 Honor-Worn Shaku

1 Icy Manipulator

1 Jandor’s Saddlebags

1 Krark-Clan Ironworks

1 Lashwrithe

1 Mycosynth Lattice[/d]

[d]

Artifacts Cont.

1 Paradise Mantle

1 Puppet Strings

1 Ring of Xathrid

1 Sol Ring

1 Springleaf Drum

1 Staff of Domination

1 Strionic Resonator

1 Swiftfoot Boots

1 Sword of the Paruns

1 Thousand-Year Elixir

1 Trading Post

1 Umbral Mantle

1 Voltaic Key

1 Whip of Erebos

Planeswalker

1 Liliana Vess

[/d]

Cost: Paper = $243.36 | MTGO = 61.51 TIX

Note that the Online price does not include [c]Koskun Falls[/c] as I do not think it is on MTGO. You will have to find a replacement for that one. I recommend [c]Ring of Gix[/c] or any other card that can tap both [c]King Macar[/c] and something else.

I never thought Mono-Black Artifacts could be a thing, but here it is. This deck features a boatload of cards that are geared to work well with our commander. For most commanders, the main way of getting them tapped is by attacking. That’s not going to work out so well for ours since he is rather squishy. Four mana for a 2/3 isn’t the best rate in the world, especially in a format dominated by large creatures.

What makes him good though is his inspired ability. The ability to [c]Gild[/c] a creature whenever he untaps is great, as it can keep us ahead on mana while keeping our opponents board state in check.

We can cash in these coins for our payoff cards, our creatures. [c]Dread Cacodemon[/c], [c]Grave Titan[/c], [c]Lord of the Void[/c], [c]Pestilence Demon[/c], and [c]Darksteel Juggernaut[/c] will make short work of most opponents. They are pretty much the best at doing what they are designed to do, which is take over the game.

We can ramp into them by doubling our mana output with [c]Crypt Ghast[/c], [c]Nirkana Revenant[/c], [c]Caged Sun[/c], and [c]Gauntlet of Power[/c]. We can also make a ton of mana with [c]Blinkmoth Urn[/c] and the plethora of artifacts we have and can also generate with our commander.

In order to stabilize and be able to cast these threats, we need our commander, [c]King Macar[/c]. Many of these cards are specifically in here to abuse his inspired ability. Without him, we don’t have much in the way of interacting with our opponent outside of tapping their creatures and wrathing the board. He allows us to constantly keep their board state in check while generating enough mana via the gold tokens he produces.

These [c]Lotus Petal[/c], like tokens, will help us ramp into our larger threats and take over the game. He also enables us to use more mana intensive spells such as [c]Drain Life[/c], [c]Exsanguinate[/c], and [c]Diabolic Revelation[/c]. These powerful spells can help us gain enough life or generate enough card advantage to stick around for a while.

[c]Diabolic Revelation[/c] has been especially impressive, as long as you have enough mana to pour into it. If you do though, you pretty much just win the game right then and there, as you get to sculpt the perfect hand. Without our king, this deck wouldn’t really be possible. That being said, that leads us to one problem, if we lose him early on.

If we happen to lose our commander early on, such as [c]Song of the Dryads[/c] or [c]Darksteel Mutation[/c], things are going to be rough for us. This deck packs a ton of cards that are meant to be used with him, and without that, you’re going to be drawing a bunch of useless cards.

Having our commander turned into a forest and drawing [c]Ebony Horse[/c] and other types of cards like that for a few turns will probably end in a game loss. Since we are in black, we don’t really have ways of dealing with that. So if that happens to you, be prepared to not be doing much for a good portion of the game.

All in all, this is a fun and unique build. It takes your typical voltron approach and puts a neat little spin on it. Instead of attacking with our commander, we use him with our plethora of tap and untap effects to keep the board nice and clear so we can drop our fatties and sit on a nice stack of gold. What more can you ask for?

Thank you for checking out this weeks Commander Corner. If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments below. Also, from now on, I will not be building any decks with the cards I discussed in my “5 Cards that Need to be Banned in Commander” article. I feel like I need to stick to my guns and set an example. Next week, we talk about something else. See you soon my friends.

-Steven Gulsby

Commander Concepts: More Ways to Play

wrecking ball art

Hello again, friends! Welcome to another installment of Commander Concepts. In following with tradition today’s article topic came by request of a reader. So without further distraction let’s dive into the discussion!

Part of the fun of Commander is the diversity spun into it by restricting each deck to a single copy of any card. This variety is again multiplied by the malleability of the format. A Commander game can be a hectic free-for-all or a methodical team game, but the options do not end there. Team games can be Two-Headed Giant, Emperor, or Star magic. Free-for-all games can be spiced up with multiple active turns, a limited range of influence, or a direction of attack. On top of all that you can add Planechase, Archenemy, Conspiracies, Cantrips, planeswalker commanders, and other house rules. With all these options I would certainly not have enough time to adequately discuss each one so I am going to limit myself to discussing one of the lesser known variations.

Cantrip Magic

Ever wonder why Magic limits powerful mages to the random cards in their hand? We can summon praetors, warp time, and call through the blind eternities to another planeswalker for aid but we almost never even consider casting the same spell twice. Cantrip Magic offers a solution to those awkward observations. Cantrip Magic is a style of play you can add onto any Commander game or Commander variant. To play you simply select a one mana sorcery without {X} in its mana cost that is within your Commander’s color identity and from a modern legal set. This spell is now your cantrip and is placed in the command zone with your commander.

You may cast your cantrip as many times as you want during any of your main phases with a small caveat: it costs an additional {3} to cast. This cost does not increase each time you cast it like your commander does. This cost may seem prohibitive, but the ability to cast an over-costed spell is preferable to being unable to cast one at all. Last but not least, while the card must be from a modern set, it does not have to be modern legal, so [c]Ponder[/c] away!

Almost in compensation for its lack of card draw, cantrips, and small variety of one mana sorceries, white has some extremely potent cantrips. It has artifact themed spells in [c]Ritual of Restoration[/c] and [c]Steelshaper’s Gift[/c]. Alternatively, a deck with [c]Oust[/c] as the cantrip will likely lead to the player drastically cutting removal from their deck and still winning the game anyway.

In addition to the many options for card draw, blue has access to tricky spells like [c]Void Snare[/c] and [c]Distortion Strike[/c] that will allow you to push through damage and take advantage of commanders that like to attack like [c]Zur, the Enchanter[/c] and [c]Thada Adel, Acquisitor[/c]. Blue combo decks can also take advantage of [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c] to check if now is a good time to try to win the game.

Black has access to a versatile list of options. Discard effects abound in black just waiting to tear a hand to pieces. Your graveyard will stay remarkably empty because of [c]Ghoulcaller’s Chant[/c] and friends. Finally black has removal in [c]Deathmark[/c] and [c]Bone Splinters[/c].

Red is also flush with variety. Red has potential removal in [c]Spite of Mogis[/c] and [c]Flame Slash[/c] and some pseudo removal in [c]Blinding Flare[/c]. Token strategies will love [c]Crack the Earth[/c] while decks planning to attack with one big creature will love [c]Assault Strobe[/c]. Red also has multiple artifact removal spells and even a card selection spell in [c]Faithless Looting[/c].

spite of mogis art

My personal favorite cantrip

Modern sets have been kind to green’s repertoire of cantrips. It has card selection in [c]Commune with Nature[/c] and [c]Caravan Vigil[/c] and a few card draw spells in the monetarily expensive [c]Glimpse of Nature[/c] and the relatively cheap [c]Irresistible Prey[/c]. Continuing along the vein of [c]Irresistible Prey[/c] we arrive at the straight up removal spell [c]Prey Upon[/c]. Green decks of all kinds can find a cantrip that fits their theme perfectly.

Cantrip magic is skill intensive and fun to play. The knowledge of what cantrip you opponent has access to often leads to interesting battles of wit and thought provoking discussion afterwards. Cantrips can allow you to flesh out themes of your deck and reflect the memorization of simple spells that a planeswalking mind like yours might perform out of necessity or arrive at accidentally. Flavorfully, this game variant is an absolute all-star.

However, having said all those good things about it, I have to mention a couple downsides. Without group discussion of which cantrips are boring or repetitive, a game can sometimes dredge on and become a hassle to finish. A game where you are playing against an opponent with cantrips like [c]Oust[/c] or [c]Void Snare[/c] can be insufferable if you are not putting tokens onto the battlefield over and over. Decks of specific colors also run into problems selecting a cantrip. White has significantly less diversity and quantity of Cantrips and neither white nor red have cantrips which explicitly draw you a card. Despite these problems Cantrip Magic is a fresh and entertaining variant to sprinkle into your commander night.

That’s it for my article on Cantrip magic. What is on the plate for my next article? What kind of commander related topics do you want to see on your screen? Should I write about another Commander variant or discuss some house rules? You decide.

Commander Corner: Polukranos, World Eater

Welcome back,

Honestly, I never thought of [c]Polukranos[/c] as a commander up until this point. He seemed too basic and at first I didn’t think he was going to be all that useful. Yea, I could kill a few creatures here and there, but then what? He was going to die and that would be pretty much the end of it. I pretty much just saw him as the Standard player that he is. That notion changed rather quickly over the course of a few days.

Originally this deck was supposed to be lead by one of my pet cards, [c]Sekki, Seasons’ Guide[/c]. It was going to be a group hug strategy that won via mass token generation and [c]Overrun[/c] style effects. It had cards that let everybody produce a boat load of mana and be able to do whatever they want with it. The deck ended up being lackluster, as what I was doing didn’t seem to be as good as what my opponents were doing, outside of one game.

This game had been going on for quite some time. The board was cluttered, nobody was doing anything, and we each had an absurd amount of mana. I’m talking somewhere in the hundreds of floating mana. I ended up drawing the card that won me the game and proved its worth. That card was [c]Polukranos, World Eater[/c], obviously.

