Adam_the_Mentat's picture
Sep 17 2015 11:00am
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CJB: Seriously, Augustin is a jerk. Glad he's on my side.

Howdy Readers!

I'm gonna start by dropping some knowledge bombs on you.

Augustin IV held what is perhaps the most powerful position in Ravnica on paper. As the Grand Arbiter of the Azorius Senate, he was the leader of Ravnica's "technical" ruling body, which has the most legal authority in the entire plane by far, if not the most actual authority. He remained in this position until he was killed by Szadek. Following his death, Leonos II took over his position. As Grand Arbiter, he presided over the most important legal cases in Ravnica. When such cases were not in session, he would often move from courtroom to courtroom settling disputes. Unlike many in the Azorius Senate who pride themselves on their verbosity, he is known for his brief but eloquent speech, as well as his strong personal authority.

One can only assume Grand Arbiter Augustin the IV probably named himself Augustin in a tradition not unlike the election of the Catholic Pope. Azorius Senate, to me, is a combination of Ancient Catholicism with the Judges from Judge Dread. Augustin is an offshoot of Augustine, which, itself, is an offshoot of Augustus-- such as, the Ancient Roman Emporer Augutus Ceaser, who led the period of golden peace in Rome known as the Pax Romana. Augustine is a masculine given name derived from the Latin word augere, meaning "to increase." The name is a variation of the Roman names, as I said, Augustus and also Augustinus. Augustus means "the great" or "the venerable."

What's interesting, and I'm sure intentional, is the bit about "to increase," hence Augustin's mean ol' Sphere of Resistance-for-opponents-only. He liked to further his guild's own goals, hence the decrease jazz going on.

Arbiter originates from late 14th century Old French: arbitre; or directly from Latin: arbiter "one who goes somewhere (as witness or judge)," in classical Latin, it was used as "spectators and eye-witnesses, in law-- he who hears and decides a case, a judge, umpire, mediator;" from ad- "to" (see ad-) + baetere "to come, go." The specific sense of "one chosen by two disputing parties to decide the matter" is from 1540s. The earliest form of the word attested in English is the feminine noun: arbitress, from mid-14th century "a woman who settles disputes." 

In the Halo science fiction universe, the Arbiter is a ceremonial, religious, and political rank bestowed upon alien Covenant Elites.

In Commander, it means being super horrible to face. Man-o-man, do you want to shut down a game with horrible tricks? Are you a blue mage at heart but want to go off the beaten path and add some white? Do you want to lose friends and have people construct effigies of you, possibly from  clay and your discarded follicles from your hairbrush? Then play Augustin.

Azor's Elocutors 
Spelltithe Enforcer 
Frost Titan 
Chancellor of the Annex 
Angel of Finality 
Meddling Mage 
Grand Abolisher 
Baneslayer Angel 
Consecrated Sphinx 
Gwafa Hazid, Profiteer 
Lavinia of the Tenth 
Loxodon Gatekeeper 
Imposing Sovereign 
Sand Squid 
Mangara of Corondor 
Serra Ascendant 
Void Stalker 
Clever Impersonator 
Windborn Muse 
Hushwing Gryff  
1 Archangel of Tithes
Icefall Regent 
1 Angel of Jubilation
1 Linvala, Keeper of Silence

Other Spells 
Lightning Greaves 
Mana Drain 
Luminarch Ascension 
Jace, the Mind Sculptor 

Other Spells 
Sphere of Resistance 
Ghostly Prison 
Norn's Annex 
Rest in Peace 
Detention Sphere 
Sphere of Safety 
Oblivion Ring 
Arcane Denial 
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon 
Martial Law 
Blind Obedience 
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Spin into Myth 
Return to Dust 
Unexpectedly Absent 
Web of Inertia 
Banishing Stroke 
Mana Crypt 
Path to Exile 
Swords to Plowshares 
Council's Judgment 
Coercive Portal 
Rhystic Study 
Karn Liberated 
Plea for Guidance 
1 Sol Ring
1 Sword of the Animist

Maze of Ith 
Ice Floe 
Tolaria West 
Strip Mine 
Ghost Quarter 
Flagstones of Trokair 
Hallowed Fountain 
Glacial Fortress 
Nimbus Maze 
Reflecting Pool 
Command Tower 
Encroaching Wastes 
Thespian's Stage 
Mistveil Plains 
Thawing Glaciers 
Windswept Heath 
Mikokoro, Center of the Sea 
Tectonic Edge 

For Augustin, I want to be as mean as possible. As brutally punishing and controlling as I can, while I slowly build my forces and bide my time. I accomplish this Azorius heinousness with a few different types of stratagem. Take a look.

