Recently, I've been disassembling a few decks to make room for a more consistent competitive deck. Because I'm a bit limited to my budget (no mox diamond, grim monolith, etc) but do have some of the bare bones for a competitive shell at least. With that being said, I was looking through commander choices that may not rely so heavily on these cards. With all of the new reprints in Double Masters and new exciting cards, I knew there was something out there that was being overlooked. Que the puff-puff on the wacky-tabacky and I thought of a great idea that I've never seen tried.
An old geezer summoning an artifact army to do his bidding and combo the heck off.
The game winning combo is Isochron Sceptre or Lithoform Engine mixed with good ol' reliable Dramatic Reversal. Now here's where it gets fun and interesting *eyebrows raised*. As long as you're net positive once you start the Dramatic Reversal loop, you win, and here's how. Create a billion colorless with combo, with Daggson untapped, search out Myr Turbineand tap it to create an Artifact Myr which you can then sac to Daggson to tutor up more mana rocks to continue going net positive. With Turbine in play, you get any amount of non-creature artifacts with Daggson including Aetherflux Reservoir which triggers on the Dramatic Reversal casts. You can also loop Spine of Ish Sah to destroy all your opponents permanents first for good measure too!
You could also opt to put in a backup line of Rings of Brighthearth and Bassalt or Grim Monolith and achieve the same results with more ease as tutoring up artifacts are way easier than finding blue instants to hand (although I'd recommend running all of them)
Ramp out Daggson early hoping to get out a Thousand Year Elixer, Swiftfoot Boots, or Lightning Greaves so he can be immediately activated. From here, you got options out the option whole. Lithoform Engine is my personal favorite to go for first, but Sensei's Top, Chromatic Orrey, and Thousand Year Elixer.
Do to COVID and school work, I haven't played much and just been brewing but I've already am assembling the pieces of this as I really do believe this could be like a 9 - 9.5 on competitive tier with the new artifact supports. I can post a deck list of what I ended up on for my 99 if there's interest but a lot of it is going to be your typical blue shell with a few Stax pieces thrown in for good measure like Winter Orb and Torpor Orb.
What do you folks think of this idea? I know from my research in Cedh that Daggson was considered Competitive when Paradox Engine was still available but wasn't top tier, and got gut-busted from the banning. I think people just let him fade away, but I think he's still full of unrealized potential!! Could this be something you see yourself playing? Would it be consistently be able to answer the Cedh metagame?
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Mar 30, 2020Hey all, I'm looking for some assistance from the community in building a Grixis deck with the partners Silas Renn, Seeker Adept and Vial Smasher the Fierce at the helm. I have some of the shell of the deck already, and mainly the shell contains the Time Sieve Thopter Assembly combo and the Isochron Scepter combo. Main theme of the deck wants to be artifact centered, and I'm looking for recommendations on specific cards, or directions to take the deck in. I've thought of a stax theme with Urza as the work around, but I'm unsure if there's enough to support that theme in the deck (although Silas is super nice recursion for the stax pieces).Posted in: Competitive Commander (cEDH)
Any advice would help!
Thanks in advance, and much love
Mar 30, 2020I totally get where you're coming from. I also have a player that frequents my LGS who also has the Paternalistic instinct to always tell me i'm doing something wrong (often coincides when I do something to put him behind... coincidence?). After a couple of matches of this happening and him being super salty about my plays, I talked to the player afterwards just simply saying: hey man, I play the game my way, and if you want to critique me the entire game that's fine, but no one will want to play with you if you're like that.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
He seemed a bit flustered afterwards and definitely embarrassed to be called out on it so plainly. I haven't seen that player return back, but if he were to change his attitude, I would definitely not hold anything against him. I feel like some players just get too controlling in a game and sometimes it's best just to call them out to bring them back down to earth. I never would promote being mean or bullying a player doing this, but having an open discussion on things that negatively impact your play experience is the adult thing to do!
Also a good go-to I use when people are razzing me to take sides is just to plainly say "you do you, I do me". If they want to make a deal, it's different, but if it's a consistent razzing just ask them to stop playing the game like they've perma cast Worst Fears, that should shut them up.
