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  • posted a message on Token Justice II - Rhys' Token Toolbox
    Quote from Ragnaroced »
    Thanks for this man, I was looking for a good Rhys the Redeemed EDH decklist and saw your post on Donalds original Token Justice primer. I reckon you've got some very interesting options and opinions to try out.

    Thanks! I appreciate it! Feel free to use this primer for discussion; I'm always up for discussing the deck.

    Have you got a deck of your own?
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Token Justice II - Rhys' Token Toolbox
    The big 13/08/2019 update!
    Deck Updates

    Added:
    Removed:
    This change was made for a few reasons. With Idol in, it gives us another source of cards, and sits at the perfect mana cost to go between Rhys the Redeemed and a token. It also brings the average converted mana cost of the deck down by a fraction as well. Elspeth will be missed, but she was a vital toolbox card that can't be tutored, and just didn't show up when I needed her.

    Primer Updates

    • Rewrote over 80% of the primer's content.
    • Reformatted the primer to align with the requirements for primer status.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Token Justice II - Rhys' Token Toolbox
    Commander 2019
    Now that Commander 2019 is fully spoiled, here's some of my favourite picks from the decks. Imagine my surprise when I found out one of them was populate themed! Let's see how well some of the cards stack up for this deck.

    Cliffside Rescuer
    It's Reveillarkable, and protects any permanent from anything your opponents can throw at it for a turn. Being a tap ability hurts it a fair bit though, so unlike Selfless Spirit you can't flash it in with Chord of Calling.
    Grade: C

    Commander's Insignia
    If you're going to play any anthem in this deck, it would have to be this one. Rhys the Redeemed costs a single mana, meaning you could get this to +3/+3 very easily.
    Grade: B

    Idol of Oblivion
    This seemingly innocuous artifact has a lot going for it. Two mana to cast means that it fits perfectly between casting Rhys the Redeemed and creating a token. Secondly, it's card draw we sorely need. It may be clunky if you cast it when you're behind without a way to make tokens, but if you draw at least two cards off it, you're well ahead.
    Grade: A

    Ohran Frostfang
    It's green. It's Costal Piracy. It disincentives blocking. It can be targeted by Reveillark. Not much more needs to be said. This is a slam dunk, and usually an effect that green doesn't get access to.
    Grade: A

    Scaretiller
    For a common, this looks very good. It can ramp, it can recur utility lands, and can even be tapped down by Convoke spells or Earthcraft. I do however feel like 4 mana is a bit excessive, especially since we could just be playing Solemn Simulacrum, which has a far more immediate effect.
    Grade: D

    Selesnya Eulogist
    This Centaur was so close to being an auto-include. I don't need to explain why this card is good already, but what lets it down is the expensive activation cost, and the fact that 3 power excludes it from a few key abilities in the deck. Scavenging Ooze's slot is safe... for now.
    Grade: B

    On the token front, Commander 2019 had some amazing tools. Idol of Oblivion and Orhan Frostfang are two cards with unique abilities I'm very excited to play. Most of the cards however, like Full Flowering and Song of the Worldsoul, were obviously designed with larger tokens in mind, which which they are far more efficient. To be fair though, I'm always happy when a new set has at least one or two cards that I can get excited about, and Commander 2019 definitely does. Bring on Throne of Eldraine!
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] Rhys the Redeemed - Token Justice
    Hey folks, I didn't ever hear from Donald in regards to this primer, so I've gone ahead and created a new thread in honour of this one, here;

    https://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the-game/commander-edh/multiplayer-commander-decklists/812212-token-justice-ii-rhys-token-toolbox

    Go check it out, and feel free to discuss the deck!
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Token Justice II - Rhys' Token Toolbox
    Core Set 2020
    Another core set has been revealed, and to be honest, it wasn't particularly great for this deck. There's only a few cards worth talking about for this deck out of the whole set, and they're very much erring on the side of mediocrity. But let's discuss them, and who knows? You may come across exactly what your deck was looking for.

    Apostle of Purifying Light
    This is a good, cheap card for hating graveyards, but it has a few problems. Firstly, it's ability costs 2 verses Scavenging Oozes' G, a card that it is directly competing with. Secondly, it's white, meaning it's missed by Green Sun's Zenith and Natural Order. It doesn't replace the ooze by any means, but it's a decent addition if you need to clean up graveyards often in your meta.
    Grade: D

    Hanged Executioner
    They finally fixed Mangara of Corondor!. I think this card is just fine. It works in the Reveillark combo to make infinite spirits, and is permanent removal in a pinch. It won't break the deck, but is a flavourful (and tutorable) alternative to Swords to Plowshares if you're that way inclined.
    Grade: C

    Elvish Reclaimer
    Let me get straight to the point; this card is not Knight of the Reliquary in the slightest. It doesn't grow as big, and the lands it finds enter the battlefield tapped, which is bad news if you intended to use that Gaea's Cradle to win the game this turn. But it does have a few positives. It's less restrictive on mana, lets you sacrifice ANY land to fuel it (think Flagstones of Trokair), and it's an elf, which has a very good tribal pedigree. All that said, it's still very good, and it as close as we'll get to Knight #2 any time soon,
    Grade: B-

    Cavalier of Dawn / Cavalier of Thorns
    When I heard Cavalier of Flame was part of a bigger cycle, I couldn't be happier. I've missed Primeval Titan ever since he got the ban hammer, and seeing a Titan-esque cycle get printed got me excited. What we ended up getting though is... very hard to evaluate. Both Cavalier of Dawn and Cavalier of Thorns have abilities this deck wants, but they're not particularly impactful in a game of commander.

