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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Dec 27 2013 12:49pm
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You guys already know that it's Planeswalker week here!  I'm sure there have been a ton of discussions going on about how awesome Jace is, and how he warped formats, etc.  But in Commander you have the ability to play every single planeswalker available if you want.  As a matter of fact, there's already an established archetype out there called 5 color planeswalker control.  This deck uses a Commander like Progenitus or Horde of Notions and a whole mess of powerful planeswalkers.  However I didn't really want to go this route mainly because of this card:

obliterate

This is the card that everyone expects once they figure out what you're trying to do, mainly because it'll blow up everything except your planeswalkers (and enchantments, but everyone seems to forget that part).  Once people see that you're playing a whole mess of planeswalkers, you'll automatically get ganged up on before the Obliterate comes out.  Personally I like playing a slightly more political game than that.  Instead, I wanted to go the 3 color route.  There are a whole mess of planeswalkers available now and you can make a pretty planeswalker heavy deck using only 3 colors.

The beauty of going 3 color is that people will not expect the planeswalker heavy deck.  Sure, you have certain expectations when you run into Thraximundar or Rubinia Soulsinger, but usually you don't expect a planeswalker heavy deck until you actually see a mess of planeswalkers.  every once in a while you can run into a Jace, or even a Tamiyo, and not expect there to be that many planeswalkers.  The element of surprise is a very nice thing. 

But if you're running only 3 colors, obviously 2 have to get the boot.  But which 2?  I'm not going to provide an overview of every single planeswalker for Commander because that would be time consuming and inefficient.  Instead I'm just going to quickly look at the mono-colored planeswalkers.  This made first color to cut pretty easy:

chandra ablaze koth of the hammer chandra, pyromaster chandra nalaar

chandra, the firebrand tibalt, the fiend-blooded

The Red planeswalkers are just not that good in this format.  Each of them really require specific kinds of decks.  Koth really wants mono-Red, and the Chandra's are just, well.... not good.  I'm not saying that they can't be used in the right deck, I'm just saying that the deck I'm making isn't the right deck for them. So cutting Red wasn't that tough.  Of course, it meant that I couldn't run Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, but I could live with that.  However it also prevents the temptation of running Obliterate as well.

The other colors all obviously had good inclusions.  White has some really solid choices, going from the defensive to the offensive.

elspeth, knight-errant gideon jura ajani goldmane elspeth tirel gideon, champion of justice ajani, caller of the pride 

Although both versions of Ajani seem kind of outclassed, each of the Elspeth's and Gideon's bring some pretty heavy firepower.  Elspeth is obviously good at making tokens.  Gideon can attack, which is unusual for a planeswalker.  Gideon can also act as defense as well.  Interestingly Black doesn't have nearly as many planeswalkers to work with.

liliana vess sorin markov liliana of the veil liliana of the dark realms

Each of the Black ones have vastly different abilities.  Liliana can tutor up cards, help out with mana, cause discard and make a player sacrifice.  Sorin is a well known power player and can help you close out the game with threatening opponents.  Although Green has the same amount of planeswalkers they all have similar abilities.

garruk, caller of beasts garruk wildspeaker nissa revane garruk, primal hunter

Again, only 4 mono-Green planeswalkers.  However they all work to put tokens or creatures into play.  The most recent Garruk seems like he isn't going to fit into a planeswalker deck though, specifically because he requires a decent amount of (Green) creatures to really use properly, and I don't think I'm going to be running that many creatures.  And then Nissa just won't work either for pretty much the same reason.  Honestly I don't think I've ever seen Nissa played.

jace beleren jace, the mind sculptor tezzeret the seeker jace, architect of thought jace, memory adept tamiyo, the moon sage

There are plenty of Blue ones and this is really where the power can come in.  Of course, there are 4 different Jaces and they are all really good.  You get a good amount of card advantage with each of them.  Tezzeret needs a decent amount of artifacts and that can be a little tough to set up.

And we haven't even gotten into the multi-colored (non-Red) planeswalkers!

garruk relentless sorin, lord of innistrad venser, the sojourner vraska the unseen

Cutting out Red means no Sarkhans or Xenagos.  But then finally we get Karn Liberated, who can go into any deck.  Honestly, you could go with any sort of Bant, Necra or Esper deck and do just fine.  But I went with Ghave.