Mar 18, 2020Don't think I've seen it on the list yet, but I find that Expedition Map is a must play in most decks that run really nice non-basic lands. I run it in my mono black deck for getting Cabal Coffers or in my mono red stompy deck I like to get Valakut or Ancient Tomb.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
The map in my opinion is one of those cards like Sol Ring because it's efficient, flexible, low costing, and fits in almost every deck!
Mar 15, 2020A while back I was playing my Zurgo Helmsmasher voltron/equipment deck and was on the back foot the entire game. I was playing against a Meren of clan nel toth and had a spore frog in his graveyard, so I was at his mercy the entire game. There was another player who was playing Neheb, the eternal and another who got a quick L (don't remember what that person was playing). The game is coming to a close and things weren't looking good. The Neheb player attacked with a massive board and got a ridiculous amount of manna from Neheb's ability. He winds up with a giant earthquake which is enough to kill both me and the Meren playing and leave him with about 5 points of life.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Thinking that I might be able to go out in a blaze of glory, I tap my commander's sphere and sacrifice it to draw a card... What happened next was the funniest top-deck I've ever had.
From the top of my deck slips into my hand a deflecting palm and nearly exploding with excitement, I play it naming earthquake. A long pause happened after that, after some faint chuckling and the subtle sigh of 'you got me'.
Still my favorite win I've gotten yet.
Mar 12, 2020TheSlickBandito posted a message on Best deck to constantly trick, confound and dazzle the opponent?I have a person in my playgroup that plays an OG Nicol Bolas deck with a lot of stealing effects and spells to jack peoples spells through Wild Ricochetand Reverberate and spells like blatant thievery and Control Magic. Not sure if this is exactly what you were looking for, but I can tell you for certain it looks super fun to pilot (but can make for some salty matches).Posted in: Commander (EDH)
Nothing feels more baffling and dazzles me like an opponent waiting to spend all my resources just to steal it from me!
Mar 11, 2020TheSlickBandito posted a message on Silas Renn, Tymna the Weaver: Artifact Lives MatterHey Peeps! This is a copy of my newest creation, taken apart from my old Lifegain Oloro deck. What this deck attempts to be is a artifact based combo deck. The two main combos to win are Time sieve,Thopter assembly and also Isochron scepter Dramatic reversal. The deck uses the infinite manna to sink into a giant Torment of hailfire Debt to the debtless Walking balista. I've been slowly taking out the more lifegain strategies that still exist in the deck (like Venser's journal and Alhammarret's archive) and replacing them with more tutors and such.Posted in: Multiplayer Commander Decklists
I'm reaching out for advice and criticism before I reach a final decklist, so anything might help as far as recommendations!
Here's my short list of cards i'm still looking to put in so far:
Mar 10, 2020TheSlickBandito posted a message on Color Identities and Why Commander Is The Best Magic the Gathering FormatSince 1993 when Magic the Gathering first opened our hearts to the world of wonder and mystery of the planes they explore, Magic has evolved and changed to adapt to its growing player base and explored the design space it lives in. The backbone of Magic is it’s color identities, giving each color in the universe it creates a purpose in the worlds they inhabit.Posted in: Commander (EDH)
White is the color of peace and order
Blue is the color of opportunity and knowledge
Black is the color of death and betrayal
Red is the color of freedom and emotion
Green is the color of nature and interdependence
Each color represents a basic human principle which draws us to the respective colors: a feeling of belonging, and understanding. I, as a person, am a fiery and passionate person, but I also believe in the understanding of ourselves as imperfect and evil we can strive towards excellence. And possibly these principles are what draw me to two specific colors in Magic, black and red. Magic is more than just a game, it is the embodiment of our own values and using your wit, cunning, and strength to best your opponent. And commander, acts as the perfect outlet to express the color identities of Magic.
Commander is a format that was created by the Magic the Gathering community, and not sanctioned by MTG as an official competitive format. Originally, Magic the gathering had no legendary permanents but that all changed with the introduction of Magic’s seventh set: Legends. With the introduction of Legends came legendary creatures in the form of the Elder Dragons like Nicol Bolas and Chromium and rules that only one of each legend could be on the players field at a time. Quickly after the release of Legends, came the format of Elder Dragon Highlander, where players would play decks with the Elder Dragons at the helm of their armies. Judges and players would often play games of EDH in between matches at PTQ and Grand Prix events, and thus, the format was born. Since the set of Legends, many more Legendary creatures have been printed, in fact 955 legendary creatures exist as of 2020 and allow for some of the wackiest and creative decks available.