    Let's start with Cavalier of Dawn. This card enters the battlefield and you get Generous Gift with a nonland clause added on. It dies, and you get Argivian Find. They're not particularly horrible abilities in the slightest since you're getting three spells from one, but they're just not as impactful as you want them to be. This is true of Cavalier of Thorns as well, where you get quasi-Elvish Rejuvenator without the tapped clause, but Reclaim with a self-exile clause respectively. I just don't think they do enough for commander in general, let alone this deck.

    Grade: C+

    As I said before, I'm not exceptionally hyped about this set for it's impact on this deck in particular, but I hope it gave you some food for thought. Let me know what you think below!
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Token Justice II - Rhys' Token Toolbox


    Token Justice II - Rhys' Token Toolbox
    ,,


    Table of Contents


    Introduction
    The story of this commander deck goes all the way back to 2004. Long before Commander was even a thought, I used to play casual Magic at my primary school. Darksteel had just been released, and I'd contructed a white/green tokens deck based heavily on the Darksteel Theme deck, Swarm & Slam. It wasn't powerful by any means, but it is where my love for tokens began.

    Fast forward to 2011, I'd just started studying at university, and hadn't played Magic in over 5 years. I began playing kitchen table magic again with a superbly awful Sunburst deck. It was around this period that the friends I played with were being drawn into Commander. I borrowed a deck, and jumped into a game.

    I hated it. "What a stupid, random, top-heavy format."

    My commander, Mayael the Anima, just couldn't catch a break. Combine that with the rest of the deck being expensive fatties, and it didn't lend itself to a fun experience. I decided against Commander and settled into to playing Standard at FNMs, but I missed the social interaction that kitchentable magic offered, and so begrudingly decided to buy into commander in the hope it would scratch my itch for fun.

    A good friend of mine who used to play Grimgrin, Corpse-Born suggested I play Rhys the Redeemed, who at the time was the only real G/W tokens Commander. I built the deck, and would play games of 1v1 against this friend using LackeyCCG (easily the worst free MtG simulator out there), and decided to take the plunge into building my first Commander deck.

    Within a month, I was feeling disheartened. Rhys could go from 0-100 really quickly, but lacked ways to immediately win, and was always at the mercy of one of the other three players having a board wipe in waiting. I considered adding black for sacrifice, reach, and recursion, with Ghave, Guru of Spores, and giving up on tokens being remotely viable.

    Then I found Donald's Primer on this very forum, and it changed the way I thought about Rhys completely.

    Fast forward to the present, and Rhys has been a staple in my Commander arsenal since I've been playing Commander. The deck is adaptable, is always recieving new cards with new sets, and is just downright fun to play.

    Like Donald's list before mine, while this is a token deck, you'll notice that it actually contains very little cards that make tokens, and all the cards that make tokens are stapled onto permanents, rather than sorceries and instants. A big part of what makes all-in token decks so fragile is that it only takes one board wipe to get through your defenses and you're back to square one. By keeping our tokens on permanents, we can survive boardwipes as unlike non-permanents, green and white have no trouble getting creatures and enchantments back from the graveyard.

    The lesser density of tokens mean we have a lot more slots to devote to other effects we want in the deck, such as tutors, card draw, ramp, and just generally good cards that don't necessarily synergize with tokens. This gives us a very powerful core of toolbox creatures to counter any enemy threat until we can assemble a combo or winning board state.


    Why Rhys?
    As far as Commanders go, Rhys has a lot of unique benefits compared to other Commanders in his colours, so let's dive into what makes him a great fit for this kind of deck.

    The Pros

    • Our deck is in GW, which gives us access to great removal for just about any permanent, and also has some of the best hate for certain kinds of decks, such as Scavenging Ooze and Grand Abolisher. Not only this, but G gives us the best creature tutors to go and find these cards as well.
    • At a single (G/W), we can reliably cast Rhys the Redeemed multiple times over the course of the game, meaning that we don't have to worry about sinking way too much mana into him late in the game if we really need his abilities.
    • His first ability is great in the early game, and his second ability is absolutely bonkers in the late game. This is relevant for the sole fact that it keep Rhys himself relevant at all stages of the game.
    • He creates tokens without diminishing cards in your hand. Since card advantage in GW is clumpy and inconsistent, any advantage we can get on cards between draws is advantage we'll take.
    • Being an elf and making elves means we can get a lot of milage out of cards like Elvish Archdruid and Priest of Titania.
    The Cons

