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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Jul 21 2017 12:00pm
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Last weekend I was excited to play in the 1v1 Challenge, I was up late in the night, brewing a deck that was going to do well in what I expected the field to look like, that being a heavy Baral, Chief of Compliance, Breya, Etherium Shaper and Leovold, Emissary of Trest.  I figured I would play a hate card filled build of Radha, Heir to KeldGaea's Herald, Vexing Shusher, Boil and Hall of Gemstone would help take out the control threats and allow my midrange cards to shine.  Manglehorn, Destructive Revelry and Wickerbough Elder would help keep the artifacts of Breya in control.  In theory it was a heck of deck.  Satisfied with the work done, I laid down and slept, with a goal of at least 3-3 going through my head.  I find that if I keep my hopes down, I am less likely to be crushed when I do not meet them. 

Let's take a look at the deck that I registered for the event. 

Good in Theory, not so much in practice - 100 Cards Total
1 Sin Prodder
1 Duskwatch Recruiter
1 Reclamation Sage
1 Primeval Titan
1 Magus of the Moon
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Bloodbraid Elf
1 Courser of Kruphix
1 Gaea's Herald
1 Titania, Protector of Argoth
1 Thragtusk
1 Scavenging Ooze
1 Dryad Arbor
1 Fauna Shaman
1 Eternal Witness
1 Stingscourger
1 Vexing Shusher
1 Wood Elves
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Zealous Conscripts
1 Avalanche Riders
1 Woodland Bellower
1 Eldrazi Obligator
1 Birds of Paradise
1 World Breaker
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Elvish Mystic
1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
1 Oracle of Mul Daya
1 Acidic Slime
1 Inferno Titan
1 Wall of Blossoms
1 Wickerbough Elder
1 Manglehorn
1 Vizier of the Menagerie
1 (Ramunap Excavator)
33 cards

1 Boil
1 (Abrade)
1 Destructive Revelry
1 Worldly Tutor
1 Beast Within
1 Summoning Trap
1 Chord of Calling
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Crop Rotation
1 Dead/Gone
8 cards

1 Primal Command
1 Harmonize
1 Mizzium Mortars
1 Cultivate
1 Green Sun's Zenith
1 Tooth and Nail
1 Rampant Growth
7 cards
1 Birthing Pod
1 cards

1 Sylvan Library
1 Hall of Gemstone
1 Utopia Sprawl
1 Blood Moon
4 cards

1 Domri Rade
1 Xenagos, the Reveler
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
4 cards
1 Cinder Glade
1 Dust Bowl
1 Taiga
1 Arid Mesa
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Wooded Foothills
7 Mountain
1 Stomping Ground
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Command Tower
1 Windswept Heath
1 Wasteland
7 Forest
1 Mossfire Valley
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Verdant Catacombs
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Karplusan Forest
1 Fire-Lit Thicket
1 Kessig Wolf Run
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Sheltered Thicket
34 cards

1 Skullclamp
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
3 cards

1 Radha, Heir to Keld

That was not to be.  In the first round of the event I played against Sidisi, Undead Vizier and because of the fast mana that WotC did not ban, got beat on turn three.  That was annoying, but I'm not going to let the existence of Ancient Tomb, Chrome Mox and Mox Diamond get me down, especially since I was running Ancient Tomb as well.  Undeterred, I walked outside, mowed a little bit of the lawn and came back in ready for round two.  I was paired against Baral in round two, and after a turn one Sleight of Hand, turn two commander, turn three Polymorph into Emrakul, the Aeons Torn which I tried to bounce with (Stingscouger) and saw countered by Force of Will, I moved on to a record of 0-2.  Seems that consistency issues may not have been the issue with Baral decks.  It might have been the giant dumb monster that they Polymorph in to, but I guess that's none of my business.



Going back outside to do more lawn mowing, I came back ready to start my win streak, or at least win something, or have a respectable game that went past turn 5.  Breya was my opponent for round three, and I was able to make the game go long, but the card advantage and tutors that are available to the deck eventually buried me and my opponent came away with the win.  

I did win round four, against a Nissa, Vastwood Seer deck, but lost my next two to finish 1-5 and well away from my goal for the challenge.  Maybe the deck was bad, I thought it was really nice looking and should have competed, but I wasn't as fast.  I was playing fair Magic, everyone else was playing unfair, and the important lesson to learn is, if you can play unfair Magic, you should!  Though looking back at the list, I made at least one error, as I forgot to include a Fierce Empath.  That was a mistake.  Another mistake was going back outside to deal with lawn work, because as I made a lap around the house with the mower, I disturbed a wasp nest, and was swarmed.  I'm still not over my poison ivy, so adding stung multiple times by an insect that does no good for the world was not ideal.  

