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By: Leviathan, Mike Morales
Dec 27 2010 2:10am
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Before we get to my MED4 review, I just wanted point out that I had finally finished my quest to create a deck based on each of the color combinations!  Click on the name of the Commander to go to the article about it.


W: Zhang Fei, Fierce Warrior
U:  Sakashima the Imposter
B:  Maga, Traitor to Mortals
R:  Homura, Human Ascendant
G:  Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer
Brown:  Karn, Silver Golem

Ravnica Guilds

Boros:  Brion Stoutarm
Golgari:  Sapling of Colfenor
Dimir:  Wrexial, the Risen Deep
Selesnya:  Asmira, Holy Avenger
Orzhov:  Selenia, Dark Angel
Izzet:  Tibor and Lumia
Gruul:  Stonebrow, Krosan Hero
Azorius:  Isperia the Inscrutable
Rakdos:  Bladewing the Risen
Simic:  Experiment Kraj


Bant:  Rafiq of the Many
Grixis:  Lord of Tresserhorn
Naya:  Rith, the Awakener
Esper:  Dakkon Blackblade
Jund:  Xira Arien 

Numot:  Numot, the Devastator
Oros:  Oros, the Avenger
Intet:  Intet, the Dreamer
Teneb/Doran:  Teneb, the Harvester
Vorosh:  Vorosh, the Hunter

Coalition:  Fatties!

I gotta say, I am pretty satisfied that I got all this done.  Some of the decks are a little older, obviously, but I think that they are all viable as they are.  Of course they could all be updated a little but I will leave that up to you guys.  Just because I am done with my little quest doesn't mean that I am done writing or showing you guys decks.  I am going to be looking at the currently available precon decks next, and then probably newer legends as they come out online.  And if there is anything that you guys want me to write about next or any legends that you want me to build around, feel free to let me know in the comments!  I aim to please.

As I'm sure all of you know by now, Masters Edition IV is coming out soon.  As such, we get a whole bunch of cards newly available online.  Let's take a look at what we are getting for Commander, and if there is anything useful for us.

Unfortunately, there are no new legends coming out in MEDIV.  However, I don't think that the ones they have yet to print are all the great, so we are probably not missing out on a whole lot.  Let's get into the meat of the article now, shall we?


There aren't a whole lot of playable creatures that have come out with this set, except one.  And I'm sure you guys know which one I'm talking about.

 Aladdin - There are usually plenty of useful artifacts on the battleground in any particular game, and this guy can steal them for you.  Unfortunately, on top of having to wait a turn to use his ability, he is very fragile.  But he can be useful.

 Ali from Cairo - Platinum Angel is just better.  I don't think I have ever seen anyone play Fortune Thief, and they are pretty much the same card.  Again, very fragile.

 Guardian Beast - I actually found this guy while searching for cards for my Numot deck I wrote about a while back.  He is actually pretty good in an artifact based deck.  The best part is that he prevents the theft of your artifacts.  It doesn't come up often, but when it does, it is pretty handy.  I can see this guy being used in some Esper decks.

 Hasran Ogress - The best card in the set, by far.  I would consider adding Black to all my decks just so I can play the Ogress.  A game changer, and well worth whatever you have to pay for it.  Get 20 if you can!

 Serendib Djinn - A fast flying beater with a hefty upkeep cost.  He could work well in a deck that had Crucible of Worlds or Life from the Loam.  Or you could just take the 3 damage and not worry about it.  Seems like a hefty price to pay in this format, no matter how badly I want to use him.

 Zombie Master - The final zombie lord.  When it's all said and done, he's not the greatest lord out there.  But the ability to give you guys Swampwalk and have them regenerate isn't bad at all.  A decent inclusion for any zombie deck.


There is a pretty strong artifact theme in this Masters Edition, so hopefully there is going to be some good stuff to play with.

 Ashnod's Altar - A combo piece and decent sac outlet, it will probably work well in Sek'Kuar decks.

 Basalt Monolith - Another combo piece, this is one of those guys that if you work at it a little, can give you infinite mana.  Add something like Mana Reflection or Heartstone for those types of shenanigans.

 Candelabra of Tawnos - Another way to add plenty of mana to your pool.  All you need is something that can double the amount of mana your lands produce, and this thing can be fun.  Or a land that can produce a lot of mana by itself, like Gaea's Cradle.  Include Voltaic Key for additional goofiness.

