Creature — Cat Beast
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have 40 or more life, you win the game.
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|Commander / EDH||Legal|
Felidar Sovereign Discussion
1 day ago
Is this an EDH deck? If it is, and you want Oloro as your commander, mark it with (asterisk)CMDR(asterisk) in the deck building list.
Oloro generally wants to go slow and defensive. If that's what you're looking for, then look for stuff that prevents attacks or damage like Ghostly Prison . Felidar Sovereign could act as another win condition, but not everyone likes it.
I'm not a great builder for EDH, so I'm sure I'm missing something obvious. These might be some starting points, though.
2 weeks ago
Here’s something interesting: while there are over 120 mono-colored legendary creatures, there are less than fifty to each color pairing. As the pool has grown limited, we’ll need to shake up the format of these articles going forward. I’ll be grouping playstyle-linked generals where possible, but where that's not an option we’ll instead discuss generals who match the color pair’s themes overall. And today, we discuss Azorius!
Maybe you came here to build a deck build around flying. Maybe. Assuming you’re not Peter Pan, you probably came sniffing after a combination of White stax and Blue control. Maybe this is about enchantments for you. Maybe this is about blink. But in summary, this pairing has a general slant toward prevention and manipulation rather than offensive power.
White, when played defensively, comes across as a big, solid castle that central catering forgot to stock with anything but a vat of sour cream and the world’s blandest potatoes. Thick walls, but comparatively little offense or subtlety. This ties into stax in part, but also touches on themes which weren't covered in the white article: potent life-gain a la Rhox Faithmender and friends, shockingly powerful barriers such as Solitary Confinement and sweeping control of the board like the Aven Mindcensor . One of White's inherent disadvantages, however, comes to mind: besides a handful of "I win" cards like Felidar Sovereign and Near-Death Experience , white has no teeth outside the combat phase, and relatively little draw to dig for them. Test of Endurance and Celestial Convergence are made more reliable by white's fine pile of enchantment tutors, but personally I'd rather not depend on cards that give your opponents time to prevent your win.
Blue, on the other hand, isn’t so much defensive or offensive (in one sense, anyway), skipping that spectrum in preference of sidestepping problems until you can strategery your way to victory. It's great, in theory, and generally in practice. Blue, so long as we're lampooning, is a brilliant, twerpy engineer. A pest so frail they’d crumple under a breeze, so agile you’ll never tag them, and so annoying they’ll leave you begging for the clean killing blow they're too reedy to actually fetch you. The glaring problem, though, is that if an opponent can ignore a blue player's tricks and actually land a few hits, said blue player is probably screwed.
Combine them, though... Combine them, and they shore up one another's weaknesses in a big way. Combine them, and you potentially have the most solid, strategic defense in the game. Suddenly you have all the draw you could want for your Approach of the Second Sun , your Sphere of Safety will have an Enchanted Evening , and you can actually, feasibly win with Azor's Elocutors ... which will probably see you dying alone, unloved, and undoubtedly quite pleased with yourself.
For today, we're discussing Blink/Flicker, Control (again), and the Miscellaneously Themey. As always, please bear in mind that our focus here is not necessarily competitive but rather on thematic, archetypical commanders.
ETB effects are wonderful, wonderful things. You get a body, sometimes even a good solid one like the Sun Titan and some nice, tasty effect that hopefully makes said body only the icing on a fine, fine cake. The classic example would be Palinchron : pair it with something repeatable like Deadeye Navigator and you have infinite mana. Then you can Meteor Golem the table's collective psyche straight into the nearest mental ward. Or, if you really want to emotionally cripple someone, blink their commander whenever they try to attack, attach some voltrony wincon, or... well, anything.
With White providing the protection keyword, Blue shelling out unblockable, and flying sourced from both, this pairing inarguably has the best evasion. Brago may not have the muscle to kill someone as is, but there are some great options for fixing that. Not that you need to: if you have a board of flickerhappy boyz, Brago's a great pick for commanding your blinking battalion.
