I love it when a new set comes out. There are so many new and interesting options available. Can some cards be used in Modern? Can that card there be a sweet new addition to an existing Standard deck? Is a whole new archetype going to emerge with some of these new cards? There are just so many possibilities and that is a truly exciting prospect. Old cards and new cards can combine in ways that make for some terrific new options to get my brewing juices flowing.
Like many players I have turned my attention increasingly to playing EDH or Commander and am starting to like the idea more and more. I have two decks built already that I play with a friend when we get together once a month and have found the format to be very engaging and lots of fun to play. I can certainly see the appeal for so many players. However, when I saw the full spoiler for Shadow over Innistrad I got excited to see one new card get spoiled. This guy!
This is one UGLY dude, but it is in one of my favorite colour combinations. There is just so much text that you can’t ignore it. I think perhaps the best part of this card for Commander is the fact that you can sacrifice your land to keep him in play, but if you need to you have the option of NOT paying the upkeep, losing your Frog Horror, and having the ability to replay it later when you are comfortably back on top of the land situation. That just feels like a very powerful choice that can be leveraged by a clever player and is part of the game inside the game with this card.
I have to say, it has proven to be a big relief that this guy has been printed. In the last several sets there haven’t been a ton of good G/B commanders to choose from. There’s Pharika, God of Affliction and she’s pretty solid. There’s Meren of Clan Nel Toth who is very strong in her Commander 2015 supplemental product. Anafenza the Foremost gets you Abzan colours, but to get a real nasty G/B commander in a new set is pretty fun and exciting. It opens up a whole lot of possibilities and blows new life back into this colour combination and gets everyone all excited about building a fun new deck with lots of new treats from the latest set.
Now, anyone can build a list for a G/B deck. Heck, you could just borrow the G/B decklist from the Commander 2015 product released last fall. However, sometimes what makes Commander decks fun is when you have a fun theme. The Gitrog Monster lends himself to a very easy theme…and that’s UGLY. I wanted to build myself a Commander deck for the Gitrog Monster that is using all the most ugly cards I can find. And by ugly…I.mean stuff that is as ugly as we can make it. Now, my list isn’t perfect and it can’t JUST be ugly cards because it does still need to be relevant and able to get a win, but when it came down to a tie breaker I would pick the uglier card in order to stay as true as possible to my theme. Here’s the list I’ve put together.
The game plan for the deck is pretty straight forward. You want to self-mill to improve your card quality, play gross creatures, play gross removal and out gross your opponent to victory. I think the real trick is really in The Gitrog Monster because it is not only huge, but it can be a major source of card advantage once you start grinding away. Each and every land that you sacrifice to appease Gitrog is an opportunity to draw another card. Coupled with the fact that you will be dumping things in your yard, have a mild amount of Delve to fuel, can Scavenge up a few other targets or just reanimate them with a number of other spells and you could have something extremely fun to play.
There is no doubt that this initial version is very budget conscious because I can immediately think of a number of very expensive additions. Tarmogoyf and Scavenging Ooze both seem like very strong additions to this sort of deck. Also, Life from the Loam would be a fun addition to this sort of deck as you move get back some lands to keep feeding Gitrog. Verdant Catacombs and Overgrown Tomb would also be nice additions to the deck. I’m sure that there are a few other things that I could find to help spice up the deck without going overboard and going from being fun to being oppressive and uncool for my friends to play.
What new Commanders are you excited for coming out of Shadows over Innistrad? Are you stoked for The Gitrog Monster like me? Do you have your eyes on another sweet prize? Let me know what has got your attention by leaving a comment down below or by finding me on Twitter. Also, if there are any sweet or ugly cards that I’ve overlooked, let me know. I’m always on the lookout for cards that are cool or underplayed and might fit the bill.
Be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter!
@bgray8791 on Twitter
Welcome back folks! It’s been a while since I sat down and provided you guys with some fun new decks for your next casual card night, so I thought I would sit down and share with you what I’ve been brewing. The good news for you guys is that I’ve actually got TWO decks here for you and who doesn’t love a 2 for 1 special? Even with all the talk of Battle for Zendikar being less than thrilling from many perspectives, there are still loads of fun and interesting things you can do. Let’s take a look at a couple of things that I’ve brewed up and see what you think.
Budget U/B control
One of the biggest things about the current standard environment that makes it so prohibitive to get into a top tier competitive deck is the sheer value of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Any deck playing Blue wants a playset of Jace! Let’s face it, the card is extremely powerful and likely worth every penny you pay for it if you grind out lots of matches. Sadly, I can’t afford the $320 for a set of four. However, there was another Blue mythic from Magic:Origins that no one even talks about and I can afford. I’m thinking of none other than Disciple of the Ring. I had the chance to draft this guy in back to back drafts and this guy was amazing. He has almost every relevant ability you would ever need on a creature stapled to him and if you fill your yard with Instants and Sorceries you can dictate the terms of the game fairly easily with an active Disciple of the Ring. So, the question is, can this be a big deal in some other environment than just draft? I suspect the answer is yes. Here is the list I put together.
The game plan seems simple enough. You want to push into the late stages of the game by answering their threats through bouncing them, countering them, or just outright killing them. Using your spells to handle their threats should allow you to pile up a bunch of fuel that you can then use with Disciple of the Ring to either further deal with their threats or to take the fight to them. It wouldn’t take much to pump the Disciple into being a very real threat and a quick clock.
