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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Jun 13 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 competitive 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. The SUNCOM Chronicles
  3. What about some action now?
  4. Commander Resources


 The news of the day concern SUNCOM, the multiplayer event I host every Sunday, that just hit the threshold of 75 events. It's starting to feel like a big number (of course the three digits will call for a larger celebration), but what's particularly significant is that 75 events is what I had previously established would be the point where I look back and decide to take out of the picture a few recurring offenders, mostly to push players into new directions instead of relying on the same old, same old, well-tested victory enablers. SUNCOM is a tournament, and that means it's competitive, and that means it's for Spikes, but not all Spikes are the same, and some don't feel like trying everything at every cost in order to win, to the detriment of the playing experience. Competitive Commander is still Commander, and Commander is a lot of fun.

 Long story short, from Event 76 on, we'll have a new ban list, with the 8 additions listed below. Also, every commander that reaches 5 wins in the Hall of Fame will be banned for use as a commander (they're still be playable as regular cards in the decks). Currently, two of them (Momir Vig, Simic Visionary) and Zur the Enchanter reached the threshold and are banned, with two more, Captain Sisay and Child of Alara, being just one win short of banning (you can appreciate how 3 of these 4 are commanders that tutor up stuff).




 You can see all of these are not just reliable endgame combos that immediately spells game over, but they're based on the interaction of the banned card with just one other card (sometimes that card potentially being your commander!). 3-card combos of this kind are fine with me, for now. For instance, you can have infinite mana with Basalt Monolith and Power Artifact, since that doesn't directly guarantee a win. Same for the things you do with (Rings of Brighthearth), which is under watch anyway.

 The underlying, more crucial reason for all these bans is repeated abuses in the tournament. There are a lot of other nasty endgame combos to be enacted; they didn't show up so far, so radical Spikes, time for you to go back to the drawing board. Just know that in 25 events, the ban list will be updated again. (In the meantime, I took out (Burning of Xinye), because it just annoyed me to have it in there only because of a bug. The bug is known and I marked it down. Let's just accept the fact that online it works as a functional reprint of Wildfire, until fixed).

 Moving on, here's the list of the commanders that won these 75 events.


 I'll do a full statistical study by event 100, but in the meantime, it's interesting to look at the color combinations of these winning guys:

  • Monocolored wins: 14 (of which 8 blue, 2 red, 2 green, 1 white, 1 black)
  • Dual-colored wins: 21 (of which 6 Simic, 5 Selesnya, 3 Azorius, 3 Golgari, 3 Izzet, 1 Rakdos)
  • 3-colored wins: 33 (of which 8 Esper, 5 Jund, 3 Grixis, 1 Naya, 7 Wedge Blue, 3 Wedge White, 3 Wedge Black, 2 Wedge Red, 1 Wedge Green)
  • 5-colored wins: 6

 Yesterday I had a good read with Doctor Anime's article titled Commander: What I'd Like to See in the Future. I don't always agree with him (as you can see from the back and forth we had in the comments!), but it's all well argumented and definitely a recommended read. Now I want to answer his question: What do I like to see in the future of Commander?

 My answer is: clearer tools for organized play. As Doctor Anime points out, Wizards has done and is doing a lot for Commander by embracing the format the way that they did in the past few years. But this leads to some weird anomalies. Commander is now very popular – I'll go out on a limb and say it's currently the 3rd or 4th most played format in the MTG world. When a format is played that much, it's bound to be played competitively, too. Unlike variants like Archenemy, Commander is versatile enough to be played that way. In fact, at its core, it's a twist on 100 Card Singleton, a format where tournament play is a given. If anything, it's 100 Card Singleton with even more opportunities for mad interactions, because you know you'll have one particular card available at any given time. You can call it a "casual format" as much as you want, but there will be tournaments, and there will be Spikes.

 Now, Wizards doesn't organize Commander tournaments. This is probably in order to keep it "casual". But Wizards doesn't control the tournament world, it's not even close to that. Online there have always been Player Run Events for Commander. I remember Chaos EDH (is that one still active?), and SEDH, that was the original event Sunday Commander is based on. All these players, hundreds and hundreds of players, play Commander competitively. If you want to play it casually, you can just find a random table, or even better, create a play group. If you enter a tournament, you want to win. Commander uses a pool that's closer to Vintage than even Legacy's is. You can see how, once you decline it competitively, that's bound to create madness.

 Currently the official DCI ban list is handled by Sheldon Menery and his collaborators. Menery is the man behind the format, he's our guru and will always have our deepest respect. But he doesn't play competitively. In fact, he explicitly encourages casual play. That's a nice thing, I'm also more of a casual player. But I have to think of those who aren't. I firmly believe that by running a Commander tournament, I give the format more visibility, and I push more and more players into trying it (I know I did), even if then they'll chose the less brutal form of play. I don't hate the Spikes. In fact, I think the Spikes help all of us to better understand what works and what doesn't, and that's a factor even in casual play. And the Spikes have rights, too. No Spike enjoys degenerate play enviroments. A pure Spike might allow to be bored to death in order to win, true; but only to a certain extent.

