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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Feb 07 2014 12:00pm
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I love this game. I love writing about it. Compiling lists about it. Evaluating it. Sometimes, I even play it. I'm an Accidental Player.


 Welcome back to the wonderful world of Commander multiplayer, featuring decks and games from Sunday Commander, the PRE I run every Sunday at 16:00 GMT! Enjoy.

 Table of Contents

  1. Commanding News
  2. Try this at home
  3. The SUNCOM Chronicles
  4. What about some action now?
  5. Commander Resources


 The ban hammer stroke down! The DCI Banned & Restricted List Announcement for February 3, 2014, the same one where Deathrite Shaman was sentenced while Bitterblossom and Wild Nacatl got paroled, there was an attachment about Commander (which Wizards keeps calling "a Magic Online-only format" despite their line of paper products with the same name. If I were a paper Commander player, I'd be confused). After an unnecessary complicated search between sites and resources, and the help of Mike Morales (thanks, Mike!), the mystery ban was revealed. The broken card that needed eradicating is... Sylvan Primordial!

Did you see that coming?

 Here's the official motivation from the EDH Rules Committee (yeah, they still use the EDH acronym. More confusion for new players. The committee is in charge of Commander rules and banning as an independent external body. Wizards doesn't handle Commander in-house.)

 Honestly, I don't think Sylvan Primordial is broken or anything. Nor it's a card that I'll particularly miss, either. It was just a strong guy, one that you would put in every green deck, but just like you would for many other staples. During our 60 Sunday Commander events, I can't remember a single time where resolving a Sylvan Primordial was crucial. I've been reminded of its interaction with Deadeye Navigator. And sure, we've had our fair share of Deadeye Navigator decks; this Animar build, for instance. But the engine there doesn't involve Sylvan Primordial, it involves Palinchron. And once you have that engine going, you can't care less for the Primordial (in fact, that build didn't even include it).

 We have had 73 different players registering 593 decks in these 60 events. I'm pretty sure none of them will react to the Primordial's ban with more than a shrug. They'll just click the Primordial off their lists, then click on, say, Woodfall Primus. Done. (I know I'll do just that.)

 At the same time, I'm sure Sheldon Menery and the other members of the committee had their reasons to think that Sylvan Primordial was the one card that currently needed banning. Based on their experience, it did. And this is precisely the point. How is Commander experienced? Other formats base their banning decisions on the data collected from sanctioned tournaments, both pro levels and things like Friday Night Magic. But there aren't sanctioned tournaments for Commander. In fact, I'm not even sure the committee plays Commander tournaments at all. Menery advocates casual play. He also advocates kitchen tables with house rules. But how can you make your own house rules online when the MTGO filter establishes what you can or can't play based on the committee's deliberations?

 To recap the weirdness: Wizards calls Commander a MTGO-only format while selling paper products for it, and while giving an external committee with a predilection for casual and social play the duty to oversee the ban list that online will be used in a wild range of different metas, including competitive tournaments. It's all a bit chaotic.

 Maybe banning Sylvan Primordial makes sense when you're really committed to casual and the social contract; it promotes diversity. But you can see things in the deck sections of this series that'd send Sylvan Primordial running and hiding under its bed.

 In other news, Born of the Gods is almost here and it comes with 7 new legendary guys to lead our decks. Here they are, evaluated uniquely as commanders:

Rank Card Name Evaluation
1. Brimaz, King of Oreskos  He's the Lion King! And he's a great mono-white commander that aggressively produces a lot of tokens since the early turns, for a wide range of strategies (we know you can do things with tokens, even if white mostly uses them for aggro purposes). Brimaz certainly puts a big target on your back, though, since you are bound to start attacking with him very soon in the game, thus making yourself more and more enemies.
2.   Ephara, God of the Polis Her card-drawing says "each upkeep", but of course it's hard to keep playing creatures in all the opponents turns (Winding Canyons and Teferi notwithstanding). An aggro-based general that gives you cards isn't bad, though. And she's indestructible and going to become a creature herself soon enough.
3.   Karametra, God of Harvests Karametra ramps. Like, a lot. Did we need another green-based general for ramping strategies? Probably not, but she's sure strong at that,  thins your deck, and like every God also provides a good level of offense/defense and is hard to deal with. Will see play.
4.   Mogis, God of Slaughter In multiplayer Mogis is definitely better than in 1v1. It's sort of a reverse Oloro: if nothing keeps happening, he'll slooowly win the game for you. There's a downside, though: he offers a free sacrifice outlet for all your opponents. It can be dangerous. 
5.   Phenax, God of Deception Did you ever want to play a traditional mill deck in Commander? (I mean, not just one that win through decking, one that grind each opponent bit by bit). Now you have the perfect Commander for that one. I can't tell if Phenax will be super-strong or super-popular. Probably neither, but if you use him, you know what you're doing.
6.   Tromokratis Kraken tribal deck, anyone? No? That's what I thought. (Plus, we already had the superior Wrexial for that). 
7.   Xenagos, God of Revels Haste and a potentially big boost to your latest creature is a big deal, especially since by the time you'll play Xenagos, you're probably ready to drop dangerous stuff in these colors. It's a laser focus strategy, but one that feels scary by just reading the rule text. Thank God (not him) he can't give the bonus to himself. It would be nuts.