 Control Magic - The original piece of theft, I really like this guy.  It is simple and performs its function well.  Although Treachery is coming out soon, there is still something to be said for being able to cheaply steal any creature.

 Copy Artifact - Again, there are plenty of artifacts out there that you will want to copy.  This is a really cheap way to do it, even cheaper than Mizzium Transreliquat.

 Energy Flux - Will be great for slowing down Sharuum and other artifact based decks.  The problem is trying to figure out whether this card is worth including in your deck just on the off chance you run into one of those decks.  For the most part, I would say no.  I guess you could always combo it with Mycosynth Lattice and a bounce effect, but that seems like a lot of trouble. 

 Fastbond - Don't get your hopes up.  This card is banned in Commander.

 Gauntlet of Might - An auto-include in mono-Red decks.  That is all.

 Goblin Warrens - There are plenty of goblin decks running around out there, typically using Wort, the Raidmother as their general.  This is a good way to increase the number of goblins you have, and works well with something like Grave Pact.

 In the Eye of Chaos - A World Enchantment that doubles the cost of instant spells.  This is probably pretty good against counter heavy blue decks, and prevents people from playing things when it is not their turn.  At least for a while.  Late game, however, it is not as effective as people will have the mana to pay.  This enchantment doesn't effect creatures with Flash though, so people will have no problem playing their Mystic Snakes and Draining Whelks.

 Island Sanctuary - The original Stormtide Leviathan, but it cost you a card draw.  I remember back in the day making a deck using this card with Howling Mine and a bunch of control to deck people.  I think it may see some play in very defensive decks that can draw a bunch of cards, but you probably won't be seeing it that often.

 Library of Alexandria - Banned for Commander.  Sorry guys.

 Mana Vault - If you need quick early mana, this is your artifact.  The untap cost is a pain, but not that bad.  It's funny to think that when they created this card, they had to put a hefty price to untap it.  Meanwhile, Sol Ring was pefectly fine without a drawback.

 Maze of Ith - Yes, it is already online, but when MED4 comes out it will be much cheaper and more available to the masses.  Good in controlling decks.  Just make sure that you don't count it toward you land count, as it won't be able to produce mana without some help.

 Mishra's Workshop - Mana accel for artifact decks.  Goes great in Karn, Silver Golem decks.

 Power Artifact - Another combo enabler.  Put it on your Grim Monolith or Basalt Monolith for infinite mana.  What you do with all that mana is up to you.

 Sol Ring - Again, already available online, but with MED4 out it will be much cheaper.  Buy it and add it to your decks.

 Stasis - I dread running into this card, but I know that I will.  Some control player will put Boomerang on an Isochron Scepter and then play this.  Or, if you only want a two card combo, use Time Elemental or Temporal Adept.  Not a fun card, but it will be played.  Unfortunately.

 Time Vault - Banned for Commander.  No extra turn shenanigans for you!

 Titania's Song - The original March of the Machines.  A strange effect for Green to have, but I'm sure there's some way to abuse it.  Actually, the main way is with Mycosynth Lattice.


 Devastation - This is different from the usual mass destruction that Red gets, in that it does not effect artifacts.  Therefore, you could play with a decent amount of artifact mana.  Of course, if you opponents have artifact mana, they can recover faster as well.

 Drain Power - This card is great.  You can tap out an opponent, and use their mana to essentially accelerate into your big spells.  Even if the opponent you target taps their mana in response to you casting this spell, unless they use it, you get that mana.  Pretty sweet, and I'm sure it will be used a bunch.

 Fire Tempest - I know that I've run into a deck or two that likes to burn everyone out, including creatures.  This will go well with those decks.  Basically a sorcery speed Inferno, so would probably only be used for redundancy.

 Leeches - Ah yes, this comes just in time to help people deal with Skithiryx.  The problem with Leeches is that it is so narrow, most of the time you won't be needing it.  So if you can discard cards for effects, like in a reanimator deck using Looters and Peace of Mind, and you really hate Poison decks, this may be worth a spot.  But the narrowness typically excludes it from inclusion in your deck.

 Overwhelming Forces - If you want to blow out a token deck, this card is for you.  However the cost is pretty high, and you can only target one opponent with this card.  How many creatures must someone have in order to make this worth it?  I'm guessing around 4 or 5.  But sometimes you just need to destroy stuff.  Mana cost is unwieldy though.

