Friday, August 2, 2013



To check out my other decks, hit the links below:

This article serves two purposes: To share the nerd entertainment around with anyone who might find it interesting and, in this case, to build a fun, casual commander deck on a reasonable budget.

That's right folks! This week we're looking at my very first commander deck list and I'll be telling you about the themes of the deck, the strategy, the alternate forms the deck could take, the contents of the deck, and finally, what sort of cards I'll be picking up in the near future. So far, I've already spent $20, here and there, on singletons for this deck, but it is otherwise hard to gauge how much I've spent on it, since many parts of its contents come from a variety of purchases, and I don't know how much more I'm willing to spend. With that said, feel free to suggest cards for this deck and future builds of this deck.

Before we continue, let me explain what Commander format is for the uninitiated; EDH (Elder Highlander Dragon) is a format that was created by fans and has become more and more popular since Wizards of the Coast embraced it with the release of the Commander sets (thus giving the format a new official name, with official rules, Commander specific cards and paraphernalia).

In Commander, you start with a Legendary Creature (like the popular Commander staple, Kaalia of the Vast, above). You designate it as your Commander.You then construct a deck, consisting of at least 99 more cards, that are all unique in the deck, except for basic lands and a few specified exceptions and only include mana costs in the color of your commander (ex. if you use Kaalia, only cards with Red, White, and Red mana costs). You shuffle up your 99 card deck and go in against at least one other opponent in a free-for-all game starting with 40 life each (as opposed to the usual 20). You can cast your Commander out of the "Commander Zone", an in-game area separated from any effects yet to be printed, and can recast your Commander onto the battlefield, at any time, by paying it's mana cost and adding an additional mana for each time you've summoned it. From there you attempt to defeat your opponents using any number of win conditions from milling to beat downs to the more obscure win-conditions.

But, like any casual format, Commander is not merely about winning; it's about expressing yourself, using your collection to create something fun, and trying to create interesting interactions around some themes. This is a format that favors Johnnys, then Timmys (which is what my deck is all about), and, rather than the usual case, favors Spikes least. For those of you wondering what Johnny, Timmy, or Spike is... CHECK OUT THIS CLASSIC ARTICLE!

You can find Magic Cards in super stores (Ex. Walmart, Target) but the best place you can buy your cards, meet other players, and play in events is at your local comic book store or hobby shop. I buy most of my cards at The Comic Cellar. Here is a link to its Google Maps location at 3620 Austin Peay Highway #2 Memphis, TN 38128.

Now that I got advertising my favorite shop out of the way, let's get down to business!


Every Magic player is a mix of Timmy, Johnny, and Spike, but I definitely lean toward Timmy and Johnny on the triangular spectrum. I love themes, like a Johnny should. One of my favorite themes? I wouldn't be a Timmy if I didn't love playing down big creatures. So, the theme to my first Commander deck grew out of my collection of big Naya (Red, Green, & White) creatures that I've been collecting every chance I get. I'm a Naya mage, what can I say.

Once I snagged up Mayael in a trade, I stopped collecting for a while. I hesitated. Commander is a little intimidating. I had many components of this deck in a little casual deck I'd throw out for a little fun with my other casual playing friends. But every time I went to the Comic Cellar, there'd be folks looking for a Commander game. After months of putting it off, I finally built the deck in an evening with what I had available to me.

The current theme is just winning with big creatures, but there were two other themes I considered playing around with; first, I thought about turning my Hakuna Matata deck into a Commander life-gain deck but a couple of the components I want to make that deck work out like I want are rather pricey. The other big contender for my Commander is pictured above with Uril, the Miststalker, a card that would lead me into more of an enchantment themed Commander deck that I'll probably make down the line.

Instead, I went with the far simpler strategy of smashing in my opponent's faces with big fat stupid creatures either directly or indirectly. I don't have much more to say, so let's get to this Zoo of a deck, shall we folks?