And this is what leads me into Commander, and why it is the best format in Magic the Gathering. Commander (or also known as EDH) is a format where you play with all the cards printed in Magic’s history (minus a short list of cards too powerful to see play) in a deck with 99 cards. You must only play with one copy of each card in your deck (with the exception of basic land cards) and one Legendary creature must act as your commander. The commander in your deck acts as the embodiment of the leader in your army. It gives way for many different types of decks due to the sheer size of design space created over 20 years by Magic the Gathering. All the way from mages like Kess who use the knowledge of blue mixed with the reanimation of black to use her spells over again to gain value over opponents, to orc warriors like Zurgo Helmsmasher who use powerful weapons to overrun their opponents with an unstoppable force!
Commander as a format allows the player to essentially BECOME the leader of their army and immerses them with all the cards available in Magic to execute a unique strategy often akin to something their commander might do. Commander is an extension of the Magic philosophy, that the player is in fact the leader of an army and the colors that they play in allow for different manners of executing a win.
With our previous examples of Kess and Zurgo, although their gameplans are extremely different and how they plan to win is very different, they still share a color identity of red. With wedge decks (3 color decks) oftentimes they will lean on a specific pairing and dip into a third color to complement the existing colors. With Kess, she leans more into blue-black while using red in its other color pairings (red-black, red-blue) to compliment a spell slinging mage’s arsenal. While Zurgo might focus more on the red-white identity for aggressive spells and creatures to quickly close out a game while using black to fill out the weaknesses of the other two colors: mainly drawing cards. With wedge decks and multi-color decks, color pairings become more a part of the identity of a commander but having enough versatility to function in different ways.
This does differ from other forms of magic like standard and modern because oftentimes, the color identities do not offer much differentiation in deck building.
Let's look at Red, the color of freedom and emotion. Mono red decks often are aggressive and enemies feel the pressure from turn one, often getting burned out by high damage spells and well stated early game threats. Despite what the gamestate is, it seems like mono red aggro is always prevalent in standard and modern as it’s been in the top 8 for PTQ and Grand Prix events for decades. The problem is that although the cards may change, the game plan doesn’t change: Play threats early, close out the game by approx turn 5-6.
Of course, the same can be said for any color but the difference in commander is the variety it brings in the design space it occupies. Let’s look at mono red now in commander in 3 examples of possible commanders:
DeckMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards 1 Ilharg, the Raze-Boar
1 Daretti, Scrap Savant
1 Neheb, the Eternal
Each red commander offers an exploration of a design space created for red.
Ilahrg is a boar god, prophesied by the Gruul clans to bring about the eradication of Ravnica. His hooves will trample the bricks of the towering skylines of Ravnica and bring about the end of all things. His triggered ability of summoning creatures to attack with him is a very red theme. He uses the monstrous creatures available to red like the many dragons and orcs/giants available in their arsenal to crumble an opponent's defences.
Daretti is a goblin mage of the Fiora plane who’s considered a master artificer. Where others see trash, Daretti sees gold, and an opportunity to exploit others' ignorance. He has the incredible ability to transform the likes of a useless Ornithopter into a terrifying Wurmcoil Engine with the snap of his fingers. He is one with artifacts, and they bend to his will to do his bidding and destroy his opponents.
Neheb is an initiate who worships the Ammonket god Hazoret who is the embodiment of inspiration before being corrupted by the planeswalker Nicol Bolas. Neheb died in the trials of the five gods, and was eternalized by Nicol Bolas to do his bidding. His spear is emblazoned with fire, and he uses the fiery powers obtained through his trials to channel mana by inflicting pain on his enemies. The pain he inflicts only furthers his own power, and enables him to encompass his enemies in a world of fire.
Each of these commanders for red offer vastly different game designs and allow for gameplay that is non comparable to each other. A Daretti deck will seldom win through a massive fireball like a Neheb deck would, and a Neheb spell slinger deck wouldn’t win through smashing an enemy with a Blightsteel Colossus like Ilharg would.
