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Alena // Halana (Gruulfriends Forever)

Commander / EDH Burn RG (Gruul) Stompy Tap/Untap

brandonplaysmagic

Maybeboard


Alena and Hal: Partners in Work and in Life

"Halana and Alena are trackers, hunters, and protectors who live in the depths of the dark woods that border the edges of Kessig province—the woods known as the Ulvenwald. Innistrad's ancient forest is their domain, and they have long stood as a bulwark between the horrors within and the innocence without...

Hal looked to Alena. Communication between them required no words. They both knew that the Warins' farm was situated at the edge of town. They both knew it abutted the woods of the Ulvenwald. And they both knew what beasts had, of late, made a fateful resurgence in their forest... The Ulvenwald was Alena's and Hal's domain, and they would not let its dark horrors leak out to harm the innocent." - Under the Silver Moon by Kimberly J. Kreines


Welcome to my favorite EDH deck I currently own! Featuring the long overdue Commander Legends partnering of Hal and Alena - an underrated and canonically LGBT partnering (we stan). This deck utilizes the abilities of both commanders in a way that both rewards the player for big creatures while allowing for interaction amongst the table.

The premise in short: Play lower CMC big creatures to then trigger Alena's activated ability to allow bigger and better creatures to come in and wipe the board (using Halana's activated ability).

Benefits of this pair:

  • In my time of playing these two, they are often overlooked and are often assumed to be commanding a weaker deck.
  • This deck offers a few infinite combos (under the right circumstances)
  • The flexibility of gameplay

Both commanders allow you to play into the strengths of big creatures, but with different routes to victory!

Side Note: I use proxies in my mana base because I haven't been playing the game for 20+ years and cannot afford true dual lands, Gaea's Cradles, etc. This is how I've been able to keep the budget for this deck relatively in line. I'm a public school teacher in America so I'm used to making do with what I can. *that's all.

All in all, the creatures are the heart of this deck. As a Timmy at heart, I've cycled through so many iterations of different combinations of critters and I'm happy with the lineup I currently have. Here's a little more information as to why we have who we have.

  • Apocalypse Hydra : Great place to dump a bunch of mana generated from Alena. With infinite mana can ping out the table.
  • Ashaya, Soul of the Wild : Allows ETB creatures to trigger landfall with Omnath, Locus of Rage ; helps to protect against creature-based board wipes; and helps generate more mana (as Alena only generates
  • Beast Whisperer : Card draw
  • Blightsteel Colossus : Deals infect damage upon ETB with Halana's activated ability and helps to generate with Alena.
  • Brash Taunter : Outlet for ETB damage through Halana if there is nothing on your opponent's side of the board.
  • Courser of Kruphix : Deck cycling, ramp, etc.
  • Eternal Witness : Recursion.
  • Feldon of the Third Path : Recursion and helps with ETB triggers for both commanders.
  • Flameblast Dragon : Good finisher and an outlet to dump generated from Alena.
  • Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge : Low to the ground CMC value engine for Alena which also rewards you for Halana's trigger (generating treasure).
  • Ghalta, Primal Hunger : Ultimate value engine in this deck - flings massive damage at creatures (or players through Toralf, God of Fury  ) and generate 12 .
  • Hornet Nest : This is probably a pet card, but I like having an additional outlet for big damage coming from Halana's trigger.
  • Hydra Omnivore : Helps in applying pressure to all opponents (Halana focuses on one player at a time really, so this helps distribute the damage all around).
  • Ilharg, the Raze-Boar : Cheats in large creatures to help in swinging, generating mana, or clearing the table. Overall, an amazing value engine.
  • Kogla, the Titan Ape : Generates more mana than was used to cast him, helps to clear the board (creatures AND artifacts/enchantments). He also helps protect our commanders by bouncing them back to hand (worst case scenario).
  • Leyline Tyrant : Helps store excess mana created by Alena for later or to use politically to help bomb a player out of the game.
  • Ohran Frostfang : Mostly here for card draw, but helps in getting critters through to apply pressure to life totals.
  • Omnath, Locus of Rage : Consistent way of getting creatures to ETB for both commanders' abilities. Paired up with Fiery Emancipation the elemental bombs also become very useful.
  • Quirion Ranger : Helps in untapping Alena to generate more mana. Also helpful early game if you miss a land drop.
  • Reclamation Sage : Good stuff - artifact/enchantment removal.
  • Selvala, Heart of the Wilds : Super important to help generate mana when lacking. Having a red mana dork is nice and essential for the deck, but correcting the color balance is really, really nice here.
  • Temur Sabertooth : Big combo piece (detailed below) and all around good value engine.
  • Toralf, God of Fury  : Allows excess non-combat damage (which is dealt through Halana's ability) to be re-directed where needed - either to another creature or to a player's face.
  • Vexing Shusher : Helps in protecting spells and can be used politically.
  • Xenagos, God of Revels : I would consider Xenagos a third commander as he pumps creatures for value and for damage. He also plays a key part in the main combo win of the deck.
  • Yedora, Grave Gardener : Helps in the recursion process (I will lay out the combo there below) as well as ramp.
As I've passed this deck around, some people have struggled in optimizing the combos I've built into this deck and piloting its general strategies. Let me clarify that my meta is more casual so, therefore, these interactions/combos take more time to set up and to follow through. If you're looking for a turn 3 or 4 win, this is not the best strategy. If you can get these set up, these are some really fun ways that I've seen this deck interact with itself and so I thought I'd share.