 My personal favorite for a new deck: uhm, none of the above? I'm not particularly excited for any of these, even if Brimaz, Karametra and Xenagos have certainly very strong commander potential. And they're definitely going to be used as regular cards in many decks with their colors, especially Karametra.


 I maintain a list of cards that I always send to rookies: the Commander Essentials, the most used cards you can play in every deck. So I decided to share it with all of you, with the added purpose of asking for contributions: can you think of other cards that should be here? If so, please tell me in the comments. The only criteria are: they need to be generically useful cards regardless of your strategy and color identity (i.e. they can't have any mana symbol on them). Here my starting lineup of 75 cards, divided into broad categories.



 Command Tower, Opal Palace: These are the Commander-specific ones. Command Tower goes everywhere, of course, except for mono-colored builds. Opal Palace is less useful as mana producer, because it's basically just a Shimmering Grotto, but the ability to boost your commander is relevant in mono-colored too.

 Vesuva, Thespian's Stage: Copying special lands always comes in handy. Vesuva is a classic and quicker to perform its replicative goal, but Thespian's Stage is actually the superior one in Commander, since you don't usually need to copy something right away (while you may care for a land that doesn't enter tapped in early turns), and you want to be able to switch target later.

 Strip Mine, Wasteland, Ghost Quarter, Tectonic Edge, Dust Bowl: A couple of land destruction effects on lands are required in any deck. Strip Mine is the unparalleled grandfather, therefore first choice. Wasteland should be the second best, but it's a nightmare, money-wise. Ghost Quarter and Tectonic Edge are decent budget alternatives (in Commander, the difference between Tectonic and Wasteland is sometimes negligible). Dust Bowl is an interesting option to keep going with the destruction (without using Crucible of Worlds).

 Homeward Path, Reliquary Tower, Winding Canyons, Miren, the Moaning Well: Special effects. Path and Tower are slightly underrated, but surviving stealing effects and massive card draws is more frequently called for than one would expect. Winding Canyons gives your creatures flash (without the severe cost required by Hall of the Bandit Lord for haste) while Miren is a sacrifice outlet that doubles as lifegaining, while still producing mana (unlike the older Diamond Valley); both are effects with a wide range of applications, especially the latter, where you don't have access to Phyrexian Tower.

 Boseiju, Who Shelters All: Its cost is steep, but protecting a key spell from countermagic might prove crucial. I put it in a separate entry from the other special effects because its usefulness entirely hinges on the actual presence of countermagic at the table. As such, it's more situational than the others.

 Maze of Ith, Mystifying Maze: Land-based protection from attackers. The latter may look like the mana-producing version of the former, but they actually works in different ways and have different strengths: for one, Mystifying Maze kills auras yet is bad against positive ETB abilities. Maze of Ith is a timeless classic, but cramming too many "inert" lands into your deck is always a dangerous proposition.

 Thawing Glaciers, Reflecting Pool, Deserted Temple: Mana fixing or multiplication. The Glaciers makes for a relentless, if slow ramp, while also providing deck-thinning. Reflecting Pool is sort of the ultimate dual land, and works amazingly with any land that has a "all-color" option (including Cavern of Souls, Mirrodin's Core and depleted Vivid lands). The Temple interacts with any land that produces more than two mana, either naturally (Gaea's Cradle, anyone?) or via a third-party mana multiplier.



 Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, Mana Vault: The good ol' stuff. Can we call them the Power 3 of Commander? Hard to keep them out of any given deck, no matter how many damage you got from Mana Crypt in your career (in my case, that's a LOT of damage).

 Everflowing Chalice, Grim Monolith, Mind Stone, Worn Powerstone, Thran Dynamo, Dreamstone Hedron: All good colorless-producing rocks at different points in the curve. Dreamstone Hedron (the "triple Mind Stone") is a bit on the expensive side for non-ramping decks, but it rewards with card-drawing later. I don't include (Basalth Monolith) because it's mostly good only in decks that can include Power Artifact.

 Coalition Relic, Chromatic Lantern, Gilded Lotus: Color-producing rocks. There's many of them, especially when you go into color-specific stuff like the Signets or the Medallions, but these three are truly excellent and for all the seasons: Coalition Relic is a signature Commander card, Chromatic Lantern is the ultimate mana color fixer, and Gilded Lotus is just the thing you always want to have on the board, and it immediately gives 3 of its 5 mana back.

 Expedition Map, Armillary Sphere, Journeyer's Kite, Solemn Simulacrum: Land-fetchers. Expedition Map is unique in that it fetches anything. Armillary Sphere is mainly useful where green isn't present. Journeyer's Kite is a popular, if slow mana ramper a la Thawing Glaciers. And Solemn Simulacrum might be the single most ubiquitous card in Commander decks after Sol Ring. It's unbelievable the value you get out of that little robot.

 Doubling Cube, Extraplanar Lens, Gauntlet of Power, Caged Sun: Mana multipliers. They all come with some downside: Doubling Cube is sort of "win more" as it requires an already developed board; Extraplanar Lens kills one of your lands and asks for a specific, mostly mono-colored mana base (usually Snow, to prevent anybody else to exploit it); Gauntlet of Power (along with its red-only predecessor Gauntlet of Might) helps your opponents, too; and Caged Sun... well, no, Caged Sun is just amazing. If your deck has one dominant color, Caged Sun should be there.



 Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, Whispersilk Cloak, Darksteel Plate, General's Kabuto: Protection for your commander or high-profile guy. Further abilities, like haste or being unblockable (to inflict those 21 damage faster), are just gravy. Of course Lightning Greaves is the number one here: haste for 0 to your latest creature is a bit more than gravy.

 Skullclamp, Umezawa's Jitte: These are two of the most evidently broken cards in the game. So if you're not playing them everywhere (or at least, everywhere where there's creatures, especially small ones), you're either doing it out of sportsmanship, or you're doing it wrong.

 Sword of Fire and Ice, Sword of Light and Shadow, Sword of Feast and Famine: Of course, all the Swords of X and Y are good. In Commander, more than the protections, what really counts are the abilities. And these three provide respectively card advantage, recursion, and ramp, which are all primary elements in the format.

 Basilisk Collar, Loxodon Warhammer: Two good lifegainers with secondary relevant abilities. The Collar is good with pingers; the Warhammer with big dudes you want to get through while at the same time attacking the balance of life totals.

 Nim Deathmantle: Did you ever see what an active Deathmantle can do once you have enough mana to get it going? You place it on a creature with some nasty ETB effects, add a sacrifice outlet, and boom!, that's the first step towards board domination.

 Argentum Armor: It's a big mana investment, but it's the ultimate repeatable removal. Plus a big boost, which is never a bad thing.



 Sensei's Divining Top: Very click-intensive (and time-intensive) online, but there's no better effect of this kind, this side of Sylvan Library.

 Scroll Rack: It can be the most powerful card ever in decks that tend to accumulate cards in hand. It has a tendency to peter out halfway through the game, though.

 Seer's Sundial, Mind's Eye, Illuminated Folio, Staff of Nin: Old-fashioned, colorless card-drawing engines. Historically, Mind's Eye is the more popular of the bunch, even if Sundial and Folio have their uses, especially where blue isn't an option (and, in the case of the Folio, where one color is prevalent). Staff of Nin is not for the early turns, but it's a very strong card combining automatic drawing with some pinging, and it's seeing more and more play.

 Citanul Flute, Planar Portal: Very expensive yet extremely powerful repeatable tutors. Not to be underestimated in a format like Commander.



 Ratchet Bomb, Oblivion Stone, Nevinyrral's Disk: Timeless classics (the Bomb being a strictly better version of the old Powder Keg). If you need board sweeping, you can always count on these three.

