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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 17 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 that takes place 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

COMMANDING NEWS

 Commander 2014 is here! The greatest event of the Commander year deserves deep focus. Which means an evaluation of all the 61 new cards from the 5 mono-colored decks each featuring for the first time a planeswalker as commander. The cards are divided by colors, and here you can see the full list of all the five decks, with prices from mtgGoldfish. In this installment, we'll do white, blue and black, leaving red, green and colorless for the next time (by then, we could also more properly assess the long-term price of all these cards).

 WHITE: FORGED IN STONE

    

 Angel of the Dire Hour: A new high-profile Angel is always something to look closely at. In this case, the idea is excellent, a gigantic combat trick that can exile an entire alpha strike out of nowhere. The execution pushes towards honest play, though, as Commander cards often do. As it is, it might be too expensive for a one-time effect (well, unless you keep hitting her with Erratic Portal or something), but I'm sure she'll see some play regardless.

 Angelic Field Marshal: White member of the Lieutenant cycle. Value without commander: low. Value with commander: moderate, you get a 5/5 vigilant flyer for 4, and everyone has vigilance. It's good stuff, but considering the condition, it's not excellent. Like every lieutenant, it's probably an auto-include in good stuff decks, though.

 Benevolent Offering: White member of the political alliance cycle, where you get to make good with another player via peace offering. In this case, you and your ally both get sort of an enhanced Timely Reinforcements. Solid card, probably good when you are the one who takes advantage of it the most, for instance if you happen to have Purphoros and Night of Souls' Betrayal out. Ah, the nuances of politics. The instant speed is a great part of the appeal, since all those flyers can change the outcome of an attack.

 Comeuppance: In the great tradition of white cards like Reverse Damage and Eye for an Eye, Comeuppance resurrects in grand style that semi-forgotten part of the white pie. Don't make the long text deceives you: in most cases this will play like a one-sided Wrath of God against an alpha strike. It's a card that can single-handedly change a game. It even works against that kind of decks that win through one massive amount of combo-provided damage, like Molten Psyche.

  

 Containment Priest: The super-bomb of the white list, currently holding half the value of the entire deck. The reason is simple: by stopping cold a lot of tricks in Vintage and Legacy, from Show and Tell to Sneak Attack and to Recurring Nightmare to Natural Order and (Oath of Druid), Containment Priest has immediately become a sideboard staple in all the eternal formats where she can be played.

 Deploy to the Front: Not sure why this one-shot token producer costs that much. It's very situational, and not even instant-speed. It can just be good for redundancy in a deck that relies on Purphoros effects for the win, although those are all in red, so the commander has to be something else.

 Fell the Mighty: This is an effect that white weenie will like a lot, as much as that archetype exists in Commander. They surely will like it in Legacy Tribal Wars.

  

 Hallowed Spiritkeeper: A solid creature with a potentially amazing death trigger, although it's not something that you want to activate too early. White is pushing tokens a lot in this deck, which makes some sense considering it's an equipment deck, and tokens are good equipment carriers, especially when they come online after a sweeper, then you equip some nasty piece of warfare onto them.

 Jazal Goldmane: Ajani's older brother (it's not a joke, he really is!) is technically dead, which leads us to the idea that this expansion is set at various points in the past of the current storyline. Regardless, he's a good card: a 4/4 first striker for 4 is honest, and the pumping ability can be crucial, even if it's a little overcosted, and compared to something like (Kamahl, First of Krosa), it definitely lacks penetrating power.

 Nahiri, the Lithomancer: The white planeswalker who's also the white commander (we should get used to this) is an event for many reasons. First, she's the first Kor walker ever printed. And she's also the mysterious lithomancer who helped Sorin and Ugin defeat the Eldrazi all those centuries ago (so she's very ancient, too, despite her youthful appearance). And yes, she's a Stoneforge Mystic. But is she good? She's great if you like equipments. In fact, she's the ultimate equipment enabler, capable of doing the Quest for the Holy Relic/Argentum Armor combo on her own. More so, she generates a Kor Outfitter per turn, and her ultimate is a unique piece of weaponry. All in all, a great design that strikes a perfect balance between derivative and innovative.

 BLUE: PEER THROUGH TIME

    

 Aether Gale: In the tradition of "things that work only in a Commander game", like Decimate or Hex, Aether Gale needs 6 targets to resolve. And yeah, in a Commander game, it's bound to find those. The surgical aspect of the unsummoning is appreciated, but the instant speed is severely lacking.