 The current ban list is fine (quick digression: see how that page in the mothership, that's devoted to explain what Commander is, still defines it as "a rule set for Magic Online players"? How can a MTGO format have paper products under the same brand? This is exactly the lack of clarity and clear definitions I'm talking about). But let's be honest, some of the cards I just banned in SUNCOM should have been in the official list since forever. And all of them have more right to be there than (Sylvan Primordial), which has a really low impact on the competitive metagame.

 So why did Menery ban the Primordial and keep Helm of Obedience and Omniscience around? It all boils down to one word: experience. The current ban list is based on the playing experience of Menery and his collaborators. Mine is based on the SUNCOM events I hosted. Neither of them is a perfect, conclusive game experience. However, I want to opine that mine is more useful to establish a series of coordinates for competitive play. It might feel counterintuitive, but casual play can actually put up with more nasty effects, just because casual players won't feel the need to go there. Competitive players will go everywhere, they'll try everything. There are things that the almost 100 different players who've been active in SUNCOM during these 75 events didn't even try, yet I remember from past PREs. Nobody ever played with Azusa, for instance, and they only scratched the surface of what Saffi Eriksdotter can do.

 And what about the 1v1 variant? That opens a whole other can of worms. I'm half thinking they didn't even imagine people would start playing Commander 1v1 when they created the filter that allows for the "Commander duel". If you look at the official announcements (like the one we could see in the home page of the client back when C13 was released), Commander is still defined as a multiplayer format (so it's an "online casual multiplayer format", which however has well-known 1v1 tournaments and they sell paper product for). Nonetheless, Commander 1v1 exists, and is played. And here's the thing, it's a completely different format. It's as different from Commander multiplayer as playing Legacy is from playing 2HG with the Legacy pool. How can it have the same exact ban list?

 So, that's my burning wish. The annual product is great. The presence of cards devised for multiplayer in every set is great. But please, Wizards, put some order in all things Commander. Handle the ban list through DCI, like for every other format. Collect data about competitive play wherever you can find them. Define conclusively what Commander is, acknowledge the ways it's played, and support all of them. Mark Rosewater always says that Magic is not designed for just one kind of player, but has a little to give to each of them. That should be true for Commander as well, which is the most all-embracing, and most appealing format they ever created.


SUNCOM 72 winner: _Kumagoro_ with Kruphix, God of Horizons.

by _Kumagoro_ - 1st place in SUNCOM 72
1 Acidic Slime
1 Beguiler of Wills
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Diluvian Primordial
1 Djinn of Wishes
1 Duplicant
1 Elvish Piper
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Fierce Empath
1 Forgotten Ancient
1 Genesis
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Glissa Sunseeker
1 Horizon Chimera
1 Hornet Queen
1 Kiora's Follower
1 Magus of the Future
1 Master of the Wild Hunt
1 Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
1 Mystic Snake
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Phyrexian Ingester
1 Prime Speaker Zegana
1 Progenitor Mimic
1 Prophet of Kruphix
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Silklash Spider
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Terastodon
1 Trygon Predator
1 Vigor
1 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
1 Wood Elves
1 Woodfall Primus
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Yavimaya Dryad
40 cards

Other Spells
1 Akroma's Memorial
1 Asceticism
1 Coalition Relic
1 Emerald Medallion
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Jace Beleren
1 Kiora, the Crashing Wave
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Lurking Predators
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Reflection
1 Mana Vault
1 Primal Surge
1 Sensei's Divining Top
1 Sol Ring
1 Survival of the Fittest
1 Sylvan Library
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
1 Thran Dynamo
1 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Volition Reins
1 Wild Pair
24 cards
9 Forest
6 Island
1 Academy Ruins
1 Breeding Pool
1 Command Tower
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Hinterland Harbor
1 Homeward Path
1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Oran-Rief, the Vastwood
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Simic Growth Chamber
1 Strip Mine
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Winding Canyons
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Yavimaya Coast
1 Yavimaya Hollow
35 cards

Kruphix, God of Horizons


 So, I did it again! After my win all the way back in SUNCOM 51 with my favorite commander, Kamahl, Fist of Krosa, here I am again winning preliminary and final table with my best-loved 2-color combination, Simic. (On my defense, as a host, I don't play that often). If you take the time to look at the list (from the Gatherling page it will be easier), you may find out the secret of the deck: this is actually a Primal Surge deck, where everything is a permanent except Primal Surge itself. Cool, uh? Well, except I never went off with it a single time! What does that say about the deck? Probably that the Simic permanents are good enough already, working towards ramp-based wincons like Craterhoof Behemoth, which are a lot easier to tutor up than the Surge, especially if, like in my case, you choose to take the purest route and avoid any other nonpermanent spell (such as, say, (Mystical Tutor), to get the full Surge experience. Which, yeah, rarely happens, but I guess it's a possibility. Plus, full disclosure, I like to play with permanents, and this felt like the perfect excuse.