 Contagion Engine: Its sweeping effect is slower, if one-sided, but it adds a proliferate ability that may always come in handy. Its little brother Contagion Clasp is less effective in the broader world of Commander.

 Duplicant, Steel Hellkite, Triskelion: A trifecta of destructive creatures. Triskelion is more narrow, but it gives birth to several combos, and can attack the opponents' life totals too.

 Karn Liberated: That's kind of obvious, no? Many, many Commander decks can use Karn's help. If you can afford it.



 Crucible of Worlds: It acts as a powerful recursion engine to both fetch lands, for ramping purposes, and strip lands, for outright aggression. Plus it gives back any important land those evil opponents deprived you of.

 That Which Was Taken: Universal indestructibility provider. It's slow, but effective.

 Quicksilver Amulet: The grandfather of cheating monsters onto the battlefield. Always a joy.

 Trading Post: Multi-purpose is its second name (yes, that would make it "Trading Multi-purpose Post"). Card-drawing, token-generation, recursion, lifegaining. Amazing card. When you don't know how to fill that last slot, just put Trading Post in there. You'll be fine.

 Wurmcoil Engine: Probably the number one option for a finisher in any deck. Better than Titans.

 Sculpting Steel: Let's say you want another copy of something else in this list... (And no, you can't use Phyrexian Metamorph, as it happens).


 SUNCOM 57 winner: justcanceled with Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir.


 This is the latest victory by justcanceled, who had been in a roll since SUNCOM 53 (4 wins in 5 weeks, with 4 different decks and commanders; and the missing one was in an event he didn't take part in). Reportedly, he's now satisfied after proving the point that he can win even without the Time Walk spells. I, for one, never doubted it. In the final table he met Ant d Man with the Kaalia deck documented below, the_arend with instant classic Prossh, wich is a 1st place waiting to happen, and newcomer Tonetta777 with newcomer Sydri.


 SUNCOM 58 winner: raf.azevedo with (told ya!) (Prossh, Skyrider of Kher).

by raf.azevedo - 1st place in SUNCOM 58
1 Anger
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Coffin Queen
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Devoted Druid
1 Dosan the Falling Leaf
1 Eternal Witness
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
1 Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
1 Murderous Redcap
1 Necrotic Ooze
1 Ogre Battledriver
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
1 Sadistic Hypnotist
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Somberwald Sage
1 Sylvan Primordial
1 Triskelion
1 Wickerbough Elder
1 Zealous Conscripts
23 cards

Other Spells
1 Ashnod's Altar
1 Beastmaster Ascension
1 Berserk
1 Birthing Pod
1 Chord of Calling
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Coalition Relic
1 Cultivate
1 Damnation
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Earthcraft
1 Fecundity
1 Food Chain
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Greater Good
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Grim Monolith
1 Grim Tutor
1 Imperial Seal
1 In the Web of War
1 Jarad's Orders
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Necropotence
1 Parallel Lives
1 Phyrexian Altar
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Possessed Portal
1 Skullclamp
1 Skyshroud Claim
1 Slate of Ancestry
1 Sol Ring
1 Survival of the Fittest
1 Sylvan Library
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Vandalblast
1 Xenagos, the Reveler
39 cards
2 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Arid Mesa
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Cavern of Souls
1 City of Brass
1 Command Tower
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Forest
1 Gaea's Cradle
1 Graven Cairns
1 High Market
1 Karplusan Forest
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Marsh Flats
1 Mossfire Valley
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Phyrexian Tower
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Shadowblood Ridge
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Stomping Ground
1 Strip Mine
1 Sulfurous Springs
1 Taiga
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Volrath's Stronghold
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Woodland Cemetery
37 cards

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher


 We already know raf as one of the most successful players in the event. Lately he focused mostly on challenges. This time around he just brought his A-game, defeating in the final fliebana with good guy Rhys, Hopachi with Jarad, and SekKuar Deathkeeper with Karador.