Upon reading this card you may feel a great disturbance in the force, as though millions of token decks cried out in terror and were suddenly detained. Ask yourself: how many permanents cost less than 4 mana in a game? Assuming you're not playing an entire meta of leafy green lunatics, the answer is "most." This was my wife's first deck. Lavinia had herself a Conjurer's Closet , or something like, most games. I was grateful when she switched to slivers.
I like this guy. I like spirits. Rewarding the blink life with a swarm of tokens and supporting a neat mechanic with a number of good cards, Ranar's a great choice for someone who wants it all.
Turtle up until you find your win, you spineless wart. Or, as Sun Tzu would say "Attack is the secret of defense; defense is the planning of an attack." Ghostly Prison AND Propaganda anyone? Nobody buys time like Azorius (blue extra turn shenannigans notwithstanding). The best spread of control options are tied up in these two colors, maintaining a proper hold on the battlefield to ensure you can, eventually, uninterruptedly, shamelessly legalese someone to death.
Simple. Direct. Rude. Terse? Resentful? Me? Absolutely. Do. Not. Want.
I have seen Gaddock Teeg a few times, to my discomfort. This feels like Teeg playing favorites. For someone labeled as a renegade, Lavinia certainly abides by this pairing's preference for smacking people in the kisser with a banhammer. Opponents can't cast anything large. Opponents can't cast anything free. Those fond of Izzet spellcasting combos must HATE this card. Hell, as someone who plays Rashmi, Eternities Crafter , I hate this card and haven't even seen it played.
Taking a step back from going wide, Gwafa reminds me of that scene in Robin Hood: Men in Tights where the sheriff tries to laugh his way though delivering bad news. "Your creature is worthless, haha. But you draw a card, hoho, isn't that nice? Hehe, aren't I nice?" Go to the darkest, dankest, smelliest hell, Gwafa.
Most of the removal tied to artifacts and enchantments works off of destroy effects, not exile, so if your focus isn't on commander-based synergies but rather your board state, Hanna may serve you well, especially considering how often tossing an artifact will get you a new one.
If you really want to flyspam, Kangee is a solid pick: blue-white has a whole mess of options to hose down the opponent with an airborne death swarm. Top marks if you manage to regularly play Dovescape and know the pleasure of watching your opponents try to process all their cool stuff turning into birds.
You like auras? Here you go. Avoid stuff like Reliquary Tower , overload your hand with goodies like Steel of the Godhead and All That Glitters , then gloat when you slap Bruna down and get everything you discarded into play without the bother of paying for it. Hell, put your auras on the creatures that tutored them. Bruna doesn't mind. She'll take them anyway, from anywhere. Thank God she doesn't have haste.
And, for my personal favorite...
This guy is a fantastic face to put on a political deck. Nobody wants to smash the guy who gives out free cards and life! At least, not until you find Mind Over Matter , or something like. You won't deck anyone thanks to this wascally wabbit's wording, but you'll have your entire deck in hand. That should be all, folks. The only reason Kwain doesn't have a deck in this house is because Rashmi and Pramikon got here first and stole all the good stuff.
That's it for this round. Thoughts and questions are welcome. I hope you enjoyed it, and will come back soon for Dimir!
1 month ago
Not to pick on you specifically, Faux_Faux, but frankly I think that the "white is weak" schtick is played out. Not that that's what you're saying, exactly, but it's implied in the "boosts its power and relevance" part of the challenge. Every color has multiple strengths, and while there's a lot of parody, there are still things that each color is best at. I think what makes people believe that white is weak is that what it does best is life gain, and cEDH doesn't care about life gain. But that's why Felidar Sovereign and Aetherflux Reservoir exist.
The best draw is in black and blue. The best removal is in black and white. The best tax is in white and blue. The best ramp is in black and green. The best disruption is in red and blue. The best pump is in white and green. Etc. Etc. Etc.
The best decks utilize a mix of these colors. And while mono-white might lag behind other mono-colored decks, that doesn't mean that it's less relevant. Besides, artifacts do all of the above, sometimes just as well as any of the colors, and they can fill in the gaps where white lags on its own. Which is good, because white has some of the best synergy with artifacts.