I windmill slammed it down and immediately used its monstrosity ability, destroying every creature my opponent had and crashed in for the win. I was surprised at how good this thing was, and it got me thinking. What if, instead of doing this in a Sekki build, I made a deck tailored to making this monster of a card as huge as possible. With that, I brewed for a few days, and this is the end result. It still has some of the core cards from [c]Sekki[/c], but radically changes its plan.

Instead of going wide, we are going to go big, and I mean BIG.

feat261a_pwe_art_qco60dn7jw

It turns out, when you build a deck around a card, that card ends up being pretty good

[d title = “The World Ends With Polukranos (EDH)]

Commander

1 Polukranos, World Eater

Lands

1 Cavern of Souls

32 Forest

1 Homeward Path

1 Myriad Landscape

1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

1 Thawing Glaciers [/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Acidic Slime

1 Brawn

1 Craterhoof Behemoth

1 Elvish Mystic

1 Fyndhorn Elves

1 Genesis Hydra

1 Gyre Sage

1 Hooded Hydra

1 Hornet Queen

1 Hydra Broodmaster

1 Kalonian Hydra

1 Kalonian Twingrove

1 Kamahl, Fist of Krosa

1 Karametra’s Acolyte

1 Khalni Hydra

1 Lifeblood Hydra [/d]

[d]

Creatures Cont.

1 Llanowar Elves

1 Magus of the Vineyard

1 Nylea’s Disciple

1 Nylea, God of the Hunt

1 Omnath, Locus of Mana

1 Oracle of Mul Daya

1 Primalcrux

1 Reverent Hunter

1 Seedborn Muse

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Temur Sabertooth

1 Terastodon

1 Thragtusk

1 Veteran Explorer

1 Wolfbriar Elemental

1 Woodfall Primus [/d]

[d]

Instants

1 Beast Within

1 Krosan Grip

1 Setessan Tactics

1 Unravel the AEther

Sorceries

1 Collective Voyage

1 Explore

1 Genesis Wave

1 Kodama’s Reach

1 Rampant Growth

1 Reap and Sow

1 Sylvan Scrying

1 Tempt with Discovery

1 Tooth and Nail [/d]

[d]

Enchantments

1 Beastmaster Ascension

1 Dictate of Karametra

1 Eladamri’s Vineyard

1 Frontier Siege

1 Heartbeat of Spring

1 Primal Vigor

1 Rites of Flourishing

1 Song of the Dryads

1 Upwelling

Artifacts

1 Bow of Nylea

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Gilded Lotus

1 Horn of Ramos

1 Sol Ring

1 Weatherseed Totem

Planeswalkers

1 Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury

1 Garruk Wildspeaker

[/d]

This deck can pretty much go as big as you want it to. We can generate as much mana as we need, and with plenty of mana sinks, we will always have something to do with our abundance of the stuff. It has some group hug style of cards, which can lead to some interesting games. While yes, your opponent does get helped out by this, what you’re doing has so much sheer power behind it that it shouldn’t matter. A [c]Genesis Wave[/c] for twenty or a entwined [c]Tooth and Nail[/c] should be able to get the job done in most cases.

As with most green decks, the only way to win is to beat down. Many of the creatures, including the commander, are great at beating up any opponent. There is a small hydra theme going on in here which is useful. They tend to work well together for the most part, especially [c]Kalonian Hydra[/c]. Most of them scale with the amount of mana we have, which is very useful for us. The hydras in this deck will provide more value with the more mana you put into them. This used to be a problem for hydras of the past. You would put a ton of mana into them, and you would get no value out of them because they would die immediately. Now with these more modern hydras, we get value out of the regardless if we dump all of our mana into them and they die. Outside of hydras, we have a good chunk of value creatures that will keep us going. Once we stabilize, we should be able to cast our general and smash their faces in.

Once our general is out, we should be set up to wipe their board and kill them either the next turn with him, or just kill him that turn with what we have on the board already. With the amount of mana we can generate with our enchantments and creatures, we can pretty much take out their entire board a good portion of the time. [c]Polukranos[/c] is the best defense we have against opposing creatures, since we don’t have access to typical removal. If for some reason we don’t have access to him, our backup measure for that type of effect is [c]Setessan Tactics[/c]. Our creatures are large enough where we should be able to win most fights, plus with its cheap strive cost, we can fight a good amount of creatures.

This deck does have a few holes in its armor. Since it is mono-green, we don’t have access to a large card pool, thus making us weaker in general. We don’t have access to typical creature removal, board sweeps, or draw power. Instead, we have to make do with what we have. We get the fight effects for our creature removal. If we don’t have any creatures though, then its pretty much a dead card. Our only sweeper is our commander, which is nice to have, but won’t always get the job done as he can die to almost any removal spell. With the amount of mana we make though, we can just simply recast him and go for it again. We don’t draw cards normally either. We have to use things like [c]Lifeblood Hydra[/c] to draw cards. We could run [c]Harmonize[/c] instead, but I feel that it doesn’t fit all that well into our overall game plan. We do get access to [c]Genesis Hydra[/c] and [c]Genesis Wave[/c] which is arguably better than drawing cards for this style of deck. We may not be able to do everything multicolor decks can do, but we can sure as hell keep up with them without any problems.

Overall, this deck is a great ton of fun. It can keep up with most decks and can generate as much mana as you will ever need. With that mana, we can make some powerful plays, and quickly overcome almost any obstacle. We can overpower mass removal, push through control magic, destroy the board, put tons of permanents into play in one move, and generate a ton of tokens. We can attack from a variety of angles, all leading towards one conclusion, a dead opponent. This deck has surprised me in more ways than one. It can stand up to almost any test, as its sheer resiliency is something to behold. I’m extremely happy with how this deck turned out. If you’re looking for brute force, look no further.

Thank you for checking out this weeks Commander Corner. If you have any suggestions for commanders you want featured in a future article, please let me know in the comments below. Next week, we get rich quick. See you next time, my friends.

-Steven Gulsby

Commander Concepts: Get Your Free Cards Here!

Abzan-Beastmaster-FNM-artwork

In a previous article I gave some options for which article I should write next. The comment sections has spoken and this is the article you asked for. You wanted an article about getting card advantage from your opponents’ decks. I aim to please so let’s get started!

We all build our decks with our opponents’ decks in mind. We do this even without knowing we are doing it. For example if someone in your group has an [c]Edric, Spymaster of Trest[/c] deck and someone else has a [c]Krenko, Mob Boss[/c] deck then you know right away that a slow, crawling, casual [c]Dakkon Blackblade[/c] deck is not a great idea. I am not bringing this up to talk about deck speed however; I want to talk about my favorite topic: card advantage!

You are probably thinking that you can’t get card advantage out of your opponents’ deck. I am writing to tell you that you can get more than card advantage from your opponents’ decks, but also deck space! How?!

One way to get card advantage from your opponents’ decks is to play cards that will be guaranteed to be good in your deck or playgroup. Having useless cards in your hand is card disadvantage. A second way is to play cards that destroy or nullify cards or strategies your opponents play. A third way is to cast spells which force your opponents to spend their resources on another player. I will talk about all of these topics but first I need to mention an important tool. That tool is knowledge.

In order to get card advantage from your opponents you have to know what is in your opponents’ decks. This concept is as important as knowing your own deck. You do not need perfect information on their decks but a working knowledge will do you wonders.

Why do you want to know about their decks? Because you need to know what you can play more of and what you can play less of. Knowing that, we will start with walking through multiple different deck types and how to get card advantage from each of them.

CONTROL HEAVY PLAYGROUP

There are so many different kinds of control decks in commander so I am going to simplify this issue into two decks. In one corner we have decks which play a lot of counterspells, and in the other corner we have decks that play a lot of removal. Combined this covers the vast majority of control decks you will encounter in commander.

putrefy art

Save the sphinxes! Ever notice how few sphinxes are in a Magic world? We need a multiverse-wide ban on Sphinx poaching.

My playgroup often has control heavy games that seem to have more removal than permanents to blow up. The nigh uncountable number of [c]Wrath of God[/c] effects and [c]Disenchant[/c] effects make permanents feel more like sorceries. It is almost unbelievable how close to reality that last comparison actually is. However, these control decks play few counterspells since they are so much worse in commander.

So how do you get card advantage out of this? Playing few permanents and resilient ones makes the control player’s removal useless against you. This decision both frees up deck slots and nullifies their cards granting you virtual card advantage. Eventually those same useless cards will be spent on your other opponents’ permanents. Now that your opponents are blowing each other’s’ stuff up you get even more card advantage!

This all means you have turned your opponents’ removal into your own removal. You now have both your removal spells and the control player’s removal in your deck. If you added up all the removal spells you will probably find there is a couple cards too many. Knowing that fact you can easily start cutting some from your own deck. This notion may sound ridiculous but I have tested it and it works consistently.

Now you have freed up a lot of deck space cutting vulnerable permanents and dead removal and need to find cards to replace them. What do you fill it with to beat those control decks? The simplest thing to add is more cards which your opponents must answer.

il_kamahl_fistofkrosa

Kamahl? Check. Random creatures? Check. Tons of mana? Check. Opponents willing to watch me do the math? Nope, already shuffling ….

My midrange, token deck led by [c]Kamahl, Fist of Krosa[/c] often had this problem. To compensate I chose to add the cards [c]Tooth and Nail[/c], [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c], [c]Genesis Wave[/c], [c]Beastmaster’s Ascension[/c], [c]Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger[/c], [c]Spawnsire[/c], and [c]Regal Force[/c]. All of these cards can, and often will, immediately win me the game. This constantly looming immediacy puts too much pressure on control decks. If the control players falter once against decks full of potent cards like these you will emerge victorious.

cryptic command art

First he tapped one and three blue then he spoke the most villainous words of all, “counter draw.” And the table let out a great sigh of disgust as they once more began to shuffle their cards.

