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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Jan 10 2014 1:00pm
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So the Commander 2013 precons are finally on MTGO!  Hooray!  Well, technically they came out on December 20, but with Christmas and vacation and all that other fun stuff it wasn't until recently that I've been able to get my hands on them and play them.  They are worth the wait!

As I did with the previous precons, I'm going to take each of them for a spin using the unmodified lists.  In the deck tech I'll go over their strengths and weaknesses, discuss which cards can be cut and where you can go with the deck, and whether the deck is actually any good.  Some of you may remember that the best deck from the previous set of precons was Devour for Power, since it was good at using your opponents' creatures against them and there was almost always something good in a graveyard for you to steal.  Devour for Power was the only one of the previously produced precons that could win multiplayer games out of the box on a pretty consistent basis (just under half the time I think).  Can any of the new ones compete?

   
New cards should help!

First up I'm looking at Eternal Bargain:

Eternal Bargain
A Preconstructed Commander Deck

Creatures
1 Ajani's Pridemate
1 Augury Adept
1 Azorius Herald
1 Disciple of Griselbrand
1 Diviner Spirit           
1 Divinity of Pride
1 Filigree Angel
1 Hooded Horror           
1 Kongming, Sleeping Dragon
1 Marrow Bats
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Phyrexian Delver
1 Phyrexian Gargantua
1 Raven Familiar
1 Razor Hippogriff
1 Serene Master           
1 Serra Avatar
1 Sharding Sphinx
1 Sharuum the Hegemon
1 Sphinx of the Steel Wind
1 Stormscape Battlemage
1 Sydri, Galvanic Genius       
1 Tidal Force
1 Tidehollow Strix
1 Tower Gargoyle
1 Vizkopa Guildmage
1 Wall of Reverence
27 cards

Other Spells
[Artifacts]
1 Crawlspace
1 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Obelisk of Esper
1 Pristine Talisman
1 Sol Ring
1 Sun Droplet
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Thopter Foundry
1 Well of Lost Dreams
[Enchantments]
1 Act of Authority
1 Cradle of Vitality
1 Curse of Inertia
1 Curse of Shallow Graves
1 Curse of the Forsaken
1 Darksteel Mutation
1 Greed
1 Phyrexian Reclamation
1 Sanguine Bond
[Instants]
1 Dromar's Charm
1 Lim-Dûl's Vault
1 Reckless Spite
1 Spinal Embrace
[Sorceries]
1 Brilliant Plan
1 Death Grasp
1 Deep Analysis
1 Famine
1 Order of Succession
1 Survival Cache
1 Tempt with Immortality
1 Toxic Deluge
31 cards
 

Lands
1 Arcane Sanctum
1 Azorius Chancery
1 Azorius Guildgate
1 Barren Moor
1 Command Tower
1 Dimir Guildgate
1 Esper Panorama
1 Evolving Wilds
6 Island
1 Jwar Isle Refuge
1 Lonely Sandbar
1 Opal Palace           
1 Orzhov Basilica
1 Orzhov Guildgate
9 Plains
1 Rupture Spire
1 Springjack Pasture
9 Swamp
1 Temple of the False God
1 Transguild Promenade
41 cards

Sideboard
1 Oloro, Ageless Ascetic 
1 cards
 
oloro ageless ascetic

 

Deck Tech:

The first thing to note is something that becomes apparent after looking over all the lists for the Commander 2013 product:  Each of these decks have a dual focus.  Although Oloro is supposed to be the Commander for this deck, there is a pretty heavy artifact creature theme as well.  Obviously Sydri is more artifact oriented, while Oloro is not.  My guess is that while the previous precons were filled with legendary creatures that were a little more "good stuff" the good people at WotC wanted to make legends that required a little more to build around.  If you're going to do this, however, it means that you have to include cards that support both of the new legendary tri-colored Commanders available.  This will give you decks that seem like they are focused on 2 different game plans.  Whether the decks work is really a matter of whether those 2 game plans work well together.  So far this is the only deck that I've played with, but I'm guessing the same is true for the remainder of the decks as well.

As noted, this deck has a life gain/use theme, and an artifact creature theme.  Each of the themes are pretty good on their own and they seem to work well together.  Honestly what I would probably do is cut one of them out, and focus on another one, depending on your preference.  There is a minor token theme that actually works well with the artifact theme so you can keep both of them if you want.

The 2 big things that the deck needs is some more land fixing and card draw.  The land fixing is important because the deck really only has Obelisk of Esper to help it out.  Things like Land Tax, Chromatic Lantern and Journeyer's Kite would all be helpful especially since the deck has a lot of difficult mana costs.

