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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Nov 01 2013 11:41am
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When Theros came out, I wasn't entirely impressed with the selection of legendary creatures.  Sure, the Gods seemed powerful, but they didn't particularly scream "Fun!" to me.  On top of that, the non-God legendaries didn't really pique my interest either.  There were a couple of Heroic dudes (a mechanic I don't really like), a couple of Monstrous guys (big-mana decks in big-mana colors) and a couple of randoms that just seemed goofy.  However, there was one of these goofy Commanders that was just goofy enough to make me take a second look.

 

That's right, Daxos is just strange.  However, he has the opportunity to gain some life and steal some of your opponents' stuff.  Who doesn't like that?  Plus, he has a modified version of unblockability that should make it pretty easy to sneak him past defenders.  I quickly put together an outline in my head of what the deck would be like.  Essentially I wanted as many mana rocks as possible so that I could cast any big fat spell I pulled from the top of an opponent's library.  I knew that even with his ability to slip by most defenders there would still be plenty of times when blockers would present problems, so a decent equipment package would be helpful as well.  I could skimp a little on the card draw because I would be using all of my opponents' spells.  A few support creatures and some double strike, and we should be good.  Right?

Unfortunately this early version didn't work out very well.  While the tons of mana rocks made me dump my hand quickly, there was one thing I hadn't really considered:  About 2/5 of every deck consists of land.  And the majority of the time when I hit with Daxos I would get land.  The way that Daxos is worded, hitting land gives you absolutely no benefit.  None.  You can't play the land, you don't gain life.  So that was very frustrating.  What I could do is play with a bunch of stuff like Lantern of Insight, Wizened Snitches and the like, but those just seemed bad.  There are some cards that put things on top of a player's library, like Vanishment and Hinder, but I wanted them to be useful overall.  I also needed to add some card draw, and be able to kill people without relying on Daxos.  This is what I came up with.

Daxos of Meletis
A Commander Deck
Creatures
1 Archangel of Thune
1 Augury Adept
1 Azure Mage
1 Azorius Guildmage
1 Consecrated Sphinx
1 Drogskol Reaver
1 Gold Myr
1 Indomitable Archangel
1 Leonin Abunas
1 Lu Xun, Scholar General           
1 Medomai the Ageless
1 Palladium Myr
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Rootwater Thief
1 Silver Myr
1 Silverblade Paladin
1 Slithermuse
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Stonehewer Giant
1 Sun Titan
1 Tandem Lookout
1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor
23 cards

Other Spells
[Artifacts]
1 Azorius Signet
1 Bident of Thassa
1 Coalition Relic
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Grim Monolith
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Sol Ring
1 Talisman of Progress
1 Thran Dynamo
1 Batterskull
1 Fireshrieker
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Sword of War and Peace
[Enchantments]
1 Cradle of Vitality
1 True Conviction
1 Steel of the Godhead
[Instants]
1 Azorius Charm
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Hinder
1 Mana Drain
1 Memory Lapse
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Path to Exile
1 Return to Dust
1 Swords to Plowshares
[Planeswalkers]
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Gideon Jura
1 Jace Beleren
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
[Sorceries]
1 Austere Command
1 Revoke Existence
1 Supreme Verdict
1 Time Spiral
1 Wrath of God
40 cards

Lands
1 Academy Ruins
1 Ancient Den
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Buried Ruin
1 Celestial Colonnade
1 Command Tower
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Flooded Strand
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Hall of the Bandit Lord
1 Hallowed Fountain
9 Island
1 Mystic Gate
9 Plains
1 Reliquary Tower
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Skycloud Expanse
1 Strip Mine
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Tundra
36 cards
 

Sideboard
1 Daxos of Meletis

true conviction

 

Deck Tech:

So yeah, essentially the deck sort of became an aggro Azorius build with a bit of a metalcraft and life gain theme.  In all honesty it's sort of a mish mash of ideas.  There are lots of ways to get minor bits of card advantage, through the use of cards like Tandem Lookout and Azure Mage, and there's a life gain component that can potentially draw you cards (Drogskol Reaver) or makes your dudes bigger (Cradle of Vitality, Archangel of Thune).  Add some destruction and utility, and you have a deck!

azorius charm hinder memory lapse jace, the mind sculptor

Regarding cards that can put stuff on top of an opponent's library, the only inclusions are Azorius Charm, (Jace, the Mindsculptor), Hinder and Memory Lapse.  For a while Lapse of Certainty was also in the deck but it got removed.  I figured out early on that there were a lot of ways for people to mess with their own libraries, even after I stacked the top of their decks.  Everything from Sensei's Divining Top to Crystal Ball to fetchlands can mess with your most carefully laid plans.  I could have gone overboard and included a bunch more just to compensate, but that would really affect the competitiveness of the deck.  So I decided not to do it.

Despite Daxos being "difficult" to block, there are in fact plenty of dudes out there that get played and can block him.  Cards like Vampire Nighthawk and Doran, the Siege Tower all cause problems for Daxos, and that's not even including tokens that people can makes.  Therefore cards like Azorius Guildmage, Gideon Jura and Bident of Thassa are good at making people attack or tapping stuff so you can get in for damage.  Gideon is part of the heavy planeswalker suite, which can be good and bad.  You may be asking why Venser, the Sojourner isn't in the deck since his -2 ability would help get Daxos through.  My main issue was that I really didn't have any cards that could take full advantage of Venser's +1 ability (Slithermuse and maybe Batterskull being the only cards in the deck that would benefit from being bounced) so he didn't quite make the cut.