    • Rhys the Redeemed is only a 1/1 and only makes 1/1s, making him and his crew incredibly squishy, and prone to cards like Engineered Plague and Thrashing Wumpus.
    • In GW, with the amount of creature tutoring and permanent recursion, we're always inclined to play out utility effects on creatures. This, unfortunately, makes us weak to effects like Humility and Torpor Orb.
    • Building an army of tokens takes a long time and takes a huge amount of mana. Stax effects like Winter Orb will slow us down and impede our strategy considerably.
    • We're not quick, and as far as high-power decks go, we tend to play a very fair game though the early to mid game. Token decks have a long wind up before we can even start to consider winning, and dedicated combo decks can prey on this to win before we can do anything.
    Alternative Commanders

    In GW
    Gaddock Teeg

    If you like toolbox answers, and would prefer your commander go all out with disruption and tax, then Gaddock is your man. The main reason you'll want to play Gaddock is that he's a hatebear stops your opponents casting their huge X spells or Expropriate, that you have readily available in your command zone. Pack the deck with tutors, and you'll have any answer to any situation.


    Karametra, God of Harvests

    In GW, it's surprisingly difficult to find a dedicated enchantress commander, without adding in another colour. If you want to focus on enchantments, or even just good stuff, Karametra has you covered. Due to the very general abilites she has, she has a multiude of build paths, making her considerably more flexible than Rhys, but still requiring a solid core of creatures to get the most out of her.


    Trostani, Selesnya's Voice

    If you're playing GW tokens in commander, you'll either be playing Rhys or Trostani, but that's where the similarities end. Thanks to populate, Trostani prefers going tall with tokens, rather than Rhys, who prefers to go wide. In addition, the bonus lifegain synergises well with cards that care about it, giving the deck a whole subtheme that Rhys lacks.

    Other colours
    Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

    A token deck completely lacking in G OR W is blasphemy to me, since you lose out on a lot of obviously powerful cards. In saying that however, Brudilad brings a very unique way to play tokens to the table, typically relying on creating token copies of other creatures to get the most value out of him. Since he is in UR, you'll have no trouble supporting an artifact subtheme either.


    Ghired, Conclave Exile

    Taking a page out of Trostani's playbook, Ghired is a token commander that prefers going tall with large tokens, but trades the lifegain that Trostani provides with a requirement for getting into the red zone and an extra colour. By adding R to the mix, we may not get a whole lot more token makers, but we do get plenty of ways to use and abuse the tokens.


    Slimefoot, the Stowaway

    As far as token commanders go, Slimefoot may be the closest analogue to Rhys, sans the colours or mana cost. The inclusion of G means that unlike Brudiclad, we still get some very good token supporting cards and furthers the Saproling synergy. B on the other hand gives us amazing removal, and plenty of ways to feed Slimefoots second ability. If you like to sacrifice tokens for value, Slimefoot makes a very good option.



    Current Decklist
    The following decklist is the culmination of over six years of deckbuilding, but it is hardly the finished product. As new sets are released, they bring new cards, and even breathe new life into old cards. Whenever this deck gets updated, it will be updated here and any modifications will be shown in the Changelog.

    Average CMC: 3.05

    Token Justice IIMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards
    Commander
    1 Rhys the Redeemed

    Creature
    1 Academy Rector
    1 Twilight Drover
    1 Mirror Entity
    1 Priest of Titania
    1 Stoneforge Mystic
    1 Selfless Spirit
    1 Knight of the Reliquary
    1 Scavenging Ooze
    1 Qasali Pridemage
    1 Grand Abolisher
    1 Bane of Progress
    1 Karmic Guide
    1 Elvish Archdruid
    1 Seedborn Muse
    1 Mentor of the Meek
    1 Knight of Autumn
    1 Eternal Witness
    1 Fauna Shaman
    1 Biogenic Ooze
    1 Tireless Tracker
    1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
    1 Reveillark
    1 Craterhoof Behemoth
    1 Avenger of Zendikar
    1 Regal Force
    1 Sun Titan

    Enchantment
    1 Earthcraft
    1 Martyr's Cause
    1 Sterling Grove
    1 Privileged Position
    1 Aura Shards
    1 Parallel Lives
    1 Sacred Mesa
    1 Karmic Justice
    1 Cryptolith Rite
    1 Anointed Procession
    1 Parallax Wave
    1 Survival of the Fittest
    1 Mirari's Wake
    1 Sylvan Library
    1 Concordant Crossroads
    1 Luminarch Ascension
    1 Doubling Season
    1 Land Tax
    1 Smothering Tithe

    Land
    1 Gaea's Cradle
    1 Canopy Vista
    1 Flooded Strand
    1 Wooded Foothills
    1 Windswept Heath
    1 Kor Haven
    1 Marsh Flats
    1 Arid Mesa
    1 Verdant Catacombs
    1 Misty Rainforest
    1 Horizon Canopy
    1 Yavimaya Hollow
    1 Command Tower
    1 High Market
    1 Mosswort Bridge
    1 Kjeldoran Outpost
    1 Savannah
    1 Strip Mine
    1 Windbrisk Heights
    1 Krosan Verge
    1 Bountiful Promenade
    1 Temple Garden
    1 Stirring Wildwood
    1 flagstones of Trokair
    3 Plains
    4 Forest
    1 Prismatic Vista
    1 Hall of Heliod's Generosity
    1 Dryad Arbor