Contains 100 Cards
Reasons? In an inexpensive Commander that allows you to pull creatures out of your deck and play them for some acceleration into bigger and bigger creatures. In other Mayael decks, they play up the Elf angle to mana fix, but I'm relying on other mana-fixing to hopefully work.

(35 Creatures: 19 Green Creatures, 1 Green-Arifact Creature, 4 Green-White Creatures, 3 Red Creatures, 1 Red-Green Creatures, 4 Red-Green-White Creatures, 1 Red-White Creature, and 2 white Creatures)

Reasons? There are only about three creatures without 5 or more power in this deck. Acidic Slime makes the grade, for now, because he can kill most non-land permanents and can be summoned up by Mwonvuli Beast Tracker.

Reasons? Aegis Angel is one of the first two rare cards I ever owned. After spending several years, sitting aside, I finally got to put my copy in a deck for its ability to make one other permanent, any permanent, including those controlled by opponents, indestructible. Some day I'll get around to building an Angel deck again but, for now, this Angel has a place in this deck.

Reasons? Two 5/5 wurms with trample for six mana? That'll work.

Reasons? Um, how about because she makes all of your permanents indestructable and is an 8/8 flyer with vigilance? Cuz I don't think I need any more reason to play one of my very favorite legendary creatures.

Reasons? Thematically, creatures like this are fun and I really wanted to play all my big beasts in this deck (I have lots) but Bull Cerodon is one of the better examples of big monsters. The only thing it's missing is trample or flying.

Reasons? I will almost always have a red/white permanent and, therefore, we should assume this is at worst a 5/3 for 4 but is usually a 5/3 with lifelink and hast for 4. Plus it's a rhino and a beast.

Reasons? Advantage? I like getting advantage with the creature that won me my very first multiplayer match by taking control of my opponents 11/11 creatures and swinging for lethal with it.

Reasons? This sucker might just be the best Wurm ever printed. He destroys just about anything that tangles with him and sucks the life right out of them.

Reasons? Look at Enlisted Wurm. Now, look at my deck. Now look at me summon up something else and laugh maniacally as I make a Star Trek reference to the overuse of the technical jargon, "cascade effect".

Reasons? Pardon me. But I'm awesome. I allow you to get more creatures. More creatures is good right? I thought so.

Reasons? Deal with this. Deal with this or suddenly I'll have an army of 7/7 trampling bugs.

Reasons? Pardon me but I'm a creature engine. Just ignore me while I make 8/8 beasts that want to eat your face. Cards like this wanna make me make a deck that abuses Kiki-Jiki combos.

Reasons? Pardon me. I'm a big fat gross shy giant that gets bigger and bigger so that I can flung at your opponent's face. Sorry to break your nose.

Reasons? Another favorite of mine, Kazuul is great because he makes your opponents think twice about attacking you.

Reasons? BEEP BEEP! TRUCK COMING THROUGH! YOU'RE TAKING DAMAGE UNLESS YOU KILL ME QUICK! Attach Mageslayer to swing 12 unblockable damage every turn.

Reasons? Finally, this card has a place thanks to his ability to snatch back creatures from your graveyard.

Reasons? AND YOU GET TRAMPLE! AND YOU GET TRAMPLE! I can't help but play a 5/3 plant elephant that gives my creatures trample.

Reasons? This Mwonvuli Beast Tracker rocks because of her ability to snatch up creatures out of your deck for the right situation.

Reasons? Now this is a fun guy that I just had to invite to the party.

Reasons? The 7/7 trample for 7 that gets you 7 life. It also gets you a card if it dies and has 7 lines of text in the text box and 7 letters in Pelakka. SEVEN.

Reasons? An 8/8 Hexproof isn't a bad thing.

 Reasons? Another useful part of the cycle, Rakeclaw Gargantuan makes all your big fat creatures able to defend themselves in a brawl.

