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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Dec 06 2013 12:29pm
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Since I was out of town all last weekend for the Thanksgiving holiday, I didn't have the time to play test and create a new deck.  Instead, I decided to run out some older, proven decks and see how they did.  I actually decided to run with a bunch of Selesnya Commanders because they provide some variation and are each interesting in their own ways.  Let's just take a look at the 18 current Selesnya legends first.

gabriel angelfire jasmine boreal kei takahashi lady caleria  sir shandlar of eberyn torsten von ursus

Ok, so Legends brought us our first batch of Selesnya legends, and boy, are they bad.  Not only are 3 of them purely vanilla beaters, but just about every single one of these guys is greatly overcosted for their effects.  Heck, when Sol'Kanar the Swamp King is in the set, you know all of them are overcosted even at the time they came out!  Although Selesnya is currently the color combination for cheap large beats, they obviously weren't back then.  When Jasmine Boreal is the best power/toughness you get for the cost, it's a bad sign.

When you weed out the vanilla beats you get an Angel with a bunch of key words that would take several turns to beat down and kill, a damage prevention cleric, and a Lord who is so bad that he wasn't even in any of the Masters Edition sets (even though he has one of the best names around.  Remember Magnus ver Magnusson?  That's this guy if he was better).  Really the only interesting Commander out of this group would be Lady Caleria, since she has a big butt to block and can mess with combat math.  Unfortunately she costs 7 mana, and when someone like Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile exists who is pretty much better in all ways except the butt department, it's real tough to justify playing with her.  Still, if you want to make some sort of Archer themed deck I guess she would be your gal.  Look at that dude she killed! Seriously though, none of these guys are really worth playing so I would avoid them at all costs unless you're really running some sort of theme deck.

Asmira, Holy Avenger captain sisay

The next Selsnya Commander is Asmira, who doesn't really make much mechanical sense in that she gets the counters at the end of the turn, and not immediately.  Unfortunately this appears to be a little bit of a theme during Mirage, with stuff getting counters (and having them removed) at weird times.  Still, she's goofy enough that I actually made a deck around her, which you'll see in action below.

After that it was several years before the next Selesnya Commander came out but boy was she a doozy.  Captain Sisay is really good, and only gets better with each additional set where legendary creatures get printed.  She is pretty amazing, and I put together a deck with her as well, and you'll see it below.  She can be pretty busted as just about any sort of tutor Commander can be.  If you ever see her at your table you should always put pressure on her.

chorus of the conclave tolsimir wolfblood emmara tandris trostani, selesnya's voice

Ravnica brought us a quartet of legendary Selesnya creatures, some clearly better than others.  The Chorus is obviously overcosted, continuing with the Legends theme.  Even still, I decided to put them in Command of a deck which you'll see in action.  Unfortunately the deck doesn't really use Chorus, but it can if necessary.

Tolsimir is pretty awesome, but limited.  Sure, he's basically a Wilt-Leaf Liege, but he can bring Voja!  Of course, Voja is legendary, so you can't really abuse him in any way with stuff like Doubling Season.  Still, Tolsimir does a decent job of making beaters and tokens larger.  But there are clearly better ways of making and/or pumping them.  Tolsimir decks aren't typically the most threatening at a table but you never know.  Honestly I would use Tolsimir as my Commander if I was trying to fly under the radar, because no one really takes him seriously.

The newer Ravnica legends really reinforce the token theme.  I've seen Emmara Tandris used once.  She just costs way too much for what she does, even with her huge body (that doesn't match her art).  Trostani, however, is extremely popular.  The combination of life gain and token making is just too much to resist for many Commander players.  Trostani is pretty good and definitely worth playing.  I'm sure I'll eventually get around to using them.

saffi eriksdotter gaddock teeg rhys the redeemed

Between the two Ravnica blocks we got a trio of extremely cheap legends, each bringing something a little different.  Rhys is pretty popular and straightforward:  Make tons of tokens!  The fact that he can come out on turn 1 isn't bad at all.  Teeg, however, is generally hated because he prevents people from doing something that they play in the Commander format specifically to do:  Play big spells.  If you decide to run Teeg, just be prepared for some serious hate.  Finally we have Saffi, who is usually a combo enabler.  However her combos are pretty click intensive so it's rare to see anyone on MTGO actually attempt to combo out with her.  Still, she's pretty good for recursion and "enters the battlefield" shenanigans, especially with Sun Titan.

krond the dawn-clad sigarda, host of herons

Finally, we have a couple of big fliers.  These guys are pretty much complete outliers.  Krond isn't really a Uril clone since he doesn't get bonuses for additional auras on him.  Still, being able to exile stuff every turn is a pretty good ability and the combination of flying and vigilance is tough for people to deal with.  Unfortunately his casting cost is considerably more difficult than the majority of Commanders even with access Green.  But he does bring a lot to the table and I'm pretty surprised I haven't seen him more.  I definitely enjoyed the deck I built using him.

Sigarda is mana efficient and tough to deal with.  Decks that rely on Grave Pact and similar effects really get hosed by her.  She's mainly used as a voltron general but I've seen her in charge of good stuff decks.  She's a really good flier in colors that generally don't get fliers.  She hasn't been as popular recently and I think that's because she's not really a "build around me" type of Commander.  Still, she's really good.

So yeah, there's actually a decent variety of guys here.  There is a little bit of a focus on tokens, but having large fliers isn't bad either. As far as utility, Sigarda and Saffi can go into about any deck that can support them.  The rest are a little more narrow, and each of the non-Legends legendaries can actually be useful.  Even Teeg is good in the right deck.