There really is no reason for wasps to exist. 

It was super nice to battle against two of the three decks that I thought I would see, but it was not as nice to get crushed by the cards that I have long insisted were too powerful for the format. I guess looking at the 86 players in the league may enforce the idea as well, but that may still be due to the Hour of Devastation events and Standard not being an unplayable train wreck right now. 

I guess we could look at the decks reported from the leagues and challenge.  There were 62 decks reported this week, so let's delve in to the top five. 


Commander League Challenge Total
Breya, Etherium Shaper 5 10 15
Baral, Chief of Compliance 1 3 4
Sidisi, Undead Vizier 2 2 4
Kraum, Ludevic's Opus and Tymna the Weaver 4 0 4
Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
The Gitrog Monster

I think one of the best parts about the new decklist changes, is you can see clearly which players and days players have 5-0d events.  Heck in this reporting period, (7-13 to 7-19) two leagues had less than 5 decks reported. It appears to me that we are getting accurate list reporting, because it's super easy to track in the client. 

Breya continued her dominance, and it takes four commanders to actually reach the same amount of reported decks.  This is not good.  While the format is super fun to play, and the players are super fun to play with, there needs to be an infusion, changes made and I hate harping on this week in and week out, because it's so depressing, but I love this format so much. 

The interesting part is, aggro made a bit of a presence in the challenge event.  We can ignore the Azusa, Nissa, Titania and Selvala deck, because those four decks are at their core, ramp decks.  However, Ezuri, Renegade Leader is an aggro tribal elf strategy that can combo with Craterhoof Behemoth to win.  Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh is an aggro red deck that with the commander, gives you more reach and staying power over Zurgo BellstrikerMarath, Will of the Wild is a nice aggro Naya deck.  Maybe Radha, Heir to Keld is better served as an elf deck instead of a midrange hate deck. 

Another cool thing, and my next deck to work on building is Teferi, Temporal Archmage.  Playing like a Jace deck, this commander is important for what is basically an additional copy of Turnabout whenever you are going off. 

You can check out the top thirty two decks of last week's challenge here

  Next week I have something planned for my personal ten year anniversary at PureMTGO.com, but I'm not really sure what it is going to be, so maybe I have no plans at all. 


I think one of the biggest by ArchGenius at Fri, 07/21/2017 - 13:00
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I think one of the biggest problems with 1 vs 1 Commander is that the only way to play it is single match games. That creates an incredible advantage for whoever wins the die roll and goes first. Most of my league results are usually pretty close to a representation of how many times I won the die roll, unless I'm paired against a casual deck.

WotC bills 1 vs 1 Commander as a more casual format, but single match games mean you can finish your matches quicker, which means the time*money to prize ratio is much greater for grinders.

I think the moxen are a bit over powered and probably should go. They help multi-color commanders so much and offset the go-second disadvantage quite a bit. Ancient Tomb is powerful, but not quite as powerful, because an early Tomb will usually mean that the play is going to lose 6-10 life to it in a match. That's not insignificant.

And yes, your deck doesn't seem to be taking advantage of all of the brokenness it could be.

You have an Elf Commander, but none of the Elf matters cards (Priest of Titania, Heritage Druid, etc.)
You have Birthing Pod, Zealous Conscripts, but NO Kiki-Jiki?
You have Emrakul, and no Sneak Attack?

Single game matches are the by JXClaytor at Fri, 07/21/2017 - 13:30
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Single game matches are the best and I love them so much. If they were to change that I would probably stop playing the format. That's part of the appeal to me. It's the closest thing on MTGO to a hearthstone or pokemon experience and I just dig it.

I do like the community that players, I've gotten used to a lot of the same people, but the format could be growing. I see a lot of people upset on twitter because 1v1 is not commander, and they are letting their love of EDH cloud a great play experience.

At 30 life losing that much life to a tomb is not a huge drawback. At 20 I'd say, sure keep tomb, please.

Yeah I didn't want the elf matters part, I was looking to go more midrange with it.

Kiki Jiki is a huge miss, that one stings a bit.

Sneak Attack. I've never actually cast the card. But it's a heck of an idea.

It's the price combined with by ArchGenius at Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:50
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It's the price combined with the 1 match rounds that I have an issue with. I play a lot of 1 match drafts whenever the new set comes out. It works great when you have kids.

I would just prefer 7 wins or 4 loses kind of structure.

That would be a pretty sweet by JXClaytor at Sat, 07/22/2017 - 11:32
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That would be a pretty sweet thing to consider.

Forgot to give you 5 by ArchGenius at Sat, 07/22/2017 - 02:07
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Forgot to give you 5 fireballs. Keep up the good work.