 SUNCOM 59 winner: SilencerPL with Sliver Queen.

by SilencerPL - 1st place in SUNCOM 59
1 Bloodbraid Elf
1 Bloom Tender
1 Consuming Aberration
1 Guttersnipe
1 Laboratory Maniac
1 Maelstrom Wanderer
1 Manaplasm
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Shardless Agent
1 Witch-Maw Nephilim
11 cards

Other Spells
1 Ancestral Vision
1 Archangel's Light
1 Bituminous Blast
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Captured Sunlight
1 Chaos Warp
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Coalition Relic
1 Collective Restraint
1 Cultivate
1 Decree of Pain
1 Demonic Dread
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Deny Reality
1 Epic Experiment
1 Explosive Vegetation
1 Eye of the Storm
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Farseek
1 Fellwar Stone
1 Frantic Search
1 Gaea's Blessing
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Impulse
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Maelstrom Nexus
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Reflection
1 Mind's Desire
1 Mortify
1 Night's Whisper
1 Null Profusion
1 Omniscience
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Possibility Storm
1 Primeval Bounty
1 Prophetic Bolt
1 Putrefy
1 Recross the Paths
1 Recycle
1 Regrowth
1 Rhystic Study
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Sphinx-Bone Wand
1 Stormcaller's Boon
1 Syphon Mind
1 Tainted Pact
1 Three Visits
1 Unexpected Results
1 Violent Outburst
1 Worldly Counsel
52 cards
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Breeding Pool
1 Cephalid Coliseum
1 Command Tower
1 Crumbling Necropolis
1 Desolate Lighthouse
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Forest
1 Godless Shrine
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island
1 Jungle Shrine
1 Krosan Verge
1 Mountain
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Plains
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Savage Lands
1 Seaside Citadel
1 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Snow-Covered Island
1 Snow-Covered Mountain
1 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Steam Vents
1 Stomping Ground
1 Swamp
1 Temple Garden
1 Vivid Crag
1 Vivid Creek
1 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Vivid Meadow
1 Watery Grave
36 cards

Sliver Queen


 We have a detailed deck tech for this super-cool, super-scary storm deck (where the Queen is the typical signifier for, "I want to play with 5 colors to do nasty things but I don't care for Horde of Notions" – I'm actually thinking to ban Sliver Queen as a commander in non-Sliver decks, so at least the other 5-color commanders will have a chance to sort-of-shine). Our resident Polish player SilencerPL, here at his first win, had to fend off the opposition of the well-tested Kaalia build by Beaubafett and the equally intimidating Teneb, the Harvester by Decerebre. Speaking of which...


 SUNCOM 60 winner: Decerebre with Teneb, the Harvester.

by Decerebre - 1st place in SUNCOM 60
1 Academy Rector
1 Argothian Enchantress
1 Avacyn, Angel of Hope
1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
1 Mesa Enchantress
1 Verduran Enchantress
6 cards

Other Spells
1 Abrupt Decay
1 Animate Dead
1 Asceticism
1 Aura of Silence
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Crop Rotation
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Cultivate
1 Damnation
1 Day of Judgment
1 Defense Grid
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Enchantress's Presence
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Expedition Map
1 Exploration
1 Exquisite Blood
1 Exsanguinate
1 Fertile Ground
1 Greater Auramancy
1 Humility
1 Idyllic Tutor
1 Karma
1 Karmic Justice
1 Kismet
1 Krosan Grip
1 Land Tax
1 Lethal Vapors
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mirari's Wake
1 Moat
1 Molder
1 Necropotence
1 Oblivion Ring
1 Opalescence
1 Parallax Wave
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Privileged Position
1 Putrefy
1 Reap and Sow
1 Regrowth
1 Replenish
1 Roots of Life
1 Sacred Ground
1 Sanguine Bond
1 Scroll Rack
1 Seal of Cleansing
1 Seal of Doom
1 Seal of Primordium
1 Sol Ring
1 Solitary Confinement
1 Sterling Grove
1 Sylvan Library
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Underworld Connections
1 Wrath of God
1 Yawgmoth's Will
58 cards
4 Forest
4 Plains
3 Swamp
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Bayou
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Cabal Coffers
1 City of Brass
1 Command Tower
1 Glacial Chasm
1 Godless Shrine
1 Marsh Flats
1 Maze of Ith
1 Mishra's Factory
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Savannah
1 Serra's Sanctum
1 Strip Mine
1 Temple Garden
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Vesuva
35 cards

Teneb, the Harvester


 Decerebre has played only four times in SUNCOM, winning two and always reaching the final table. That's some good credentials. And let's be honest, this deck is great. It's a Commander Enchantress deck! Within the 32 tableaux of this enchantment exhibit, you can find all the all-time greatest representatives of this type, from Necropotence and Phyrexian Arena to Privileged Position and Solitary Confinement. And, of course, Sterling Grove, Greater Auramancy and Opalescence. But the combo that impressed the most was this one, that justifies the presence of the only non-enchantment-related creature (aside from the occasional Kozilek):


That's not easy to come back from, is it? The option to "destroy" Lethal Vapors feels particularly mocking.

