Shalai and Hallar
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Legality

Format Legality
1v1 Commander Legal
Archenemy Legal
Canadian Highlander Legal
Casual Legal
Commander / EDH Legal
Commander: Rule 0 Legal
Custom Legal
Duel Commander Legal
Highlander Legal
Legacy Legal
Leviathan Legal
Limited Legal
Oathbreaker Legal
Planechase Legal
Quest Magic Legal
Vanguard Legal
Vintage Legal

Shalai and Hallar

Legendary Creature — Angel Elf

Flying, vigilance

Whenever one or more +1/+1 counters are put on a creature you control, Shalai and Hallar deals that much damage to target opponent.

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rckclimber777 on Build a Deck with me …

2 months ago

Welcome back to another episode of Build a Deck with Me. In the first two episodes I focused on a couple decks that want to go infinite and combo out. I realize that playing infinite combos is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but one of the things I enjoy is finding cool interactions/ways to break cards. So today instead of finding ways to break cards, I’m simply going to start with a card that is already broken and build a deck around it. That card is Voja, Jaws of the Conclave. Ok, so maybe it isn’t broken, but you have to admit, you see this good boy on the field and you need to find a response quickly.

Research

In the last episode, I had some comments that suggested I talk about some of the general research that goes into deck-building. One thing to keep in mind is that when you’re building a deck there are general archetypes that exist and are fairly well known. These can often serve as models when thinking about what cards to use, although relying too heavily on them long term can diminish creativity. If you’re just starting out though, by all means run over to EDHRec and find what cards usually go into a counters deck or a tribal deck (spoiler alert that is what we’re building here). One of the things that I do that helps my deckbuilding is watching youtube channels that play commander. This includes: The Command Zone, Tolarian Community College, Commander at Home, and Elder Dragon Hijinks. There are many others out there, but these are the ones that I’ve watched more than a couple episodes of. As I’m watching an episode, I find myself thinking, “Wow I want to build something like that” or “I really liked the interactions with that”. For instance, there was a Commander at Home game where I got to see the interaction between Dihada, Binder of Wills and Odric, Lunarch Marshal and now they’re sitting on my desk, waiting to be built. Today’s episode is the result of one such instance. I watched The Command Zone episode that covered Murders at Karlov Manor. In that game, the Voja deck was a beast. It was fast, it made huge creatures, it drew tons of cards, and it just couldn’t be stopped, oh and the commander was a big puppy dog (wolf, puppy same thing).

To start building, I went into Gatherer and just began looking for a few things like Wolves, Elves, and Changelings. I started to realize that there are very few changelings and the wolves out there really aren’t that great outside of a few like Hollowhenge Overlord. So I turned back to the Command Zone for some help. They post their decklists on the videos and I began scrolling through it and much to my surprise, the list was similar to the ones that I had found, but wasn’t sure about like Ferocious Pup and Universal Automaton. These aren’t good cards unless you have something that really wants creatures on the field. And that’s when things started to click. The support for Voja didn’t necessarily need to be super strong in their own right, it just needed to enable him to do more.

Changelings

First of all, Voja is an interesting card because it wants both Elves and Wolves on the field. Most tribal decks want just one tribe so it almost feels like you have to make a choice between one or the other here. Well I don’t like choosing between two good options. It’s like deciding between chicken nuggets or a chicken sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. I say both! (I also might need to reconsider some life choices, but oh well)

Changelings are great because they have all creature types which means any tribal deck can use them. Some are extremely powerful, while others just have an interesting creature type. In this deck, however, we want to focus on low cost creatures. If they do something cool, bonus!

Realmwalker is awesome because it is every creature type but it can also cast creatures from the top of your library which instantly gives you card advantage, we will likely choose elf as our creature type when it comes in because they generally are going to be our lower cost creatures, our mana dorks, and likely the more prominent tribal type in our deck.

Remember any changeling on the field will trigger both aspects of Voja’s triggered ability so a Universal Automaton becomes a 1 drop enabler for both adding counters and drawing cards. Irregular Cohort provides two 2/2 bodies both of whom are changelings and give us more counters and cards.