Playing against counterspell heavy control decks is simpler. Do not stop attacking them and convince others to do the same. They cannot counter every creature you cast and they definitely cannot counter every creature that gets cast that game. We all know control decks love to, and need to, draw a lot of cards. If you kill them early you have essentially countered every future spell they would have drawn. Seems like card advantage to me.

AGGRO HEAVY PLAYGROUP

Getting card advantage from aggro decks is nothing like getting it from control decks. But control decks do teach us how to do it. [c]Wrath of God[/c] is card advantage pure and simple and this is the matchup best suited for it.

Some aggro decks use multiple combat steps, tokens, or damage doublers. I am looking at you Aurelia and Krenko. They do not play as many creature cards as some aggro decks so a Wrath effect is often not quite as good as it normally is. [c]Propaganda[/c], [c]Ghostly Prison[/c], and [c]Silent Arbiter[/c] are perfect for these situations. Indestructible blockers and creatures with deathtouch work pretty well too.

All of those aforementioned permanents act as deterrent to the aggro player. If your opponent is not attacking you then they are attacking another player. This means you do not spend resources to beat them or kill their creatures. Therefore your other opponents are spending removal on those bothersome aggro creatures. You know what I call your opponent spending cards to stop another opponent from killing them? I call it “card advantage.” Brilliant name right?

MIDRANGE HEAVY PLAYGROUP

Midrange decks are playing a lot of powerful individual cards. Additionally, many midrange decks have a rather even split among card types. These decks are intentionally designed to be difficult to metagame against and accidentally designed to be difficult for opponents to get card advantage out of. To solve these discussion disturbances I will resort to an ancient discussion technique called “the example.”

patron wizard art

Okay guys, watch out for Grandpa. He has been in a storytelling mood and we don’t want another lecture based on his Kamahl deck.

Many decks, including every one of mine, have a theme or two. Often people think of themes as referring to a creature type. While that idea is correct, a theme also refers to strategies, card types, or even zones that a deck constantly uses and invests in throughout the game. Kamahl is one such midrange deck. It invests in obtaining large quantities of mana, collecting random bodies to give +3/+3 and trample, and replaying powerful cards from the graveyard.

Now you could randomly stab at my graveyard with a card like [c]Leyline of the Void[/c] or you could consider the way the other two themes interact. Most decks are made up of a plethora of moving pieces which combine together like cogs in a machine in order to fulfill a purpose, like winning the game. Most importantly, decks often play similar cards which can be used interchangeably. In the most general of terms my Kamahl deck is made up of both creatures and things to make all of my creatures bigger. Both parts of the deck have to combine in order for it to run smoothly. Disrupt one part and you disrupt the other.

What I am saying is twofold: “I cannot pump up all my creatures if I have none” and “my creatures don’t do much if they are small.” You do not have to stop every card I play, just stop me either from making guys or from pumping them up. Either option nullifies the other. Nullified cards are wasted cards, and wasted cards mean card advantage for you! Disrupt a deck’s theme and you will likely see rest of the deck stumble to function.

THE CONCLUSION

Today we covered a lot. First we covered learning about your opponents’ decks; about who is the beat down and who is the control. We learned to attack counterspell control decks and to convince others to help us. We discovered that cutting removal against removal based control decks can get you deck space and force the control player to spend more of his removal on everyone else. On top of that we learned to play blockers, Wrath effects, and other attacking deterrent against aggro players. We also uncovered that themes in midrange decks often interact and that disrupting one theme can make the other useless. We learned that a wasted card means card advantage for somebody. Finally, we learned that I like examples involving Kamahl way too much, which is probably the most important thing you can take way from this.

Last of all I want to let you, the readers, to help me pick out what my next topic is about. I could go deep on the topic of the different zones of magic and how to manage them, or I could talk about the strategy surrounding permanents. Let me know below. I do also post this to my local Magic groups’ Facebook page so their input is included as well.

Commanding On A Dime: Kamahl, Fist of Krosa

Welcome back,

This week marks the beginning of a new series. A few weeks ago, I was on Reddit reading some of the comments on my articles and I stumbled upon one that caught my eye. The person asked me why I don’t build on a budget. I replied that I was going to start making a couple of decks on a budget for the future, and the plan was to feature a bunch in one article and be done with it. I later on decided that, instead of making it a once an done thing, to make a series dedicated to playing Commander on a budget. The decks that are featured in this article are more geared towards people just starting to get into the format without spending a ton of money.

Let’s start commanding on a dime.

il_kamahl_fistofkrosa

[d title= “Kamahl, Leader of the Wilds (EDH)”]

Commander

1 Kamahl, Fist of Krosa

Lands

1 Centaur Garden

32 Forest

1 Havenwood Battleground

1 Jungle Basin

1 Myriad Landscape

1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx [/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Ant Queen

1 Arbor Colossus

1 Bane of Progress

1 Chameleon Colossus

1 Champion of Lambholt

1 Cloudthresher

1 Copper Myr

1 Dungrove Elder

1 Elder of Laurels

1 Elvish Mystic

1 Forgotten Ancient

1 Fyndhorn Elves

1 Garruk’s Horde

1 Greenweaver Druid

1 Gyre Sage

1 Heroes’ Bane

1 Hornet Queen

1 Hydra Broodmaster

1 Hydra Omnivore

1 Jedit Ojanen of Efrava

1 Kalonian Twingrove

1 Karametra’s Acolyte [/d]

[d]

Creatures (Cont.)

1 Kazandu Tuskcaller

1 Kessig Cagebreakers

1 Lifeblood Hydra

1 Living Hive

1 Llanowar Elves

1 Magus of the Vineyard

1 Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer

1 Myojin of Life’s Web

1 Patron of the Orochi

1 Polukranos, World Eater

1 Primordial Sage

1 Reverent Hunter

1 Sakura-Tribe Elder

1 Soul of the Harvest

1 Symbiotic Wurm

1 Terastodon

1 Thragtusk

1 Thunderfoot Baloth

1 Wolfbriar Elemental

1 Wood Elves

1 Yeva, Nature’s Herald [/d]

[d]

Instants

1 Beast Within

1 Harrow

1 Naturalize

1 Setessan Tactics

Sorceries

1 Collective Voyage

1 Cultivate

1 Explore

1 Journey of Discovery

1 Kodama’s Reach

1 Rampant Growth

1 Ranger’s Path

1 Savage Punch

Enchantment

1 Frontier Siege

Artifacts

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Khalni Gem

1 Moss Diamond

1 Sol Ring

1 Unstable Obelisk

1 Weatherseed Totem

[/d]

Prices: MTGO = 37.58 TIX | Paper = $73.93

This deck likes not only to go big, but to go wide as well. It can produce a good amount of tokens, while being able to slam down massive fatties. It also features a handful of mana sinks so you will be able to use all of your mana outside of just casting creatures. It may be a budget deck, but it can stand toe to toe with the big guys of the format.

The primary goal here is simple, play out your creatures and attack. The deck houses some really solid beaters such as [c]Polukranos, World Eater[/c], [c]Reverent Hunter[/c], [c]Kalonian Twingrove[/c], and [c]Hydra Omnivore[/c]. These cards serve just to beat your opponent down, except for [c]Polukranos[/c] which is also a mana sink and removal.

Outside of these beaters, we do have a couple of ways to draw cards. We have access to [c]Soul of the Harvest[/c], [c]Primordial Sage[/c], and [c]Lifeblood Hydra[/c]. They help out a lot in the later portions of the game when the green decks tend to start having to rely on the top of the deck since they are out of cards. [c]Lifeblood Hydra[/c] has especially impressed me, as it was able to beat the opponent down and provides a huge drawback for my opponent when they eventually had to deal with it. In the end, the card allows you get something out of all that mana you invested into it, which is something many hydras struggle with. Its an incredible card that I believe should be seeing more play in green-based decks.

Another method of attack is by generating tokens. Now this deck doesn’t feature a card that just strictly makes tokens outside of [c]Hornet Queen[/c]. Many of the token producers featured here provide tokens as well as either a solid body, such as [c]Living Hive[/c] and [c]Symbiotic Wurm[/c], or give us tokens and another type of effect like [c]Terastodon[/c] and [c]Hydra Broodmaster[/c]. Being able to go wide is a solid way of attack, especially in combination with our commander.

[c]Kamahl, Fist of Krosa[/c] is a nice way to clean up the game. He can help break stalemates, as well as just end the game. You can activate him mulitple times in a turn, if you have the mana, and just destroy your opponent. His ability to make lands into 1/1 creatures is also nice, as it has come up once in awhile, though not as often as his other ability. His [c]Overrun[/c] ability really can help you win games that you might not have won before. He’s exactly what this style of deck needs in the late game when the board is cluttered with creatures.

As with all decks, there are some issues with it. The deck is slow. You need time to develop your board and ramp out to your larger threats. It is possible to get pushed out of a game if your opponent is playing an overly aggressive deck. Most decks in the format though do like to take their time in the beginning, so you should be alright. Once you have developed your mana base, you should be able to overpower whatever your opponent does to you in the end.

In the end, this deck is a great tool for people who are either new to Magic, or just have now started to get into Commander. Its a deck you can easily tweak to your play style and eventually invest more into it if you decide that you really like this format. It’s easy to pick up, play, and crush people with.

Thank you for checking out this weeks Commanding On A Dime. If you have any suggestions on what commander you want me to work on for a budget deck, please let me know in the comments. Next week, we take a look at another green deck that makes more mana than you can shake a stick at. See you soon my friends.

-Steven Gulsby

Commander Corner: Dragonlord Ojutai

dragonlord ojutai card art

Welcome back,

Over the course of the spoiler season, I have been checking them very intensely. My usual routine involves me making my preferred spoiler site as my home page so it loads immediately when I open up Chrome on my phone. I usually get into a rhythm where I check it once every hour or so, or just whenever I have nothing to do.

