Adam_the_Mentat's picture
Jun 18 2014 12:00pm
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Commander Johnny-Boosh: Snow-Covered Bounce.

As Summer is here and temperatures are already starting to become sweltering (here in NY state at least), I figured why not revisit the frozen land of Terisiare on Dominaria during the Ice Age and the Thaw. Heidar, murderer-usurper of the Cult of Rimewind, heads our army as Commander and utilizes self-bouncing your own permanents to great effect.

Aaaaand I'll be doing whatever snow does in summmmeer

I chose Heidar because I encountered him when I was researching Humans to put in my atheism deck for worship week. I realized that rocking a monoblue Commander deck which employed mostly Snow-Covered Islands his "bounce" ability would be usable without impediment — by the time you have enough mana to cast him, theoretically, you should have at least four Snow-Covered lands out, which count as Snow permanents.

heidar, rimewind master

I realize that repeatedly bouncing your opponents' stuff, while effective, is downright heinous and will win you more concedes than matches. I decided early on that Heidar, despite being heinous in the Coldsnap story arc, should be less heinous on the Commander battlefield and I am using a "bounce my own stuff" approach.

That, of course, does not mean I can't use the various bounce creatures and effects to bounce my opponents' stuff as a form of control, it just means that's not my primary goal.

Here are some fun combos in the deck. I realize that Heidar, or any other 'bounce-enabler' plus any 'enters-the-battlefield trigger' creature are a combo. I'm not listing all of those.

 Heidar, Rimewind MasterErtai, Wizard Adept

This combo will inspire some rage-quits, I assure you.
You can also bounce something and then cast Desertion on it as well, which would do the same exact thing as this combo for noncreature spells, but would net you a counter and Mind Control-without-an-aura for any creatures.

Time ElementalVendilion Clique

Though, as I said, there are many bounce/EtB trigger creatures combos, this one is amazing because you can bounce an opposing commander, and then hose it to the bottom of your opponent's library with the Clique. The Clique is the most expensive card in the deck, so you may want to cut it, and, subsequently, this combo.

Glen Elendra ArchmageSage of Fables

Nullifies Persist; You can counter as many noncreature spells as you have open blue mana.

Spine of Ish SahPhyrexia's Core

Superseding the need for bouncing it, the Spine and Core combo to heinous results.

Ghostly FlickerArchaeomancerDuplicant

 By choosing the wizard as one of your two targets for the flicker, you can repeatedly recur the flicker and repeatedly flicker whatever you want. My example is to repeatedly employ Duplicant to dastardly results.

Heidar, Rimewind Master - Our commander beats out all the other "Tiggers" on this list; his snow-permanent drawback is easily mitigated without snow-covered islands making him a repeated Boomerang.
Temporal Adept - Costs less than Heidar, but costs more to activate and is a weak ol' 1/1. Still important to have extra tiggers if Heidar gets Hosed-dar.
Tradewind Rider - "Nothing beats a classic," Jason Steakums said in Expendables 2. (I know it's Statham, but now that you've read that I dare you not to refer to him as Jason Steakums from now on.)
Time Elemental - Another dusty ol' classic from antiquated times— ol' Clockybug still gets the job done.
Tidespout Tyrant - A whole heck-load of mean and repeated bounce if you can cast him and he sticks around.
Linessa, Zephyr Mage - Edging out her predecessor Alexi, Zephyr Mage by a small amount, Linessa is the weakest tigger but ultimately made the cut.
Man-o'-War - Best Jellyfish in Magic. I really wish The Starter/Portal artwork was online.

The first rule of Underwater Fight Club is you do not want to be the f@*&ing Shark when the Jellyfish is angling to fight.

Aether Adept - if a jellyfish were a wizard.
Surgespanner - here's a funny interaction: Attack with the spanner, and activate it's bounce ability. Then if it's in danger of dying, bounce it with another one of your tiggers.
Equilibrium - with all the self-bouncing creatures and recasting them, this card becomes INSANE.
Crystal Shard - A really low cost tigger.
Blood Clock - love this underrated card, which is a way better Umbilicus
Umbilicus - ... which isn't to say that Umbilicus doesn't have its own merits.
Sunken Hope - automatic tiggering every turn. Putting this out could really dampen your opponent's gameplans.
Reality Strobe - cast it once, then every third turn it's a free bounce spell.
Capsize - Buyback = repeatable
Ghostly Flicker - while not truly bounce, it does the same effect of doubling enters-the-battlefield triggers and allows two targets. By using Archaeomancer as one of your choices, you can enable a combo where the mancer returns the flicker to your hand and allows you to repeatedly flicker whatever other creature you choose (say a Duplicant or something.)
Undo - a personal bounce favorite of mine since cracking Visions packs IRL.