Of course there are two cards here that are just amazing. Maskwood Nexus which makes all your creatures all creature types, and Shields of Velis Vel which does the same thing in instant form. Both are game changers with voja.

Elves

When it comes to elves, we generally want to have mana dorks. This is going to ramp us out quickly, but also allow us to have bodies out there to add counters to. A couple standouts besides the normal ones like Llanowar Elves are:

Gyre Sage who is going to get huge thanks to Voja.

Beast Whisperer will draw you lots of cards because we are going to be a creature heavy deck.

Yeva, Nature's Herald is also helpful in being able to get your cards out on your opponent’s turns.

All the versions of Tolsimir are great because they often come with a wolf token in tow.

Finally there is Shalai and Hallar… When you’re adding counters to every creature on your board equal to the number of elves you control, this card can take out an opponent.

Wolves

There are a few wolves out there, but its surprisingly fewer than you would think. Hollowhenge Overlord is really good, and so is Ferocious Pup. You play it and suddenly you have two wolves which means two more cards when Voja attacks. Another great wolf is Roaming Throne. I know what you’re thinking, “it’s a golem.” In this deck, it’s a wolf… trust me. Roaming throne will double all of Voja’s triggered abilities and now you’re thinking “Voja only has one triggered ability.“ Actually, Ward is a triggered ability. Which means now in order to target him, your opponents need to spend 6 mana!! So you swing with Voja, let’s be conservative and say that you have just llanowar elves, Voja, and roaming throne, you add 2 +1/+1 counters to everything and you draw 4 cards. Speaking of doubling that trigger: Annie Joins Up. A super underrated card so far and triggers on Voja, Shalai, and Tolsimir.

Other fun stuff

There are a couple other things that help support Voja as well. Counter multipliers and additional combat steps are all good things for this deck. You don’t want to put too many of those in though because when push comes to shove you’re likely going to just want a creature to play instead of another counter multiplier. I have Kami of Whispered Hopes in the deck, because it adds counters, but it also produces a crazy amount of mana which I can use to empty my hand of creature cards. Hardened Scales is fine and even Branching Evolution feels worthwhile, but I chose not to add any others.

For additional combats I added only two cards, one was Relentless Assault and the other is Great Train Heist. The latter is great because it has more versatility, is an instant, and costs the same as relentless assault for its first ability. Both of these cards can win the game pretty easily.

There are also wolf producers like Howling Moon which I’ve played in Arena with great results. (also pairs well with Tocasia's Welcome). Sword of Body and Mind produces wolves, gives protection, and mills your opponent. Arlinn, the Pack's Hope  Flip is another powerful card since it produces wolves, but can also give you flash on your creatures.

Finally, there is a card that I’m proud to say I noticed before it became super popular. Silver Shroud Costume. I remember playing it in the dogmeat deck and thought, this is good, I’m going to put a copy into voja. At that time it was $5. It has since surged to $20 and there is a reason. It can flash out and attach to Voja, who is now hexproof, (in case ward 3 wasn’t enough) and unblockable gg.

Card Draw, ramp, interaction

Don’t forget your interaction. Just because Voja has ward 3 and is hard to spot remove, doesn’t mean he doesn’t need to be protected. Flawless Maneuver, Heroic Intervention, Teferi's Protection etc. will help keep him and the rest of your creatures safe.

As far as ramp goes, Voja wants creatures which means a lot of ramp is going to be in the form of mana dorks not mana rocks or traditional green ramp spells. I still added a few green ramp spells, but its definitely fewer than some of my other green decks.

Card draw is also a little different here. We’ve got Beast Whisperer and Tocasia's Welcome already and they work really well with the deck since the Beast whisperer is also an elf and tocasia’s welcome triggers with all of our mana dorks which we can flash out on other turns as well. Voja of course is the main card draw engine (seriously a commander who draws cards is just waiting to be abused). Other good cards here are Inspiring Call and Rishkar's Expertise.