With the introduction to more commander products than ever before in the coming year, it’s easy to see that Wizard’s of the Coast understand how important commander is to the evolution of Magic and to further explore the design space that’s given with each color identity and pairing. Maybe one day, we can watch our favorite commanders go face to face in 4 player competitive play… but until that day, we’ll keep dreaming up new ways to break the rules of magic and bend the color identities to create unique and inventive ways to play Magic the Gathering.
Mar 6, 2020In a format with 99 cards in your deck and each only a single copy (except basic lands), you have a 7.07% chance to get any given card in your deck off of the first 7 cards you draw at the beginning of the game. With this in mind, how is it that my opponent seems to explode out with the perfect mana curve while I’m just saying “land, pass”?Posted in: Commander (EDH)
During my time playing commander, I’ve both been the person saying land pass, and the person exploding out of nowhere early on. There’s a lot more variance in deck building in commander compared to any other format due to the fact that you have 99 cards in your deck and only single copies of anything but basic lands, and this can be reflective in gameplay especially if a deck focuses too much in one area and neglects another area on deck building.
One of the most common offenders of this that I’ve seen often is that players do not pay attention to or round out the staples of any commander deck. These staples are essential to the function of ANY commander deck and are prevalent in one form or another in all successful decks. In this article, I’ll look to outline what’s given me success in building commander decks and what I always look to include and keep in mind when building a new deck, regardless of the archetype! These staples are as follows:
Ramp - being able to have more mana available than your opponents is key to being able to overrun your opponents and better deal with multiple threats. Everyone who’s played the commander format knows how devastating it can be for your opponent to drop down a turn 1 Sol Ring or Mana Vault/Crypt. In a multiplayer format, you have to work to be ahead of usually at least 3 other people instead of the traditional 1. This means having more access to mana to cast spells is essential in taking over a game. Ramp comes in many forms, green being the best color for it with many sorcery spells like Kodama’s Reach, Rampant Growth, and Tempt with Discovery to quickly put more lands from their deck directly into play or their hand. Another popular method of ramp is Mana Dorks (creatures that tap for mana) as some creature based decks benefit from having creatures on the battlefield, or the commanders colors might not accommodate for other ramp methods.
Popular ramp creatures like Birds of Paradise, Llanowar Elves, Noble Hierarch, Burnished Hart, and Solemn Simulacrum have always been prevalent in the format and will most likely continue to be for quite some time!
There are other cards that can ‘fix’ your land drops. These are cards that allow lands from your deck to go to your hand, effectively fixing your problem of hitting land drops each turn and allowing you to more consistently draw permanents from your deck instead of land drops. Cards like Land Tax, Tithe, Wayfarer's bauble, Travellers Amulet and Armillary Sphere all are great cards for this exact effect.
By being able to play more spells or powerful spells earlier on, players are able to improve the consistency of their draws (done through drawing more non-land cards by putting more lands in play).
Draw spells/engines - the rather innocuous effect of drawing cards can literally mean the difference between winning and losing in most games. Like explained previously with mana, your ability to win is not determined by just beating one person but rather 3 or more. This means having access to more mana will make it so you can play more spells; but what use is that mana to you if you’re just top-decking the entire game? Having a grip of cards to play from your hand assures that if you get put behind by other players destroying your stuff that you’ll be able to pick right back up and begin accelerating again. Draw engines are usually single cards that allow you to draw cards of multiple turns or through triggering an effect. Popular/efficient draw engines are Rystic Study, Mystic Remora, Phyrexian Arena, and Necropotence. Popular/efficient draw spells include Dig Through Time, Ponder, Sirum Vissions, Gitaxian Probe, Read the Bones, and Harmonize.
One of the most under appreciated advantages for most newer players in a game of commander is card advantage. Next time you’re in a commander game, try to keep track of each opponent's amount of cards in hand, and I guarantee that if that player is casting a spell a and they have 5 or more cards in hand on average each turn cycle that they are in a commanding position in the game.
I’d also like to clarify that technically speaking, card draw really is considered actual draw when the draw spells more than 1 card. The reason for this is that if it takes you 1 card to draw 1 card, then you still have the same amount of cards in hand resulting in no card advantage gained. Spells like Gitaxian probe and Ponder are good 1 draw cards that don’t give you card advantage but can either help telegraph your own plays (scrying and shuffling with Ponder) or help inform you about another players hand (in the case of Gitaxian Probe) and both of these effects make them more than worthwhile to run in most decks than can run it.
