Commander Corner: Scion of the Ur-Dragon

Welcome back,

So what does it mean to be a dragon in the context of Magic? Should a dragon just smash and burn everything into the ground? Should they do their best to teach their wisdom to other beings? Should they try to dominate the multiverse? Or should they do anything at all? The concept of what a dragon is can be a little vague. Each legendary dragon in Magic tends to carve its own path, leave its own mark.

[c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] spends his time teaching his wisdom to his followers, while [c]Dragonlord Atarka[/c] tends to just smash and eat everything in sight. The battle between the sinister [c]Nicol Bolas[/c] and [c]Ugin, the Spirit Dragon[/c] has been raging over a long period of time. Each dragon follows its own path, yet they all contain the same blood. The blood of the Ur-Dragon.

The Ur-Dragon is not a creature though, it is a concept. It is the pinnacle, the paragon of what it means to be a dragon. This concept is what [c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] is. He is a manifestation of what it means to be a dragon. His blood courses through every dragons’ veins. He literally is every dragon in existence. The blood of the Ur-Dragon lives on in every dragon that has come and gone and every dragon that has yet come into being.

[c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] is an interesting and flavorful design. The concept of the Ur-Dragon is shown very well with his ability. He allows you to search your library for any dragon and put it into your graveyard, then he becomes that dragon for the turn. This allows us to find the right dragon for the job, an ability that is extremely powerful and can easily swing the game in your favor. Outside of our commander, our deck is stuffed to the brim with powerful dragons that can crush our opponent in a quick fashion. As long as our mana is set up properly, we can crush almost anybody. Lets take a look at what the blood of the Ur-Dragon can give us.

ct252_ur-dragon

The blood of the Ur-Dragon lives on…

[d title= “Scion of the Ur-Dragon (EDH)”]

Commander

1 Scion of the Ur-Dragon

Lands

1 Ancient Ziggurat

1 Azorius Guildgate

1 Blood Crypt

1 Bloodstained Mire

1 Boros Guildgate

1 Breeding Pool

1 Cavern of Souls

1 City of Brass

1 Command Tower

1 Crucible of the Spirit Dragon

1 Dimir Guildgate

1 Flooded Strand

1 Forbidden Orchard

1 Godless Shrine

1 Golgari Guildgate

1 Grand Coliseum

1 Gruul Guildgate

1 Hallowed Fountain

1 Haven of the Spirit Dragon [/d]

[d]

Lands Cont.

1 Izzet Guildgate

1 Mana Confluence

1 Maze’s End

1 Orzhov Guildgate

1 Overgrown Tomb

1 Polluted Delta

1 Rakdos Guildgate

1 Reflecting Pool

1 Rupture Spire

1 Sacred Foundry

1 Selesnya Guildgate

1 Simic Guildgate

1 Steam Vents

1 Stomping Ground

1 Temple Garden

1 Watery Grave

1 Windswept Heath

1 Wooded Foothills [/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Alloy Myr

1 Atarka, World Render

1 Balefire Dragon

1 Birds of Paradise

1 Bladewing the Risen

1 Broodmate Dragon

1 Courser of Kruphix

1 Dragonlord Atarka

1 Dragonlord Dromoka

1 Dragonlord Ojutai

1 Dragonlord Silumgar

1 Dragonlord’s Servant

1 Dragonspeaker Shaman

1 Dromoka, the Eternal

1 Gatecreeper Vine

1 Hellkite Overlord

1 Joiner Adept [/d]

[d]

Creatures Cont.

1 Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund

1 Keiga, the Tide Star

1 Kokusho, the Evening Star

1 Kolaghan, the Storm’s Fury

1 Lotus Cobra

1 Nicol Bolas

1 Ojutai, Soul of Winter

1 Oracle of Mul Daya

1 Ryusei, the Falling Star

1 Scourge of Valkas

1 Silumgar, the Drifting Death

1 Somberwald Sage

1 Steel Hellkite

1 Sylvan Caryatid

1 Thunderbreak Regent

1 Utvara Hellkite

1 Weathered Wayfarer

1 Yosei, the Morning Star

Instants

1 Dismember

1 Lightning Bolt

1 Murderous Cut

1 Path to Exile

1 Sarkhan’s Triumph

1 Swords to Plowshares

1 Wear // Tear

1 Worldly Tutor [/d]

[d]

