Elite Scaleguard

Elite Scaleguard

Creature — Human Soldier

When this enters the battlefield, bolster 2. (Choose a creature with the least toughness among creature you control and put two +1/+1 counters on it.)

Whenever a creature you control with a +1/+1 counter on it attacks, tap target creature defending player controls.

Latest Decks as Commander

Elite Scaleguard Discussion

Mana_Mythic_Legendary on Pursuing Perfection, Part 1: Mono-White …

3 months ago

This is the start of a project inspired by a TED talk. The speaker was part of a commission to create the perfect Pepsi, but the data he’d gathered was less than helpful. Instead of forming a nice, easy bell curve, the gathered preferences formed seemingly random clusters. That’s when he had an epiphany: a perfect Pepsi was impossible, but perfect Pepsis were. Some people liked it sweeter, some with less carbonation, some with more citric acid. I don’t remember how Pepsi took that report, but it was an interesting insight and I never forgot it.

Years later, I was reading the comments on an article about the ten best commanders. Most of them railed against the writer’s choices. Why wasn’t this one at the top, why wasn’t this guy on the list, why were all the picks garbage… That's when it occurred to me. Salt aside, the article was chasing the perfect Pepsi. Any article trying to rank options would be, because the commanders don’t exist in a vacuum. They exist in context, and what works in one place is a wretched pile in the next. There is no perfect commander. However, there are perfect commanders, and that’s what we’ll be thinking about here.

Over the course of this project I’ll be discussing the thematic strengths of various colors and color combinations. Each article will highlight nine commanders who showcase those themes in different ways, then close with a personal favorite. This isn’t meant to be a list of the optimal but rather the fun, a celebration of the format.

Today’s topic is White, held by some to be the weakest color to run solo in commander. Funny, since this “weakest” color has little miss indestructible-on-a-stick Avacyn, Angel of Hope , that black hole of aggro Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite , and the wombo combo beast Heliod, Sun-Crowned himself. We’re not here to discuss the powerhouses, though. We are here to talk about why you would play mono-white in the first place. White, friends, is where you come to drown your opponents in tokens, where Voltron stashes the best kitties, and where the friendless beast Stax makes its lonely home.

White Weenies

While Marrow-Gnawer and Krenko may live in the limelight of mono-colored horde decks, white is where said horde hangs its thematic hat. Here be the lion’s share of “creatures you control get” goodies, crowned by the mathematically grueling Cathars' Crusade . Here be the Hero of Bladehold and the Knight-Captain of Eos . Here! Be! Elspeth!

Mikaeus, the Lunarch First in our trifecta of white weenie lords is Mikaeus the Lunarch. Stick him at the head of a horde and watch his minions git gud. There are quite a few shenanigans, like Elite Scaleguard , that will delight in having this guy at the head of a deck.

Darien, King of Kjeldor Going a different direction, Darien makes minions himself rather than relying on token generators from the deck. Opponents will be understandably leery of touching his pilot with anything less than lethal damage. Add in Soul Warden and a few of her friends and things get downright silly.

Odric, Lunarch MarshalLord of keyword soup. What more needs to be said? Go in fear of his motley crew, in all probability lead by Zetalpa, Primal Dawn .

Voltron

Anyone can sink money into a fistful of swords or powerhouse auras and turn their pet legend into an unholy terror. White, though, has the greatest affinity for soloing Voltron. Equipment or auras, or even both, there’s a deep pool of support to chose from. The keyword Protection is part of what makes the swords so lethal, and white hands out that keyword like candy.

Sram, Senior Edificer Drawing is white’s weakest point, you say? Sram laughs at you and your lies as he beats you senseless. There is a pile of white cards that reward you for playing auras or for playing artifacts. Sram isn’t so picky. Be like Sram.

Halvar, God of Battle I really like this guy. Moving gear for free is great, but passing out double strike like free samples is downright brutal. Bloodforged Battle-Axe , anyone? Even as an equipment he does silly, silly things with friends like Kami of False Hope or Ranger-Captain of Eos .

Kemba, Kha Regent Hulk or horde? Why not both? Stack some toys on Kemba and watch your board grow, then go full theme and drop Raksha Golden Cub to take the throne with your army of cranky Norwegian forest cats. Include Leonin Shikari and (cat)ckle with glee. I wasn't joking about white, Voltron, and kitties.

