Hello and happy Double Masters 2022 era! I hope you all opened good stuff whether cracking packs or drafting.
It isn’t lost on me that there a massive gap between money spent and the cards in the rare slots. We can’t all open Dockside Extortionist!
That said, you can make the best out of your Double Masters bulk by taking an inexpensive legend and turning it into a new deck.
Let’s talk about a legendary Vampire who was overshadowed by its original face Commander. That’s right: Edgar Markov’s precon came with two other new legends and one of them was reprinted for the first time in Double Masters 2022.
Mathas, Fiend Seeker is a very fun Commander. I have a Mathas deck myself that I affectionately have dubbed Mathas “Everything Feels Like a Curse but Isn’t One” where I play stuff like Polluted Bonds and Vicious Shadows.
Before we move forward, let’s take a look at what Mathas, Fiend Seeker does.
At the beginning of your end step, put a bounty counter on target creature an opponent controls. For as long as that creature has a bounty counter on it, it has “When this creature dies, each opponent draws a card and gains 2 life.””
With one look at Mathas’ text box, it becomes pretty clear that he needs your opponents to have some creatures and for your opponents’ creatures to die to really benefit from that second ability. The more your opponents’ creatures die, the more that Menace becomes relevant.
Because you have to choose a creature an opponent controls to gain the ability to give its controller’s opponents to gain advantage, Mathas, Fiend Seeker is a political Commander. You’ll have people pointing fingers at each other and suggesting creatures they think are going to die next or promising to use their Generous Gift on a problem creature if you put a bounty counter on it. This is flavourful as hell and brings a fun dynamic to the table.
Here are a handful of cards I think will really shine in a Mathas, Fiend Seeker deck.
Starting with a card that you can get for cheap soon thanks to Double Masters 2022, Forbidden Orchard is a card I’d assume would be a staple of any Mathas deck regardless of theme. Not only does it fix your colours in a colour combination not known for its mana, it also provides your opponents with creatures and remember saying something about opponents having creatures die being a pretty important part of gaining anything from Mathas’ ability. Pick this up now, though. I cannot recommend this card enough in 3+ colour decks regardless of theme. There’s always someone who will offer a favour. In my experience, there’s a lot of fun to be had by partnering with the opponent with a sacrifice outlet by giving them a Spirit token for them to sacrifice after you put a bounty counter on it. Just make sure you’ve got Vicious Shadows on the board and then you can target the player with the Reliquary Tower and Consecrated Sphinx.
Are you really looking to make a friend? Why don’tcha marry ‘em!
Wedding Ring is a card I’m embarrassed to say I paid way too much for when it came out considering it hasn’t gone into all the decks I thought it would. But the one deck it did make the cut in was Mathas, Fiend Seeker’s Everything Feels Like a Curse but Isn’t One. If your partner decides to pop one of the creatures you’ve marked with a bounty counter on their turn, as long as it wasn’t theirs, you’ll draw two cards and gain four life. But if your partner becomes wise to this and decides to save their removal for your turn so they can benefit from it, not only are you getting them to use their instant-speed removal, but you can probably convince them to do it while you’ve still got a main phase to play with and they’ve just given you a card. You’ll either get somebody generating you a ton of value or basically a minion with a cannon pointed at the creatures you target on the board.
Most of the time, the other opponents get jealous, but who will they come for first? Probably the one putting in the work to destroy. It’s classic Jerry Springer where the guy cheats on his girlfriend but when she comes out she attacks the other woman when she should be coming at the guy. Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
Sometimes, you need your counters to serve multiple purposes. With Nils, you turn your bounty counters into taxes should their controllers wish to send some hurting your way. Each end step, you can even make them bigger, but I don’t think that’s the best thing to do. Stack those bounty counters instead, because when Nils is gone and they swing at you, a well placed Terminate means you’ll get to draw three cards and gain six life if you piled on the bounty counters this way.
I didn’t want to give too much away earlier, but Mathas having Menace is a bigger deal with you’ve got this Background on the battlefield. What better way is there to have a creature with a bounty counter die than to have it attack into someone’s deathtoucher or bigger creature? With a bounty counter on it, the likelihood of the attacked player not blocking and killing the bounty hunted creature drops significantly because no one can resist the siren’s song that is drawing cards and getting rid of something an opponent controls. If you can force a situation where you can get two bounty counter having creatures to smash into each other to send them to their graveyards, that’s just chef’s kiss, baby. Well done.
Finally, I’m ending with a card that I have a really soft spot for. Combat Calligrapher was in the Silverquill Statement precon with Breena, the Demagogue and it creates flying Inkling attackers that can negate your opponents life gain from the bounty counters going off. But it also creates Inkling creatures for your opponents if they attack someone other than you. This means that every time there is a combat scenario, your opponents will likely take two extra damage per Inkling created.
What’s more is as long as the Calligrapher sticks around, those tokens your opponents create can’t attack you or planeswalkers you control. But that doesn’t matter since you’ll be putting bounty counters on them and your opponents will be very tempted to smash into each other for that sweet, sweet card draw.
Honorable Mention: Bounty Hunter
Yeah, yeah. Thematically, it fits and mechanically, it destroys any creature with a bounty counter on it. However, the bounty counters it puts on other creatures do not carry the rest of the ability granted by Mathas at end steps. Just a heads up. This wasn’t originally on my list, but I figured I’d cover it since it’s a rare from Tempest that hasn’t had a reprint and sits at $5. I think it might see a reprint on The List as a nod to Mathas being in Double Masters, but that’s a bet that I won’t put much on. I also didn’t want to include it primarily because it’s like the first card people find when building Mathas while searching bounty counters on scryfall.com and I wanted to provide you with some cool stuff.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back next time with some more to claim that seat at the table.
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