Sorceries

1 Crux of Fate

1 Farseek

1 Mizzium Mortars

1 Patriarch’s Bidding

1 Reap and Sow

1 Spoils of Victory

1 Tempt with Discovery

1 Tooth and Nail

1 Unburial Rites

Enchantments

1 Crucible of Fire

Artifacts

1 Chromatic Lantern

1 Coalition Relic

1 Commander’s Sphere

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Golgari Signet

1 Gruul Signet

1 Manalith

1 Sol Ring

Planeswalkers

1 Sarkhan Unbroken [/d]

Cost: MTGO = 201.28 TIX | Paper = $584.98

Its hard to go wrong with this many dragons. After the first few turns, we can start pumping out threat after threat until our opponent has been crushed under our might. We also have a small amount of reanimation with [c]Unburial Rites[/c] and [c]Patriarch’s Bidding[/c] to fully take advantage of our commander, and also give us a fail safe just in case if the board is wiped clean.

To win, you just have to smash face. Its that simple. Stick a threat and turn it sideways. Doesn’t get much more simple than that. What makes this a little more challenging is finding the right dragon for the job. Many of our dragons do different things. For example, if we need to go wide, we have [c]Utvara Hellkite[/c] which creates tons of dragons for us. If we need to simply go big, we have [c]Hellkite Overlord[/c] or [c]Atarka, World Render[/c] to close the game out right away. We can gain some card advantage with [c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] or simply make our opponent discard their entire hand with [c]Nicol Bolas[/c]. Each dragon has a role to play and helps us attack our opponents from a different angle, all leading to our opponents demise.

[c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] helps tie everything together by being every dragon in the deck. Whatever the situation calls for, our commander will get the job done. If he is getting targeted by removal, we can turn him into [c]Dragonlord Ojutai[/c] to protect him if need be. The only thing that we can’t protect our creatures from is a board sweep. Even so, we have [c]Patriarch’s Bidding[/c] to turn things around after a [c]Wrath of God[/c]. Whatever we need, [c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] will become it. Unless if what we need isn’t a dragon. He can’t do that.

The same issues with any five color deck comes into play here, which is the mana base. We have heavy mana requirements so we need to prioritize our mana first and foremost. If we don’t have our mana base set up properly, we won’t be able to cast any of our sweet dragon spells. To help that, we have shocklands, fetchlands, guildgates, and five color lands to help us cast our spells. On top of that, we have mana fixers with signets, and mana rocks that can help fix our colors for us, as well as [c]Joiner Adept[/c] and [c]Chromatic Lantern[/c] to turn all of our lands into [c]Command Tower[/c]s essentially. If we can get our mana base working, it will be hard for our opponents to stop us.

This deck has been a ton of fun to test out over the past couple of weeks. It has been crushing opponents left and right, but not being an oppressive force. Its just a fun deck. If you like dragons, something tells me you already have a [c]Scion of the Ur-Dragon[/c] deck of your own. If your looking for a new tribal deck to take for a spin, I can easily recommend this one to you. It is a bit pricey if you want to buy the real cards instead of on MTGO.

Thank you for checking out this weeks Commander Corner. If you have any suggestions of what you want to see in a future article, please let me know in the comments below. Next week, we need a lot of dice. See you soon, my friends.

– Steven Gulsby

Commander Corner: Horde of Notions

Welcome Back,

On the plane of Lorwyn, how elementals are created is an interesting thing. The grander elements are actually ideas. They are manifested dreams and ideas that have taken the form of bizarre and often animalistic beings.

One of these manifestations is [c]Horde of Notions[/c]. This being is known to many as the eldest elemental. It has been around for many years, even older than the oldest treefolk and elf.  It contains the answers to many of Lorwyn’s deepest and darkest secrets. It is the embodiment of these truths that have been a part of the underbelly of Lorwyn since the beginning of time.

Its whereabouts are a mystery. No living mortal has been able to spot this bizarre creature in the wild. Its power over nature, though, goes without question. Let’s take a dive into this manifestation of all that Lorwyn was, is, and ever will be.