As the set was being spoiled, there were some standouts, but nothing that really stuck with me. That all changed when [c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] was shown to the world.

I was flabbergasted when I saw him, and still get a bit giddy when I talk about him. His ability perfectly resonates with what I want from a commander in the Azorius color combo. I always wanted to build a commander in these colors, but I could never find one that suited my style. [c]Geist of Saint Traft[/c] is too straightforward, [c]Brago, King Eternal[/c] in my opinion isn’t as good as [c]Roon of the Hidden Realm[/c], and [c]Bruna, Light of Alabaster[/c] is just begging to be killed.

[c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] is different though.

[c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] can’t be killed immediately unless they wrath the board, he provides card advantage when he connects, he has a sizable body, and a reasonable mana cost. He allows you to sculpt your hand as you pressure your opponent. With the right kind of deck, you can make it so that your opponent can’t kill him outside of wrathing the board. If they’re wasting a wrath to deal with one creature that you can just cast again, things are looking good for you. He gives you card selection and a clock. He does everything a control player needs to win the game. He is the perfect control commander if you don’t wish to play red.

Another thing that [c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] does that I love is that he is the perfect example of what his brood is about. They are about meditation and knowledge, while being swift and deadly. They are the wise men of Tarkir, but just because they are smart, doesn’t mean they aren’t deadly.

Ojutai taught his followers well. He taught them patience, cunning, and how to exploit their enemies’ weaknesses instead of using shear power. A fight can be won with the mind just as easily as a sword, and Ojutai lives that philosophy.

Let’s see what the best of the Elder Dragons can teach us today.

Dragonlord-Ojutai-by-Chase-Stone

The master of patience and cunning, Dragonlord Ojutai is often seen in a deep state of meditation

[d title = “Ojutai, Master of the Mind (EDH)]

Commander

1 Dragonlord Ojutai

Lands

1 Adarkar Wastes

1 Azorius Chancery

1 Azorius Guildgate

1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All

1 Celestial Colonnade

1 Cephalid Coliseum

1 Command Tower

1 Evolving Wilds

1 Flooded Strand

1 Glacial Fortress

1 Halimar Depths

1 Hallowed Fountain

9 Island

1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge

1 Myriad Landscape

1 Mystic Gate

9 Plains

1 Sejiri Refuge

1 Temple of Enlightenment

1 Terramorphic Expanse

1 Tranquil Cove [/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Angelic Field Marshal

1 Consecrated Sphinx

1 Glen Elendra Archmage

1 Icefall Regent

1 Mother of Runes

1 Restoration Angel

1 Sakashima’s Student

1 Sovereigns of Lost Alara

1 Thassa, God of the Sea

1 Weathered Wayfarer [/d]

[d]

Instants

1 Afterlife

1 Anticipate

1 Azorius Charm

1 Brainstorm

1 Center Soul

1 Condemn

1 Counterspell

1 Crib Swap

1 Cyclonic Rift

1 Desertion

1 Dig Through Time

1 Disenchant

1 Dismiss

1 Emerge Unscathed

1  Impulse

1 Muddle the Mixture

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Path to Exile

1 Pulse of the Grid

1 Reality Shift

1 Remand

1 Return to Dust

1 Sphinx’s Revelation

1 Swords to Plowshares

1 Think Twice

1 Unexpectedly Absent [/d]

[d]

Sorceries

1 Compulsive Research

1 Final Judgment

1 Ponder

1 Preordain

1 Supreme Verdict

1 Treasure Cruise

1 Wrath of God

Enchantments

1 Banishing Light

1 Eldrazi Conscription

1 Journey To Nowhere

1 Mammoth Umbra

1 Myth Realized

1 Oblivion Ring

1 Righteous Authority [/d]

[d]

Artifacts

1 Azorius Keyrune

1 Coalition Relic

1 Commander’s Sphere

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Gilded Lotus

1 Lightning Greaves

1 Ojutai Monument

1 Sensei’s Divining Top

1 Sol Ring

1 Talisman of Progress

Planeswalkers

1 Ajani Steadfast

1 Narset Transcendent [/d]

Price: MTGO = 132.04 TIX (Not including DTK cards which aren’t out yet) | Paper = $404.22

The way I thought this deck should go is more of a Voltron strategy. Not the typical style of “slap swords on him and go,” but more of just keeping him alive. I don’t like the way the [c]Sword of Fire and Ice[/c] and the others play. It just seems lazy and not very fun. In order to protect our commander, we just have to give him vigilance. If we can do that, he will protect himself.

Besides protecting him, this deck has a heavy focus on card advantage. Keeping your hand full of cards and smoothing out your draws by using the pleothora of cantrips at your disposal should keep you going throughout the game and allow you to use your mana efficiently. Once you feel like it’s time to start applying pressure, just cast [c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] and go to town.

This deck’s main way of achieving victory, like most Voltron strategies, is winning via commander damage. Ojutai’s body is sizeable enough that it wont take long until your opponent is dead. He does lose hexproof when he is tapped which is not the most ideal, but we have access to counterspells and protection spells that allow us to make sure he is safe. [c]Minamo, School at Water’s Edge[/c] also goes a long way to make sure that your opponents removal won’t be able to keep our commander down.

myth realized

If [c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] isn’t enough, we have a couple of creatures we can get our beat downs on with, as well as one of my favorite cards in Dragons of Tarkir, [c]Myth Realized[/c].

[c]Myth Realized[/c] has been an absolute blast for me. This card has indeed lived up to the hype, at least in my opinion. I don’t know if this card will have a home in Standard, but I believe it at least has a home in this format. This card has impressed me and has shown what a powerful one-drop it is. Over the course of the game, it will become big. I’m not just talking it turning into a 6/6, I mean much larger.

The biggest I’ve ever gotten it to was a 30/30. I cast it on turn one and just let it sit there for a good while. After a couple of turns of casting cantrips and removal spells, it was a large enough threat where I could start turning the corner and applying massive amounts of pressure on my opponent while being able to hold mana up for counter spells. This card is an absolute house and is a win condition on its own.

Honestly, in testing at least, I have yet to run into any severe issues with this deck. Yes, in the early game you’re not doing too much besides casting a couple of cantrips, but you have board sweeps to clean up some early game aggression and move into the later stages of the game, which is where this deck shines.

Once you have firmly taken control of the game, it’s hard to lose that control outside of some rare awkward draws. [c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] performs exactly as well as you think he would. The amount of card advantage he gives you is real, and it has helped me win a solid amount of the games I have played with him. This deck is a ton of fun for people who love drawing cards and slowly taking over the game like me.

You have to have patience, the right time to strike will show itself soon enough.

Before I finish up, I would like to comment on the recent rules change for Commander. I think not being able to tuck an opposing commander is bad. I’ve always felt that cards that can tuck commanders to be stop gaps in the format. If a commander gets out of control, instead of just banning them outright, we have ways of dealing with them. We can simply just tuck them and the problem is solved.

Yes, white, blue, and red (also green if your opponent is running an artifact commdner) are the only colors to have these cards, but I don’t think that is an issue. Yes, getting your commander tucked does stink, but I feel that these cards are necessary to prevent people from overly relying on abusing their commander. I think this change will have a negative impact on the format. Only time will tell if I’m right or not.

Thank you for checking out this weeks Commander Corner. If you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments below. Next week, we work on a budget. See you soon, my friends.

-Steven Gulsby

Lines in the Sand: Commander Rules Updates

time reversal Commander rules have been updated. Sam delves into the changes and their implications.

Ladies and gents, the world has changed. We have received an update from the commander Rules Committee. This is technical talk time.

The rules for commanders getting put into your library or into your hand now have an added replacement effect which you may apply. This replacement effect allows you to put the commander in the command zone instead of either of those places. Additionally, you still get to choose where your commander goes regardless of who controls it when either of these things happen.

In the end, who does this update help? Who is the target audience? What does it mean for those besides the target audience? Answers are at the ready.

hallowed burial card spell crumple card chaos warp card

This update strategically benefits everyone who needs access to their commander at all times.

Combo commanders like [c]Zur, the Enchanter[/c], [c]Maralen of the Mornsong[/c], and [c]Sharuum the Hegemon[/c] heavily benefit from this change as their ability to win hinges on having their commander available. Aggressive decks like [c]Krenko, Mob Boss[/c] and [c]Aurelia, the Warleader[/c] also love this update. Finally, voltron decks such as [c]Uril, the Miststalker[/c] and [c]Rafiq of the Many[/c] swoon over this change.

I will point out that many of these commanders, and strategies in general, did not need the help. The decks are good enough without the Rules Committee helping them out.

cultural exchange

Making some decks better was not the goal of the change though.

The goal was to make it so players got to play their cards more often. The fact of the matter is that most players are not heavily invested in the Magic community. Most players do not come to shops to play Magic. Most players do not post on forums or decklist websites. Most players do not read articles. Many players already play Commander believing this rule change is how commander has always worked. These players want to play Magic more than they want to win games of magic.

Letting them have access to their commander more often accomplishes this goal.

With this knowledge in mind it makes perfect sense to implement this change. As someone who does all of the above community interactions however, I think this change will negatively impact my play group and many others.

What can playgroups who do not feel bad about shuffling a problematic commander do to compensate for the loss of such a simple and elegant solution?

The answer is simple; you can do almost nothing to replace these answers. Magic has very few solutions which will get around this. Some colors literally have no replacements for the cards they lost. Cards which could fill this gap include: [c]Lignify[/c], [c]Song of the Dryads[/c], [c]Control Magic[/c], and [c]Arrest[/c].

These may not be great solutions but if your group really needs answers to problem commanders these may be the best you can get.