Reasons? I deserve to have one good griffin in my dumb dumb Timmy deck. Retaliator Griffin retaliates. Plain and simple.

Reasons? Bloodrush for win condition or play as a creature if you're boring.

Reasons? This mana dork is perfect for this big creature deck. I need cheep ways to produce a lot of mana to cast creature spells. She does that pretty well.

 Reasons? Drawing cards whenever you play a nontoken creature is pretty sweet.

Reasons? You can't handle the Spearbreaker Behemoth unless you exile him. Dangit. I think the longer I write this, the lazier/dumber/Timmyer I get.

Reasons? In most situations, I would fetch Spellbreaker Behemoth earlier than any other choice because of how he nerfs counterspells.

Reasons? Destroying all your enemy's goodies and snagging Forests isn't a bad thing and neither is a 6/8 with trample.

Reasons? Hehe, I got this guy as a promo in a special Walmart pack of cards because of his awesome sauce. He comes in and wrecks the place. What more needs to be said? And he is an elephant. Who doesn't love elephants?

Reasons? I like this nifty guy because he can be cast for cheap, despite him being vulnerable to artifact destruction.

Reasons? I could've thrown in a dumber way to do what Ulvenwald Tracker does, but his ability to turn the battlefield into a punch fest with your guys bullying the enemy every time your turn comes around.

Reasons? Now, this guy works. He makes your creatures harder to kill and is a solid body.

Reasons? This is one of my favorite creatures in recent years that should have a place in any mono green beatdown deck because he is so hard to keep down. I managed to snag my copy back for this deck and am glad to present it as part of my big beatdown army.

Reasons? This is one of the biggest creatures ever printed and its recursion engine is devastating. If I can force this guy on the battlefield for six mana, I'll be pretty glad that I made this deck. He is the biggest big fatty fat in the deck....for now.

(28 Non-Creature Spells: 8 Artifacts,  2 Green Enchantments, 1 Green Instant, 7 Green Sorceries, 1 Red-Green Artifact, 1 Red-Green Enchantment, 1 Red-Green Instant, 1 Red-Green-White Sorcery, 2 Red Instants, 1 Red/White-Green Enchantment, 1 Red & White Instant, 1 White Enchantments and 1 White Sorcery)

Reasons? Ideally, you wanna have Akroma's memorial and Avacyn on the battlefield at the same time. This way, everything is indestructible, all of your creatures are buffed, etc. This makes you big fat creatures even nastier.

Reasons? I have mixed feelings about Argentum Armor because it doesn't really fit the theme of the deck, BUT with the ability to make creatures even bigger and set up a removal engine, I can't really find a good reason to take it out unless I need more mana ramp (which I probably do).

 Reasons? One of the best mana dork artifacts in print, I think, Chromatic Lantern will set you up with every color of mana you need.

Reasons? If your opponent destroys all your creatures or lands, this will return them to your hand. Even better? This can be used twice. The fact that it has nifty recursion like that makes it an excellent bit of flavor in this deck, I think.

Reasons? This colorless Scry engine makes sure you're getting the cards you need. Not much else to say.

Reasons? I've some of the best land gets ever printed in this deck and the acceleration that cultivate sets up is no joke.

Reasons? A staple in almost any Commander Deck, Darksteel Ingot is hard to get rid of without exiling it.

Reasons? This is better than almost any of the Ravnica Charms, in my opinion, because it's cheap and can a) accelerate your mana pool, b)get you back a nifty creature, and c) it can give one of your big fat fatties the flight they need to swing for an Alpha strike.

Reasons? I need more win conditions like Fling in this deck. That's the secondary theme; turning creatures into missiles and getting in damage indirectly through creatures.

Reasons? This card will frustrate your creatures and has amazing flavor with this deck! Suddenly, your opponents will be cursing your name as they don't have enough creatures to block you in a pinch.