    Artifact
    1 Mox Diamond
    1 Sensei's Divining Top
    1 Oblivion Stone
    1 Skullclamp
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Mana Crypt
    1 Idol of Oblivion

    Instant
    1 Tithe
    1 Worldly Tutor
    1 Chord of Calling
    1 Enlightened Tutor
    1 Crop Rotation
    1 Eladamri's Call

    Sorcery
    1 Idyllic Tutor
    1 Tooth and Nail
    1 Natural Order
    1 Green Sun's Zenith
    1 Three Visits
    1 Nature's Lore
    1 Finale of Devastation



    Alternate Builds
    Rhys the Redeemed, like most commanders, can be played in more ways than just the one I've presented above. If you wanted to put your own spin on the decklist above, check out the following ideas below!

    All-in Tokens
    As you should know by now, having read the Introduction and seen the Current Decklist, tokens take a backseat in this deck in favour of utility cards. While this isn't the most intuitive way to play a commander like Rhys, all-in tokens certainly is. In GW, there are plenty of cards that create tokens that have been left out of my decklist, and if you really want to flood a table near you with bits of cardboard and dice, there's plenty of tools to do so!


    Elf Tribal
    As discussed prior in the Why Rhys section, you'll find his type line contains "Elf", as do the tokens he creates as well, making him a prime contender to lead an Elf Tribal/Elfball deck, as we'll discuss here. Since we're in G, we have access to all of the Elf Tribal staples, but W gives us a few utility effects, like Annointed Procession to double any elf tokens we make, or Selfless Spirit/Teferi's Protection to protect them. The lack of Elves in W will tend to skew the deck towards G though, so keep this in mind when building the deck.



    Card Choice Discussion
    Here, I'll be breaking down card choices for this deck, and why they're included. Cards in BOLD are the ones currently in the decklist, whereas unbolded cards are not, but are worth discussing regardless.

    Lands
    Gaea's Cradle - Generates a lot of mana, and very useful for when we get to playing our win conditions.

    Hall of Heliod's Generosity - Recurs our best enchantments, as they're central to our game plan.

    High Market - Saves a creature from being exiled, which is handy to have in a toolbox deck.

    Kjeldoran Outpost - The best token generator on a land, and comparable to Rhys in cost.

    Kor Haven - Very handy against quick voltron decks, and unlike Maze of Ith, taps for mana.

    Mosswort Bridge - Very easy way to cheat on mana costs for some of the more expensive cards in the deck.

    Stirring Wildwood - Provides us with a way to deal with small fliers, even if it is a land that enters tapped.

    Strip Mine - Useful for removing opposing utility lands, such as Academy Ruins or Cabal Coffers.

    Windbrisk Heights - Another way to cheat on mana costs, with an easy to meet requirement.

    Yavimaya Hollow - Provides protection to a key creature.

    Creatures
    Academy Rector - Finds whatever enchantment we need without caring for mana, and acts as a rattlesnake while she's on the board.

    Avenger of Zendikar - The best one-shot token generator which turn an empty board into a lethal force.

    Bane of Progress - Cleans the board of all artifacts and enchantments, and gets a good beater in return.

    Biogenic Ooze - A token generator that makes sizable tokens, and continues to pump them as long as it remains on the field.

    Craterhoof Behemoth - With a decent amount of tokens or creatures, this card splendidly wins the game.

    Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite - Puts your opponent's creatures in a 4-point power and toughness deficit, making combat difficult, if not outright killing opposing creatures.

    Elvish Archdruid - Quick mana in the early game, and synergises well with the elf tokens Rhys creates.

    Eternal Witness - Flexible catch-all recursion for anything we need.

    Fauna Shaman - Find any creature at any time and gives us good recusrion targets in the graveyard.

    Grand Abolisher - Switches off instant speed interaction of any kind and, most importantly; countermagic.

    Karmic Guide - The best effect to get any creature out of the graveyard, which can be recurred itself.

    Knight of Autumn - A flexible piece of artifact and enchantment removal which can also gain a bit of life if required.

    Knight of the Reliquary - Tutors up any land you need, and becomes a large beater in a pinch.

    Mentor of the Meek - Given all our tokens and most of our creatures are 2 power or less, this card will draw you a lot of cards.

    Mirror Entity - Another win condition in the vein of Craterhoof Behemoth, but also synergises well with Biogenic Ooze and Priest of Titania.

    Priest of Titania - Elvish Archdruid, but without the anthem and at one mana less.

    Qasali Pridemage - More single target artifact enchantment removal, that buffs attackers and can be popped at instant speed.

    Regal Force - Big bad draw card that on the right board can easily fill your hand. Don't deck yourself.

    Reveillark - Recurs most of the creature in this deck, and is readily abusable as it's a creature itself.