Let’s suppose that your opponent can deal with your #1 threat like the Disciple. Did you notice any other backdoor wins? How about Demonic Pact and Disperse as being a potentially deadly way to really cinch down on your opponent? Get max value off the Pact and then bounce it, recast it and then repeat…seems pretty good to me. Also, don’t forget Damnable Pact and the Mage-Ring Network. If you get into a situation where you have available land at the end of their turn, charge up the Network and wait to be able to fire off a massive Damnable Pact at them, make them draw a whole pile of cards and die as a result of the damage. Nothing quite like a Black “Fireball”! The last trick is Learn from the Past which acts as a way to deck your opponent if you need to get that far.
The only cards that are expensive in this deck are the 2 Languish, 2 Crux of Fate, and the Demonic Pact. Even those are fairly modestly priced in most respects and available right here at Three Kings Loot. Otherwise, the Disciple is about $1/ card, Damnable Pact is about fifty cents, and everything else is super inexpensive, even the lands.
Now, there are lots of good upgrades to run that can still be budget friendly. Ultimate Price is a strong removal spell that is much cheaper to cast, but it doesn’t handle multicolored creatures like Siege Rhino, Anafenza, Mantis Rider or Atarka. Yes, Reach of Shadows is bad 5 mana removal, but at least it can handle those big time threats instead of being a dead card. Murderous Cut might be upgrade on both counts, but exiling your yard isn’t ideal when you want to fuel the Disciple. Of course, you could full on upgrade to Ruinous Path, but that is one more sorcery speed spell and that just might be too slow, or too expensive for the old pocket book. Cancel is eligible for an upgrade with a Scatter to the Winds, but as a rare that may not economical. Spell Shrivel would work almost as well in most situations but I would rather have the hard counter as opposed to the conditional element as part of Spell Shrivel. Reave Soul could stand to be upgraded to Complete Disregard and the only reason I’m running Reave and not Disregard is that I don’t have any more in my box…they are already all in decks! Reave Soul is fine, but the same issue surrounding casting it at Sorcery speed crops up again.
My early version of a sideboard would include 2 copies each of Encase in Ice and Self-Inflicted Wound as very solid sideboard options. I think I would also opt to run 2 copies of Mire’s Malice as a way to force discard and clear out their hand. Malice can also work to give you a late game threat with an Elemental should you need it. There is no doubt 2 copies of Dispel would make the grade as well simply for a little insurance. There would need to be some other serious considerations, but these would almost assuredly make my first 75 for this deck.
You could rock this with your buddies on a Saturday night and feel fairly assured that it could be a real pain in the derriere, but I don’t think you would be ashamed to sling this at FNM either…and the impact on your pocket book would be very manageable.
My second deck runs a couple of the same cards, but whereas the Control deck played these cards as an alternative win con, this time it would be a major key to victory. Let’s take a look at what I’ve got this time around.
The game plan this time is a little different. This acts very much like a token swarm deck. Cast a bunch of dudes, make some Scions, and then pump the team for the win with a Joraga Invocation or a Tajuru War Caller. Now, if that doesn’t work or you can’t find the Overrun style effect, Zulaport Cutthroat could be a win con if you just sac all your dudes to drain out your opponent. However, the really greasy way to get it done is to sac all your tokens (hopefully with the Cutthroat in play) to cast yet another massive Damnable Pact to close out the match. If you don’t have enough Scions feel free to power up the Mage-Ring Network and then just go mana crazy when it’s time to finish off your opponent.
The issue with this sort of deck is that it is extremely creature reliant meaning that a board wipe pretty much shuts this one down. Oh, and by the way, there are LOADS of wraths in this Standard format. However, decks looking to trade 1 for 1 with a token deck won’t be too happy to play you because their exchanges will invariably be much worse. If this deck can get online, go wide, and maintain pressure then this deck could be a real pain in the neck for some decks out there.
Now, I need to confess, I haven’t had a chance to put these through much of the way of testing. My wife and I had a new baby boy about 6 weeks ago, so testing has been somewhat limited, but I am 100% prepared to take both of these to battle at my next casual night and see if I can’t grab a few wins by casting Damnable Pact AT THEM. It just sounds glorious! And the best part is both decks are cheap so I won’t feel bad if they need to be scraped or adjusted.
Well, thanks for stopping by and having a read. If nothing else I hope my brews have given you a little inspiration to sit down and do a little brewing on your own. I get the sense from people out there in the MTG community that the relative let down of Battle for Zendikar is suppressing some brewers because they aren’t super enthused with the quality of the cards. However, as you can see, there are still lots of other fun things you can be doing with Battle and still enjoy the experience.
So, until next time, have yourselves a great MTG day and be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.
By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter
We finally have some information trickling in about the upcoming Commander 2015 product set to release in November. This one is going to explore the 5 enemy-colored pairs of Orzhov, Izzet, Boros, Golgari & Simic. As usual we will have a slew of new cards specifically designed for this product, many of which have been viable for eternal play where they are legal. While we don’t know many details yet there is a hint at ‘Experience Counters’ that will make your commander grow in power.
We hope to get more information soon as well as some of the new cards previewed. Stay tuned.
Release Date: November 13, 2015
Three-Letter Abbreviation: C15
Twitter Hashtag: #MTGC15
MSRP: $34.99 (per deck)
Languages: English, Japanese, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Chinese Simplified
Casual players will enjoy playing with these decks right out of the box as well as crafting new Commander decks or adding to their own deck creations using the 15 new Magiccards found in each deck!
With a total of 55 new cards in the set, Commander (2015) is sure to be exciting for any experienced player looking to change-up their favorite decks!
Each Deck Contains:
Pro Tour Theros – Standard
9 other spells
15 sideboard cards