Interaction/Removal - having the ability to interact with (destroying permanents, countering spells) your opponents threats is essential to commander but a lot of players will fall into the mistake of putting removal or interaction that is too expensive to cast for what it does, or has an effect that doesn’t deal with all threats. A big contender for biggest offender to this is ways to deal with certain card types. I’ve seen players jam 10 single target creature removal but run zero enchantment, artifact, or planeswalker removal. The key to interaction and removal spells that do well is 3 metrics: cost, flexibility and efficiency. Cards like Austere Command are 6 mana removal that can remove creatures, enchantments, or creatures 3CMC less/more. This means that despite what board situation there is when you draw this, you can pick the modes that will mess with your opponents the most and leave you in a much better place than having an inflexible board wipe for creatures gathering dust in your hand. Make sure you have a wide array of removal, doesn’t need to just be instants or sorceries as there’s tons of creatures with interaction or removal for your opponents threats like Ingot Chewer, Shriekmaw, and Ravenous Chupacabra.
And then there’s blue players…. Blue does have access to forms of removal like Reality Shift and Pongify which are super good at dealing with threats for cheap, but their main form of interaction comes in the form of countermagics. Counterspells are a part of the blue mantra of playstyle and denying cards for your opponent while only spending max 3 mana (which is what you should be aiming for in a counterspell) to counter massive threats like a Craterhoof Behemoth. A general principle of magic (especially in 1v1 formats) is that the player that uses their mana more efficiently (uses their mana every turn, and uses lower cost spells to remove opponents larger costing spells) will most likely win the game. If an opponent spends 8 mana to cast their Craterhoof Behemoth and you have a destroy creature instant like Slaughter Pact (great card btw), then yes you can deal with this big boi effectively and efficiently but the creatures enter the battlefield ability will still resolve, pumping the opponent's creatures by a scary amount and most likely causing a swift death quickly after for removing their Craterhoof. Counterspells interact with a card before it enters play, meaning countering Craterhoof will stop it’s enter the battlefield ability as well. The only thing that a counterspell can’t stop are: spells with the clause ‘can’t be countered’, or spells that have abilities that say ‘when you cast this card’. The ability that is an ‘on cast trigger’ will still go off despite the spell being countered. Examples of this are the Eldrazi Titans like Ulamog and Kozilek which both have great on cast triggers of destroying a permanent and drawing 4 cards respectively.
There’s a reason why the most efficient removals in the game are usually priced highly like Force of Will, Toxic Deluge, and Cyclonic Rift: because they do a hell of a lot for their costs, they are efficient at removing all types of threats, and are flexible in their use as they each offer the player choice in how they use the removal.
With all of that in mind, I’d like to share a template put together by the great people of The Command Zone podcast on Youtube specifically for commander decks which has helped me tremendously with deck building most especially when I was first getting started in commander.
The template is:
10 Ramp cards
10 Card Draw/Engine spells
5 Single target Removal
5 Board wipes/board interaction
Keep in mind things like amount of lands in the deck, amount of creatures, enchantments etc all vary depending on your commander and your gameplan to win. Heck, you might even want to run more ramp cards if you’re playing a big spells deck or more card draw if you’re playing more of a control game. The idea of the template is it gives you a point to jump off from, and helps you get an idea of what the shell of a commander deck looks like.
I also highly recommend for both seasoned and newer commander players alike to check out the many Youtube channels that highlight commander gameplay like The Command Zone, Casually Competitive, Spike Feeders, and for more advanced players looking for even higher level gameplay I highly suggest Playing with Power MTG.
Half of the power from your deck also comes from how you play it. You need to know what cards are in your deck, how much they cost to cast, and what your chances of finding them are. By the same principle, this can be applied to having knowledge of your opponents decks and their gameplans. If you know what their game plan is before they execute it, you can proactively work to stop it rather than being dumbfounded when they drop that Craterhoof Behemoth and you’ve got all your mana tapped and nothing to interact with it.
I hope this has been enlightening for players newer to the commander format, and I hope that you will enjoy one of the best formats in Magic and help it grow! Commander games follow a format not shared by any other in Magic’s history and has more subtle nuances like politics, promises, and betrayals that you just do not see at any other Magic table.
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