The card draw will help get you through the large chunks of land in the deck.  The deck is mana hungry as it needs to hit 6 mana to get to Oloro, then extra mana so you can use Oloro's extort ability.  I don't recommend going below 40 lands in the deck, but that means that sometimes you will draw a bunch of land in a row.  Cards like Phyrexian Arena, Necropotence and Rhystic Study will help you get through those land gluts.

Finally, the deck can use some more answers, like Damnation or Mortify, and even a couple of Counterspells.  And some of the cards in the deck are just not good.  Famine, Hooded Horror, Thopter Foundry, Survival Cache, Disciple of Griselbrand and even Tidal Force just don't do enough in the deck.

If you fall behind with this deck, you will have a hard time digging yourself out of the hole.  If you get ahead in life and people leave you alone for the first 5 turns or so, you should do pretty good.  The high life total helps provide a sizeable cushion sometimes.  The biggest problem I had with the deck was mana.

Is the deck as good as Devour for Power?  No.  But it's kind of close.  Let's see the deck in action.

Game 1:

This is the very first game that I played with the deck, and there's a couple of things to point out.  The deck is not fast at all.  If there's an aggro voltron Commander out there that gets a good start, you're pretty much toast.  Even if the aggro guy guns for someone else straight out of the box.

As I mentioned earlier, the mana costs aren't that easy to deal with, there's no mana fixing, and the deck really needs to get to 6 mana to cast Oloro.  Unfortunately I never got to 6 mana and died pretty easily.

If you play Child of Alara, you should expect some hate.  People expect that you are going to wipe the board several times which is always annoying.  So the Child player got a little upset when Godo was gunning for him, even though I had a higher life total.  Then the Child player showed why he was a major threat by using Tooth and Nail to drop Avacyn and Blazing Archon into play.  Godo basically finished him off with Warstorm Surge triggers, but you can't be annoyed when you get targeted and you're playing stuff like this.  After Godo took out the Angry Baby, Sydri and I were easily cleaned up.

Game 2:

Here, I get out a turn 2 Ajani's Pridemate and turn 3 Augury Adept and go on the offensive.  Rakdos joins me with a Dark Impostor and his Commander.  Jeleva, however, proceeds to ruin our fun by repeatedly getting rid of creatures that we put out.  On top of that she has Breathstealer's Crypt and Mindcrank to further mess with us.  I use some recursion, including having my Razor Hippogriff get my Sharuum who gets Sphinx of the Steel Wind out of my graveyard and beat down on Jeleva.  With her dying gasp, she uses Curse of the Swine to take out all my cool creatures and leave me with pigs.

With Jeleva gone Sharuum goes on the offensive, playing Ethersworn Canonist to slow us down and getting rid of my Cradle of Vitality.  Rakdos gets and active Bloodchief Ascension to go with a Platinum Angel and Steel Hellkite, but I get rid of the creatures and Sharuum gets rid of the enchantment.  Sharuum had revealed Hinder while Breathstealer's Crypt was in play, and is keeping it in her hand just for my Oloro.  However I finally drag it out of her when he counters my Well of Lost Dreams.  With Oloro out and Rakdos playing Pontiff of Blight Sharruum is quickly dispatched.

At that point I'm still over 40 life while Rakdos is at 15, with no cards.  I quickly dispatch him with recursion using Phyrexian Delver and Oloro triggers.

Game 3:

Here we have a 3 player game where I go up against a minotaur tribal Zedruu and a "not quite cutthroat enough" Scion of the ur-Dragon deck.  I get lucky when the Zedruu player puts Launch on my Serene Master, giving me a blocker when Scion comes out.  However, Scion doesn't run Nicol Bolas so Zedruu doesn't get tremendously hurt when she gets hit by him.  Scion and Zedruu go back and forth while I get a couple of blockers with Marrow Bats and Filigree Angel.  Eventually a combination of both of us beating up on him and Oloro extort triggers takes out Scion.

I'm at 72 while Zedruu is at 22.  I have a couple of dudes and play Curse of the Forsaken, using Oloro's extort to eat away at Zedruu over the next 2 turns to beat her up and take her out.

So there you go.  I was very surprised at how well this deck did.  It occasionally had games like the first one where I did nothing and got stomped, but if I got to 6 mana and could get Oloro out there I would at least be able to participate in the game.  The deck was actually pretty fun.

Anyways, hope you guys enjoyed this look.  Next week, Power Hungry! 

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com
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