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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
May 24 2013 9:30am
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Here we go:


Deck Tech

The first issue with the deck is that it includes Trade Secrets, which was recently banned.  As such, I replaced it with Minds Aglow.  It's another political draw card, and sometimes you only have to cast it for 1 mana to get a bunch of cards.

The main issue with the deck, however, is the fact that it only has 34 LANDS!!!!  Who the hell designed this thing??!!?  It doesn't come with Signets either.  So you are basically boned to any deck with Green pretty early on since they will often have double the amount of mana you have by turn 5, and the gap will only widen as the game progresses.  On top of that, Zedruu is an extremely mana hungry Commander.  Her ability is color intensive and expensive. So you need at least 39 lands in this deck.  AT THE VERY LEAST.  In addition color screw is an issue.  If you can add a Land Tax or Journeyer's Kite you'll be much happier.  Armillary Sphere is not enough by itself. 

The other big issue with the deck is that it just doesn't have enough stuff to give away with Zedruu.  I don't want my opponents to have a Ghostly Prison or Brion Stoutarm.  Basically Howling Mine Goblin Cadets are the only things you can give away that won't be problems for you in the future.  Even if you want to avoid playing stuff like Steel Golem and Illusions of Grandeur, you can still add stuff like Horn of Greed, Font of Mythos, Moat, even Mana Flare.  I didn't even want to give away my Vows most of the time.  And you can't really give away spare lands, because you need EVERY SINGLE ONE!  

A smaller issue compared to the ones already mentioned is that the deck feels like a mish mash of themes that don't really fit together.  If it wants to be a pillow fort deck hiding behind enchantments, it needs more enchantments that are better, like Sphere of Safety.  If it wants to be a theft deck, it needs more Control Magic effects.  If it wants to be a control deck, it needs more destruction, removal and counterspells.  This is purely personal preference though, and really something that you're going to have to work on with the deck a lot.

The deck comes with 2 bombs:  Insurrection and Crescendo of War.  Insurrection is really your main "I win" card, since most of the time your creatures are poo.  Crescendo of War turns even the littlest creatures on the board into true beasts after just a turn around the table, and if it stays out there longer it gets ridiculous.  But both of these cards are very situational, and you may not want to play them when you draw them due to current board states.  Reins of Power can sometimes be pretty powerful as well.

The deck is most competitive when it can land an early Howling Mine, so that you at least have a chance of hitting early land drops.  The curve is low for this deck compared to other precons, coming in at 3.14 average CMC.  But you really need that draw.

Game 1

All right, in this one we have a Melek player that acts more like a Niv-Mizzet deck, an Azami player that looks to be combo, and a 5 color control player using Sliver Queen.  I'm able to get an early Howling Mine which keeps me in contention.   I drop Crescendo of War and it gains a few counters.  After the Azami player tries to play Land Equilibrium, Time Stretch and Consecrated Sphinx,  I realize that she's a pretty big threat, especially after the Sliver Queen player uses Identity Crisis on her revealing Laboratory Maniac.  I use my Insurrection to kill the Azami player off.

I get a little bit of defense up, and the Sliver Queen regrows the Identity Crisis to hit the Melek player with it and kills him.  I'm able to grab my Insurrection back from my graveyard using Izzet Chronarch, but I'm afraid of my own Crescendo of War and blow it up with Austere Command.  The Sliver Queen player is using Maelstrom Nexus to cascade into stuff like Demonic Tutor, and tries to Mind Twist me.  Luckily I have Scattering Stroke to counter it.  When there's enough guys on the table I first try to Reins of Power, which gets countered.  I follow that up with Insurrection, and it's enough to win the game.

Game 2

Early mana screw on my side means that I'm pretty much out of this one.  This is pretty typical of how the deck played.  Karador is the early threat, ramping out a Birthing Pod, using it to sacrifice an Academy Rector to get Mirari's Wake, and Sun Titan to get stuff out of his graveyard.  Teneb is having similar mana issues, but uses Defense of the Heart to get Sheoldred into play to help control things.  Glissa tries to keep up with a Mana Reflection and some Glissa shenanigans.  I continue to be mana hosed.

