Pattern Recognition #295 - Commander Samut
31 August 2023
31 August 2023
Good day everyone! My name is berryjon, and I welcome you all to Pattern Recognition, TappedOut's longest running article series. I am something of an Old Fogey and a definite Smart Ass, and I have been around the block quite a few times. My experience is quite broad and deep, and so I use this series to try and bring some of that to you. Be it deck design, card construction, mechanics or in-universe characters and the history of the game. Or whatever happens to catch my attention each week. Which happens far more often than I care to admit. Please, feel free to talk about my subject matter in the comments at the bottom of the page, add suggestions or just plain correct me.
And welcome back everyone! While we're closing in on the magical #300, it's time to look to the past couple of weeks and examine my incoming Brawl deck, and decide how to upgrade it to a Commander Deck. Now, for those of you who have missed me doing this each year, my theory behind these decks is that I build a proper, Standard Legal 60 card Brawl deck, and then I add 40 cards to make it Commander legal. I don't, as someone inevitably asks each year, remove Standard cards to make room for more/better non-Standard cards. The idea is to take a Brawl Deck and build it up, not rebuild it.
So, on with the show!
40 VIEWS | IN 2 FOLDERS
With this as the deck I designed two weeks ago, and played last week, I've got some more thoughts about it that I didn't really cover last time. In this deck, I think, Samut is a Utility Commander. She doesn't win the game in of herself (though she has hit home a couple times), but rather she serves as a form of passive acceleration as she moves my game plan forward - and my opponent's life totals down. In playing, I've found that I can usually lay down a single turn or two of hits before my opponents wise up and work to keep her down, but that combination of aggression and card draw can become very difficult to overcome.
To that end, I want to keep working in that direction. I want this deck to hit the deck running and combine Aggro with accelerated Card Draw to go digging through the deck for a winning move. To that end, with my 40 new cards, I'm going to focus on 4 major areas. LANDS AND ACCELERATION should be obvious. This is the part of the deck that is going to bring my Lands total from 24 to about 36, and then salt in a few more rocks and a couple mana dorks. This deck wants mana, and I intend to feed the machine.
Second will be MORE FACE SLAMMING. With this perfect descriptor, I want to punch up my options for actually connecting with my opponent's face. This will include more Haste and Trample, as well as more "bigger creature" options. This is fuel for the deck, hoping to connect as much as possible, to draw as much as possible.
The third section is going to be INTERACTION. And much like in the basic primer on how I built this deck, it's going to be both on the offense and defense. After all, I need to be able to connect with my creatures to draw into my win conditions, right? At least, that's the plan.
Lastly, we'll have CLOSING. In my games, I've noticed that it really takes Kogla and Yidaro, or Etali, Primal Conqueror Flip or even Draconic Destiny to win the game. Seriously, that last one does work like you wouldn't believe. But I'll need a few more to try and win when I can.
LANDS AND ACCELERATION
This is a very simple section of the deck's upgrades. I'm looking at 12 Lands, and 3-5 Mana sources to really help this deck along. With the Rocks and Dorks, the focus will be on cheaper sources more than anything else, but I do think that I have plenty of options here. But lets get to the Lands first;
- Skarrg, the Rage Pits
- Temple of Abandon
- Spire Garden
- Rootbound Crag
- Raging Ravine
- Rockfall Vale
- Stomping Ground
- Sheltered Thicket
- Kessig Wolf Run
- 1 Mountain
- 2 Forest
A variety of dual lands helps keep the mana curve flowing, while a smattering of basics helps with the inevitable removal, as well as targets for future land searching should I put them in. Of personal note, the inclusion of Skarrg, the Rage Pits and the Kessig Wolf Run were a choice I made to held add Trample to my creatures that don't have them innately. Easier to supply that Haste, yes, but you can't go wrong with more sources. I might switch around the Basics later though, depending on the colours of cards I put in,but for now? This is 36 Lands!
Having moved onto the Rocks, the first four should be pretty easy to understand, as Sol Ring is Sol Ring, and there are very few decks where this is the wrong choice. The others are two-mana rocks to compliment the Arcane Signet already in the deck, and the Keyrune can turn into a creature on the cheap. I picked it over the Atarka Monument due to the latter's activation cost. a MV of is just too much for my taste, even though it gives me a (temporary) 4/4 with Flying.
However, I'm particularly pleased at the inclusion of Ruby, Daring Tracker in this deck. This card, fresh off the pressed from Wilds of Eldraine, pulls multiple duties in the deck. First, and the reason why it's here, is that she is a mana dork, and one that only costs to cast. Second, she has haste, which means she synergies well with Samut's combat ability as well. Of course, she is just a 1/2, but there are plenty of methods to get some big creature beside her if she swings as well. I will most certainly make a place for her in my Brawl version of the deck after Wilds drops.
SWING FOR THE FACE
With 17 cards down, that leaves be with 23 more to add to the deck. This section should be 7-12 cards intended to throw down and turn sideways, or make those cards more effective. So I'm going to divide this into two sections - More Creatures and More Power to help sort things through.