    Scavenging Ooze - Very efficient graveyard hate with the potential to become a large threat.

    Seedborn Muse - Multiple untaps pair well with all our permanents that produce tokens for a cost.

    Selfless Spirit - Simple, tutorable protection for your board of important creatures.

    Stoneforge Mystic - Finds any equipment you need in the deck. Currently, it's only target is Skullclamp

    Sun Titan - Threatening attacker, and recursion for cheaper cards all in one.

    Tireless Tracker - Not particularly on theme, but is powerful card draw and another decent attacker.

    Twilight Drover - A very efficient token maker, but it does have a hoop or two to jump through to work.

    Artifacts
    Idol of Oblivion - More much needed card draw, and sits in the very important two-drop slot.

    Mana Crypt - Very fast ramp, can easily get Rhys immediately making tokens on turn two.

    Mox Diamond - Much the same as Mana Crypt, but produces coloured mana.

    Oblivion Stone - A reusable board wipe that can selectively target our own permanents, and is a huge rattlesnake on it's own.

    Sensei's Divining Top - Card selection at any time at a low cost, and synergises with all the effects in the deck that shuffle our library.

    Skullclamp - The best card draw for any deck that relies on X/1s. Will draw cards by the handful with only a few tokens.

    Sol Ring - More very efficient ramp, and the most played in this format.

    Enchantments
    Anointed Procession - A straight forward card that makes our token generators better. Vital for some of the better combos in the deck.

    Aura Shards - Turns every creature, even the tokens, into Reclaimation Sage for putting the pressure on enchantress and artifact decks.

    Concordant Crossroads - Haste enabler for combos and sudden attacks from newly summoned creatures.

    Cryptolith Rite - Turn each token into a reliable mana source to ramp even beyond Azusa's wildest dreams.

    Doubling Season - Annointed Procession, but has added counter synergies for cards like Tireless Tracker and Biogenic Ooze.

    Earthcraft - Another Cryptolith Rite, but much more flexible and can tap creatures as soon as they enter the battlefield.

    Karmic Justice - Threatens opponents with utter annihilation if they try to touch your non-creature permanents. Go for the lands.

    Land Tax - Thins the deck, and ensures you don't miss a land drop, which allows you to play a one land hand.

    Luminarch Ascension - In commander, it'll only take two turns to activate this card, which produces 4/4s for an incredible rate.

    Martyr's Cause - A sacrifice outlet with offers the utiliy of preventing damage from sources. Note that it doesn't target the source of damage.

    Mirari's Wake - An anthem and mana double in one. Resolving on turn 5 will give you 12 mana for the next turn.

    Parallax Wave - Creature removal, creature protection, and blink in one package. Creates a soft-lock with Eternal Witness

    Parallel Lives - Annointed Procession #2.

    Privileged Position - Protects every permanent you control except for itself.

    Sacred Mesa - Token generation at the magic two-mana cost. Also creates flyers, which we have problems defending from.

    Smothering Tithe - Generates absurd amounts of mana as the turn passes around the table. No-one will be paying the tax.

    Sterling Grove - Protects your key enchantments, can tutor for them, and creates a soft-lock with Privileged Position.

    Survival of the Fittest - A more abusable Fauna Shaman that has to limit to how many times the ability can be used.

    Sylvan Library - Card selection, and card draw in a pinch.

    Instants
    Chord of Calling - Flexible, instant speed creature tutoring for toolbox cards.

    Crop Rotation - Instant speed tutoring for Gaea's Cradle or utility lands.

    Eladamri's Call - Flexible creature tutoring, which will find anything and put it in your hand.

    Enlightened Tutor - The most efficient enchantment tutor which will find whatever you need for the turn ahead at minimal cost.

    Tithe - Draw two cards for one mana is a rarity. Note that this will find dual lands.

    Worldly Tutor - Like Enlightened Tutor, this is an efficient way to set up your next turn.

    Sorceries
    Finale of Devastation - Powerful tutor/recursion and win condition if you go find Avenger of Zendikar.

    Green Sun's Zenith - With mostly green win conditions, this will find all of them. Can find [c]Dryad Arbor[/d] for early ramp too.

    Idyllic Tutor - Unconditional enchantment tutoring, though a bit expensive compared to other options.

    Natural Order - Similar to [card]Green Sun's Zenith[/c], but at a much lower cost.

    Nature's Lore - Exceptional ramp that even finds dual lands. This card also sits at the golden two drop slot.

    Three Visits - See Nature's Lore above, this is simply a redundant effect.

    Tooth and Nail - Tutor, cheats mana, even entwine it for an instant win.

    Planeswalkers



    Deck Strategy
    So having gone though the deck and it's intricacies, the next question to answer is; how do you pilot this Selesnya salad? As I've played this deck, I've found that Rhys acts better as a cog in the machinery of the deck, rather than being the motor that drives the whole deck. With this philosophy in mind, let me show you how this deck will play out and develop over the course of a game.