 Red Elemental Blast - New online!  Now, I know a lot of people don't like Blue decks.  I've seen that Sheldon Menery sometimes has this as a random card in his decks, and it may be worth including.  I actually tried it once or twice with Pyroblast, and had some decent results.  Blue is a pretty common color, so it should almost always be useful.  

 Regrowth - The original form of recursion.  Doesn't remove itself from the game, and is very cheap.  Pretty much a staple for any deck playing Green.

 Sylvan Tutor - We already have Worldly Tutor online, and Green has a couple of other creature tutors as well.  But if your deck really revolves around a specific creature, you can try this one out.  It will probably be cheaper than Worldly Tutor also.

 Transmute Artifact - Another artifact tutor.  I can see this going into my Numot deck that I made focused on getting the Kaldra equipment out.  Seems like a slightly better version of Reshape.  If you really want that specific artifact, worth considering at least.

 Wheel of Fortune - This card is great.  It fills your hand and hoses the carefully sculpted hands of your control opponents.  Unfortunately it also fills their hands with new cards, but Wheel is cheap enough to cast that you should be able to cast some of your new stuff the same turn.  Obviously goes into Niv-Mizzet decks, and likely most mono-Red decks as well.

 Word of Command - A very limited Mindslaver.  I can see people playing this card just for giggles, and that's fine.  It doesn't completely wreck people like Mindslaver can, so I say go for it.  But I don't generally think it's good enough for regular play.  Reminds me a lot of Treacherous Urge.  And you gotta love the artwork.


So MED4 isn't that great a set for Commander.  Oh well.  With that said, let's look at the top 10 cards from the set.

1.  Hasran Ogress
2.  Underground Sea
3.  Tundra
4.  Tropical Island
5.  Taiga
6.  Savannah
7.  Bayou
8.  Volcanic Island
9.  Plateau
10.  Scrubland

Sorry Badlands, you didn't make the cut.  Seriously though, if you don't have most of the dual lands, like me, now is a great time to pick some up.  They will never be as cheap as the Ravnica shock lands, but I'm guessing while drafts are firing they will never be cheaper.  Same goes of Maze of Ith and Sol Ring.

Other than that, you have Regrowth, Wheel of Fortune, Candelabra of Tawnos, Control Magic and for those corner decks Gauntlet of Might and Mishra's Workshop.  Several other cards are possibly worth considering, but many of these cards are just functional reprints or worse than stuff that is already online.  I know that there are some of you out there that like to play color hosers, and for you guys you get some new toys.  But personally I'm not a huge fan of these types of cards.

So that's about it.  The set is pretty underwhelming.  Even if it had the Power 9, it wouldn't matter since I believe each of them are banned in the format except for Timetwister.  I can't really see myself playing most of these cards.  However, if I ever challenged myself into making a Commander deck using only MED cards, at least this set would provide some additional staples.  The deck would probably suck, however.


A couple weeks ago I kept running into a player using Patron of the Moon as their Commander.  After a while we started talking and it turned out this player was Ith, a writer here on the site.  The deck he was playing had a lot of the usual mono-Blue tricks, but never felt annoying to play against and didn't seem to win the same way twice.  I asked if I could show the deck he was using here, and he agreed.  Here it is:


I will let Ith describe it a little in his own words:

"It started out that I wanted to make a Patron deck that would focus on getting infinite mana using the Patron + Amulet of Vigor and a Ravnica bounceland.  After winning a few games in that method I pretty much gave up on doing it (though the combo remains in the deck) because it takes so long to do all the tapping and untapping.  That's about when I decided to just refine it into a mono-blue monstrosity.  Although there's a lot of commanders available in the deck, I always use Patron firstly because it lets me drop tons of land into play after big card draw plays, and secondly because most people don't consider the Patron deck a huge threat compared to Teferi or whatever (though I seem to be getting a reputation now).

The deck is almost where I want it to finally end up.  There are a few expensive things I'm still missing (Force of Will, Jaces, Mana Drain, Mox Diamond, Sol Ring), but those are definitely part of the long term plan for the deck.  I'll have to make a bit of room when ME4 comes out to put in the Sol Ring, Drain Power and some other fun stuff.  I tend to make additions and subtractions to the deck every day.  It seems like the more I work on it, the more artifacts the deck gets and the fewer creatures.  The moonfolk theme of the deck is now almost completely removed, though it used to be a big part of it.  That last Soratami Rainshaper is probably not long for this word once I can find a cheap Mana Drain."