Players can do a few things about the games themselves however. The players can talk about how competitive they want the upcoming game to be. My group has both very casual decks, like Tribal Sphinxes and Skip My Own Turns, and also has competitive decks like Zur and Krenko. We discuss competitiveness of the next game every time we play. This is easy for us as we collectively have around 15 decks to choose from every game night.

allied strategiesIf all else fails and your group starts to get less fun you have one last bastion of hope, your words. Talk to your friends if the playgroup becomes less fun for you. Magic is a hobby after all and it is supposed to be fun and relaxing, not just competitive and challenging. Communication saves play groups.

Today, I sign off with a quote from my cousin Matt concerning the Rules Committee and their job of accommodating both casual and competitive players:

“The problem with Commander is that it encompasses so much of Magic. There are thousands of plays that are arguably degenerate, and no real way to distinguish what ‘crosses the line.’ They can’t draw their line in the sand without dramatically changing the game.”

See ya next week!

Dragons of Tarkir Commander Set Review

DRAGONS! Dragons! Dragons! Dragons! Dergons! Dargons! Dagons! Mehrunes Dagon? Skyrim? Skyrim has dragons! Welcome to ADHD: the Gathering!

“Original Dragon.”

shivan dragon

First off, Magic is a game of many formats. Most sets these days are designed for the most played formats: sealed and standard. Therefore most cards are not designed for commander. I won’t go over every card, but I will chat about the ones that look fun or powerful or ones that I believe will probably let you down.

Second thing I want to say is that I will mention [c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] a LOT. I know many builds exist from casual to [c]Hermit Druid[/c] combo and I have played against many different ones. All I will say about the style you should play is: have fun with your deck.

[c]Dragonlord Dromoka[/c]: Elder dragons are back with a vengeance! This dragon is adept at protecting you and just swinging for damage. Her ability to sop your opponents from messing with you makes her a very viable commander. Even if you do not like her that much I think you should give at least one of these Elder Dragons a chance considering they are the reason this format exists. So give it a try for new old times’ sake. Or is it old new times’ sake. So confused.

[c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c]: Flying card selection is amazing. This guy is as majestic as they get. Attack for damage to draw cards. Everything is awesome about this card. Commander quality for sure.

[c]Dragonlord Kolaghan[/c]: Look, we all know his paragraph of text at the bottom of the card is irrelevant in commander, but he is [c]Fervor[/c] on a flier. That is powerful. Most every equipment makes him a three shot in the commander damage department too. Scion decks looking to cast [c]Living Death[/c] might like him too. Might.

[c]Dragonlord Atarka[/c]: [c]Bogardan Hellkite[/c] with +3/+3, trample, and a sweet set of antlers for one less mana! She can attack for 24 commander damage in three turns. Definitely a lethal damsel. She is large and in charge. Clears the skies and invokes fears. Did I mention the sweet antlers?

[c]Dromoka’s Command[/c]: Many modes on each of these commands. I will talk about all of them at once. They are extremely versatile cards that can often be two for ones. Commander has a lot of weird scenarios so even the cheaper, more specific ones will likely come up. People do play the single colored commands that I think are not very good so regardless of what I think of the power of some of these, I know they can and should see play on versatility alone.

[c]Ruthless Deathfang[/c]: So great with [c]Grimgrin, Corpse-Born[/c]. Just a cheaper [c]Butcher of Malakir[/c] in that kind of deck.

[c]Duress[/c]: I know it has been printed before, but she looks so angry… No she did not make me mention this card. Please… she roared SO loudly. Just play the card before she roars at me again.

[c]Clone Legion[/c]: Much less powerful than Rite of Replication. I know it looks better, but it is not as good at exploiting enters the battlefield abilities.

[c]Risen Executioner[/c]: It is a lord, but…he costs so much to recast from the graveyard. I guess at least you have the option. Regardless a lord is a lord. All hail tribal!

[c]Surrak, the Hunt Caller[/c]: Too small, play Kamahl. I still believe [c]Kamahl, Fist of Krosa[/c] is the best way to go about aggressive green. Looks cool, but will probably be a flop.

[c]Deathbringer Regent[/c]: [c]Reiver Demon[/c] supplement. The dragon is much better in black heavy play groups.

[c]Blessed Reincarnation[/c]: Fun polymorph/removal effect.

[c]Berserker’s Onslaught[/c]: Hey Philip! Put this in Aurelia. Seriously. Quad damage. This is a very potent card in aggressive decks. Not as good if most of your creatures only have one power, but good nonetheless.

[c]Explosive Vegetation[/c]: Hey! New commander players! Play this card!

[c]Illusory Gains[/c]: Every chaos player should know about this card. Embrace the Chaos!

[c]Living Lore[/c]: Weird card. Looks like fun. It has some combos with reanimation spells.

[c]Foul Renewal[/c]: Value train. Combos well with [c]Chancellor of the Spires[/c].

[c]Volcanic Vision[/c]: Target Plague Wind. Win. Perfect for a powerful late game control deck like [c]Nicol Bolas[/c]. That is where I am putting the first one I get.

[c]Sight of the Scalelords[/c]: Not [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c], but Craterhoof costs a lot of cash and only happens once. Will I play it in my green decks? No. Would I blame you for it? No.

[c]Sarkhan’s Triumph[/c]: Great card for [c]Kaalia of the Vast[/c] or just a casual dragons deck.

[c]Dragon Whisperer[/c]: Big dude attack opponent. Big dude make more big dudes.

[c]Damnable Pact[/c]: Extremely potent draw spell. This may not be Necropotence, but it is way more likely to resolve. This can also kill an opponent. This sweet draw spell should be an auto include for any mono black commander other than [c]Erebos, God of the Dead[/c].

[c]Zephyr Scribe[/c]: Here we have another powerful card selection tool from the Jeskai clan. This guy will be awesome every time you cast him. It is going straight into my Nicol Bolas Deck.

[c]Hedonist’s Trove[/c]: Because of how lands work in commander you will never be able to cast spells that are not in your commanders’ color profile. I recommend against putting this in a mono black list. Otherwise, it looks like a lot of fun.

[c]Dragon Tempest[/c]: All hail Scion of the Ur-Dragon. This is a sweet card for any red flier’s deck. [c]Kaalia of the Vast[/c] is going to use this to great effect.

[c]Radiant Purge[/c]: Great removal that will always have a target.

[c]Blood-Chin Fanatic[/c]: Hey Kresh players! [c]Kresh, the Bloodbraided[/c] is a Warrior! Three mana 3/3 with a built in fling for Kresh? Sounds awesome!

[c]Shaman of the Forgotten Ways[/c]: He taps to cast [c]Biorhythm[/c]. [c]Biorhythm[/c] is banned. Do not spend much cash on this guy because I sense a fall of the Ban Hammer. But hey, until then it should be fun to kill people like commander players of old did.

[c]Profound Journey[/c]: I have no idea how good this is. I suspect it will probably not be as good as [c]Sun Titan[/c] but that is a pretty high bar. I really do not know. Art is pretty though.

[c]Sidisi, Undead Vizier[/c]: I do not like open ended tutors in my decks. Repeatable ones are the worst offenders in my opinion because I like diverse games. That said, this card is very good and will play well in zombie strategies and control strategies. Sweet with [c]Trading Post[/c] due to the cheap creatures to sacrifice. Goats vs. Zombies is a great name for the next hit video game. Just saying. Just. Saying.

narset-love

“*Swoon!*”

[c]Narset Transcendant[/c]: Absolutely god tier planeswalker for commander control decks. Starts with six loyalty, draws cards better than [c]Domri Rade[/c] does in devoted strategies, and let’s not forget how absurd Rebound is. She is just so powerful. Also, I have a new favorite artist. Sorry Raymond Swanland.

sarkhan-unbroken

“Deal with it!”

[c]Sarkhan Unbroken[/c]: First, a brief aside… Look, I know he time traveled, but that does not constitute making a character blue. Karn is still colorless! Back to the card. Holy cheese bagels batman! This guy just straight up draws cards! Narset suddenly looks a little feebler. Whatever deck you put this in will love it. I do not feel the need to justify this guy. He is just SO good! He also makes 4/4 fliers? “Mom? Are they allowed to make magic cards this good? They are? Dang.” All my decks suddenly feel like they have a five-drop shaped hole in them. This is so unsettlingly good. Did I mention this card is good?

[c]Haven of the Spirit Dragon[/c]: [c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] and [c]Kaalia of the Vast[/c]. Nuff said.

Well that wraps up my set review! Hope you guys enjoyed it! Got some different opinions about the cards I mentioned? Post them below! Think I should have mentioned a card? Say so below! See ya next week!

The Five Cards That Should Be Banned In Commander

Welcome back,

Instead of looking at a new Commander brew, I decided to take a look at the ban list. Note that we are not talking about the Dual Commander ban list, we are talking about the ban list featured on Wizard’s official website.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Commander is one of the most balanced formats in Magic today. Yes, you can do some amazingly powerful things and get into some really complex and crazy board states, but there is almost always a way to answer what’s going on. Many of the Commander players in my area stated that they want to see specific cards banned because they may seem oppressive. Cards like [c]Animar, Soul of Elements[/c] and [c]Kaalia of the Vast[/c] are extremely powerful and sometimes busted commanders, expecially [c]Animar[/c], but you have ways to deal with them in every color. It may seem hard to deal with cards like these, but you can do it.

However, I do think that the cards about to be featured on this list should leave the format. These cards either warp the game around them, lock people out, or just don’t fit in the Commander theme. They take over the game over time, or just end the game right on the spot. They are either unfair, or unfun.

Granted I have played with these cards because they are amazing, but I will not be sorry and will happily replace them if they do get kicked out of the format. This list goes from least ban-worthy to most ban-worthy. Just because it’s the least ban-worthy doesn’t mean it’s not obnoxiously powerful. These should all leave the format in my humble opinion.

Top 5 cards in Commander that should be banned

Let’s take a look at these stupidly busted cards that need to go.