Horde_of_Notions

This unique creature reminds me of a whale, a bear, and a tree merged together into some unique otherworldly being.

[d title= “The Leader of the Elements (EDH)”]

Commander

1 Horde of Notions

Land

1 Azorius Guildgate

1 Blood Crypt

1 Bloodstained Mire

1 Boros Guildgate

1 Breeding Pool

1 Cavern of Souls

1 City of Brass

1 Command Tower

1 Dimir Guildgate

1 Flooded Strand

1 Forest

1 Godless Shrine

1 Golgari Guildgate

1 Gruul Guildgate

1 Hallowed Fountain

1 Island[/d]

[d]

Lands Cont.

1 Izzet Guildgate

1 Mana Confluence

1 Maze’s End

1 Mountain

1 Orzhov Guildgate

1 Overgrown Tomb

1 Plains

1 Polluted Delta

1 Primal Beyond

1 Rakdos Guildgate

1 Reflecting Pool

1 Sacred Foundry

1 Selesnya Guildgate

1 Simic Guildgate

1 Steam Vents

1 Stomping Ground

1 Swamp

1 Temple Garden

1 Watery Grave

1 Windswept Heath

1 Wooded Foothills[/d]

[d]

Creatures

1 Animar, Soul of Elements

1 Ashling, the Extinguisher

1 Birds of Paradise

1 Brighthearth Banneret

1 Composite Golem

1 Flamekin Harbinger

1 Forgotten Ancient

1 Fusion Elemental

1 Incandescent Soulstoke

1 Ingot Chewer

1 Inner-Flame Igniter

1 Liege of the Tangle

1 Maelstrom Wanderer

1 Mulldrifter

1 Nevermaker[/d]

[d]

Creatures Cont.

1 Nova Chaser

1 Shriekmaw

1 Skullbriar, the Walking Grave

1 Slithermuse

1 Smokebraider

1 Soul of the Harvest

1 Spitebellows

1 Spitemare

1 Supreme Exemplar

1 Thicket Elemental

1 Thornling

1 Vigor

1 Voice of Resurgence

1 Whisperwood Elemental

1 Wispmare[/d]

[d]

Instants

1 Dismember

1 Eladamri’s Call

1 Enlightened Tutor

1 Hero’s Downfall

1 Lightning Bolt

1 Path to Exile

1 Swords to Plowshares

Sorceries

1 Conflux

1 Cultivate

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Kodama’s Reach

1 Shard Convergence

1 Sylvan Scrying

1 Titanic Ultimatum[/d]

[d]

Enchantments

1 Genju of the Realm

1 Heartbeat of Spring

1 Maelstrom Nexus

1 Mana Flare

1 Mana Reflection

1 Mirari’s Wake

1 Oblivion Ring

1 Prismatic Omen

Artifacts

1 Chromatic Lantern

1 Commander’s Sphere

1 Darksteel Ingot

1 Door of Destinies

1 Fist of Suns

1 Gilded Lotus

1 Obelisk of Urd

1 Oblivion Stone

1 Quicksilver Amulet

1 Sol Ring

[/d]

Just like its commander, this deck is a little weird. It sort of lends itself to a toolbox strategy with a heavy tribal theme. Many elementals do different things, and the only thing they share in common is that they can attack decently and have the same creature type in common. So to leverage this, we make a simple yet effective toolbox.

You do have ways to deal with a multitude of different permanents while having recursion of your tools via [c]Horde of Notions[/c]. He creates a fun and interesting style of tribal deck that’s not just focused on smashing your opponent as quick as possible. It also doesn’t fall into the same trappings that normal tribal decks do. It can actually survive mass removal, which is key when going into the later stages of the game.

This deck pretty much does it all. It has bits of card advantage with [c]Slithermuse[/c] and [c]Mulldrifter[/c], ways of dealing with non-creature permanents via [c]Ingot Chewer[/c] and [c]Wispmare[/c], and ways of smashing your opponents face with [c]Liege of the Tangle[/c] and [c]Maelstrom Wanderer[/c]. Each card has some specific use that you can tutor up with this decks various tutoring effects. These tutors go a long way to keep the deck together and make sure you have what you need at the right time.

There are two ways to win with the deck. One is by beating your opponent down with all of your powerful threats. The other is by using [c]Maze’s End[/c].