I played a few games against this deck, and I had fun doing so.  It's not overly reliant upon counterspells, and it doesn't steal everything.  It's a good mix of proactive and reactive cards.  There are a couple of extra turn spells, though, and sometimes they can be chained together either to find answers or to just keep the beats going.  There are a lot of little 2 card interactions here, with the one I found most annoying being Myojin of Seeing Winds and Venser's Journal.  That was just a beating, and many times put him so far ahead that his life total was tough, if not impossible, to overcome.  And with all those lands drawn, Patron can dump them directly into play.

The funny thing is that looking at the decklist, it plays much better than you would think.  There is nothing outright busted in the deck, but it plays very well.  Like I said, I thought the deck was cool, and worth showing to you guys. 

Hope you enjoyed the article.  Until next time!

Leviathan, aka Tarasco on MTGO
mrmorale32 at yahoo dot com



Being a bit of the obsessive by Xaoslegend at Mon, 12/27/2010 - 10:38
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Being a bit of the obsessive compulsive myself I really appreciate the completion of the commander color combination quest, I guess there aren't any 4 color legends for 4 more possible decks? If not I suppose that's something wizards aught to remedy at some point. In any case that's a great reference for any commander deck builder, great that you've thrown that up.



Ith by Lythand at Mon, 12/27/2010 - 14:40
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I played his deck. I thought it could get out of hand and tried to point that put to everyone at the table so they would gang up on him. I didn't know it was him though.

Xaos - No 4 color legends. I by Leviathan at Mon, 12/27/2010 - 14:48
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Xaos - No 4 color legends. I think I read somewhere that they have a very difficult time designing those type of cards, as can be seen by the Nephilim in Rav block. So I'm guessing that we aren't going to be seeing any 4 color legends any time soon.

Lythand - Yeah, the deck is sneaky at first because it uses Patron and not another scary commander like Teferi. And a lot of the cards don't seem extremely scary on their own. But the deck has a lot of synergy and lots of ways to win. He beat my Karn deck more than a few times I think.

Not seeming scary at first is by Ith at Thu, 12/30/2010 - 00:51
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Not seeming scary at first is definitely the key to my success. I overloaded the deck with defensive cards like Dissipation Field, Forcefield and Web of Inertia rather than outright counters and theft. Most other mono blue decks I've seen try to defend by removing threats, I just make attacking other people seem like a much better idea.

If I had to pick the strongest card in the deck, it would be Leyline of Anticipation. It makes almost every other card in the deck way better. Playing almost counter-less blue often involves a lot of bluffing. Being able to keep my mana open to cast things at EoT means every card is potentially a surprise blocker or a counterspell.

Lastly, the reason I change little pieces of the deck so frequently is that I play a lot of commander. Not only is it nice to have variety, but there's quite a few people in the multiplayer room who have experienced this deck many times (since it's almost the only deck I play anymore). Throwing in some unexpected threats and answers every now and then keeps people on their toes. Some people (probably more now that my decklist is here) have started to remember how few counters I have and take advantage of it. The joke's on them when I pull an Ertai's Trickery out of nowhere which will live in the deck for perhaps only a week before being cycled out again!

goflmbo!! (Giggling on the by Paul Leicht at Mon, 12/27/2010 - 16:27
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goflmbo!! (Giggling on the floor, laughing my buttocks off) @ Hasran Ogress... at least 20! :D Anyway fun look at the set. I think there are likely some less exciting cards that may become staples in the format or at least well considered inclusions. Ith's deck looks pretty unfun. I am surprised he isn't getting auto concessions. But then I guess people are so relieved to not have to face Emrakul.dec anymore they are practically giddy with brave resilience against lesser evils.

Good review, and thanks for by themonkey at Mon, 12/27/2010 - 17:14
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Good review, and thanks for pointing out Fire Tempest. As a bonus over Inferno it's Anarchist friendly. Sorry Magmasaur, you just don't make the cut anymore.

Great article! What's the URL by Nik83 at Thu, 12/30/2010 - 01:53
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Great article! What's the URL for the site where we can make formatted decklists, by the way?

http://jamuraa.com/pure/deck_ by Paul Leicht at Thu, 12/30/2010 - 02:06
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http://jamuraa.com/pure/deck_new.php this?

Perfect, thanks! by Nik83 at Thu, 12/30/2010 - 04:24
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Perfect, thanks!