5. Blightsteel Colossus

Image (2)

Blightsteel Colossus is by far the least egregious card on this list. It still completely destroys the board state and warps the game around it. If you don’t deal with this card immediately, which is hard because it’s indestructible, you are going to die. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. You will die to this card.

This card is on here because it doesn’t fit the Commander mold. This format is meant to be a casual and fun format. It’s about the epic struggle for power and the crazy board states. This card doesn’t really fit that. It immediately changes the game and will knock down any player that doesn’t play blue or white (and black in corner cases). Red and green mages will find it almost impossible to deal with this card.

It turns all of this crazy build-up that you and your opponent have been doing for turn after turn into nothing. It’s one of the ultimate feel bad cards to lose to. Plus, with the many ways to cheat out artifacts and creatures, it’s easy to get out early and consistently. It changes the game and just is not a healthy card to have in the format.

4. Iona, Shield of Emeria

Image

Iona, Shield of Emeria is an awful card to play against. Once she enters the battlefield, she locks your opponent out of playing most of their spells, and destroys their chance to come back. You can reanimate her early, and end the game before your opponent even had a chance to do anything of note. If your opponent is playing her and you’re playing a mono-colored deck, you better hope that she never enters play, cause you’re not going to be playing Magic for long.

Much like [c]Blightsteel Colossus[/c], she falls into the “unfun” cards in the format. She locks your opponents out of the game and will destroy any sense of fun from every other player at the table. Unless you’re a heartless monster and don’t like friends, I advocate not playing this card. It ruins the spirit of the format, and the fun.

3. Serra Ascendant

Image (1)

She is just a one mana 6/6 flyer with lifelink. Having access to her turn one will end the game. It will be next to impossible for any player to come back after she connects a couple of times. Many of the good removal spells in the format cost two or even three mana, which gives her free reign for a couple of turns. In those couple of turns, she will wreck your opponents face, and keep you out of reach from anything your opponent can do for the rest of the game. Even if they can get rid of her on turn three or four, the damage has already been done. Its a crazy unfair card and warps the game around it in the early turns, and has done too much damage for the late game to matter. It’s just not the right card for the format and should be ushered out immediately.

2. Deadeye Navigator

047

This guy is the biggest combo enabler in the format. No question about it, the amount of times I have see people lose to this card is absurd. He is almost impossible to kill as well as whatever creature he is paired with. He almost blanks any removal spell as he can protect every creature on the board by blinking itself and blinking the creature that’s being targeted. With him in play, you pretty much don’t need to cast many more spells before you win the game.

Beyond blanking removal, he enables so many enter the battlefield based combos. Any creature that untaps more than two lands and him nets you infinite mana. [c]Solemn Simulacrum[/c] and him will ramp you out harder than any green-based deck. Paired with [c]Angel of Serenity[/c], your opponent will never have creatures ever again. This card is an absolute nightmare to play against. It creates some of the most degenerate board states in the game, and should quietly leave the format.

1. Prophet of Kruphix

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Prophet of Kruphix is beyond busted. Its a hybrid of [c]Seedborn Muse[/c] and [c]Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir[/c], and ends up being leagues better than both of them in Commander. She allows you to hold up countermagic while being able to advance your board state, which is really hard to deal with. It’s easy to protect and easy to get out of control. The game warps around her, because if you don’t answer this card, you are going to loose.

Once your opponent resolves her, they will climb ahead of you quickly, as they are able to do anything they want to do at any time. Any opponent with her in play will have a huge target on their head, and will probably be able to deal with anything that is thrown at them as long as she is still around.

In these colors, she is arguably the best thing to be doing. If you’re in these colors, your going to be playing this card no matter what you’re doing. She is just too good not to be playing. She creates just as degenerate of board states as [c]Deadeye Navigator[/c] and is just as easy to protect. She warps the game around her in the ugliest of ways and will catapult you so far ahead of everybody else. She’s overpowered, degenerate, and unfair.

She absolutely needs to leave the format as soon as possible.

Wrap-Up

Well there you have it, those are my thoughts on the ban list and what cards need to be put on said list. Like I said earlier, I do believe Commander is one of the most balanced formats in the game. These blemishes, though, stand out and can turn almost any fun game completely sour. If these cards get banned soon, don’t be surprised. There are plenty of other powerful options to take their place that are not as broken, but still will provide the same type of effect. Once these cards have left, I think Commander will be an even sweeter format than it already is.

Thank you guys for checking out this week’s article. Next week we will have an all new Commander brew for us to discuss and what not, featuring a new card from Dragons of Tarkir, no less. If you have any thoughts on this list, or other cards that you think should have been on here, let me know in the comments below.

See you soon, my friends.

-Steven Gulsby

Commander Corner: Szadek, Lord of Secrets

Welcome Back,

[c]Szadek[/c], the leader and founder of the House Dimir, is the last of his kind. He is an ancient race of psychic vampires. His goal is to overthrow the guilds and seize power of the city. He works only in secrecy and in the darkest places on Ravnica.

To many of the inhabitants in the city, there are only nine guilds. As far as most people are concerned, the Dimir don’t actually exist. They operate silently and swiftly, taking out key leaders and replacing them with shapeshifters. Once all of his shapeshifters are in place, [c]Szadek[/c] can safely take control of the city without the public even being aware that anything has even changed.

Things didn’t go according to plan, though, when a member of the Wojek League, [c]Agrus Kos, Wojek Veteran[/c], found out about one of [c]Szadek[/c]’s plans.

[c]Szadek[/c] was planning on overthrowing the Selesnya Conclave by getting [c]Savra, Queen of the Golgari[/c] into the City Tree and corrupting the Mind Link, also known as the World Soul, to wipe out the entire guild during the [c]Festival of the Guildpact[/c]. If successful, the Guildpact would be destablized, and would threaten to destroy Ravnica.

[c]Agrus Kos[/c] stopped him before he could execute his plan and arrested him. He was then sent to the Azorius, and put into prison, where he died. Unbeknownst to [c]Agrus[/c], this also broke a clause in the Guildpact, causing it to start to dissolve.

After his death, [c]Szadek[/c]’s spirit went to the Agyrem district of Ravnica, also known as the [c]Ghost Quarter[/c]. Once he arrived, he assumed control over this district, and remained in power for several years. [c]Agrus[/c], now in spirit form after a fatal plane crash, had searched out for the Dimir Leader. Szadek had discovered that the villain this whole time was in fact the [c]Grand Arbiter Augustin IV[/c]. Wanting revenge on the Azorius guild leader, Agrus agreed to help, and put Szadek’s soul inside an artifact.

[c]Agrus[/c] then found a nearby crashed ship and rigged it with explosives. After the ship exploded, catching the attention of the [c]Grand Arbiter[/c], [c]Agrus[/c] tossed Augustin the artifact containing [c]Szadek[/c]’s soul. Szadek immediately took revenge on the guild leader, killing him.

After all of this, [c]Szadek[/c] returned to the Agyrem, which had been fully absorbed into the city, and remains there in power over the district.

[c]Szadek[/c] is an interesting commander. He actually does not do any combat damage to any player. Instead, he mills them. This ability represents the fact that he is indeed a psychic vampire, feeding off of peoples thoughts and ideas as well as their blood. Of course, with this unique ability, he lends himself to a mill strategy.

This may seem like a near impossible feat in this format where the decks are ninety-nine cards, but it is possible using the right cards. We don’t just have to mill them though, we can utilize their grave to our advantage, reanimating the monsters that we reveal to aid us in our quest for victory.

Lets take a look at what horrors hide in the House Dimir.

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Even after his death, he still plots to take over the city of Ravica

[d title= “Szadek, Master of Milling (EDH)”]

Commander

1 Szadek, Lord of Secrets

Lands

1 Command Tower

1 Dimir Guildgate

1 Dismal Backwater

1 Drowned Catacomb

1 Evolving Wilds

1 Ghost Quarter

1 Halimar Depths

10 Island

1 Jwar Isle Refuge

1 Minamo, School at Water’s Edge

1 Myriad Landscape

1 Nephalia Drownyard

1 Polluted Delta

9 Swamp

1 Temple of Deceit

1 Temple of the False God

1 Terramorphic Expanse

1 Underground River

1 Watery Grave[/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Ambassador Laquatus

1 Consuming Aberration

1 Dimir Doppelganger

1 Dreamborn Muse

1 Faerie Macabre

1 Geth, Lord of the Vault

1 Ghastlord of Fugue

1 Havengul Lich

1 Hedron Crab

1 Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni

1 Lazav, Dimir Mastermind

1 Mindleech Mass

1 Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker

1 Nemesis of Reason

1 Oona, Queen of the Fae

1 Phenax, God of Deception

1 Riddlekeeper

1 Sewer Nemesis[/d]

[d]

Instants

1 Brainstorm

1 Counterspell

1 Cyclonic Rift

1 Dig Through Time

1 Doom Blade

1 Fact or Fiction

1 Go for the Throat

1 Grisly Spectacle

1 Hero’s Downfall

1 Hinder

1 Induce Paranoia

1 Lim-Dul’s Vault

1 Muddle the Mixture

1 Murderous Cut

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Spell Crumple

1 Think Twice

1 Thought Scour[/d]

[d]

Sorceries

1 Crux of Fate

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Glimpse the Unthinkable

1 Mind Funeral

1 Ponder

1 Preordain

1 Telemin Performance

1 Tunnel Vision

Enchantments

1 Animate Dead

1 Dance of the Dead[/d]

[d]

Artifacts

1 Coalition Relic

1 Commander’s Sphere

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Dimir Keyrune

1 Gilded Lotus

1 Isochron Scepter

1 Keening Stone

1 Mind Stone

1 Oblivion Stone

1 Sensei’s Divining Top

1 Sol Ring

1 Talisman of Dominance

Planeswalkers

1 Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver

1 Jace Beleren

1 Jace, Memory Adept

1 Liliana Vess

[/d]

Prices

MTGO = 105.23 TIX

Paper = $519.34

This deck brings something different to the table. It tries to do what may seem impossible, to mill the opponent before they can kill you. To do that, we have a control deck that wants to keep the board clear of opposing threats and allow us to connect with our commander as often as possible. The deck has a larger focus on milling with our creatures than milling with our spells. This gives us the ability to effect the board-state while executing our overall game plan, something that I have noticed other mill strategies struggle with in the past.