[c]Maze’s End[/c] wasn’t originally intended to be in here as a win condition, but as a mana fixer. During testing though, this card did come up a handful of games. More often than not you’re going to be winning through combat damage, but sometimes the board just gets clogged up and it’s nice to still have a viable way to win over the course of the game. It’s more of an incidental win condition, but it’s still a win condition all the same. The importance of [c]Maze’s End[/c] does highlight one of the decks major shortcomings, which is its mana base.

As with any five color deck, the mana base is generally not the best. As I was tweaking it, I found that this is the most ideal mana base I could come up with without spending a ridiculous amount of money. You have enough fetchlands to be able to search for what you need and, as I said before, [c]Maze’s End[/c] will definitely help you fix your mana. There are a handful of five-color lands in here as well which will help smooth things out for you. You really have to put in a lot of effort to make these mana bases work, and even then they still might not cooperate.

There are some games that you simply won’t get the right color you need at the time and just lose the game. It’s the risk you have to take whenever you play with a deck with five colors. If you can make it sing though, you will have a hard time losing.

Once you can establish your mana base, you can pretty much handle whatever comes your way. This deck has the tools it needs to survive almost any situation. What leads to this resiliency is its commander. [c]Horde of Notions[/c] makes this deck shine. Having the ability to reanimate your threats and answers is wonderful, as you basically get to do what not may tribal decks get to do, survive into the late game. With Horde in play, you will be able to beat your opponent down after they cast their wrath effects.

It puts you into an interesting position. Sometimes you almost want them to wrath the board, which is why I included [c]Oblivion Stone[/c] in the list as a way to break stalemates. You get to wrath the board and then easily bring back your threats and crush your opponents.

This deck can be tons of fun for people who are looking for a different style of tribal. Its toolbox nature helps it last into the late game by providing flexibility, which not many other tribal decks have. This is not a linear strategy. It’s about answering your opponents’ threats and surviving.

Once you establish yourself, it’s time for the beat down. Or you can just clog up the board and win with [c]Maze’s End[/c]. It never ceases to put a smile on my face when I win with that card.

Thank you for checking out this week’s Commander Corner. If you have any suggestions for commanders that you want featured in a future article, please let me know in the comments below. Next week, I work with one of my enemies.

See you soon, my friends.

-Steven Gulsby

Legacy on Mondays: Cascade Aggro

Welcome Back!

This week I wanted to share a list with you that is in an early stage of development. I hinted at it last week when I mentioned an aggressive cascade deck, one that was even more aggressive than my Shardless BUG list, and it has changed substantially since. I have decided to morph my initally creature-laden list into a five-color build, and I have only played two testing games.

This article is about getting your opinion and maybe making this into something killer. The deck is primarily {B}{U}{G}, with a nice splash of {W} and {R} for just a couple of cards.

[d title=”Five Color CascAggro by Peyton”]
Creatures
4 Baleful Strix
4 True-Name Nemesis
4 Shardless Agent
4 Tarmogoyf
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Deathrite Shaman
4 Bloodbraid Elf
Spells
4 Ancestral Vision
4 Abrupt Decay
1 Domri Rade
1 Sylvan Library
Lands
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Polluted Delta
2 Misty Rainforest
3 Tropical Island
2 Bayou
3 Underground Sea
1 Taiga
1 Savannah
1 Volcanic Island
1 Scrubland
1 Badlands
Sideboard
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Sower of Temptation
2 Thoughtseize
2 Engineered Plague
1 Gilded Drake
2 Mana Maze
2 Qasali Pridemage
1 Ancient Ziggurat
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Meddling Mage [/d]

The big question is: Why play a five color deck based around one mechanic? It is quite simple: cascade creatures are not only decent-bodied themselves, but they also provide a ton of value in potentially cascading into other relevant threats.

The aspect of having five colors gives us lots of diverse creatures that tap into different aspects of what makes a creature “relevant” in any given matchup. An example of this would be the white splash for [c]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/c] main deck (and a couple of cards in the ‘board) to hose against combo, burn, and the like.