Just when it looks like Karador is getting out of control, Glissa plays Tooth and Nail for Sepulchral Primordial and Sylvan Primordial, becoming the major threat at the table.  Glissa then hits Karador with Mindslaver.  Karador was unlucky enough to have Necropotence in his hand, and Glissa makes Karador kill himself.  At this point I have 3 lands in play, and Teneb is in the same position.  Glissa has 16 lands in play with the Mana Reflection.  He makes quick work of us after that.

Game 3

In this one I'm going up against another modified Political Puppets deck!  So that's fun.  The Tajic player has a bunch of board wipes to keep things under control, but never has the chance to get battalion going.  However I'm able to turn a signet the other Zedruu player gives me into a Rapacious One, and then Chaos Warp the other Zedruu after a decent sized Minds Aglow so that I can play my own.  I'm feeling pretty good about my position until Tajic plays Planar Cleansing.

Meanwhile the Chorus player keeps dropping threats.  The other Zedruu player plays Wild Evocation and Teferi's Puzzle Box, making things interesting.  The Chorus player continues to drop stuff when Tajic plays Obliterate.  But Wild Evocation is still in play, along with Zedruu's Propaganda and Rhystic Study.  My board was completely wiped, while Chorus saved her Commander with Deathless Angel.  However, the Chorus player concedes.  Eventually the other Zedruu player puts up a defense and gets rid of Tajic, while using Diluvian Primordial to beat down on me and win the game.

So there we go.  In the majority of my games with the deck I had early mana issues, and was picked off as the low hanging fruit.  The deck really needs to increase the amount of lands it has.  I've talked to a few people who say that 34 lands are enough, but they must have added some way to smooth their mana bases to get away with a number that low.

Anyways, I hope you guys learned a little more about the precons.  If they bust out new ones I'll be a little more timely in my reviews!  Next week I'm going to get back to building decks, using one of the brand new legends from Dragon's Maze!  See you then!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale 32 at yahoo dot com



Rules update: They're by Leviathan at Fri, 05/24/2013 - 11:26
Leviathan's picture

Rules update: They're changing the legend rule. For those of you that don't know about it, basically the "legendary rule" only affects cards on your side of the board. On top of that, the legends don't cancel each other out, and you get to keep the copy of the legend you want in play. This basically means that you can't use Clone effects to kill opposing Commanders. Here are a couple quick examples I pulled from MTGSalvation:


- You control Teysa, Orzhov Scion. Your opponent enchants it with Pacifism. You cast another Teysa, Orzhov Scion. You choose the new one to remain on the battlefield. The one enchanted by Pacifism is put into its owner's graveyard (and then so is the Pacifism).
- Your opponent controls Ruric Thar, the Unbowed. You cast Progenitor Mimic, copying it. Both creatures may stay on the battlefield as long as they're controlled by different players. After Progenitor Mimic's ability creates a token copy of Ruric Thar, you must choose one to stay on the battlefield. The other will be put into its owner's graveyard as a state-based action.


- You control Jace Beleren. On your turn, you activate one of his abilities. You then cast Jace, Architect of Thought. You now control two Planeswalkers with the Planeswalker type Jace. You choose Jace, Architect of Thought to remain on the battlefield. Jace Beleren is put into your graveyard. You can activate one of the loyalty abilities of Jace, Architect of Thought.
- Your opponent controls Chandra Nalaar. You cast Chandra, the Firebrand. Both permanents may stay on the battlefield as long as they're controlled by different players.

I really suggest you check out this thread to see ways that this can effect game play and decks: http://forums.mtgsalvation.com/showthread.php?t=512774

I forgot how terrible by Doctor Anime at Tue, 05/28/2013 - 13:01
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I forgot how terrible unmodified Zedruu was. When I was playing the precon deck over a year ago my playgroup was all pretty casual and left me alone long enough to durdle into an Insurrection win now and then. Nowadays with the format so much more competitive and primordials are format staples beside sol rings, the poorly designed zedruu precon has no hope.

Great article. I appreciate the torture you went through to get this done.

Good to see these videos. I by TennieCamp at Fri, 08/02/2013 - 19:46
TennieCamp's picture

Good to see these videos. I learned a lot from this. - Scott Safadi