Ghave, Guru of Spores
A Commander Deck (of Planeswalkers!)
Creatures
1 Academy Rector
1 Deathrite Shaman
1 Eternal Witness
1 Hornet Queen
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Sakura-Tribe Elder
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Selesnya Guildmage
1 Wood Elves
1 Yavimaya Elder
11 cards

Other Spells
[Artifacts]
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mimic Vat
1 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Sol Ring
1 Skullclamp
[Enchantments]
1 Attrition
1 Aura Shards
1 Awakening Zone
1 Blind Obedience
1 Cathars' Crusade
1 Doubling Season
1 Grave Pact
1 Necrogenesis
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Sylvan Library
[Instants]
1 Beast Within
1 Mortify
1 Path to Exile
1 Putrefy
1 Skeletal Scrying
1 Swords to Plowshares
[Planeswalkers]
1 Ajani Goldmane
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
1 Elspeth Tirel
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
1 Garruk Relentless
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter
1 Gideon Jura
1 Gideon, Champion of Justice
1 Karn Liberated
1 Liliana of the Dark Realms
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Liliana Vess
1 Sorin Markov
1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
1 Vraska the Unseen
[Sorceries]
1 Akroma's Vengeance
1 Austere Command
1 Crime/Punishment
1 Cultivate
1 Damnation
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Harmonize
1 Kodama's Reach
1 Martial Coup
1 Nature's Lore
1 Three Visits
1 Vindicate
1 Wrath of God
51 cards
Lands
1 Bayou
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Command Tower
1 Fetid Heath
1 Gavony Township
1 Godless Shrine
1 Kor Haven
1 Krosan Verge
1 Marsh Flats
1 Mouth of Ronom
1 Murmuring Bosk
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Savannah
1 Scrubland
5 Snow-Covered Forest
5 Snow-Covered Plains
4 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Stirring Wildwood
1 Strip Mine
1 Temple Garden
1 Twilight Mire
1 Vault of the Archangel
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Bastion
37 cards

Sideboard
1 Ghave, Guru of Spores
1 cards
ghave, guru of spores

 

I stuffed in every planeswalker I could with the only 2 not making the cut being Nissa Revane (no elves) and Garruk, Caller of Beasts (not enough creatures).

Deck Tech

I do a poor job of explaining it in the video, but the reasons I went with Ghave are that you can make a lot of tokens and defend you planeswalkers, and when you do that you have the possibility of creating a decent amount of offense.  On top of that Ghave really supports the token theme.  Now the deck isn't really made to spit out a ton of tokens all at once like a Rhys deck can, but if left alone for a little bit you can make a decent amount of dudes.  And Doubling Season works really well with both tokens and planeswalkers.  I really just liked the fact that the deck can go on the offensive if given the opportunity.

So like I said, the majority of the planeswalkers can make tokens in here.  That means that you can draw cards with stuff like Skullclamp and Mentor of the Meek.  Add some ramp and color fixing, plus a decent amount of destruction, and you have yourself a deck!  Really the main issue I had with the deck was that the card draw was a little wonky.  I would either draw all of it, or none of it.  Fortunately even if you weren't drawing cards you could do stuff with your planeswalkers and Ghave.  One other interesting thing is that even though there are 17 planeswalkers in the deck, you can have games where you only draw 1 or 2.  Sometimes that just happens.

The deck really works by staying under the radar.  A lot of times you aren't doing a whole lot other than riding one of your planeswalkers, and although that can be a little threatening, it's not like you are really doing much most of the time.  Interestingly a lot of people really do not like planeswalkers, especially if you do something like ultimate Vraska and kill them with an assassin token.  I had one guy who I killed one game, then show up in my next game and tell everyone to target me.  Just be aware is what I'm saying.

The deck is really vulnerable to Purphoros and Thassa.  Purphoros because he can just send gobs of damage out at a time, and then redirect all of it to your planeswalkers.  Thassa because she can make big dudes unblockable and slip past your tokens, killing your planeswalkers.  On top of that, large fliers are also sometimes a problem.  Kor Haven is good, but not always good enough.

