Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My First Commander Deck - Part 1

Being a life long casual player, you would think I hopped on the Commander train long ago. But the fact is that I just haven't played that much Magic with physical cards for years. I enjoy looking through my cards from time-to-time and also enjoy brewing new decks when new sets are released, but my actual time playing is almost exclusively used up on Magic Online. For example, the last time I played physical Magic was last October when a bunch of my friends from high school got together because one of them was getting married. And even then, that time was used drafting a box of Innistrad and involved no constructed play. Flash forward to today and because I spend much more money on Magic cards than they ever have, I figure Commander would be a perfect format to play the next time we have the chance.

Long story short, I've decided to put together a Commander deck and after looking through some of the new Commander legends, I've settled on this guy as my general:

After browsing the MTG Salvation Forums for a little bit it became obvious that that are a lot of obnoxious Commander deck types out there, usually abusing some infinite combo. I didn't want to make that deck so I made up some self-imposed deck construction rules:
  1. No hard counter spells.
  2. No "control magic" type spells.
  3. Include as many cards that effect all players as possible.
  4. Annoying opponents as little as possible. (See rules 1-3.)
With the above rules in mind, after looking through my existing card pool, here's a list of cards I own that I know I want in the deck:

1 Tempting Wurm
1 Sheltering Ancient
1 Indentured Djinn
1 Hunted Wumpus
1 Forgotten Ancient
1 Clone
1 Spike Weaver
1 Sakashima the Imposter
1 Vesuvan Doppelganger
1 Primeval Titan
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

1 Rampant Growth
1 Gaea's Blessing
1 Show and Tell
1 Windfall
1 Trade Secrets
1 Chain of Acid
1 Whirlwind
1 Bribery
1 New Frontiers
1 Prosperity
1 Weird Harvest

1 Berserk
1 Fog
1 Divert
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Enchantment Alteration
1 Moment's Peace
1 Words of Wisdom
1 Twincast
1 Deflection
1 Desertion
1 Illusion // Reality

1 Concordant Crossroads
1 Oath of Druids
1 Copy Artifact
1 Standstill
1 Fecundity
1 Heartbeat of Spring
1 Copy Enchantment
1 Defense of the Heart

1 Jace Beleran

1 Mana Vault
1 Sol Ring
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Grim Monolith

1 Gaea's Cradle
1 Tropical Island
1 Hinterland Harbor

As you can see, I cheated around some of my rules:
  1. No hard counter spells. - With Divert, Deflection, and maybe a Misdirection (that I'll have to buy) I still want the power to protect myself, even if it's not with hard counters. The essence of this rule is that players hate it when they feel like they aren't playing the game, especially in casual games. If one player has a hand full of counters it just feels like nothing is happening. These redirect spells that I'm including still allow the board state to be changed... it's just going to be changed the way I want it to be changed. And yes, technically Desertion is a hard counter. But when it works, it's almost like a redirection for artifacts and creatures. Again, the point isn't to ban all counters from the game. The point is to allow the board state to be changed every time a spell is cast.
  2. No "control magic" type spells. - With cards like Tempting Wurm, Hunted Wumpus, Show and Tell, and Oath of Druids, you'd figure that control magic spells would be perfect in this deck. This does change the board state after all. But for this deck... it just feels a little too easy. If you just end up taking everything everyone ever casts, that might also getting a little tired. It also might make me one huge target. And one of the big reasons for choosing Edric as my general is to make me less of a target. On top of that, start including multiple copies of Homeward Path and suddenly those cards aren't nearly as good. Instead, I've skipped on control magic and went heavy on copy type spells like Clone, Sakashima, Doppelganger, Copy Artifact, and Copy Enchantment. I may add more by the time this deck is done.
  3. Include as many cards that effect all players as possible. - Here we get to have fun with cards like Heartbeat of Spring, Fecundity, Prosperity, New Frontiers, and Jace Baleran. I'm also planning on picking up copies of Collective Voyage, Minds Aglow, and good ol' Howling Mine.
  4. Annoying opponents as little as possible. - Again, one of the big reasons for choosing Edric as my general is to annoy my opponents as little as possible and I think that might not work if you don't build the deck around this idea. Hopefully, with no counters, no stealing of their critters, and plenty of love to go around, they won't notice as I slowly beat their face in... which brings me to the next segment...

How does this deck win?

The plan is to have 2 win conditions: Kill them suddenly with a surprise Eldrazi or kill them slowly by decking them. With all of the free card draw I'm passing around, even in a 100 card deck, I bet I can get at least a few decks pretty low on cards before it's all said and done. I wonder if anyone will notice as I always use Jace Baleran's +1 ability as it slowly climbs closer and closer into ultimate range...?

One card that's worth pointing out helps with both win conditions is Oath of Druids. Oath of Druids cheats out the Eldrazi for me while milling my opponent's decks in the process. And with both the Eldrazi and Gaea's Blessing preventing myself from being decked, I think I have the upper hand. Sure, this deck might get a little obnoxious with a god draw for a 2nd turn Ulamog (with either Show and Tell or Oath of Druids), but hopefully that will happen a minimum number of games.

Another small sub-theme I'm going for is multiple Fog type effects. I need to protect myself from all the free creatures I'm giving to my opponents. Already with Fog, Moment's Peace, and Spike Weaver, I think I want to add a few more. This seems like a necessary sub-theme for the deck.

What else?

I still haven't decided whether or not to go for enchantments or elves for mana acceleration. On one hand the elves seems good, especially with cards like Priest of Titania when Edric himself is an elf. On the other hand, I kind of want to maximize good draws with Oath of Druids. I'm undecided at this point.

Suggestions? Comments?

Like I said, this is my first Commander deck, nothing is set in stone, and I'm sure the final version will look much different than just the above list.

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