I would give the format a by MarcosPMA at Sat, 07/22/2017 - 02:21
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I would give the format a try, but the banlist seems like a joke. I even stopped playing multiplayer Commander until they brought back the old banlist. Here's hoping they see the light.

The ban list is not great by JXClaytor at Sat, 07/22/2017 - 11:34
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The ban list is not great right now, and for some reason R&D who created it, saw fit to ignore the work of the DC people and well, that's kinda going against them now.

Eventually the list will be better, but that is the price we pay as early adapters I guess.

I actually just started by neckfire at Sat, 07/22/2017 - 15:53
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I actually just started playing that mono black list :( I have an unnatural love for painter.

there is nothing wrong with by JXClaytor at Sun, 07/23/2017 - 11:09
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there is nothing wrong with that.

When I read this article the by stsung at Mon, 07/24/2017 - 08:12
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When I read this article the first time I didn't actually look at the decklist. After ehm seeing certain Horde of Notions deck I decided to actually see what kind of a deck you played and my brain started to think. That's dangerous sometimes. Especially when talking about EDH and deckbuilding. So um take what follows easy, ok?

Radha is not really good in a format which is practically unfair and broken. I know that this is probably something you didn't want to hear but even in paper where the banlist is quite extensive being on a fair side of things doesn't really work. I encountered few Radhas during my period of literally grinding EDH events and I always liked to see them since I knew those decks were incapable of actually beating my deck. They were not fast enough and they did not have any kind of efficient answer to my combos. On the other hand I admire those players and the deck in general looked very fast and lethal.

I probably like doing broken things or at least powerful ones and that is why I tried that in EDH. I usually started with something good but in the end ended up with something broken and unfair. The format will always be like that unless WotC bans all the relevant generals. The thing is...that the general itself is one of the reasons why the format tends to be broken. (speaking about general....in general, not a particular general)

As for aggro decks Bruse is broken as heck. Zurgo can do possibly fine, Titania is also probably more on the 'aggro' side than ramp (aggressive ramp? lol). The deck to beat is Bruse partner aggro if you want to be testing something fair.

As for your deck I'd cut cards that slow you down like Worldly Tutor, Chord of Calling, Oracle of Mul Daya. I wouldn't play Hall of Gemstone or Utopia Sprawl either. Not sure about the Crucible on legs :-/ If you want to stick with Radha you should either be very aggressive or LDish tempo.

Play more land (Grove of the Burnwillows? and Punishing Fire)..like 38ish.

How about cards like Huntmaster of the Fells, Boon Satyr, Boartust Liege, Vengevine, Rhonas the Indomitable, Hellrider? I'd play more hasty costly creatures instead of cards like World Breaker and Inferno Titan. You shouldn't in theory need those but Thudermaw Hellkite/Stormbreath Dragon/Glorybringer/Wolfir Silverheart come to mind and do a better job at killing an opponent but are already ver costly. Play anything that can attack well... (no Wall of Blossoms or BoP) and possibly something that can use Radha's mana.
Instead of mana dorks you could play Burning Tree Emissary and Lotus Cobra. As attackers using the mana from Radha - Basking Rootwalla (and the new one from HOU), Wolfbitten Captive. Even one mana 'saved' is good (not that awesome but still ok). Flinthoof Boar! My pet card. Or Boggart Ram-Gang.
Good RG creatures are Wild Nacatl, Voltaic Brawler, Kird Ape if playing Rootwallas seems too sweet or inefficient.

Very annoying planeswalkers are Arlinn Kord, Sarkhan Vol. Chandra, Torch of Defiance is very powerful even though she doesn't really help the deck that much like the previous two.

Play burn spells or something that can deal damage. If you have nothing to do with Radha mana...than you can just burn something or target your opponent. (Char, Flame Javelin, Lightning Bolt, Atarka's Command at least). In this deck it is reasonable to even play Incinerate/Lightning Strike/Searing Spear etc. Not sure if sweepers are needed...seems not so far.

If you like LD Ravenous Baboons, Ravaging Horder, Goblin Ruinblaster. Then you'd have to play cards like Molten Rain/Pillage/Winter's Grasp or how it is called etc. and it would be a different deck but possibly one that works too. I'd rather be on the aggressive side of things though, in the style of Leeroy Jenkins...

Every card but like two by JXClaytor at Mon, 07/24/2017 - 10:50
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Every card but like two originally made it in to the deck. I had a close to 200 card pile of what I wanted to play, and they did not make a lot of sense to me, or what I wanted the deck to do.

I think I was trying to make a hate deck in colors that could not really support it. I mean yeah the hate is there, but the deck went in to so many different directions, and it lacked focus.