The deck is nowhere near perfect, but it can usually do ok.  It really thrives if you can get a planeswalker out on turn 3 and provide some sort of defense on turn 4, or if no one puts any pressure on you.  This happened more than once.  Getting your planeswalkers above 5 loyalty got most of them out of harm's way.  Not always though.  I thought that I would find a couple of the planeswalkers useless *cough*cough*Ajani Goldmane*cough*cough* but they all actually ended up working out all right.  Honestly if you wanted to make the deck more competitive you could take out one or 2 of the ones you liked least and add a couple more tutors.

One card that I completely forgot about until I was writing this was the following:

rings of brighthearth

This would work well with a ton of the cards in the deck, including all the planeswalkers.  Yavimaya Elder, Mimic Vat and more all would like this card.  Unfortunately I really can't think of what I would take out for it.  Necrogenesis maybe?

So I played a mess of games with the deck and I enjoyed it.  Aside from the aforementioned Rings of Brighthearth, I think the deck could really use Revoke Existence/Return to Dust to deal with the gods running around.  It could also probably use something like Hallowed Burial or Merciless Eviction to have a more permanent way of dealing with opposing creatures, especially since this deck is so creature light and Ghave acts as a sac outlet.  Still, the deck was interesting to play to say the least.

I had a real hard time having replays work (did anyone else have this problem?) but I managed to get a couple games recorded.

Game 1

Not a whole lot of early action, so I drop Sorin, Lord of Innistrad on turn 4 and he goes unmolested for a while.  Mishra is drawing cards with Rhystic Study but when I get rid of it, he drops Phyrexian Arena to keep the cards coming.  I manage to pump my vampire tokens with Gavony Township and Sorin emblems when Mishra plays Possibility Storm.  Luckily, Gisela's Pyrohemia flips into Oblivion Ring, which gets rid of Storm.

After that I play Ajani Goldmane and continue to produce and pump tokens.  Mishra plays Tangle Wire but with my large amount of big tokens I'm able to take him out.  Isperia plays Increasing Devotion with Spawning Pit and Martyr's Bond, but I have too many dudes for him to handle with Garruk Relentless and Gideon, Champion of Justice, even after he clears the creatures out with Terminus.  

Game 2

Here I'm playing a 2 Headed Giant game, teamed up with Ruhan.  I manage to get out an early Elspeth, Knight-Errant while Karona puts out Crystalline Sliver.  After getting out Ajani, Caller of the Pride I get Doubling Season into play.  Even though Karona subsequently deals with my Elspeth and tokens, Ghave with Doubling Season is kind of nutty.  I manage to kill Karona with Commander damage making Ghave a flying double striking monster with Ajani.

Meanwhile, Ruhan has been beating down on Sheoldred.  Once Karona is gone I use Gideon Jura to clear a path for Ruhan to smash through.  I finish Sheoldred with saproling tokens and Gideon.

Game 3

Here I make a mistake of mulliganing away a slow and mediocre hand that had plenty of land, then have to mulligan down to 5.  Momir gets a decent amount of guys out, along with Intruder Alarm and Aluren when his partial combo gets blown up by Derevi's Aura Shards before someone Wraths.  I've been hitting land drops and little else, so I get Ghave into play.  Once Momir has nothing but Intruder Alarm in play and no card in hand, he concedes.

I deal with Derevi's Aura Shards before dropping my own while Rhys plays Elspeth, Knight-Errant.  Derevi also has Thassa, which keeps making dudes get past my tokens.  I Damnation just to clear the board.  After that Derevi goes into full on Bant good stuff mode, playing Phyrexian Metamorph, Karmic Guide, Tooth and Nail, Sun Titan, Acidic Slime, Sylvan Primordial and more.  I'm trying my best to keep him under control but I can't keep up.  When Rhys plays his own Aura Shards and takes out my Phyrexian Arena I know I'm dead.  However, I have the possibility of drawing something useful with Skeletal Scrying but I accidentally misclick and don't get to use it before my turn.  I end up using it on my turn for less than I wanted, but don't draw anything that can help me and die.  Derevi makes short work or Rhys afterward with Thassa making his dudes unblockable.