Mulldrifter - my favorite blue common, my favorite blue flicker or bounce target. Card draw justice.
Draining Whelk - what a great creature to bounce. It ensure multiple counterspells, though pricey, if required.
Glen Elendra Archmage - sacrifice. Persist triggers. Bounce away the -1/-1 counter. She also combos expertly with Sage of Fables, which is in the deck.
Snapcaster Mage - great way to recur an instant with flashback and you can bounce him to do it again.
Voidmage Husher - repeated ability counter.
Vendilion Clique - isn't this card great? A lot of people cannot afford it, I so totally understand. Easily replaced by Venser, Shaper Savant for a less costly deck. If you can though, you can bounce first an opposing commander, then use the clique on it.
Solemn Simulacrum - mana ramp. rinse. repeat.
Duplicant - hosing. rinse. repeat.
Man-o'-War - you can bounce a bouncer!
Aether Adept - what did I just say?!?
Sea Gate Oracle - repeatable deck-sifting.
Sage of Epityr - repeatable deck-sifting.
Frost Titan - repeated annoyance, but he costs 2 extra to target with your chicanery.
Clone - if you don't like what you cloned, clone something else.
Phyrexian Metamorph - what did I just say?!?
Spawnbroker - repeated creature-stealin'.
Pilgrim's Eye - mana ramp. rinse. repeat.
Rishadan Brigand - conditional pirates make opponents sacrifice — random and weird, I had to include!
Rishadan Footpad - conditional pirates make opponents sacrifice — random and weird, I had to include!
Jace's Mindseeker - repeated mill and repeated spell-stealin'.
Diluvian Primordial - repeated spell-stealin'.
Gilded Drake - repeated creature-stealin'.
Vedalken Plotter - repeated creature-stealin'.
Omenspeaker - deck-siftin'.
Augury Owl - again.
Cryptic Annelid - ...and again.
Archaeomancer - instant/sorcery recur.
Ichor Wellspring - repeatable card-draw.
Mycosynth Wellspring - repeated land-grab.
Sculpting Steel - don't like what you copied? Bounce and redo.
Spine of Ish Sah - repeated permanent hosing. Combos with (Phrexia's Core).
Halimar Depths - deck-siftin'.

Ertai, Wizard Adept - he's great no matter what, but he shines here. Bounce anything you hate, then counter it with Ertai.
Strionic Resonator - copy them EtB triggers!
Desertion - after bouncing an opposing creature, snag it for your own.
Gilded Lotus, Sol Ring, Thran Dynamo - mana rampin'.
Curse of the Swine, Rapid Hybridization, Pongify, Spin Into Myth - and Lo!, let there be Hosing.
Training Grounds - reduce the activation cost of all your tiggers and Ertai!
Illusionist's Bracers - double bounce fun on any creature-tiggers.
Cloud Key - call "creature." You'll be bouncing your creatures back to you hand a lot.
Sapphire Medallion - lower the cost of the bounced cards you must recast.
Mouth of Ronom - four damage in a pinch.
Scrying Sheets - deck-siftin'.
Strip Mine - land destruction, in a pinch.
Encroaching Wastes - land destruction, in a pinch.
Tectonic Edge - land destruction, in a pinch.
Academy Ruins - artifact recursion.
Reliquary Tower - bouncing a lot may bulk out your hand and you may need this.
Minamo, School at Water's Edge - untap Heidar for an extra bounce!
Thawing Glaciers - maaaaanaaaaa raaaaaaaaaaaaaamp.
Sage of Fables - ok, we made it— the last card to chat about. This deck has a ton of freaking Wizards. Seriously, I almost considered adding Psychic Trance to the deck. Anyway since you'll be bouncing your creatures a ton, your wizards will come out equipped with a built in card-draw for two mana, and then you can bounce and then use it again. The sage makes a killer-combo alongside Glen Elendra Archmage,

Disclaimer: So I've been talking with the other PureMTGO writers and I'm trying to find good video capture software that doesn't malware up my machine. Compounding this is the whole constantly-working newspaper reporter job coupled with the father-of-a-two-year-old jazz I got going' on, which will probably impede how much time I have to capture and make videos, but still my point is eventually this will not just be some handwritten experiences but some actual video.

Game 1 - Vs. Grand Arbiter Augustin IV:

This quickly turned into control deck vs. control deck. I aspired not to base my strategy solely on bouncing my opponent's creatures but sometimes you can't help but do so to survive. On turn five, when I had the mana needed to cast Heidar, I plopped him out, but my opponent's turn five was a Treachery. I had out a Crystal Shard, but my opponent realized this and kept a land untapped at all times. Fortune struck me in the planeswalker-face and I drew Vedalken Plotter. I dropped it and switched one of my snow-covered islands for the untapped land; He tapped it but I just let the phase end and then activated the shard during my second main phase, snagging back my Heidar. This game was one of only a handful of games where I was not super chagrined when my opponent cast an overloaded Cyclonic Rift. It gave me back my Sage of Epityr and my plotter, as well as several tiggers I had put out. I recast the plotter and traded the land I originally swiped from him for his Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx. My opponent got out a Cathars' Crusade and slowly churned out creatures to murder me with as they continually grew by the +1/+1 counter. Even when I cast Pongify and then Snapcaster Mage to flashback the Pongify, targeting his two biggest creatures, it couldn't save me as putting out those Ape tokens activated his crusade and grew his other creatures. I did manage to get both Heidar and Ertai online, without summoning sickness, but it was too late to stop being beaten by his creatures/cathars' crusade/Hero of Bladehold. At the end we both concluded that we had a blast playing the game, and when you don't win, what more can you ask for?