 Breaching Leviathan: Definitely too high a cost for an effect that, sure, can even spell victory under certain conditions, but most of the times, it'll just give you a Sleep and a non-abusable vanilla fattie.

 Domineering Will: Blue mimics red's favorite trick of temporary stealing, ideally for defensive and even political reasons. But who's to stop me from taking control of 3 big baddies in MY turn, and attack with them? Guess they weren't attacking when I took them, and unfortunately, they won't be able to block. Overall, it looks like a fun card.

 Dulcet Sirens: Morph is trending right now. But this new Siren doesn't exploit it too much, and the ability is just meant to mess with the other players, even if you can put it to some good use on occasions, by taking away a blocker or deflecting an attack while causing mischief.

  

 Intellectual Offering: The blue member of the political alliance cycle. Both the players draw 3 and untap their stuff. There's not many ways to turn this into a better advantage for you, so this is truly a sincere helping hand, which is bizarre coming from blue.

 Reef Worm: This might be my favorite card of all the five decks. And you don't even need to Johnny-fy it with Doubling Season and Goblin Bombardment or what-have-you: it's just so great to have a one-card food chain! They need to make a green one with land animals!

 Stitcher Geralf: The Innistrad's Doctor Frankenstein of Geralf's Messenger fame is a bit underwhelming. 3 mana to mill everybody and MAYBE get a vanilla dork that MIGHT be big enough in the process doesn't look that powerful to me, and certainly not very flexible.

  

 Stormsurge Kraken: The blue member of the lieutenant cycle. Of all the lieutenants, this one is good even without the commander around, as a 5/5 hexproof dude for 5. In fact, becoming a 7/7 that can draw you cards when blocked, while amazing, is even less of an improvement than with the other lieutenants.

 Teferi, Temporal Archmage: Teferi has been spoiled so long ago that everything has already been said about him. I'll tell this: I'm not a fan. The +1 ability is small potatoes for a 6-mana, fragile permanent, and the -1 can make for a great ramp, but it can also be irrelevant, and works against the ultimate, so to get there you necessarily have to keep doing the Sea Gate Oracle thing. Which, don't get me wrong, is a welcome free effect, but it's not much more of what even the worst Jace does. And the ultimate, which is what triggered most people's fantasies, is certainly novel, but you need both a very specific deck and a very favorable board status to even start exploiting it. And it bugs me that in his deck, there's not even a chance of doing it. I guess going ultimate while using these 99 means that you'll start drawing multiple cards per turn and/or untap mana sources to cast them. He's strong, but I'm still not a fan.

 Well of Ideas: Last in line in the Howling Mine kind of effects, this enchantment is probably a bit too expensive for what it does, even if it gives you Font of Mythos (plus an initial Divination, which seems added to avoid spending 6 mana to give everyone else card advantage) while your opponents get the Mine.

 BLACK: SWORN TO DARKNESS

   

 Demon of Wailing Agonies: The black member of the lieutenant cycle. In absence of the commander, it's just a strictly worse Sengir Vampire. Otherwise, it's a not exactly better Desecration Demon. Efficient, but unimpressive.

 Flesh Carver: This guy is a (non-free) sacrifice outlet that grows and leaves a token behind when it, in turn, dies. Again, efficient, but unimpressive.

 Ghoulcaller Gisa: I like Gisa more than her brother's Geralf, and not just because she looks like next door's goth enthusiast you want to invite at your party. She's a sacrifice outlet for a reasonable cost (although the tap symbol hurts a little, mostly because it means you can't use her right away), and with a relevant side effect, effectively turning your power's worth of creatures into twice that amount. Plus, many little creatures are more Johnny-friendly than one big creature.

 Infernal Offering: The black member of the political alliance cycle. The forced sacrifice is not really exploitable since it's followed by Exhume. In fact, you might want to consider the ETB effects involved, because it might become dangerous to allow an opponent to repeat one of them. Then again, that's exactly how you can be sure to take advantage of this, when you're the one with Nekrataal or Skinrender on the board.

   

 Malicious Affliction: So, it's two Doom Blades at the cost of one, provided you already cast a Doom Blade-like spells this turn. Or well, anything else happened that triggered morbid, which is actually easier than it looks. A good one, not just for Commander.

