It was in my MTGColorPie post where I mentioned that I wanted to write not only more but especially about Commander. So we’re going to keep the momentum train going by writing about a long ongoing goal that I’ve never really accomplished: keeping track of the changes in my Commander decklists.
A long time ago I believed that Commander decklist shouldn’t be put online as it gets rid of some of the creativity that you can do with the format. I believe that a great Commander deck is a part of its creator and not some optimized list that you find online. If you didn’t know, I’m not a huge fan of competitive Commander so don’t expect that kind of conversation here. I do believe in having a nice put together list with some combos and some powerful cards, after all I’m a Johnny/Spike. If you’re looking for another close philosophy of how I build my decks, check out Jason Alt’s column over on Gathering Magic with his 75% deck series.
With a new year and a new set coming out, I thought it would be good to actually start keeping track of my changes to my decks. I think it’s a very curious idea to see a deck evolve as time passes and as new cards become released. I have decks which have received total makeovers (Rafiq of the Many) and others which have seen little change since its inception (Borborygmos Enraged). I’ve got a spreadsheet somewhat put together but nothing where I’m at a finished point of how I want it to look (If you have a spreadsheet that you use for your decklists, I’d love to take a look at it and see how I can incorporate some different aspects of what people use).
I figured rather than talking about the complete goals of the project, I’ll show you some completed decklists. Up first are three that are up to date as of Fate Reforged. None of these received new cards from the set (really, only one main deck had any radical changes). I will consider each of these the “1.0” versions of the decks. You can take a look at the lists, and if there are any ideas that tickle your fancy, please use them in your own. I want this to be a reference for people looking for ideas with these Commanders or even what the format looks like in general.
Brion Stoutarm – 2RW
Legendary Creature – Giant Warrior (R)
R, T: Sacrifice a creature other than Brion Stoutarm: Brion Stoutarm deals damage equal to the sacrificed creature’s power to target player.
Sets printed: Lorywn (Foil), Media Insert (Foil Only, Pictured), Commander
- Gain a bunch of life
- Sacrifice big creatures
- Recurr said big creatures
Remember that if you use his “Fling” ability, it doesn’t count as Commander damage.
As you can see, the spreadsheet is still pretty bare; I’m still working on the style that I want. There’s the key on the side, but that’s mostly for my information for trading/buying.
This is one of two decks today where I actively want to gain life. I toned down that in this deck as it used to have more in there and focused on the reanimation and Flinging. Commander damage doesn’t matter much when you can toss a 75/75 Serra Avatar at an opponent.
There’s a surprising amount of playable White reanimation for Commander and with Feldon of the Third Path printed in Commander 2014, it allows me to use the graveyard more than before. Gideon allows me to gain a huge amount of loyalty counters if my opponents are playing tokens. Flayer of the Hatebound is a fun card in this deck as I can toss it, and get it back for more damage as well as reanimate other creatures.
For those of you wondering about the absence of Emeria, the Sky Ruin: I don’t have enough Plains to have in play to make it worth it most of the time. Gift of Estates is fantastic, but I believe that I run too many non-basics to make the land usable consistently.
Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice – GGWW
Legendary Creature – Dryad (M)
Whenever another creature enters the battlefield under your control, you gain life equal to that creature’s toughness.
1GW, T: Populate. (Put a token onto the battlefield that’s a copy of a creature token you control.)
Sets printed: Return to Ravnica (Foil)
- Big tokens
- Gain life
Go big or go home.
Selesnya is my favorite guild so of course I had to build one with its Guildleader(s). This is all about making big tokens and smashing with said tokens. The real combo of the deck is Trostani with a Phyrexian Processor. The first time you make a minion token, you gain back the life you used to make the token then you double it when you populate. So satisfying.
Just some new cards recently (in the past year) allowed me to have some more fun with the deck. Hyrda Broodmother was a no brainer, especially since she loves to play with Doubling Season. Sylvan Offering reads: gain 2X life, make a X/X token for you to populate.
Armada Wurm is the smallest big token at a 5/5, but it has trample, an always relevant ability. Mimic Vat allows me to use Phyrexian Rebirth (a large token creator) and continue to make tokens as well. I’m wondering if Soul Foundry should find itself in this deck. Most of the gain life aspect from Brion Stoutarm made its way over here: Rhox Faithmender, Wall of Reverence, Cradle of Vitality (though Brion still has the Angelic Accord/Bubbling Cauldron combo).
Sets printed: Nemesis (Foil)
- Beat with Volrath
A deck only Scornful Egotist could love.
Maybe this deck needs Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth? Another creature oriented deck, Volrath wants to chuck big creatures so he can get bigger. That sounds like a great plan. There’s enough cards in here where you can discard and get them back later. I think this deck can suffer with multiple opponents, especially if they can stop your Volrath pretty easily.
Volrath isn’t as polished as some of my other decks, but it knows what it wants to be (unlike my Rafiq deck). It could easily be changed around to suit how much you want to reanimate yours, or anyone else’s, creatures. This is one of the faults of my spreadsheet at the moment is that I don’t have mana costs on the sheet yet, though by rough calculations the average CMC of the creatures in this deck is a hair under 5. 1B for +5/+5 seems pretty okay with me when it comes to your Commander.
This is one of two decks that I’ve got that I can just go out there and swing with my Commander for fun without too much thinking (Zurgo is the other). There are plenty of small interactions that you can do with the deck, but it wants to draw cards and have Volrath take no prisoners.
And there we have 3 decks to start the new year with. I know it’s not much compared to some other things that I’ve done, but it’s a start.
Let me know what you think of these decks or if you have any of these Commanders and how you’ve built them differently. Also let me know if you’re looking for a Fate Reforged Commander review, I might do one if you ask nicely (this is an honest inquiry. If there’s enough demand I’ll put one together). Leave a comment here or say hi on Twitter (@mtgcolorpie).