Reasons? Wanna make sure you pick up a land every turn? This card will make it possible for you and I prefer it to other mana dork artifacts because the more lands you play, the more mana you have and the more likely you are to pull a nonland card. Also, he lets you shuffle your deck! Do not underestimate the power of shuffling, folks.

Reasons? Even better than Cultivate, Kodoma's Reach is a dollar common because of it's synergy with Arcane mechanics. That's not a factor in my deck, so it basically is just another copy of Cultivate. Shrug.

Reasons? A creature fetch is certainly nice to have and Lead the Stampede can net you up to five creatures.

Reasons? Holy crap, do I love this card! It makes all but three creatures of my deck capable of swinging for at least 5 damage every turn that is unblockable.

Reasons? Just imagine playing this sucker when you've got Worldspine Wurm on the battlefield? Can you imagine the Timmyness of swinging all your creatures with +15/+15 and trample?

Reasons? I wanted at least one answer in my deck and what makes Planar Cleansing so great is that, if I control Avacyn, my stuff can weather a Planar Cleansing.

Reasons? Pay a single green mana, wait a couple turns, and net yourself a land. Pretty damn good if you ask me.

Reasons? What would I pick with Signal the Clans? How about Avacyn, Angel of Hope, Mwonguli Beast Tracker, and Enlisted Wurm?

Reasons? Like Fling, but better because you don't lose a creature in the process. I REALLY NEED MORE OF THIS!

Reasons? Turn a 15/15 into a 30/30. Laugh maniacally as use Soul's Fire to deal 30 damage to an opponent directly and then swing your 30/30 with Mageslayer.

Reasons? Too fast for removal.

Reasons? Titanic Ultimatum is a great card way to end out a match.

Reasons? An enchantment that can make an important land untouchable and even more productive, Trace of Abundance is a great way to diversify your ramping mana pool.

Reasons? You're almost always guaranteed to have the biggest creature and almost always guaranteed to be drawing an extra card with one of the most controversal cards in recent years, Triumph of Ferocity. Some found the art to represent Garruk sexually assaulting Liliana but I don't really see it. Their argument is the placement of his leg between hers is an indicator but personally, as stated at a recent interview, they have to be able to depict badass women but women have also gotta be able to be defeated or made vulnerable. No one would say anything if Garruk was choking Jayce or Ajani.

Reasons? Cuz I think Double Strike is pretty frickin' awesome. And that's my...TRUE CONVICTION!

Reasons? Land development? How about untapping that useful land at everyone else's untap step? Sounds pretty frickin' sweet to me!

Reasons? Flexible removal is flexible.

Reasons? Who doesn't wanna throw Harry Potter's Invisibility Cloak over Fluffy?

(36 Lands: 11 Forests, 3 Mountains, 4 Plains, 18 Other Lands)

Reasons? Do I really need to explain this one? It is a staple in any creature heavy costly deck.

Reasons? Pumping up your big chunks for even more damage to sling at them makes this card's flavor perfect for this deck.

Reasons? For four mana you can throw an unblockable 15/15 at your opponent's face. This card rocks.

Reasons? A guildate that, in a pinch, turns into 3/4 creature reach isn't half bad.

And that's all folks. Here is a short wishlist for cards I hope to add to the pool for building this and future versions of this commander deck: Mayael's Aria, Knotvine Mystic, Druid of the Anima, Felidar Sovereign, Blightsteel Collossus, Deus of Calamity, Kodoma of the North Tree, Mossbridge Troll, Patron of the Orochi, Purity, Vigor, Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant, Basilisk Collar, Far Wanderings, Furnace of Rath, Soulblast, Warstorm Surge, Where Ancients Tread, Soul's Grace, Soul's Majesty, Drumhunter, Verduran Enchantress, Epic Proportions, Flickerform, Open the Vaults, Runes of the Deus, Scourge of the Nobilis, Shield of the Oversoul, Shiv’s Embrace, etc.

If you have any suggestions, lemme know.

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