This is the first step. We need to piggyback off of Augustin's very apt "increase costs" latent ability. Here's how we do that:

  • Spelltithe Enforcer: This Elephant is underrated, and devastating. You either pay one more colorless for things, or you sacrifice something.
  • Archangel of Tithes: Such a great card for Commander, she's definitely tithing your opponents for the right to combat.
  • Windborn Muse is a Ghostly Prison on a flying body.
  • Chancellor of the Annex: One of the more pricey (to cast) creatures, it's Mana Tithe for all spells is convenient for you, awful for them.
  • Sphere of Resistance: Viva la Resistance, non? Augustin keeps your spells down, so it makes this, more or less, an even-stevens for you while increasing your opponent's spells.
  • Propaganda, Ghostly Prison, Sphere of Safety, Norn's Annex: You can attack, but you better pay what you owe. 
  • Web of Inertia: Interestingly enough, this enchantment increases combat steps by requiring a Scrabbling Claws-esque payment by your opponent. If you manage to cast Rest in Peace, this two card combo effectively removes an opponent's combat phase until one of the enchantments is hosed.
  • Rhystic Study:  An opponent really needs to drop the extra colorless to prevent this, otherwise you'll be flooded with card advantage.

I regret not having the following cards for my deck: Collective Restraint, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Thorn of Amethyst, and I'm sure other things I'm presently forgetting.


I originally had Desertion, Swift Silence, Absorb, Spell Crumple & Dissipate in here at one point, in addition to the other four; but, time gave way to more cards that yearned to be in the deck, and counterspells suffered the highest causality of include.

Batman's Utility Belt-- the utility cards you need to include that don't fit thematically, but still need to be in the deck for it to not suck competitively, as casual as Commander is.

This pic is here to illustrate how friggin' useful Sword of the Animist can be. On Turn one, I dropped the Tundra. Turn two another land, and the Void Stalker. Three was another land and Gwafa, and turn four was drop the sword, equip, attack. It fished so many lands out of my deck it allowed me to cast everything I had to answer everything my opponent had, and I easily won-- even without shenanigans like making things cost a lot more.

This screenshot is a prime example of the "Tap down" method. I got Sand Squid, Frost Titan and the Detaining Martial Law rockin' hard. I've got the Sword in this shot too, and you can see the basic count as a result. Plenty of Mana, plenty of card draw, and a counter in my hand. My opponent having an Island in play facilitated the whole "death by attacking" because my squid, when not tapping things, could hit for 3 every time it attacked.

In this battle, I can't think of a more hated matchup of all red vs blue and white. We both weren't rocking excessive lands, but this deck shows you how having in a beater like Baneslayer can win you the game in traditional ways, while you back it up with heinous stuff like Gwafa and O-ring. This screenshot also shows Augustin and Spelltithe Enforcer working in tandem.

This is from a game where the focal point was the stratagem: You better pay what you owe. It also marked a game where I cast Plea for Guidance, in order to tutor up Rest in Peace and Propaganda. I already had the Web in my hand. The combo hit the table on the same turn. My opponent took it gracefully. His first plan was to cast an Ugin, and, I assume, exile the hell outta some problems. But trusty ol' 7th Edition Counterspell was in my hand, and that plan was foiled. Grateful he didn't just concede, we traded back and forth until the board looked like this. His second plan, after I took this screenshot, was to cast Avaricious Dragon, which I followed up by casting (Jubilation Angel). He, in his next turn, followed it up with a Dragonlord Silumgar which nabbed my Elocutors. Since he was at 6 life total, perhaps he was hoping to stall for three turns-- but, I drew into Saltblast, and destroyed the vaunted Dragonlord, getting back my Elocutors, and attacked. 

This is yet another epic board state, and it came about during a Mirror-match. My opponent's Augustin deck was heavy counters during the first few turns; countering my Elocutors and hosts of other things. Interestingly, and very fun IMHO, his deck was actually artifact/white/blue infect creatures. didn't see it coming! However, I got to, as you can see, Emblem-out my Tamiyo, which is awesome. Now if I use up my Ugin, it drops back in my hand. Truly a magnificent time, that most certainly called for a concession.

As I said, I regret not having the following cards for my deck: Collective Restraint, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Thorn of Amethyst -- for making things cost more.

I wish I still owned a Stony Silence, Torpor Orb, Grafdigger's Cage, Aven Mindcensor, Null Rod and, I'm sure many others.

Do you think I should squeeze in a Venser, the planeswalker-one? I hate having to cut cards from a fine-tuned deck.

Thanks for joining me again!

Did I miss anything you would've included? Lemme know in the comments below, or maybe shoot me a message in Twitter: @CmdrJohnnyBoosh.

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Mean is a good one word by Paul Leicht at Thu, 09/17/2015 - 16:20
Paul Leicht's picture

Mean is a good one word description.