 Once again, the commander is here only to provide the right color range and occasionally assist with a recursion. Nothing wrong with that: sometimes, the commanders lead their troops into battle; sometimes, they just oversee operations from the rear.


 Palate cleanser: From SUNCOM 57, this is Ant d Man with Kaalia battling against hexalite and SekKuar Deathkeeper, both with Karador, and Smaug with Oloro. The surprise ending is due to a certain, unexpected little card...

 And this is the pièce de résistance, SilencerPL showing and telling about his storm deck from SUNCOM 59:

 Words are spoken in the video, more words are written here (with an interesting focus on what's okay for casual games, what's not):

 "So I made this deck accidentally when I deleted another deck and couldn't remember what there was in it. So I began collecting cards that trigger by casting spells and I put them all together; four months later, I had a good deck. Now it's been over 3 years and playing it still seems fun to me. If you take out a few cards (see below) the deck is fair enough and it still generates some epic turns very often. The casual version can't give you sudden wins, your advantage grows steadily but you'll eventually end up with 100 life and cast every card in the deck at least once. It's also not very expensive to build, and nothing will ever get banned. It can deal with any kind of threats, however it's not designed to play against other combo decks.


 The tournament version above is pretty straightforward: Just try and cast Omniscience, Recycle/Null Profusion and/or Eye of the Storm. Some cards and strategies change value depending on the version. For instance, Archangel's Light is a good card in the casual version, because before I win the game, I must draw more cards and that sorcery works well for that. In a tournament setting there's not so much time, so instead of reshuffling my graveyard to library and playing all spells again, I just go and deck myself to win with Laboratory Maniac. So the competitive version probably doesn't even need Archangel's Light. This is true for creature finishers like the Nephilim too, because I always combo out or kill with Sphinx-Bone Wand).

Another thing which completely changes the strategy is Demonic Tutor (in casual, I use Tainted Pact only, which is also good with Laboratory Maniac because all my lands are singleton). After casting it, your several next turns can be predicted and you'll end up doing almost always the same things, whereas in the casual version you get to choose between many options every turn.


 In a typical game you want to ramp up to about 15 mana by turn 8, then find a way to draw a lot of cards, or assemble a combo, or cast Possibility Storm which usually lets you play more and better spells than your opponents, and after that you should have a big board advantage.

 The mana curve is crucial. If you want to play this deck, don't change the mana curve or do it carefully. The number of finishers, card draw, ramp and everything else are also accurate, so don't change it too much either. You will be able to cast almost any card you need each game, so even small changes to the decklist can make it work a lot different.

 If someone's interested, these cards also work fine in the deck: Manaweft Sliver, Flesh/Blood, Thassa, God of the Sea, Enduring Renewal, Stolen Goods, Solemn Simulacrum, Enigma Sphinx, Brilliant Ultimatum. Second tier: Gemhide Sliver, Dormant Sliver, Beast Within, Surrakar Spellblade, Cloven Casting, Cast Through Time, Heretic's Punishment, Forgotten Ancient, Stitch in Time.  Third tier: Charmbreaker Devils, Maelstrom Pulse (I prefer to play Chaos Warp because instants are better than sorceries!), Melek, Izzet Paragon, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, Chain Reaction, Mentor of the Meek, Fire/Ice, Crime/Punishment.

 In 2HG games I also like Mirror Entity and Sarkhan the Mad as a small combo, plus Jace Beleren to support my teammate when I don't need more draw. In casual games I take out these cards: Mana Crypt, Skullclamp (too good with the Queen), Demonic Tutor, Rhystic Study, Laboratory Maniac."


And that's it. See you in the SUNCOM room next Sunday at 16:00 GMT, and with the Commander Chronicles here next month! Commander ho! 


Added to the Essentials for by Kumagoro42 at Fri, 03/07/2014 - 06:19
Kumagoro42's picture

Added to the Essentials for future references:

Champion's Helm: Another good way to protect your commander.

Powder Keg: Ratchet Bomb's slightly worse predecessor, still good for redundancy.