The red splash facilitates the presence of one big lady: Madame [c]Bloodbraid Elf[/c] is what makes this a cascade deck instead of a goodstuff-y creature deck. She and Señor [c]Shardless Agent[/c] make the deck tick. A hasty 3/2 with the potential to cascade into every other maindeck card, including the other cascader, is very potent in a format devoid of [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c]. People are playing Lily less and less, as the metagame shies towards Blue-Red Delver where the edict is not that great.

Otherwise, Red lets us play a fun-of [c]Domri Rade[/c] as a cascade possibility that, with a whopping twenty-eight creatures in the main deck, can draw into more answers and serve as impromptu removal when necessary. Speaking of removal, four main deck [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] provide the bulk of removal for this list. I will stand firm in my belief that, despite their dying popularity, they are a solid answer to many common speed bumps one may face piloting a creature deck. These, along with the [c]Ancestral Vision[/c]s and a cool [c]Sylvan Library[/c], make up the rest of the non-creature, non-land cards in the deck.

As far as lands are concerned, I am not sold on my choices. Rather than running a ton of multi-lands like [c]City of Brass[/c] or [c]Ancient Ziggurat[/c], I like using fetches and duals. This lets [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c] act as more mana fixing, and is not too awful since there are only two splash colors. In my two testing games, I never felt I was color screwed, despite playing all five colors.

My main issue is how I fit my splash colors into my fetches and duals. I would like to fit in a [c]Tundra[/c], but I am not sure what to take out. Probably the [c]Scrubland[/c], but then I have less black. I might also like to run an extra fetch or two. In the board I do have a Ziggurat. This is for my extra dudes that have extra colors, and when I bring in [c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c] against control. I am not sure of this either. All of these minor details will be ironed out through more testing, and just deciding what feels best with the list.

The sideboard is incredibly iffy. It is a slightly modified port of my sideboard from Shardless BUG Aggro, and I am not sure that it fits with the theme at all. While I do like hedging my bets and having answers to the unfair stuff, maybe I want more against decks like Burn. Once again, I must play more than two testing games to determine how I want my board to look.

I have been speaking of these testing games for several paragraphs now, and it’s about time to explain what happened. I lost to U/G Infect 0-2 and beat Post MUD 2-0. In both games against Infect, my opponent was dead on the next turn before they killed me. Both games were so close, and Infect is so rare that I do not believe it is worth it to play more Infect hate. I basically brought in [c]Meddling Mage[/c] and [c]Engineered Plague[/c] and hoped I could prevent his creatures from sticking around too long. [c]Meddling Mage[/c] came down on turn two game two, naming [c]Blighted Agent[/c] and shutting him off of that. Turn three I was able to play [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] and DRS, and the beats commenced with only his [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] in play. Eventually, he was able to [c]Crop Rotation[/c] into [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c], which I could not [c]Abrupt Decay[/c], and [c]Berserk[/c] me to death. Still, he was at only three life and dead on board next turn, so I was fairly happy.

My next opponent was playing Cloudpost MUD. I love MUD; I think it is a wonderful deck, but here it did not stack up so well. In both games, I was able to effectively overrun him with my creature barrage, with a little help game two from [c]Qasali Pridemage[/c], who took care of an untimely [c]Metalworker[/c] before it comboed with a [c]Staff of Domination[/c]. In both games, there were moments when I felt that I was falling behind a bit, like when he cast his [c]Batterskull[/c] game one, or his [c]Lodestone Golem[/c] game two. These both messed with my plan a bit, but both times I was able to draw into a cascader and get back in the game immediately. The sheer board presence generated was too much in both games, and I walked away with a victory.

What’s Next?

You can help me. I will hopefully continue working on this awesome brew, and maybe if I get some suggestions, I can do an article with an update of its performance and list. Some thoughts of mine:

– Jitte in sideboard? (Almost certainly)

– Cut white out entirely? It gives me some excellent sideboard options, but are the four maindeck Legendary creatures worth it for the headache of the fifth color?

– Removal that can deal with big stuff, i.e. [c]Maelstrom Pulse[/c], [c]Vindicate[/c], maybe even [c]Utter End[/c]?

– One less land main? My curve is pretty low as only four maindeck cards cost four mana, plus [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c].

Any suggestions you may have, please post them in a comment below. Thanks for reading, and hope to see you next week!

/Peyton