Really, Daxos isn't the easiest guy to work with.  Despite having what appears to be numerous abilities, a lot of times he's just a 2/2.  With bad art.  If you draw the right cards he can be a wrecking ball, but things really have to go right.  Still, this style of deck was different for me and despite my frustrations with Daxos it was interesting to play.

Game 1

So this was the first game that I got with Daxos, when I was still running way too many mana artifacts and not enough draw spells.  The Dakkon player was likely the biggest threat at the table, but since the only creatures he played were big I was able to use an equipped Daxos to kill him with Commander damage.  Aura Shards was the only really threatening thing the Hazezon Tamar player played, but I had Revoke Existence in hand for that.  Poor Hazezon didn't start getting lands until it was too late.

Medomai really is what won the game for me here.  I used the sphinx to take out Hazezon, and then had to deal with Exava and her Vampire Nighthawk.  Luckily I also had Tezzeret and Elspeth ticking up in loyalty, so Exava had to attack Elspeth with the Nighthawk to keep me from going ultimate.  That gave me the opening I needed, and I used Tezzeret's ultimate to animate all my artifacts and seal the deal.

Game 2:

This is another early game I had with Daxos, recorded by my friend RoyalAl.  In this 2HG game he brought his version of Daxos and we played together.  His is obviously a lot more controlling, but you can check out the differences to get a feel for how they played.

I still didn't have enough card draw in the deck, and still had a lot more mana rocks than needed.  I ended up replacing Coastal Piracy with the Bident just to force people to attack, but that didn't come up here.  I wasn't much of a factor in this game.  But it turned out all right in the end.

Game 3:

This is where we get the current version of the deck.  Not as many mana artifacts, more card draw.  Interestingly the Sen Triplets player cast Captivating Glance on my early Daxos, which kept me from bashing with him for a while.  The Niv-Mizzet player was helpful in playing both Howling Mine and Font of Mythos.  Here, I managed to use Stonehewer Giant to search up Swords, Medomai to gain extra turns and Jace TMS to bounce any problematic blockers, taking out the Damia and her Gorgons first while accumulating a ton of cards.

After that, I take out the Niv-Mizzet player to keep the Triplets from using the draw.  Niv-Mizzet never really got anything going despite all the extra cards.  The Triplets tried using Clone Shell as a blocker, but it couldn't stop Jace from bouncing the Shell, and I won.

Game 4:

This one was definitely an interesting game.  The Yosei player used sacrifice effects and recursion to lock players down, and I have to give props to the guy running such an original deck.  As a matter of fact he beat me in the game I played prior to this one.  The Kaervek player played all the grief he could get a hold of, while Sygg was just value creatures.   Yosei got an early Serra Ascendant out and started beating, while I managed to pull a Psychosis Crawler from Kaervek using Daxos.  Sygg had a Void Stalker to protect him while Kaervek played Megrim and Painful Quandary.  After Yosei gets his Commander out, he decides he's had enough and tries to use Austere Command to get rid of all Kaervek's enchantments, plus small creatures.  Sygg then uses the Void Stalker to shuffle Yosei's Commander back into his library.

It's here when Kaervek plays Sire of Insanity.  Sygg has Sangromancer out and goes up to almost 100 life.  Luckily I have Stonehewer Giant in play to help me out.  At first I try and chip away at Sygg's life total, but once Kaervek plays his Commander I decide I can't lose the additional life and take him out.  It's then that Yosei casts Martial Coup for 15 dudes, each of which are 3/3 due to Caged Sun and Marshal's Anthem.  As I'm only at 30, I use the Wrath of God I had in my hand.  I'm about to take out Sygg with Commander damage when he concedes, which screws up Yosei when I attack him as he isn't able to make a Goat token to block with Trading Post and live at least one more turn.  I likely would have won the next turn anyways, since I had consistent draw and Yosei had nothing, but it's still annoying.

So there you go.  Daxos is certainly capable of winning, and he's better than an Eager Cadet.  But he's certainly not amazing by any stretch of the imagination.  Who knows, maybe I was just unlucky.  His evasive ability came in handy a couple of times.  But you certainly can't ever expect to be able to cast anything good when he hits.

Hope you enjoyed the games!  Until next time!

ADDENDUM

Daxos looks terrible.  Nothing about his art looks legendary.  He looks like the random hipster on the corner of the street, with a sword.  It wouldn't have taken much to make him look more legendary: Either give him armor, or make him more intimidating.  As a matter of fact there's artwork in Theros that would have easily worked for Daxos.  Let's look at some stuff that could have been:

Battlewise Hoplite by Willian Murai would have worked wonderfully.  Here we have an aggressive looking human soldier, charging forward into battle while wearing ornate armor.  He looks angry, and even if the cape isn't the most functional piece of clothing it still looks cool.  You wouldn't even have to change his glowing left hand, as it could stand for Daxos' life gain ability.

Phalanx Leader by David Palumbo.  This guy ditches the armor just as Daxos does, but he at least looks physically imposing.  Sure, you don't get much of a personal feel for who Daxos is if you use this art mainly due to the shadowing under the helmet.  And the army behind him would be superfluous.  But he looks like he is not to be trifled with, like he can hold his own.  I would have liked this artwork too.

I'm not trying to bash Karla Ortiz.  As a matter of fact, she has done some amazing artwork.  I just want something a little more from my legendary dude.

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com

CONQUEROR & COMMANDER ARCHIVE