But I digress. Just had to get that off my chest.
Creature - Human Soldier
Whenever you attack with one or more Humans, you may untap any number of them and remove them from combat. If you do, you may destroy target noncreature permanent with mana value less than or equal to the number of creatures untapped in this way.
Ok, so that's just doing what white already does (albeit removal by destruction rather than exile). Here's another more faithful to the challenge.
Creature - Rhino Cleric
Whenever you draw one or more cards during your turn, you may have an opponent gain 3 life. If you do, you may draw an additional card.
Sorry, repeated the "draw in white" motif, because I couldn't really think of anything else on flavor that white lacks significantly.
Sorry for the massive post. Redo the challenge.
1 month ago
I originally had the same question about neglecting Ajani's Pridemate . However, since your answer to that was lack of enough life gain, then why use Felidar Sovereign ? I'd replace that with either some protection like Heroic Intervention or Shalai, Voice of Plenty , or maybe mass removal like Heliod's Intervention . Or just Cathars' Crusade as someone else mentioned, since that fits the name of the deck.
1 month ago
Okay, you have a plan. If you want to get this into Modern, how competitive do you want to be and how much money are you willing to spend?
You won't get the full effect of Mythos of Nethroi unless you have a Lotus Cobra out, so right now it's expensive creature removal with a conditional upside. Switch it for another Mortality Spear , Maelstrom Pulse , Abrupt Decay , or Assassin's Trophy , depending on your budget. If you add , consider Felidar Sovereign .
Conduit of Ruin only finds It That Betrays , Avenger of Zendikar , and Void Beckoner , and only Void Beckoner might have some use in your main strategy. Take those out and build a different deck around them.
1 month ago
Hey, thanks for the suggestions. Many of these were in the deck at some point or another. I feel like the vast majority simply didn’t make the cut because they weren’t as efficient mana wise as the alternatives and the extra redundancy wasn’t needed. That, or they were more combat related and I, surprisingly, almost never win via combat. The specific ones that do not fall into those two categories i’ll address below:
Blasting Station - i actually kick around the idea of adding this as another wincon pretty often. If i were to slot another one in, it’d be this, or Altar of Dementia , or maaaaybe Test of Endurance / Felidar Sovereign
Arch of Orazca / Bonders' Enclave - these just ended up being more expensive to use, or less consistent than War Room , keeping in mind that God-Eternal Oketra doesn’t activate enclave and that actually does end up being relevant pretty often. Anyways, with Expedition Map and Weathered Wayfarer , 1 draw land seems to be sufficient as emergency fuel.
Cathars' Crusade - It gets wild in this deck for sure, and when i was leaning less into life gain, and was winning with Altar of Dementia more, it took the place of Angelic Chorus . But nowadays, I just don’t swing that often and i’m not running altar right now so it’s out.
Enduring Renewal - this is an interesting one... I’d honestly have to sit down for a bit and figure out how it interacts with everything to give a good answer here. I’ll look at it more.
Search for Glory - This is a great one. I’d like to run it, but I don’t have many good targets outside of Mangara, the Diplomat and the monuments, which i have a couple tutors for already. The biggest problem, silly as it may sound, is that i’d want to run snow lands, and for thematic purposes i’m running the full art amonkhet plains, so i can’t do that. Solid suggestion though.
Palace Jailer - this ended up getting replaced with Skyclave Apparition for cheaper and more versatile removal. I do miss it sometimes though. I love being the monarch. Which remind me... Throne of the High City could be fun, but my colored lands are already stretched pretty thing for a deck that so desperately needs white mana. Really can’t drop any more.
Love getting suggestions and talking through options for the deck. Thanks again. I really enjoy your decks as well!
1 month 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.
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!
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.
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.
Lord of keyword soup. What more needs to be said? Go in fear of his motley crew, in all probability lead by Zetalpa, Primal Dawn .
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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...
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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