Game 2 - Vs. Anowon, the Ruin Sage:

One thing I always love about facing an opponent playing monored or monoblack (or black and red) is that my enchantments are pretty darn safe. Since my opponent here, who actually spoke more than four words to me and is a wonderful player named Jessika, was playing monoblack vamps tribal, I also had the pleasure of realizing my artifacts were pretty darn safe on the board as well. The game, in the early rounds, consisted of me putting out chumpy little creatures that had no bearing on Jessika's field presence, like Omenspeaker and Sea Gate Oracle, while her impressive first turn was Swamp, Dark Ritual, Vampire Nighthawk. This was gnawing my face pretty readily. I held on amid a vast amount of removal— in fact, her deck was so chock full of creature removal it seemed as if Anowon was a redundancy. She must have realized this too, because when I stuck a Sunken Hope the first creature she returned was Anowon (She had to choose between the nighthawk, a nocturnus, and a plain ol' Sengir Vampire). When she failed to cast it, I cast my (Vendillion Clique), and hosed it to the bottom. I dropped a jellyfish and returned her sengir. She popped the nighthawk back in her hand, recast, and cast Promise of Power, netting some cards but no demon. I returned my jellyfish and recast it and had her scoop up her nocturnus. I dropped Aether Adept and her scoop the nighthawk. Her board was depleted. She recast the nocturnus and Hero's Downfall'ed my Clique. During my turn I scooped my jellyfish and drew into a Jace's Mindseeker which I cast— allowing me to cast her Bile Blight for free, which hosed her creatures and my wizard but left my fish illusion alive.  On her turn she cast Grave Titan, eschewing the vampires for a hot minute. On my turn I cast Undo on the tokens and dropped Umbilicus. Her turn she returned her Titan, and took two damage for not having a second creature. She cast the titan again. Our life totals at this point were 19 (me) to 26 (her). On my turn I drew into desertion. I cast a capsize on her titan without buying it back and passed— at this point I had the mindseeker in my hand and no other creatures, so I was starting to take 2 a turn from the Umbilicus. She returned both tokens and recast the titan, but I cast desertion and snagged it. She passed with no other action. I took the 2 from Umbilicus and returned one token with my hope. I was at 15, She was at 24, I swung in for 8 and grabbed two more tokens. I drew into Curse of the Swine. During her turn she dropped a hexmage, a Gatekeeper of Malakir and a Bloodline Keeper. I returned only one token, exiled all of her fresh vamps into Swines, and attacked with three creatures (two tokens, one purloined titan) and she blocked all three but took two during her upkeep due to the umbilicus. During her turn, she paused, said she couldn't keep up, thanked me for the game, and conceded.

Game 3 - Vs. Maelstrom Wanderer:

Pardon this one for being shorter, but all I ever do is report on things (I'm a newspaper reporter) and it gets old honestly after a while. This time I had to use my tiggers to bounce mana ramp artifacts to prevent cascade nonsense. This game was a bit of back and forth, as Heidar got bolted once and I activated my Mouth of Ronom to hose his Gyre Sage before he could use it to help cast the wanderer earlier. I got Heidar out a second time, but if he cast Maelstrom I couldn't bounce it because that would be helping him. I cast my Mindseeker on him and the fishlusion snagged a Bribery for me. I could have taken any number of fun things like Dragonlair Spider or Avenger of Zendikar or Arcanis, but I chose Progenitor Mimic and chose to mimic my own mindseeker. My opponent couldnt find a way to hose it quickly. I dropped three fishlusion tokens over the next three turns. Two of them were duds, but one of them snagged a Prophetic Bolt which I used to hose his Prophet of Kruphix. He had no flying and I was whittling away his life with fishlusions when he conceded.

Record: 2-1 over three games.

I've played Heidar dozens of times since I started this article but didn't record all the fun stuff that happened each time. I'd say this is a midrange deck that can be disrupted by removal but can still thrive owing to the extra bouncing capabilities the deck has. I find it more fun to play than my Tromokratis deck, in terms of monoblue, but less fun than my Talrand, Sky Summoner Commander deck (I don't load that deck with counterspells).

While researching snow permanents, I came across Rimefeather Owl and Rimescale Dragon. Even though I don't play vintage/legacy/classic very often, I really want to make a deck with all snow lands and four of each of those, with some way of getting them on the board quicker.

I hope you enjoyed self-bouncing and bouncing opposing threats. Here's hoping you get no ragequits!

(Adam E. Clayton)
adam_the_mentat -
atomicboosh - MTGO client