    Turn 0 - The Opening Hand

    In most Commander games, your first real decision begins with deciding what kind of cards you'll be prioritising in your opening hand. In any typical game of Standard, Modern, or Legacy you'll have no idea what to expect in Game 1. In Commander however, you'll be getting a very good idea of what to expect when you look across the table, and an even better idea if you're playing in a regular group. Use this information to ensure you start with the right opening hand for the job.

    A good opening hand should consist of the following:



    Note: While this deck has an average converted mana cost of around 3, you can still be expected to start with an expensive card in your opening hand. While you may be inclined to keep it if it's something like Craterhoof Behemoth, such a card can be tutored later on in the game and save you the dead card in your opening hand.

    As seen above, we have a pretty standard opening hand requirement, which should look familiar if you've ever played commander before. The important part is the last requirement; 1-3 other low mana cost cards. These are the slots which we should be using to prepare for what our opponents are packing, and what kind of game you should expect. While there's no strict rules on what cards you should be looking for in your opening hand to stay ahead of your opponents, I'll provide a few examples below.

    What you should look for in your opening hand
    Playing the Fast Game


    Unfortunately in this deck, holding back isn't an option at a fast table, as in the early game we're at our weakest, and we can't defend ourselves particuarly well. If you think the table is going to be at each others throats quickly and disregard interaction, you'll want to do the same. Prioritise quick mana to overwhelm your opponents before they can do the same. Luminarch Ascension gets a special mention here, since if it's resolved early, it can take over a game easily.


    Playing the Mid-to-Slow Game


    If you think the table is going in a slow direction, this deck will feel right at home, as this is where Rhys shines. In your opening hand, prioritise consistent card draw and good mana to fuel your game plan. Just make absolutely certain you don't overextend. If you've done this and are faced with a Wrath, you'll have a very hard time getting back into the game.


    Turns 1-3 - The Early Game

    In this deck, the early game is incredibly vital. As we're aiming for the mid-to-late game, what we do in the first few turns will decide what happens during the turns following. We want to begin to put our moving parts in place to get us there, but we must be very careful not to pass our turn without doing anything, or over-extend. The latter is absolutely vital, as we'll have a lot of trouble building back up, especially so early in the game. As such, there's somewhat strict guidlines for how the early game should be played, which I'll discuss in detail below.

    The first turn play in this deck should always be an untapped land and Rhys the Redeemed, or a tapped land followed by Rhys if need be. If your hand is too low or too high on lands, playing something like Land Tax or Sensei's Divining Top on turn one and waiting until turn two to cast Rhys is fine. Turn three should be land, followed by a token at the end step before your next turn. At this stage you may be tempted to get a draw engine out or one of our many powerful 3-drops, such as Mentor of the Meek or Elvish Archdruid. This should be avoided if at all possible, as you may just be walking right into Wrath of God, putting us back to square one, so you should save these cards for the start of the mid-game. Rely on Rhys to build your board state instead, and should things go awry, you'll have a grip full of cards, ready to build yourself back up again.

    With the way we intend to curve out on turns 1-3, naturally we have a gap in the two drop slot. Use this to ramp early with something like Sol Ring, or Three Visits. If you have the stones, you could also cast Luminarch Ascension. While usually having a consistent curve doesn't matter much in Commander, keep this gap in mind when constructing the deck. Nature's Lore on turn two will look much better than Kodama's Reach on turn three when we should be making a token.

    Turns 4-7 - The Mid Game

    This is what we've been building up to in the early game. There are a ridiculous amount of paths to take at this stage of the game in this deck, so there's no real guidelines like before. However, I will go through the kinds of effects you'll want to be playing at this stage of the game. Having said that though, there are a few rules to keep in mind when playing out the midgame.

    • Don't play any card you won't be able to take advantage of immediately. Cards like Anointed Procession are high impact, and our opponents know it. Playing it will be for nothing if it's removed before we can do anything with it. In this particular case, make sure you have a way to make a token immediately following. The same logic applies to other powerful cards you'll want to play at this stage of the game, like Skullclamp and Survival of the Fittest.
    • We're a proactive deck, not a reactive one. We have very limited instant speed interactions, and if you intend on going card-for-card against an opponent, you'll be out of luck; our deck isn't equipped for such a gameplan. Instead, we are a toolbox deck, so if you find yourself under pressure from an opponent, use your tutors wisely to find an answer, but do not sacrifice your advance while doing so.
    • Rely on Rhys for tokens as long as you can. As discussed before, Rhys is a cog in the deck, not the motor driving it. As long as he lives after the first cast, continue having him pump put tokens turn after turn. If this means you have to skip playing a card during your turn to have enough leftover mana to play a token, then it's a sacrifice you'll have to make. It also means you're improving your board state without expending cards in your hand too.
    What cards you should be prioritising in the mid-game
    Mana


    One of the first things you'll want to do is cast a card to get you well over the mana curve to set up your big plays. As far-fetched as it sounds, towards the end of the mid-game, you'll want around the 10-12 available mana mark so you can play out your game-winning cards.


    Draw


    Just like mana before, card draw is exceptionally important for making sure we have enough cards to continue to develop our board state, and to see we have enough resources to carry us to the late game. Just like our explosive mana, get these cards out as early as possible.