What if you really like Jace?  And wanted to play with all the Jace's you could find?  Really, what if you liked the idea of an Esper version more?  It would probably look like this:

Dromar, the Banisher
A Commander Deck (of Planeswalkers!)
Creatures
1 Azorius Guildmage
1 Eight-and-a-Half-Tails
1 Eternal Dragon
1 Gilded Drake
1 Ixidron
1 Magus of the Disk
1 Magus of the Moat
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts
1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor
1 Weathered Wayfarer
11 cards

Other Spells
[Artifacts]
1 Mana Crypt
1 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Scroll Rack
1 Sol Ring
1 Skullclamp
[Enchantments]
1 Aura of Silence
1 Blind Obedience
1 Humility
1 Land Tax
1 Moat
1 Phyrexian Arena
1 Rhystic Study
1 Treachery
[Instants]
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Dromar's Charm
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Lim-Dul's Vault
1 Mana Drain
1 Mortify
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Path to Exile
1 Return to Dust
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Vampiric Tutor
[Planeswalkers]
1 Ajani Goldmane
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
1 Elspeth Tirel
1 Elspeth, Knight-Errant
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
1 Gideon Jura
1 Gideon, Champion of Justice
1 Jace Beleren
1 Jace, Architect of Thought
1 Jace, Memory Adept
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Karn Liberated
1 Liliana of the Dark Realms
1 Liliana of the Veil
1 Liliana Vess
1 Sorin Markov
1 Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Venser, the Sojourner
[Sorceries]
1 Akroma's Vengeance
1 Austere Command
1 Damnation
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Merciless Eviction
1 Praetor's Grasp
1 Revoke Existence
1 Vindicate
1 Wrath of God
52 cards
Lands
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Celestial Colonnade
1 Command Tower
1 Fetid Heath
1 Flooded Strand
1 Godless Shrine
1 Grand Coliseum
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Kor Haven
1 Marsh Flats
1 Mouth of Ronom
1 Mystic Gate
1 Polluted Delta
1 Reflecting Pool
1 Scrubland
4 Snow-Covered Island
7 Snow-Covered Plains
4 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Strip Mine
1 Sunken Ruins
1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
1 Tundra
1 Underground Sea
1 Watery Grave
36 cards

Sideboard
1 Dromar, the Banisher
1 cards
dromar, the banisher

 

Similar, yet different.  Instead of going nuts with Doubling Season, this version really wants to stick a Moat and hide behind it.  There's a little bit of redundancy with Magus of the Moat, and the all powerful Humility to really make sure that creatures aren't threatening.  Ixidron is another way to turn huge dudes small.  Even if you don't have all of those cards available, Eight-And-A-Half-Tails can give your planeswalkers protection from whatever is attacking them, and that's tech I haven't seen anyone else use yet.

The deck has a slightly higher average CMC than the Ghave deck (I think it comes in around 3.5?) and it also has slightly less mana.  There probably should be an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth added to bring the land count up to 37 but I don't really know what to take out.  Also, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale seems like an experiment that could work, or do nothing.

Dromar is a pretty good win condition for the deck and decent at handling creature hordes as well.  Otherwise, you just sit back and ultimate a couple of planeswalkers and go nuts.  I actually did get one game in with this version and it did exactly when you'd think:  Sit behind a Moat effect and slowly ultimate planeswalkers when people couldn't answer it.  Honestly it didn't feel as fun for me.  I'm not saying that this version is the "best evvvaaahhh!!!" just that it was different from the Ghave version.

The only planeswalkers in these colors that didn't get included were Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas due to the low amount of artifacts and Ashiok, who I just completely forgot about but who really deserves to be in the deck since he can work really well with the Moat plan.  I also completely forgot about Sorin, Lord of Innistrad.  If you wanted to speed things up you could add Medomai or some additional Extra Turn stuff, but there's not much room in the deck.  Feel free to run this version if you like.

Anyways, hopefully you guys enjoyed this article.  Planeswalkers are fun!  Most should be killed on site!  No article next week, going on vacation.  Planning on going through all the new precons when I get back though.  See you next year!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com

CONQUEROR & COMMANDER ARCHIVE

2 Comments

With Commander2013 out, I by Thor Naadoh at Sun, 01/12/2014 - 15:58
Thor Naadoh's picture
5

With Commander2013 out, I guess Oloro might also be a good choice for the WUB-version...

Anyway, keep up - I really enjoy your articles.

P.S.
Have you thought about using Vorosh as a commander (or maybe Damia)?

I used Vorosh a long time by Leviathan at Sun, 01/12/2014 - 23:11
Leviathan's picture

I used Vorosh a long time ago, like my 17th article or something. If you check out my archives you should see it.