 On the topic of ramping, this links to the discussion I was having yesterday in the comments of Doctor Anime's article. See? This deck ramps efficiently and in a way that's hard to stop without relying on any of the land-fetching spells (there's just (Wood Elves) and Yavimaya Dryad). Thanks to Kruphix, of course. Not that I actually had to use his mana ramping ability at all during these games, though. Man, this deck really was a series of unfulfilled promises that still delivered!

 I gotta say, I'm way more comfortable playing Kruphix as a generic Simic commander (when I want to go Johnnier, I use Experiment Kraj) than I ever was when playing with Momir at the helm. Momir is just outright broken. I'm glad the option to play with him as a commander is gone from SUNCOM now. Good riddance. (He'll still show up in Simic decks, of course. We don't want to shun you completely, Momir!)

 SUNCOM 73 winner: nobody!

by hoppjah - 1st place ex aequo in SUNCOM 73
1 Fate Unraveler
1 Jace's Archivist
1 Jhoira of the Ghitu
1 Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur
1 Kederekt Parasite
1 Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind
1 Psychosis Crawler
1 Sangromancer
1 Skirge Familiar
9 cards

Other Spells
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Black Sun's Zenith
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 Coalition Relic
1 Counterflux
1 Curse of the Swine
1 Damnation
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Demonic Collusion
1 Diabolic Revelation
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Elixir of Immortality
1 Exsanguinate
1 Feldon's Cane
1 Forbidden Alchemy
1 Fork
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Hellfire
1 Impulse
1 Increasing Ambition
1 Increasing Vengeance
1 Intuition
1 Jokulhaups
1 Leyline of Anticipation
1 Leyline of the Void
1 Library of Leng
1 Life's Finale
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Liliana's Caress
1 Lim-Dul's Vault
1 Megrim
1 Mind Over Matter
1 Mind Unbound
1 Molten Psyche
1 Otherworld Atlas
1 Pact of Negation
1 Ponder
1 Preordain
1 Reforge the Soul
1 Reiterate
1 Reverberate
1 Sanguine Bond
1 Sol Ring
1 Temple Bell
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Twincast
1 Underworld Dreams
1 Wheel and Deal
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Whispering Madness
1 Whispersilk Cloak
1 Windfall
1 Winds of Change
53 cards
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Boseiju, Who Shelters All
1 Command Tower
1 Desolate Lighthouse
1 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Dreadship Reef
1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Grand Coliseum
1 Graven Cairns
1 Halimar Depths
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Meteor Crater
1 Mirrodin's Core
1 Molten Slagheap
1 Opal Palace
1 Polluted Delta
1 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Shimmering Grotto
1 Shivan Reef
1 Steam Vents
1 Sulfurous Springs
1 Sunken Ruins
1 Temple of the False God
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Underground River
1 Unstable Frontier
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Vivid Crag
1 Vivid Creek
1 Vivid Marsh
1 Watery Grave
37 cards

Nekusar, the Mindrazer

 The final of SUNCOM 73 had to be called off because of technical issues on the server (thanks, Wizards!). So the four finalist players shared the prize pool equally (and it was a big prize pool because it included the 5 tix from the previous week I couldn't collect as a host). This one above was one of them (the other three being Gordani's Zedruu the Greathearted deck, MrZwick's Phenax, God of Deception, and ScionOfJustice's Thada Del, Acquisitor). I'm featuring hoppjah's Nekusar, the Mindrazer build to salute a new player coming to SUNCOM (welcome!), and a new-ish commander we didn't see often. You may notice Sanguine Bond up there (here in combo with Exsanguinate). You won't notice it again.

 SUNCOM 74 winner: RoccoCiccio with Karador, Ghost Chieftain.

by RoccoCiccio - 1st place in SUNCOM 74
1 Academy Rector
1 Aegis of the Gods
1 Apprentice Necromancer
1 Bloodghast
1 Braids, Cabal Minion
1 Dimir House Guard
1 Duplicant
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Grand Abolisher
1 Hermit Druid
1 Karmic Guide
1 Knight of the Reliquary
1 Krovikan Horror
1 Loaming Shaman
1 Lost Auramancers
1 Loyal Retainers
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Reveillark
1 Rotting Rats
1 Rune-Scarred Demon
1 Sun Titan
1 Vampire Hexmage
1 Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
1 Wall of Roots
1 Weathered Wayfarer
1 Wood Elves
1 Yosei, the Morning Star
30 cards