    Protection


    If during the mid-game you're facing stiff opposition from an interactive deck at the table, you'll want to get hold of something to protect your board. As keeping our board state healthy is vital for reaching the late-game, this is what you'll want to be using some of your creature and enchanment tutors on.


    Tokens


    It wouldn't be a Rhys deck if we didn't want to make some tokens. By the mid-game, Rhys has usually returned back to your command zone, and he's usually too slow at this stage of the game. Since tokens are important for some of our win conditions, you'll want to make as many as you can. If you need to, you may even have to cast Rhys again if you're really stuck.


    Turns 8+ - The Late Game

    Fortunately for you, the reader, this will be the most straight forward part of this primer. If you've played your cards right through the early- and mid-game, the late game is where all the hard work pays off and you'll be able to steal the game. Of course, you can simply combo off and win, regardless of board state, but that will be discussed later on in the Combo Explanations in the next section. For now, the following cards are the ones that will help you seal up the game.


    • On a board full of tokens, Craterhoof Behemoth and Mirror Entity perform similar roles. They'll pump your tokens up to enormous proportions, so you can swing them sideways and win the game.
    • Finale of Devastation, when resolved for X = 10, is a Mirror Entity all on it's own. If Avenger of Zendikar is still in your deck, it makes the perfect target as you may not even need a token army to start with.
    • Concordant Crossroads is an odd duck, but if you manage a huge one-turn tutor chain into a winning boardstate, this enchantment will ensure you can attack on the turn your creatures come down, and saves you risking a wrath while the turn makes it's way around the table.


    Combo Explanation
    Like most high-powered commander decks, we have a few combos to wrap up games should we need it. While none of them will win the game immediately, they will put you in a winning position with the right support.

    Reveillark Loop


    What you need

    What happens?

    This combo allows you to infinitely recur and sacrifice any creature with power two or less an infinite number of times. This can be Knight of Autumn for infinite life, or Biogenic Ooze for infinite tokens. You can also add in Earthcraft for infinite mana, and with this, draw infinite cards with Skullclamp.

    How it works

    1. Start with Martyr's Cause on the battlefield, Reveillark in hand, and the utility creature of your choice in the graveyard.
    2. Evoke Reveillark, targeting Karmic Guide and the utility creature.
    3. Use Karmic Guide's ability to target Reveillark, returning it to the battlefield.
    4. Sacrifice Karmic Guide, the utility creature, and then Reveillark, using it's ability to target Karmic Guide and the utility creature.
    5. Go back to step 3 and repeat ad infinitum.
    Some notes:

    • Mirror Entity can be used in place of Martyr's Cause. To do this, activate it's ability where X = 0 as many times and you'd like to loop before actually looping, then perform steps 3 and 4 between resolutions. This will however kill every creature you control, and won't work if you have an anthem effect active, such as Mirari's Wake.
    Earthcraft Loop


    What you need

    What happens?

    This combo allows you to create an infinite amount of tapped tokens from any one of the permanents in the deck with an activated ability that creates tokens.

    How it works

    1. Start with Earthcraft, Doubling Season, and Sacred Mesa on the battlefield.
    2. Create a token using Sacred Mesa, which creates two tokens instead with Doubling Season.
    3. Tap the tokens created to untap a Plains and and the other basic land using Earthcraft, then tap them for mana.
    4. Go back to step 2 and repeat ad infinitum.
    Some notes:



    Credits & Thanks
    Where do I even start? Plenty of people have directly or indirectly assisted with this primer of mine, so let's go ahead and list them in no particular order.

    Firstly, huge thanks to Donald, as without his original primer, Token Justice, I wouldn't have built this deck, let alone wrote a primer for it!

    Secondly, my playgroups. I've played with a lot of groups over the years, and they've helped teach me everything I know about Commander. I do apologise for constantly asking for feedback though and suggestions, however!

    And lastly, thank YOU for taking the time to read this primer! Rhys has always been my favourite commander, so thatks for reading something I'm very passionate about!


    Changelog
    Any changes to the deck or the primer will be detailed below. The details of these changes will always be posted in this thread too, so if you're following it, you'll know when a major update happens!

    13/08/2019
    Deck Updates

    Added:
    Removed:
    This change was made for a few reasons. With Idol in, it gives us another source of cards, and sits at the perfect mana cost to go between Rhys the Redeemed and a token. It also brings the average converted mana cost of the deck down by a fraction as well. Elspeth will be missed, but she was a vital toolbox card that can't be tutored, and just didn't show up when I needed her.

    Primer Updates

    • Rewrote over 80% of the primer's content.
    • Reformatted the primer to align with the requirements for primer status.


    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] Rhys the Redeemed - Token Justice
    Hey Token Justice crew,

    I tried to reach out to Donald a few months ago to see if I could update the primer and maintain it for him in a new thread, but he doesn't seem to be on the forums anymore Frown

    If anyone in this thread knows him personally, if you could reach out to him for permission for me to create a new thread using his post as the base, that'd be amazing. I hate to see such an awesome deck primer fade into obscurity.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] Rhys the Redeemed - Token Justice
    Italian Spoilers are coming in thick and fast; and you know what that means? It's time to chime in with the cards a reckon are best for this deck.

