Something Old and Something Newby Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
Today I’m going back to my roots…and going someplace new…all in the same article. One of my favorite parts of Magic is building new decks. I enjoy building a new deck as a creative enterprise that could also see the light of day if the deck is half decent. I usually make a conscious effort to build decks that are budget conscious because we all play within some sort of limitations. Some have deeper pockets than others, but there is always a limitation. And, I build when something gets me started.
I have long maintained that I like playing 60 card casual multiplayer games and as a result that is usually where I focus my energies. 60 card decks reduce the amount of variance of your deck because you usually have a higher number of copies of each spell that you want to cast. This is not news, but the difficulty in a multiplayer game is that your 60 card deck doesn’t have answers to EVERYTHING…just the things you face most often. So long as you understand that trade off, you should be all good. So, I’ve gone back to those 60 card decks and brewed one up that is fun, super cheap, and basically can blow out an unsuspecting opponent quite easily.
The inspiration for this deck came from two places. The first was watching the draft coverage of Pro Tour Magic 2015. I watched in amazement as one of the players attacked with his Sungrace Pegasus. Easy enough…and a cute little 1 point life gain with the Lifelink. Then, he cast Living Totem that dumped an extra +1/+1 counter on the Pegasus. THEN he cast Hunt the Weak on it giving it another counter. Now he had a 3/4 lifelinking Pegasus, which is pretty solid. Now, this isn’t a hard feat to reproduce, but I want to create a creature with +1/+1 counters faster and better than this…and then I remembered a couple of cards. Common Bond and Reap What is Sown act very similarly, but are worded a little differently, but both place additional +1/+1 counters on creatures. Mix in a few Heroic creatures and some combat tricks and you have all the makings for a nasty little deck that will make life miserable for the unsuspecting. Let’s see that list.
Selesnya Counters – GW Casual decklist
Replace the 2 x Seraph of Dawn to make the deck standard legal.
The game plan is pretty aggressive and straight forward with a host of flying creatures and growing them with a Reap what is Sown or a Common Bond. The Akroan Skyguard is a perfect target because it quickly gets huge and just rains down pain. The Sungrace Pegasus and the Seraph of Dawn pack Lifelink to push our life total out of danger and make you extra difficult to put away. While I’m on the topic of Seraph of Dawn, this could easily be Dawnbringer Charioteer if you wanted to play a Standard legal version of this deck instead because they are almost identical, but I had a couple of Seraph’s lying around and am a little low on Charioteer’s right now. Chronicler of Heroes digs you deeper with extra cards and Sunblade Elf is just a blow out waiting to happen with his activated ability. The REAL blow out happens when you, out of nowhere, slam Brave the Elements giving all your White creatures (which is basically ALL of them) protection from the colour of your choice…and then back it up with Sanctified charge. The damage in those two cards can be absolutely explosive even if you are packing just a bunch of little fliers. So, the deck is nothing fancy, but it’s quick, it’s cheap to build, and can clobber an unsuspecting opponent very quickly. Those who have some Temple of Plenty, Temple Gardens and/or Mana confluence should replace some of the Forest with them.
Now, I have never really gotten into playing EDH, but you can’t escape the interest in the Magic community. Everywhere you go someone is talking about EDH. Many of the Local Game Stores support it as a format with regular game nights and highly attended events meaning that someone must be enjoying the format. While I’ve never really got into EDH I’ve been intrigued by the format…because who doesn’t want to play all the coolest spells from the history of Magic? Now, I don’t think I have a set philosophy for building an EDH deck the way I do for a 60 card deck, but I do feel like an EDH deck ought to be made of things you already own. It feels bizarre to me to think that people are rushing out to buy loads of cards for EDH decks and prompting what effectively amounts to an arms race for a format that is intended to be casual, relatively inexpensive and fun. Don’t get me wrong, trading and finding the cards you want is part of the game, but I hate to think people are rushing around dropping tons of money on EDH decks so that they can “keep up with the Jones’”. To someone who is still on the outside looking in at the format, well, that feels not quite right and against the spirit of the format. Maybe I’m wrong and I’d love to hear from the EDH community out there (and there are lots of people in that community), but that’s my early impression of how the format is.
So, as a first attempt at an EDH deck I thought I would take a deck that I have and adapt it to EDH play. This feels like a natural evolution of deck building and when the deck already has a couple of Legendary creatures floating around inside it, I have a built in general of two I can access. I have a W/U deck that looks to exploit the Detain mechanic from Return to Ravnica and have mixed in some of my other cards to produce a 60 card deck that can fare very well in a multi-player game because it can answer just about every sort of threat. It packs a splash of removal, counter magic, artifact and enchantment destruction, and spells that just play havoc with combat. All in all, the early makings for an EDH deck. So, with some adaptation, the deck can be built to make a move to the more robust world of EDH play. Let’s see what I’ve brewed up.
Lavinia of the Tenth Commander Decklist
This feels like a pretty straight forward build that is looking to defend itself by seriously slowing down an opponent with the detain ability or “freezing” the opponents creatures. It has a little bit of everything in terms of counter magic, creature destruction and other useful tidbits. The piece that floored me was the number of mass removal effects that I had in my binder and box of spares. Between just plain destroying everything and mass bounce spells, there are plenty of cards that make life miserable for my opponents. The last thing is the ability to break a dead lock. I feel like EDH can stall out a little bit, particularly if all the players have the mana they need and their life is relatively stable, that you need some sort of way to break open the board stall. This is where Whispersilk Cloak and the Rogue’s Passage come in handy (and the Aetherling just for kicks) to allow something you control to sneak by and bash without fear of being blocked. This may not be enough, but it’s a concession to the fact that I could be in for a grindy game and will need a way to close it down.
So, there we have something old, and something new. What do you think? For my first attempt at an EDH deck, how have I done? Have I forgotten something or overlooked a card you think needs to be included in the list? As someone who is new to building an EDH deck, the feedback would be amazing and something I would really appreciate from our terrific readers here on Three Kings Loot.
Thanks for reading again this week and until next time Keep it Fun, keep it safe…keep it casual.
by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters @bgray8791 on Twitter.