 Necromantic Selection: A new high-end sweeper, the kind black Commander decks always like. In this case, you get to keep the best creature for yourself, which might have not even been one of yours. Potentially nasty. See? This is how it's done, Phyrexian Rebirth!

 Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath: It turns out Ob Nixilis was never a Demon, but a Shapeshifter who took the form of a Demon. This time he apparently decided to take the form of a bald guy who likes candlelight dinners. His main appeal is the -2 ability. The plus one is barely noticeable and the ultimate is kind of underwhelming, so you have to take Ob as a Demon factory. He gives birth to a 5/5 flyer every other turn, after all, while recovering the life lost in the process via mini-Drain Life. It's definitely something.

 Overseer of the Damned: This is a strong Demon. It's of the expensive kind, but it gives you a free, abusable creature kill, no strings attached, plus it generates a bunch of Zombies when something dies, which I'll go out on a limb and say it's bound to happen when you're facing black. An easy inclusion in black decks that aren't scared by high casting costs, which is most black decks.

  

 Raving Dead: This guy would be strong if it didn't have the "attack at random" clause. Maybe too strong? I appreciate that, for once, the deathtouch on a larger creature comes with high toughness and low power, as it should.

 Spoils of Blood: There are cases where this spells will give you a big dude for minimal cost, those cases being after a particularly effective board sweep. Black is certainly the right color for that. Still, this card is a little too situational for my taste, considering the resulting Horror isn't going to win you the game or anything. It's a good design, but I'm not sure it's worth a slot.

 Wake the Dead: Defensive black reanimation? We've seen everything now. Well, it can be great if paired with a lot of ETB effects.

 NEXT: red, green, and colorless!


THE SUNCOM CHRONICLES

 It happened: come event 91, I left the hosting duties of SUNCOM. Too many PREs to take care of were too many. I salute the new SUNCOM host, Gordani, who's already doing a great job with the tournament, introducing the Table of Death, a special table for multi-winners to face off each other and leave the other players a better chance to get into the final round. Keep up the good work and best of luck with everything, Gor!

 SUNCOM 89 winner: SekKuar Deathkeeper with Grimgrin, Corpse-Born.

by SekKuar Deathkeeper - 1st place in SUNCOM 89
Creatures
1 Bloodghast
1 Burnished Hart
1 Clone
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Diregraf Captain
1 Erebos, God of the Dead
1 Frost Titan
1 Geth, Lord of the Vault
1 Grave Titan
1 Gravecrawler
1 Harvester of Souls
1 Lord of the Undead
1 Notion Thief
1 Oona, Queen of the Fae
1 Phantasmal Image
1 Phenax, God of Deception
1 Shadowmage Infiltrator
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One
1 Snapcaster Mage
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Thassa, God of the Sea
1 Undead Warchief
1 Xiahou Dun, the One-Eyed
23 cards

Other Spells
1 Bitterblossom
1 Black Market
1 Brainstorm
1 Bribery
1 Coalition Relic
1 Compulsive Research
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Damnation
1 Dark Prophecy
1 Decree of Pain
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Grave Pact
1 Imperial Seal
1 Increasing Ambition
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Liliana of the Dark Realms
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Memory Plunder
1 Mutilate
1 Mystic Remora
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Ponder
1 Recoil
1 Rhystic Study
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
1 Temporal Extortion
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Time Spiral
1 Timetwister
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Whip of Erebos
36 cards
Lands
14 Swamp
9 Island
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Cabal Coffers
1 Command Tower
1 Drowned Catacomb
1 Marsh Flats
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Polluted Delta
1 Strip Mine
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Temple of the False God
1 Terrain Generator
1 Underground Sea
1 Unholy Grotto
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Watery Grave
40 cards
 
Grimgrin, Corpse-Born

 

 Another win for our eclectic Scot, SekKuar Deathkeeper, this time with the underrated Zombie champion. Did you know that Grimgrin has been made by Geralf as a homage to her sister Gisa's wicked smile?

 SUNCOM 90 winner: ScionOfJustice with Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon.

 

 Infect doesn't win often in Commander, despite the advantage of needing just one quarter of the usual amount of damage (despite common belief, the poison points needed to kill a player are officially still 10). This all-black version by ScionOfJustice did the trick, in no small measure thanks to Skithiryx being a powerhouse.

 SUNCOM 91 winner: the_arend with Prossh, Skyraider of Kher.