Stax

Here’s the mean side of white. Blue may counter you, red may burn you, black may drain you, but only white truly embodies the spirit of the Smallpox flavor text. Whether you share the pain with cards like Hushbringer or dish it out with Drannith Magistrate and friends, opponents will go in fear of those terrible words “can’t” and “don’t.”

Hokori, Dust Drinker If you’re building stax, we can assume making allies in the game isn’t a priority. Horoki has no friends. Horoki needs no friends. Only rocks. Rocks, and something to put victims out of their misery.

Linvala, Keeper of Silence Somewhat kinder than Horoki, but only somewhat, since you don’t suffer with them. Their creatures can’t tap for mana. Their creatures can’t sacrifice each other. Their creatures can’t. So many can'ts, so little can.

Thalia, Heretic Cathar Maybe you can’t outramp them, but you can slow them down. Thalia functionally robs opponents of turns, blockers, and, if you rob them enough, of the win. A 3/2 with first strike is already good for three mana, and at this point is just icing on this vicious cake.

And, for my personal favorite...

Rune-Tail, Kitsune Ascendant A rule of thumb of mine is that one mark of a good deck is that it can function without its commander.

This is a rule I gleefully break most of the time.

Rune-Tail will automatically flip on turn three in almost all games, and a commander with effects like this make Pariah and other, similar cards downright hilarious. I made and took apart a Rune-Tail deck over a decade ago. It was a terrible mess, but a fun one, and the tech available for it has grown since then. The deck was built around walling up, gaining life and otherwise stalling until a win-condition like Darksteel Reactor or Felidar Sovereign could be triggered. It was a fun idea, but these days I'd probably build Halvar for fun or Sram if I wanted to win.

That's it for this round. Thoughts and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed it, and will come back next week for Blue!

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Kogarashi on Banishing Light effects and Triggered …

2 years ago

It's also important to note that if the returning creature triggered an ETB ability, that would not go on the stack until the entirety of Callous Dismissal finishes resolving.

For example, if instead it was Elite Scaleguard trapped under the Deputy of Detention , and was your only creature, it would return to the battlefield, thus triggering its bolster ability. However that wouldn't go on the stack until you also created your army token, and thus the Scaleguard would not be the recipient of the bolster counters.

triproberts12 on Tajic, Legion's Edgelord [Boardwipe Aggro, Primer]

2 years ago

There are a lot of soldiers out there, but some of the must-haves I feel you're missing are Brimaz, King of Oreskos , Preeminent Captain , Evangel of Heliod , Nomads' Assembly , Launch the Fleet , and Deploy to the Front . High Sentinels of Arashin and Elite Scaleguard could also be very powerful, depending on how much +1/+1 counter stuff you plan on doing.

If you're going to play the Earthquake deck, you might as well play Truefire Captain , Spitemare , and Boros Reckoner .

I think the deck could also use some more "vegetables" cards. You should be running Boros Signet , at minimum, but Boros Keyrune , Boros Locket , Mind Stone , Sword of the Animist , and Knight of the White Orchid should probably be in the conversation, as well. Vandalblast , Aura of Silence , Crush Contraband , Return to Dust , etc. are all removal you might consider over the abundance of creature removal you have. In terms of card draw, being tribal, you could look into Vanquisher's Banner could also do work.

As for cuts, you shouldn't be running Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse in a 2-color deck. Ancient Amphitheater , Needle Spires , and even Stone Quarry are all strictly better without cards that care about land types or Landfall. The deck thinning is inconsequential in a 99-card deck, and you'd rather have the flexibility. Catapult Master, Hour of Devastation (you know it removes indestructible, right?), Deafening Clarion, and Hammerfist Giant all seem pretty suspect to me, just on card quality. Rather than Deafening Clarion, Firesong and Sunspeaker seem better with the Earthquake theme.

Brefin on Tajic's Remedial Training

2 years ago

Some good options in the list. I've been pleasently surprised by Elite Scaleguard in other decks. And yes, Cathars' Crusade is its own win condition. At some level I'm all, Yup, that's powerful, I don't need to see it again in this deck

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