Other Spells
1 Aura Shards
1 Beseech the Queen
1 Cabal Therapy
1 Chromatic Lantern
1 City of Solitude
1 Death Cloud
1 Decree of Pain
1 Defense of the Heart
1 Diabolic Intent
1 Dread Return
1 Entomb
1 Fecundity
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Into the Wilds
1 Jarad's Orders
1 Krosan Reclamation
1 Life from the Loam
1 Living Plane
1 Necromancy
1 Pattern of Rebirth
1 Phyrexian Altar
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Reanimate
1 Stony Silence
1 Survival of the Fittest
1 Sylvan Library
1 Sylvan Scrying
1 Sylvan Tutor
1 Tooth and Nail
29 cards
1 Archaeological Dig
1 Arid Mesa
1 Barren Moor
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Caves of Koilos
1 Command Tower
1 Crystal Vein
1 Diamond Valley
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Exotic Orchard
1 Flagstones of Trokair
1 Gilt-Leaf Palace
1 Godless Shrine
1 Golgari Rot Farm
1 Grasslands
1 Isolated Chapel
1 Khalni Garden
1 Krosan Verge
1 Llanowar Wastes
1 Marsh Flats
1 Mistveil Plains
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Mountain Valley
1 Murmuring Bosk
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Riftstone Portal
1 Saltcrusted Steppe
1 Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Strip Mine
1 Sunpetal Grove
1 Tainted Field
1 Tainted Wood
1 Temple Garden
1 Temple of the False God
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Tranquil Thicket
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Wooded Bastion
1 Woodland Cemetery
40 cards

Karador, Ghost Chieftain


 My fellow countryman RoccoCiccio is a Modern player recently converted to Commander. He's still learning the ropes, but he's learning fast, judging from the success of his Karador build. Kudos!

 SUNCOM 75 winner: Hopachi with Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord.


 At this point, Jarad has become one of the most popular Golgari builds (overshadowing his more demanding sister Savra), and Hopachi is an established SUNCOM winner, now battling with several other players for the last place available in the next Table of Champions (as you can see from here).


 This is the final table I won with Kruphix, against Robin88's fearsome Zur build, and Felorin's solid Teneb deck. Teneb had a great start leading to a Karn Liberated out of control. After Zur took care of him via Helm of Obedience, which my (Glissa Sunseeker) promptly dealt with, it was a race against Zur's over-the-top fetching ability. My own Simic-based tutoring proved to be a good match for it, as I answered every threat, including the very scary Contamination. Unfortunately, the replay isn't incomplete for some reason (thanks, Wizards!), but after that point, Robin had to maintain a Solitary Confinement and that meant that his only source of drawing was Necropotence, and that's a setup that's only sustainable for so long, especially when you're down to a handful of life and facing a Simic army building up.


80 cards with colorless identity for every Commander deck (review here, propose additions)

 LANDS: Command Tower, Opal Palace, Vesuva, Thespian's Stage, Strip Mine, Wasteland, Ghost Quarter, Tectonic Edge, Dust Bowl, Homeward Path, Reliquary Tower, Winding Canyons, Miren, the Moaning Well, Boseiju, Who Shelters All, Maze of Ith, Mystifying Maze, (Thawing Glaciers), Reflecting Pool, Deserted Temple.

 MANA ACCELERATORS/MANA FIXERS: Sol Ring, Mana Crypt, Mana Vault, Everflowing Chalice, (Grim Monolith), Mind Stone, Worn Powerstone, Thran Dynamo, (Dreamstone Hedron), Coalition Relic, Chromatic Lantern, Gilded Lotus, Expedition Map, Armillary Sphere, Journeyer's Kite, (Solemn Simulacrum), Doubling Cube, Extraplanar Lens, Gauntlet of Power, Caged Sun.

 EQUIPMENTS: (Lightning Greaves), Swiftfoot Boots, Whispersilk Cloak, Darksteel Plate, General's Kabuto, Champion's Helm, Skullclamp, Umezawa's Jitte, Sword of Fire and Ice, Sword of Light and Shadow, (Sword of Feast and Famine), Basilisk Collar, Loxodon Warhammer, Nim Deathmantle, Argentum Armor.

 DRAWING/TUTORING: (Sensei's Divining Top), Scroll Rack, Seer's Sundial, Mind's Eye, Illuminated Folio, Staff of Nin, Citanul Flute, Planar Portal.

 ANSWERS: Ratchet Bomb, Powder Keg, Oblivion Stone, Nevinyrral's Disk, Contagion Engine, Duplicant, Steel Hellkite, Triskelion, Karn Liberated, (All Is Dust), Spine of Ish Sah, Predator, Flagship.

 MISCELLANEA: Crucible of Worlds, That Which Was Taken, Quicksilver Amulet, Trading Post, Wurmcoil Engine, Sculpting Steel.

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!