OK, so the Henge seems to be cheating, as it does so much stuff, but hey, I got it, so why not use it? It's mana, card draw, and bigger creatures all rolled into one glorious package! The War Chant makes it harder to block my creatures, and is a nice lighting rod for removal away from other cards. Rhythm is a good choice all around as not only does it shut down counterspells, it also provides Haste to those that don't have it, and +1/+1 to those that already do. And the rulings provide one of the fun instances of Rulings in the game:
Multiple instances of haste on the same creature are redundant, but we're not going to tell the Gruul how to live their lives.
I love a game that can poke fun at itself like that.
Anyway, Domri is mana acceleration, a passive buff to my creatures, and can act as spot removal in a pinch. He does lots of things, and can't go wrong. Samut, on the other hand, is there mainly for her +1, as Samut-the-Creature's ability triggers on combat damage, meaning Double Strike means twice the combat triggers. Her middle ability is nothing to write home about, but it is there if you need it. And her last ability, if you actually pull it off, is a poor man's Tooth and Nail. But for the most part, I would expect her to be another lightning rod for removal or attacks. Which is fine by me.
- Atalan Jackal
- Purphoros's Intervention
- Skitterbeam Battalion
- Ulvenwald Oddity Flip
- Yidaro, Wandering Monster
- Shatterskull Charger
- Ardoz, Cobbler of War
- Bolt Hound
I'm not happy with only 8 choices here, but I have to be mindful of what comes later. From the top down, the Jackal was a tough choice for inclusion here due to availability for the most part, but it fits so well into what I want the deck to do, so in it goes, regardless of my reservations.
Froghemoth helps fill in that blank MV gap in my deck, and gets bigger if he can eat creatures out of the graveyard. What's not to like? The Intervention was my foray into Removal, or a single-shot creature to swing if removal isn't an option. I don't feel this card will work well in the deck, but I have to give it its shot in the first place. The entire deck is working better than I expected in the first place, so my gut feeling has been wrong already. Reals over Feels! Next up, the Battalion is just all kinds of hilarious no matter when I drop it. And it copies itself, so that's additional removal required, or additional cards drawn!
The Oddity is not from Space, Major Tom, but provides not only a solid on-curve followup to Samut herself, but the later-game transformation is a force to be reckoned with as the Lord effect just makes everyone else on the battlefield that much more lethal. Underestimate this creature at your peril.
Yidaro is another late-game slammer, but its ability to Cycle itself and shuffle back into your library to recast for free at some point in the future loses a lot of its viability in this format. It's here for the theme, and the Cycling can be a mid or early game card draw, but this should be another easy cut if youre building this deck yourself and you have better ideas.
Shatterskull Charger is a personal favourite of mine for my Kalain, Reclusive Painter deck, but here the self-recursion works to my advantage as I don't have to pay the kicker cost and can keep throwing it down for cheap to swing at someone and draw a card while Samut is in play. Just be wary of the other cards in the deck, like the Henge, that provide a +1/+1 counter to the Charger, as that shuts down the self-bounce ability.
Ardoz occupies much the same slot as Squee, but just cheaper. Also, Jumpstart 22, so good luck finding it. The real strength is the improved power on your creatures when they enter the battlefield, which is what Samut is all about. Even without Samut, this creature, on curve with the above Charger? That's a 6/3 Trample Haste creature on Turn 3. Which is pretty impressive. And Bolt Hound serves much the same purpose. A cheap creature that improves everyone else. Nothing fancy there, just a good boy who likes to play fetch.
Ten cards to go. And I still need a few 'Win' Buttons. This will be very light weight considering what I normally like to run, so it will be more on the protective side than anything else.
- Introduction to Annihilation
- Heroic Intervention
- Tamiyo's Safekeeping
- Snakeskin Veil
- Unstable Obelisk
I shouldn't have to justify three Hexproof spells for my stuff, and any deck runs Intervention because it's just that good. What I did include that may raise eyebrows is Introduction and the Obelisk. These two are colourless sources of removal, which I shall admit is me playing to my local Meta. Book of Exalted Deeds on a Faceless Haven is extremely difficult to remove. So a couple options for that are on my list. Also, the latter is another Rock, so that's useful. At least in narrow circumstances. And hey, room for improvement, right?
So let's end the game.
- Craterhoof Behemoth
- Decimator of the Provinces
- End-Raze Forerunners
- Finale of Devastation
- Triumph of the Hordes
Craterhoof is Craterhoof. Everyone gets big, so swing for the win. Decimator of the Provinces and the Forerunners do pretty much the same thing, just not as good as the Craterhoof, and are budget options. Finale, if you can get the to 10, will also hit home for just as lethal on the board with only a couple creatures needed. And if you Finale into Hoof? That's game. Triumph is my admission that ... I put a single infect card in the deck because it was recommended to me as a good finisher for . And I didn't really have an alternate thought at that time.
So there you have it, the deck!
It's not spectacular, a solid 7. But I think, should I get a few of the missing cards in that deck, that I will take it out for a spin in real life.
Who would like to see me take this above deck, modify it to be Historic, and Brawl with it on Arena? Or better yet, would like to try and say take it to Cockatrice?
Comments, thoughts and opinions below! Make them and feed my dopamine addiction!
Join me next week when I talk about something new and/or different. I'm, not sure yet.
Until then please consider donating to my Pattern Recognition Patreon. Yeah, I have a job, but more income is always better. I still have plans to do a audio Pattern Recognition at some point, or perhaps a Twitch stream. And you can bribe your way to the front of the line to have your questions, comments and observations answered!