Skyraidin'
by the_arend - 1st place in SUNCOM 91
Creatures
1 Acidic Slime
1 Avenger of Zendikar
1 Birds of Paradise
1 Craterhoof Behemoth
1 Dark Confidant
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Eternal Witness
1 Fyndhorn Elves
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Imperial Recruiter
1 Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
1 Lotus Cobra
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
1 Rune-Scarred Demon
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Squee, Goblin Nabob
1 Sylvan Caryatid
1 Wood Elves
1 Yavimaya Dryad
1 Yavimaya Elder
1 Zealous Conscripts
25 cards

Other Spells
1 Awakening Zone
1 Beastmaster Ascension
1 Chord of Calling
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Damnation
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Dreadbore
1 Farseek
1 Food Chain
1 Garruk Relentless
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Goblin Bombardment
1 Golgari Signet
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Grim Tutor
1 Gruul Signet
1 Hero's Downfall
1 Imperial Seal
1 Maelstrom Pulse
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mox Diamond
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Praetor's Counsel
1 Rakdos Signet
1 Regrowth
1 Sarkhan Vol
1 Scroll Rack
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Survival of the Fittest
1 Sylvan Library
1 Talisman of Impulse
1 Talisman of Indulgence
1 Three Visits
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Worldly Tutor
1 Xenagos, the Reveler
38 cards
Lands
4 Forest
3 Swamp
2 Mountain
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Arid Mesa
1 Badlands
1 Bayou
1 Blood Crypt
1 Bloodstained Mire
1 Cavern of Souls
1 City of Brass
1 Command Tower
1 Dragonskull Summit
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Mana Confluence
1 Marsh Flats
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Polluted Delta
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Stomping Ground
1 Strip Mine
1 Taiga
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills
1 Woodland Cemetery
37 cards
 
Prossh, Skyraider of Kher

 

 And this is it, the 5th win that caused Prossh to become banned as commander in SUNCOM. He was really the most consistently scary among the C13 commanders.

 SUNCOM 92 winner: SekKuar Deathkeeper with Surrak Dragonclaw.

 

 And this is the first win of a KTK commander. I, for one, would have never thought Surrak would be the one to break ground, but that's how SekKuar rolls.


WHAT ABOUT SOME ACTION NOW?

 


COMMANDER RESOURCES

THE COMMANDER ESSENTIALS
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!

4 Comments

How can anyone not love by ScionOfJustice at Mon, 11/17/2014 - 12:24
ScionOfJustice's picture

How can anyone not love infect in commander?

I can't. Despite loving by Paul Leicht at Mon, 11/17/2014 - 14:21
Paul Leicht's picture

I can't. Despite loving Skittles as a Dragon. I don't know how it works that I can loath infect and yet like Skittles. Must be a Timmy thing. Infect is most broken in Multiplayer where the life totals are far higher yet the infect goal is still 10. Shortcuts are always annoying when they become well trodden.

That's probably part of it. The bandwagon phenomenon. Also there is a lot of instawin potential with infect if you go multicolor that isn't really there for just mono black. That would be my reasoning as far as it goes anyway.

In terms of potential adds to by thewoof2 at Mon, 11/17/2014 - 23:11
thewoof2's picture

In terms of potential adds to the commander essentials, how about these?

Land: Arcane Lighthouse, Cavern of Souls, Ancient Tomb
Mana: Unstable Obelisk, Sisay's Ring, Palladium Myr, Ur-Golem's Eye
Draw: Memory Jar

Arcane Lighthouse: yes. by Kumagoro42 at Thu, 11/20/2014 - 14:19
Kumagoro42's picture

Arcane Lighthouse: yes. Myriad Landscape, too.

Cavern of Souls: not sure, it's not for every deck. What if you don't even run creatures? Or run too many different types to bother?

Ancient Tomb: not really relevant in Commander as it is in other formats. You draw it later, it's a pain. You draw it early, you're bound to get those 2 damages for A LOT of turns, it's not that you can power a shop deck and quickly do 120 points of damage from there.
I didn't even put Temple of the false God in the list, and that's more of a Commander staple.

Unstable Obelisk: I guess so.

Sisay's Ring + Ur-Golem's Eye: they're bad versions of Thran Dynamo for redundancy. I guess they're kinda popular, though.

Palladium Myr: I generally put in the list stable accelerators, but this is another that shows up enough. I'm not sure popularity has to be a criterion (the list mostly tells people what they SHOULD play), but I'll think about it.

Memory Jar: well, sure.