The main way to win is milling our opponent out. The best way to do this is with our commander. He has a huge casting cost, which is why we have plenty of mana rocks, but will make quick work of your opponent’s library. In the process, he also makes himself rather large. After one successful attack, he becomes a 10/10. In conjuncture with [c]Minamo, School at Water’s Edge[/c], he becomes an unstoppable wall. Being able to give him pseudo vigilance is quite the force to be reckoned with, as he becomes almost unkillable inside creature combat.

To help support this strategy, we have the best creatures that we can get our hands on to help with our game plan. [c]Consuming Aberration[/c] is a must kill threat, as it becomes as large as any Eldrazi very early on. [c]Nemesis of Reason[/c] provides us with a huge blocker as well as [c]Glimpse the Unthinkable[/c] on a creature. [c]Oona, Queen of the Fae[/c] is a powerhouse, as she exiles cards from their library, and giving us chump blockers in the process. She can give us enough time to take over the game and finish them off.

In order to use milling to our advantage, we also have a small reanimation sub-theme. This allows us to capitalize on the opponent’s graveyard and gives us an alternative way to win. With cards like [c]Animate Dead[/c] and [c]Dance of the Dead[/c], we can bring back any large creature and use it to our advantage. In combination with [c]Muddle the Mixture[/c] we can also search up either one of these powerful enchantments whenever we want. [c]Geth, Lord of the Vault[/c] and [c]Havengul Lich[/c] also give us ways to bring back creatures from the dead and beat our opponent with them.

The biggest issue I’ve had so far with this deck is that it’s slow. It definitely takes time to get your shop set up, and some early game cantrips, removal spells, and mana rocks to accelerate your development will go a long way to help you stabilize and start getting to work on your opponent’s library.

In testing, there was many more spell-based milling then in this final list. Cards like [c]Increasing Confusion[/c], [c]Mind Grind[/c], and [c]Psychic Drain[/c] were in here. In theory, they were a way to quickly chew through my opponents library. In practice though, they rotted in my hand and I never had the chance to take the turn off to cast them.

I also originally had [c]Archive Trap[/c] in here, but that was the last cut I made due to its conditional trap ability, its inefficiency at its mana cost, and that we needed another slot for a reanimate spell. With that fact, the only dedicated mill spells that I kept in there are what many consider the absolute best. We are talking about [c]Mind Funeral[/c] and [c]Glimpse the Unthinkable[/c]. I kept them in here because of their cheap casting cost and their efficiency.

This deck, once it gets its shop set up, is a powerhouse. It will surprise your opponent with its ability to keep the board clear and overall power. It can attack from multiple angles and really keep your opponent on the back peddle once you get ahead. It may be slow, but what control deck isn’t? Destroying the minds of your opponents is hard work, but oh so satisfying.

Thank you for checking out this weeks Commander Corner. If you have any recommendations for commanders you want to see in a future article, let me know in the comments below. Next week, we try something new. See you soon, my friends

-Steven Gulsby

Commander Concepts: What’s In a Card?

sheoldred whispering one

Welcome to my first article of Commander Concepts!

My name is Samuel, but you gorgeous gents and gals can call me Sam. I am a Magic player who loves powerful cards, but I love something else even more: card interactions! I have one goal for this column. I want to share what I have learned about Commander with the community. But I would love to learn from you guys too so feel free to post your ideas in the comments below. Also, at the end of each article I am going to give the readers the option to choose the topic of my next article. With my introduction out of the way let’s dive in!

We all know the feeling. Sitting in an uncomfortable chair, hands pulling on your hair as you stare out across a table littered with cards. You have been glaring at these cards with such intensity that you have yet to notice your elbows are starting to ache as they rest upon the solid surface of the table. Your eyes are focused on a Commander deck and you want it to be perfect.

Whether you are looking at a deck you want to make some changes to or finally building your first deck after months of nagging from your friends, the scene changes little. For me it is quite common to have so many cards on the table while building a deck, or tuning one, that I can barely see the table. We have not even mentioned the cards you have thought about trading for or buying! The number of cards to think about can be completely overwhelming at times.

Whether the deck does not look right, play right, or just FEEL right the changes must happen anyway, and I want to help you make those changes.

My goal for today’s article is to help make some of you guys’ tough choices a little bit easier. To do this I want to go over three powerful concepts of card selection and combo crafting. One of these concepts was written about, and named, by Adam Styborski here.

He called it Harmonic Synergy. The other two concepts may have names, but I call them “one card combos” and “zero card combos.” First, let’s talk about what I mean by “combo.” I do not mean every one or zero card combo will instantly win you the game, but some will. What I do mean is that the cards play extremely well together and generally start netting you free card advantage with zero additional work, or very little.

slivers playing poker Not to be confused with Harmonic Slivergy, which is a different beast entirely.

Now that we have that cleared up let’s get an example of a one card combo and start looking at what makes it different from the “two card combos” and “three card combos” we have all heard about. One card combos involves two specific cards. Yes, you read that correctly, two different cards. How does that work? Well it is a one card combo so it only costs you one card from your hand. The second card does not come from your hand so the entire combo only costs you mana and one card. Where does the second card come from? Well in a game of Commander we have these things called … Commanders! They sit in their own game zone where we can cast them whenever we want. If they get put into the graveyard or exile from anywhere you can put them in the command zone instead, at a cost of more mana next time you cast them.

The command zone is like having an extra card in your hand, but it keeps coming back to your hand. It is like starting the game with eight cards in your hand. If during every game of Magic I played with a specific deck I was allowed to start with the same extra card in my hand, I would certainly build my deck around it.

That idea of exploiting consistency in a highly varied, singleton format by making a combo with your commander is exactly what this kind of card combo is trying to accomplish. A perfect example of this kind of one card combo is [c]Sheoldred, Whispering One[/c] and [c]Reaper from the Abyss[/c]. Combined you will normally get to kill about two creatures on each of your opponents’ turn. Sheoldred is always patiently waiting for you to cast her from the command zone so she can kill some creatures. Therefore, she does not cost you a card from your hand. [c]Reaper from the Abyss[/c] is the only card you need to draw, or tutor for, in order to set this combo up. This match made in Phyrexia almost instantly grants free value!

Examples of this kind of combo can be much more devastating than just killing a few creatures. [c]Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon[/c] goes with [c]Lashwrithe[/c] to kill people easily. [c]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/c] has [c]Zealous Conscripts[/c] to instantly win the game. [c]Progenitus[/c] has either [c]Finest Hour[/c] or [c]Rafiq of the Many[/c] to start killing people in one swing.

Not every instance of this kind of one card combo is an instant kill or works perfectly without any additional effort. [c]Teysa, Orzhov Scion[/c] plus [c]Darkest Hour[/c] sets you up to combine the concepts of “card plus commander” and “card plus average draw from my deck” (which we will talk about in a second.) The average [c]Teysa, Orzhov Scion[/c] deck generally has spare creatures or sacrifice outlets lying around to set you up to start exiling every creature your opponents have. If you are thinking that starts to feel like a three or four card combo, then you would be right. The important thing is not about what kind of combo we are discussing, but that you have now got that kind of synergy, or positive interaction, in your deck and in your mind to use when building future decks.

Next we will discuss Adam’s kind of “combo,” Harmonic Synergy. This is a combo between one card and the rest of your deck. Think of it as a card which has a lot of synergy with your average draw. This is usually the weakest kind of interaction in this article. Let’s look at an example.

sun titan 2

[c]Sun Titan[/c] gets to bring something back from your graveyard pretty often, but if you decided to build a commander deck which is almost exclusively made of instants and sorceries, [c]Sun Titan[/c] is going to be a rather boring 6/6. If your deck has cards like [c]Seal of Cleansing[/c] and [c]Soul Snare[/c] then the [c]Sun Titan[/c] will start to glow a little. Add a couple of cheap creatures into the deck, throw in an [c]Oblivion Ring[/c], drop in a [c]Mind Stone[/c], and plop down a [c]Tormod’s Crypt[/c] and suddenly that [c]Sun Titan[/c] starts to be a pretty brilliant card. You can quickly arrive at a point of critical mass where there are so many cards in your deck that are good by themselves and get better with [c]Sun Titan[/c] that the idea of not including the gold giant seems ludicrous. For a [c]Sun Titan[/c] to be very strong you need your deck to have this critical mass.

There are tons of cards that fall into the same vein as [c]Sun Titan[/c].

Some notable ones of each color are: [c]Birthing Pod[/c], [c]Mnemonic Wall[/c], [c]Deadeye Navigator[/c], [c]Craterhoof Behemoth[/c], [c]Mentor of the Meek[/c], [c]Twilight Drover[/c], [c]Phyrexian Delver[/c], [c]Past in Flames[/c], [c]Thousand-Year Elixir[/c], and [c]Voltaic Key[/c].

Some one card combos may actually just do nothing by themselves, like [c]Voltaic Key[/c], but if your deck is built to support it, then in an average game the card will do something.

These interactions are cool, but I am willing to bet that you want to hear about those “zero card combos” I talked about earlier.

Zero card combos range in function from acting like a wish effect, like [c]Cunning Wish[/c], to a true combo like Sheoldred plus Reaper. The idea of a zero card combo may sound ridiculous, but I believe you probably have seen one at the Magic table already.

