Archive for the ‘Commander’ Category

Everyone knows about my on-again-off-again relationship with Magic The Gathering. I spent most of my middle school and high school days bouncing back and forth between Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh!, but every once in a while Magic would slip in. The last time we actively tried to really get into Magic would have been around Core Set 2010 and the Divine vs Demonic two-player deck, then again when Dragons of Tarkir dropped in 2015.

dragonlord-ojutai-43504-medium

Admit it, Ojutai was dropping the sickest mixtape of 2015.

This relationship came to a head in 2017 when, after many attempts to get us into the format and several trips to GenCon, we finally broke into the Commander (or EDH) format. I went with the Arcane Wizardry deck, while Rob went with Feline Ferocity. The other two decks were chosen by two others in our main group. Laster that year, we’d add the Commander Anthology to our collection.

Since then, I think I’ve played more games of Magic in nine months than I have in the last ten years. Things got really bad when Ixalan/Rivals of Ixalan came out. Dinosaurs and pirates are a volatile combination. We attended actual prerelease events, even buying a full box of Rivals. The bug is pretty bad, though we’ve kept ourselves contempt with Commander. I think in large part to it being the only format the majority of our play group will only play.

This all brings me to the point of this post: I finally sat down and built my first from-scratch Commander deck. We have six decks prior, but they were all pre-constructed decks to which we’ve made modest modifications to over the last several months. The most edited deck probably being the Heavenly Inferno (featuring Kaalia) from the Anthology collection. For my first original build, I decided to go with one of the reasons I’m so big into Magic again – dinosaurs!

Aside from dinosaurs being one of the big reasons I loved Ixalan so much, they seemed like one of the easier modern types to go with. I was always a fan of aggro decks in the past and the dinosaurs introduced fit that bill perfectly. There are some nice little combos hidden in some of them, but for the most part they hit hard and hit hard fast. The first thing I had to decide on, however, was which dinosaur to use for my Commander. I narrowed it down to two:

These are the two baddest dinosaurs in the Ixalan schoolyard, with Gishath hailing from Ixalan and Zacama from Rivals of Ixalan. They both offer a tremendous amount of power for their costs, yet both offer completely different play styles. Zacama blocks anything and everything while untapping all the resources to call him out. Gishath, on the other hand, can attack the turn summoned and potentially flood the board with dinosaurs to give your opponent a headache.

Ultimately, I decided to run the tri-headed terror and Primal Calamity, Zacama. Gishath’s ability to swarm the board is nice, but if he gets destroyed and goes back to the Command Zone, it’ll cost you resources better spent elsewhere. If Zacama gets destroyed, send it back to your command zone with no worries. Why? Next turn, summon it again and then untap. Once you have enough mana on the board to bring Zacama out the first time, it is basically a free 9/9 slaughter house whenever you need it. To add insult to injury, the mana you untapped can then be used for three amazing effects.

The rest of the build I went with is a bit…unique. As I stated before, my on-again-off-again relationship with Magic over the years has left me with a unique collection. I have cards from several different sets, but not complete access to the must have cards for 99% of Commander builds. As such, you improvise until you go to something like GenCon or you hit up TCGPlayer and single out what you need.

I don’t want to brag, but I think the deck comes out fairly well. Over the weekend, it was played 6 times. With the exception of one game where it stalled, it performed extremely well the remaining five times. Each game was multiplayer with 3 or more players. I can say with some fine tuning it could be a great contender. A big MVP of the deck is:

azor

So much potential…

With Zacama, as well as a couple other cards in my build, I have a decent amount of life gain. In one game, the deck was able to build up to 98 life. Tapping Sanctum of the Sun for anything over base life is amazing in a deck that doesn’t have an infinite mana build. Better yet is that Sanctum is a land, which means if Zacama somehow gets destroyed, it can untap it for even more land! Rob managed to pull that off, tapping it the first time for 60 red and then 60 white. Just using it for Zacama’s abilities, that’s +60 life and 60 points of damage across all of our creatures. That’s an opponents’ board wiped plus setting up for even more mana for the next turn.

Of course, the cost is losing five cards exiled with Azor specifically. That’s five turns of a major target on that Artifact.

I’m super excited to see Dominaria on the horizon. The spoilers have been making me drool a little, mainly for what it could possibly add to my Wizard deck. I’m not sure what could or could not be making their way into this deck, but I’m definitely looking to see what older cards I could possibly add to the dinosaur deck.

So, for long time Commander players, what are some need to have cards I should be on the look out for? Have you ever tried a dinosaur deck yet? What worked well and what kept you from having fun? Sign off in the comments below and let us know!

Until next time, keep your dice warm and happy gaming.

 

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