    Growing Rites of Itlimoc

    Wow, just wow. Here's our second Cradle, and it's surprisingly good. Three mana for the effect is pretty horrible but it's at least relevant for the deck. It passes the Sun Titan test too, and it's tutorable with the enchantment finders!

    Shapers' Sanctuary

    One G for this beauty? It's another Privileged Position style enchantment that may be drawing you a heap of cards over a game. Might be another good way to deter your bigger creatures being removed.

    What's your opinion Donald?
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] Rhys the Redeemed - Token Justice
    Sorry for being late to the party and being a bit strapped for time so I haven't fully gone thru all 37 pages (yet). I just wanted your thoughts on a few cards for this deck.
    Anointed Procession It's a white Parallel Lives!!! Talk about an auto include for this deck.
    Thousand-Year Elixir Umbral Mantle Sword of the Paruns Thornbite Staff Illusionist's Bracers Staff of Domination After running a Krenko, Mob Boss deck, I made a Rhys deck myself and just ported this package over (along with the sac for mana altars). I can understand if you don't run this due to not wanting to just combo out, but it's fun to be able to do so at need. Not to mention that it gets crazy if you are running Elvish Archdruid or another stupid OP mana dork.


    Hey Draco, welcome to the thread!

    Annointed Procession looks great on paper, but I can't help but feel between Doubling Season, Parallel Lives and all the tutors we've already got enough of this effect. Being non-white also feels pretty bad too, since the elf mana dorks and Gaea's Cradle all produce green mana. But that's only a very minor critique. If you don't run as many tutors as Donald's list, it's a great choice however. Redundancy is key.

    Also that package is neat but I feel like there's a lot more on-theme ways to combo out if you're that way inclined. Most of those cards without the combo piece don't do enough on their own to justify them in decks I'd build. Also given that most of that package are artifacts, you're going to have some trouble tutoring them up.

    If you're looking to go infinite in Rhys, start with Earthcraft. Apart from being entirely disgusting on its own, combining it with Squirrel Nest, or even Doubling Season or Parallel Lives and any two-mana token maker like Ant Queen breaks it in half. And being an enchantment, you won't have any trouble getting it into your hand.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] Rhys the Redeemed - Token Justice
    Hey Donald, I'm back, with some more picks from Aether Revolt!

    Ajani Unyielding

    Ajani Unyielding seems like straight up good stuff. I know Elspeth, Sun's Champion saw a bit of play in the deck once upon a time, and while Ajani isn't going big with tokens, it provides an incredible amount of card advantage for a single planeswalker, especially in such and instant and sorcery-light deck like this one. Definitely my pick for the set.

    Renegade Rallier

    Renegade Rallier, if only you were a 2/2. It's a powerful effect, but it has two very big downsides, the first of which is it's a recursion piece that isn't 2 power or less, meaning we can't get it with Reveillark, but we can get it with Recruiter of the Guard. Secondly, revolt may be too hard to trigger in the deck.
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on [[Primer]] Rhys the Redeemed - Token Justice
    Hey Donald,

    I'm a long time lurker on this thread, first time poster. I haven't seen much discussion about what Kaladesh brings to the table but I was hoping to open up the discussion with some of my picks.

    Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter

    As soon as I saw this card, I thought of Rhys. She's a one-drop, makes a token for 3 mana and a tap, then has another ability that makes bigger tokens. But I don't think this deck needs another Rhys, since Rhys is always our first play, and is cheap enough to recast. She also misses out on all the elf synergy, and green colour synergy since the tokens aren't green after all. She does have the potential to make huge tokens but we're not very artifact heavy as is; she needs a lot of setup.

    Angel of Invention / Cultivator of Blades

    I'll talk about these two at the same time, since their game plan is pretty similar. Both make tokens on ETB/get bigger themselves, and pass the Reveillark test. The pump they provide is a bit different. Angel of Invention is a beatstick/three bodies that has an attached anthem. Cultivator of Blades on the other hand can be a much bigger anthem, but only when it attacks. I lean towards the angel myself, only because we have a big old pumping attacker in the list already, but the option is there. Both are incredibly good choices for a Karmic Guide/Reveillark loop too.

    Any thoughts?
    Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
  • posted a message on Raphael Levy's Loam Pox
    Quote from MikePemulis »
    As far as counterspells, we'll see. Getting Loam countered isn't a huge deal. Getting Infestation countered stings pretty badly, though.


    I saw that blue might make a comeback with this ban list, so I've been looking into Prized Amalgam + Loam. Prized Amalgam is great with Bloodghast and if you have the room if you decide to drop squee you could likely put in some Stitchwing Skaabs for adition triggers, and a discard outlet. They don't care if you mill over them either. But is the combination as good as Zombie Infestation? Who knows. Also it requires another colour.
    Posted in: Deck Creation (Modern)
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