For the combo to actually require zero cards we will need to exploit the idea that your commander is virtually always in your hand. You never need to find it or tutor for it so again, it does not cost a card in this math equation. Having your commander in play is not a combo though (unless your commander uses lands like [c]Kamahl, Fist of Krosa[/c].) Most people think a combo needs two cards but what if your commander searched your library for a card?

[c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] has more zero card combos than most. Simply activating his ability grants you access to cards like: [c]Nicol Bolas[/c] to control peoples’ hands, [c]Dragon Tyrant[/c] to kill people, and [c]Scourge of Kher Ridges[/c] for a free wrath.

Another of those “zero card combo” commanders is [c]Captain Sisay[/c]. She can just tap to get free cards, but that does not make it a combo. Search for [c]Karametra, God of Harvests[/c] and then each creature you cast grants extra value whether you got it from a random draw or tutored for it.

[c]Reki, History of Kamigawa[/c] also functions as a zero card combo when searched for with [c]Captain Sisay[/c]. These commanders have some awesome zero card combos, but no commander that I can think of has more than [c]Zur the Enchanter[/c]. We all know a lot about good old Zur so I do not feel the need to go over his immense arsenal of options.

One card combos for your commander can be tricky to spot. They have a variety of different forms and power levels but they are out there and they are everywhere. They have low deck building costs and immense upside. The simplest way to find them is to find the things that make your commander tick. The things that your commander does best are the things you want to support.

For a simplistic example let us take a look at [c]Borborygmos Enraged[/c]. If he is your commander then you want a way to get lands in your hand. One easy way is to play [c]Life from the Loam[/c]. Another such card for Big ol’ Bor-Bor is [c]Creeping Renaissance[/c]. Either way you have repeatable ways to get value out of your commander which is the whole point of this kind of one card combo.

Some one card combos are more obvious than others and some commanders are incredibly difficult to find a combo piece for. Some simply have zero one card combo pieces. Most have something, though, so if you are having a hard time figuring out a combo piece then feel free to post the name of your commander in the comments below. I will try my best to figure out some combo pieces.

Happy deck-building and happy tuning!

-Sam

P.S. As a sign off of sorts I want to give the readers some options about what kind of article I write next. Should I breakdown one of my decklists or should I talk about getting card advantage out of your opponents’ decklists?

Commander Corner: Mayael the Anima

Welcome back,

At a young age, [c]Mayael[/c] was chosen to become the next Anima, the leader of the Cylian Elves. As such, she had to participate in the Whitecover Gaze ritual. This ritual is meant to blind the Anima, but bestows them with powerful magical sight. With this, she is able to see the magic flowing throughout the world.

During her time as Anima, she experienced strange shaking from the footsteps of the gods. This startled her, so she decided to consult with the soul of the world, [c]Progenitus[/c]. She called upon the great spirit using the [c]Relic of Progenitus[/c]. He asked her about Cylia. He had been slumbering for quite some time and did not know about what was going on in the world above. During the ritual, a dark force interrupted the consultation. [c]Mayael[/c] mistook this dark force for the voice of [c]Progenitus[/c]. The dark force told [c]Mayael[/c] to prepare for war.

[c]Mayael[/c] followed the voices instructions and went to prepare her people for combat. [c]Ajani[/c] was with her during this ritual, and told her that the voice she was talking to was not the voice of [c]Progenitus[/c], but something else. He told her not to do as the voice said and instead to avoid any form of conflict. She ignored him, and continued to prepare for battle.

[c]Ajani[/c] was right though. The dark force that contacted [c]Mayael[/c] was not the voice of the hydra, but that of [c]Nicol Bolas[/c].

Bolas’s plan was to create full scale war across all of Alara. Like [c]Mayael[/c], he contacted each of the five shards and told them to prepare for war. This outbreak of conflict would trigger the obelisks of mana, awakening them and growing the Maelstrom. His goal was to absorb the Maelstrom’s power and take over the Multiverse.

In the end Bolas was stopped by [c]Ajani[/c], who summoned a copy of the elder dragon and took him down in combat.

[c]Mayael[/c] is one of the most popular commanders in the format. Her ability to call upon massive threats exemplifies what her shard is all about. She uses her powerful magic to summon huge behemoths from across Naya, crushing her foes. She is also is the commander I end up playing against the most, which is what my main commander deck, [c]Melek, Izzet Paragon[/c], is geared to go up against.

My best friend and I always go back and forth with these epic battles. Sometimes he just gets ahead and resolves a few creatures and runs me over, or I just take control of the game and lock him out. Mayael is simple, fun, easy to build, and a hell of a threat if she goes unchecked. She is a commander staple for a good reason. Let’s see what beasts we can call upon with [c]Mayael the Anima[/c].

tumblr_mmg0w0Fmlv1spwvymo1_1280

As the Anima, she uses powerful magic to see and leads the Cylian Elves of Naya

[d title= “Surge of the Anima (EDH)”]

Commander

1 Mayael the Anima

Lands

1 Arid Mesa

1 Battlefield Forge

1 Brushland

1 Clifftop Retreat

1 Command Tower

1 Evolving Wilds

8 Forest

1 Jungle Shrine

1 Karplusan Forest

1 Krosan Verge

1 Mosswort Bridge

4 Mountain

1 Myriad Landscape

4 Plains

1 Reflecting Pool

1 Sacred Foundry

1 Spinerock Knoll

1 Stomping Ground

1 Sunpetal Grove

1 Temple Garden

1 Terramorphic Expanse

1 Windswept Heath

1 Wooded Foothills [/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Admonition Angel

1 Akroma, Angel of Wrath

1 Angel of Serenity

1 Armada Wurm

1 Avacyn’s Pilgrim

1 Avacyn, Angel of Hope

1 Avenger of Zendikar

1 Balefire Dragon

1 Baneslayer Angel

1 Birds of Paradise

1 Blightsteel Colossus

1 Bloom Tender

1 Craterhoof Behemoth

1 Darksteel Colossus

1 Druid of the Anima

1 Farhaven Elf

1 Frontier Guide

1 Fyndhorn Elves

1 Godsire

1 Gruul Ragebeast

1 Hamletback Goliath

1 Hydra Omnivore

1 Inferno Titan

1 It that Betrays [/d]

[d]

Creatures Cont.

1 Magus of the Arena

1 Mana-Charged Dragon

1 Myojin of Life’s Web

1 Platinum Emperion

1 Rampaging Baloths

1 Sakura-Tribe Elder

1 Sigarda, Host of Herons

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Somberwald Sage

1 Soul of New Phyrexia

1 Soul of the Harvest

1 Soul of Theros

1 Steel Hellkite

1 Sylvan Caryatid

1 Terastodon

1 Vigor

1 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger

1 Woodfall Primus

1 Worldspine Wurm

1 Wurmcoil Engine

1 Xenagos, God of Revels

1 Yavimaya Elder

1 Zhur-Taa Ancient[/d]

[d]

Sorcery

1 Primal Surge

Artifacts

1 Akroma’s Memorial

1 Coalition Relic

1 Commander’s Sphere

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Gilded Lotus

1 Manalith

1 Obelisk of Naya

1 Quicksilver Amulet

1 Sol Ring

Planeswalkers

1 Ajani, Mentor of Heroes

1 Domri Rade

1 Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury

1 Garruk, Caller of Beasts

1 Garruk, Primal Hunter [/d]

BUY THIS LIST | Prices: Paper = $661 US | MTGO = 206 Tickets

It’s safe to say that this deck is ready to play. It’s all about the big creatures for us. If it doesn’t have a power of five or greater, or doesn’t net us mana or lands, then we aren’t playing it. We also aren’t playing any instant or sorceries besides [c]Primal Surge[/c] which is pretty much an auto win if you get to resolve it. Its gonna be hard for anybody to come back after you get an army of the best creatures these colors have to offer. With haste. Also with a bunch of other abilities thanks to [c]Akroma’s Memorial[/c].

This deck is pretty simple in its design. Just ramp and play Mayael in the early turns, then use her ability to get out big fatties. Simple as that. It’s a deck that any beginning player can pick up and play with ease. Just because it’s a simple deck doesn’t mean it’s not powerful, though.

The threats we are packing are some of the biggest and scariest creatures in these colors. Many of these threats do different things like help out the entire team with [c]Vigor[/c], or creating tokens like [c]Godsire[/c], or dealing with your opponents creatures like [c]Balefire Dragon[/c] and [c]Angel of Serenity[/c], or they can just smash face like [c]Hamletback Goliath[/c], [c]Hydra Omnivore[/c], and [c]Xenagos, God of Revels[/c].

These different threats allow you to attack at different angles, and all must be answered quickly, or else your opponent will get run over.

Besides just beating your opponent to death with your behemoths, you do have another way to win. [c]Primal Surge[/c] is such a beating for anybody that isn’t prepared for it. Yes, it is ten mana, but its text box pretty much says, “Win the Game”. You get to play every single card in your library and crush them immediately since they all have haste thanks to [c]Akroma’s Memorial[/c]. It allows you to come back from far behind and win the game on the spot just so long as you can get to its high mana cost. You always have a way out whenever the board gets cluttered with creatures that you can’t for some reason overpower, like if you’re running up against an opposing [c]Mayael the Anima[/c] deck.

The biggest problem I have had with this deck is its huge mana requirements. You need to draw a couple of mana creatures or mana rocks to really get going, and if you don’t, you’re going to be a little slow out of the gate. [c]Mayael[/c] is there to speed things up, but if you don’t have access to her for whatever reason, things get much harder for you. You tend to lean on your commander to get the party started in this deck, and without her, the party won’t get started until around turn six.

Thank you for checking out this week’s Commander Corner. Like always, if you have a suggestion for a commander you want to see featured in a future article, let me know in the comments below. Next week, we search for the guild that doesn’t exist. See you soon, my friends.

-Steven Gulsby