All right, so let's take a look at some of my old Selesnya decks, and see how they do now:

First up is my extremely old Asmira deck, which you can see HERE.  Basically this deck was made to create tokens and sacrifice them for beneficial effects.  However, the deck is over 3 years old, and was created before I really got my deck building abilities down.  The average CMC of this deck is over 4, which is pretty nuts when you think about it.  Still, it turns out that I have the Earthcraft/Squirrel Nest combo in the deck, something I completely forgot about.

Essentially the Rafiq player draws a ton of cards using Cold-Eyed Selkie while beating down on the Mirko Vosk player.  The card advantage is pretty scary after a while.  Once Mirko Vosk is killed, I don't like my chances, but I do have both parts of my combo, and use them the turn before I'm about to die.  In all honestly I don't think I would put this kind of combo in a deck again.

Here I am throwing away a game with my Krond deck, which you can find HERE.  Basically Purphoros comes out fast, making tokens and dropping everybody's life totals.  I decide to give Isperia of a bunch of cards with Rhystic Study so that I can get out a hasty Krond with Swiftfoot Boots and Armadillo Cloak.  In a couple turns I take out Purphoros.

Ixidor is a goofy wizard deck, but I'm really worried about Isperia, as she has been drawing a ton of cards.  My first mistake is sacrificing Krond to Greater Good when Isperia casts Austere Command and I have Snake Umbra on Krond, instead of using the Umbra to keep Krond alive.  Then, after getting Krond back out, I screw up my combat math and forget to play Qasali Pridemage before I attack Isperia to finish him off.  I also could have used Beast Within to take out his Mulldrifter.  I do neither, and leave him at 1.  That allows him to get Blazing Archon out.  When Ixidor concedes, I have no way of taking out the Archon, and succumb to Isperia's beatdown.

So here's my Chorus deck, which you can find HERE.  Back then Primeval Titan was still legal, but I had to take him out and replace him with Wolfir Silverheart.  This actually hurts the deck significantly as it can really use the ramp.  Still, the Silverheart came in handy.  I keep a hand with Mirran Crusader in it specifically because one of my opponents is Azusa.  I stall on land, but luckily the Zedruu player is playing the stock precon, and the Darigaaz player isn't doing much.  While Azusa gets a decent army out and takes out Zedruu while basically leaving me alone after I get out the Crusader with Silverheart.  But I can't leave the Azusa player out there, and take her out, with Darigaaz following right after.

Captain Sisay doesn't really need a whole lot of help, but here she is in a 2 Headed Giant game.  You can find the deck list HERE.  I'm playing with my buddy RoyalAl, and we're going up against a Purphoros and Nicol Bolas.  The Bolas player has some issues going on, which lead to him to not really paying attention and timing out.  It doesn't matter, as the Purphoros player is doing enough damage for both of them.  Once again I make a mistake by never playing Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker, which would have greatly hampered Purphoros.  Still, in the end we end up taking out the other 2.

In the comments of this video Al and I take a little bit of heat for timing out the Nicol Bolas player.  Toward the end of the game, I just wanted to finish things off.  Was I specifically thinking about timing him out?  I think so after he got below 20 seconds.  Still, if I had played correctly and used Michiko earlier it wouldn't have mattered.

So if there's one thing to take from these games, it's learn from my mistakes!  I made plenty of mistakes in these games and hopefully they will help you analyze play situations a little better than I do.  As for Selenya, there's a decent amount of variety going here.  Everything from tokens to legendary creatures to enchantments to straight up beatdown can all be brought.  Hopefully you guys enjoyed this retrospective.  Until next time!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com



I forgot to mention, if you by Leviathan at Fri, 12/06/2013 - 15:51
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I forgot to mention, if you guys like this sort of thing I can do it for a couple more color combinations. Or if you just want to see specific old decks in action, let me know!

Great Job as always by Shaggy at Fri, 12/06/2013 - 19:40
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Great Job as always Leviathan! Long time reader, first time poster. I would love to see some Black/White in action. I know you had a Selenia, Dark Angel deck from several years ago.

I also did Vish Kal earlier by Leviathan at Mon, 12/09/2013 - 17:42
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I also did Vish Kal earlier this year: http://puremtgo.com/articles/conqueror-commander-vol-cviii-vish-kal-bloo...

I'll look into doing either Obzedat or Teysa at some point.

As you know Asmira is my by Paul Leicht at Mon, 12/09/2013 - 13:52
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As you know Asmira is my budget commander deck of choice. Not that I am particular about Selesnya but it is a low key friendly deck that may yet rebuff more expensive nasty decks while playing odd card choices.

That's right! You do have by Leviathan at Mon, 12/09/2013 - 17:44
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That's right! You do have some interesting stuff in that deck as well. Asmira is pretty low profile, so helpful in that way.

Mildly Off-Topic, But by 3drinks at Tue, 12/10/2013 - 16:19
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It's been awhile since I've written for this site, but I cannot remember how to get those cards to show up as images. How did you do that Leviathan? (As I recall, I only ever used the parenthesis to autolink them).

Thanks for your (or anyone's!) reply.

If you do (pic=gaddock teeg) by Leviathan at Tue, 12/10/2013 - 17:27
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If you do (pic=gaddock teeg) You'll get the large card image that links directly to the MTGOtraders site. If you want a smaller, thumbnail version, you just put (thmb=gaddock teeg).

Thank you so much I by 3drinks at Tue, 12/10/2013 - 18:54
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Thank you so much I appreciate it!

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