About Card Draw

One quick note on card draw that has recently changed the way I think about it. I used to separate card draw into two different categories. Card draw engines which are ongoing effects that will give me cards as long as they remain on the field. The other is simply cards that draw more cards. Previously, I assumed that the former were excellent cards and the latter were well… not great. But as I was listening to The Command Zone they started talking about cards and the amount of triggers you can expect to get in a single game. This changed the way I thought about it. A card like Rhystic Study is great because you are likely going to get some cards from it, but your opponents can pay the 1 or they can remove it. The idea is to think about your card draw engines in terms of the average cards you get from it. This helped me starting think about the usefulness in a card like Inspiring Call which is likely to give me 4-5 cards when I play it, at least. Rishkar's Expertise similarly will net me upwards of 7-10 cards and play a spell from my hand. Meanwhile, rhystic study, which is a great card, will likely get me 5-6 cards before being dealt with, sometimes only a couple. It helped me shift my thinking and made me consider other cards that I had previously dismissed.

Lands

Not a lot of utility lands are needed in this deck, I did like Rogue's Passage, because a lot of times Voja is swinging for lethal commander damage. Making him unblockable is great.

Here is the final form: Voja, the good boy

And by final form, I mean the form I’m currently playing, but likely will change because decks are always being updated and changed. As always, hope you enjoyed the article and if you have any commanders or interactions that you want to see built, let me know in the comments.

Maverick_Titan on Slingin' Counters

6 months ago

darksuffrage21 appreciate the feedback, I wasn't a huge fan of the lifelink strat, but the inf combo seemed like the easiest way to get a win with it. Decided to take it back to the roots of just counters. I like the idea of adding ramp, but I decided to go with dorks instead of ramp so when all creatures are getting counters, the dorks get counters too. I do think the added mana base does help speed it up, and I have learned to get a board state set up instead of rushing Shalai and Hallar onto the battlefield.

anewman421 on WHEN I COUNT, YOU DIE!

9 months ago

Hello, I actually had it in the deck before adding Chandra's Ignition. Ultimately, I opted for the choice that didn't kill Vigor. However, I could get 13 direct damage with Shalai and Hallar ability while buffing her and entering combat for 16 CMDR damage. I think I'm about to overhaul this deck pretty soon. There's a good possibility it finds its way back into it. :)

DemonDragonJ on Nature's Bounty

11 months ago

I have replaced Fleetfoot Dancer with Shalai and Hallar, since they better fit the theme of this deck.

driesVanca on Marath rage deck

11 months ago

@albert9367 thanks for the comment! Sorry for the late reaction, I haven't played in a few years. There's a ton of creatures that just add extra counters (like Lae'zel, Vlaakith's Champion), I prefer it if they are more unique (like Kami of Whispered Hopes. I've recently added the cards below the deck, and put the some away that I wasn't excited about when I had them in hand. (still working on taking more of these out, but I need to play more)

It's now even more synergistic between tokens, +1/+1 and rage effects. And stuff like Fiendlash fits in with my other 'weird' cards to keep things unpredictible and fun for everyone rather than combo off with +1/+1 or tokens every game.

Monomanamaniac on Eat at Rocco's

1 year ago

So I'll be honest and say that I'm a total outsider to the food deck archetype, so I'm no expert. I'll make some suggestions of cards that I like and that excite me.

Kami of Whispered Hopes seems like a bomb and Jaheira, Friend of the Forest could turn your food into mox emeralds. Yotian Dissident Gyre Sage Incubation Druid Shalai and Hallar Three Visits

A lot of LOTR stuff would work too Peregrin Took The Shire Samwise Gamgee Sam, Loyal Attendant

I hate to suggest cuts, so I'll leave that up to you. I will say that you seem to be trying to do a lot of things, maybe think about cutting out some of the sub themes, and try to work on the top end of your curve because it's still quite high

TypicalTimmy on What commanders do you want …

1 year ago

I don't have a whole lot of free time anymore, but one I am absolutely dying to build is Shalai and Hallar Naya Hydra Tribal.

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