Good Stuff Interaction:

Repeatable Recursion:

This interaction allows you to recur creatures who have been sent to the graveyard in a roundabout kind of way. For this to work out, you will need a Quirion Ranger on the board and a Yedora, Grave Gardener out.

Let's say you have Ghalta, Primal Hunger out on the board and he gets wiped away with a Murder . With the pieces mentioned above out on the battlefield, Ghalta would return to the battlefield facedown as a Forest land (thanks to Yedora). You would ideally tap the forest for mana, then bounce it back to your hand with Quirion Ranger and then recast this again. For this instance specifically, With Ashaya, Soul of the Wild on the battlefield, you can tap an additional creature for a green, use the other floating green from the forest, and then recast Ghalta (provided you have enough power on the board). Tap Alena for 12 and get the game going again.

Flinging Damage

Another fun (albeit very rare) interaction and possible wincon is through Halana's ability and slinging excess noncombat damage through Toralf at a bunch of different creatures. For this shenanigans to work, you would need Selvala, Heart of the Wilds on the board alongside Halana, Kessig Ranger and Toralf, God of Fury   and Temur Sabertooth and Staff of Domination and Ghalta, Primal Hunger . I know this is very circumstantial, but hear me out here. Also, Fiery Emancipation helps speed this along by a lot, but again, just laying this out so you can see the interaction because it's funny as hell.

Get your board set up with Halana, Toralf, Selvala, Temur Sabertooth, and your staff. Cast your Ghalta, Primal Hunger and let it resolve (at this point it should only cost . Use Halana's ability to deal 12 damage to target creature. Toralf will allow excess non-combat damage to be dealt to any target, so we will choose target player, dealing X damage to them. Use a to activate Selvala, floating 12 and then use that mana to activate Temur Sabertooth and bounce Ghalta back to your hand as well as untap the Staff of Domination and Selvala. Upon repeats, this nets 3 each time. This was a stupid paragraph but I had fun nonetheless.

My last favorite bit of interaction in this deck before I move on is with my favorite Magic! card of all time: Hornet Nest . If it's out alongside Halana, Kessig Ranger you can pay 2 into Halana's activated ability to send damage to your nest and create a bunch of 1/1 flying insects with deathtouch. You could also do this by casting Blasphemous Act while it's on the board which is always really fun. I did this on MTGMuddstah's channel and the groaning I heard from everyone let me know I was the man of the hour. But I digress...

Combos:

There is a primary combo of this deck which you can kind of play with and use differently depending on how the game is playing out. But in essence you will need the following pieces:

  • Alena, Kessig Trapper
  • Staff of Domination
  • Any creature with power or greater
  • Essentially, you have Alena + Staff of Domination on the battlefield and cast a creature with power 5 or greater. Tap Alena for 5 . Floating that mana, use 3 to activate Staff of Domination's ability to untap Alena, then an addition 1 to untap Staff of Domination. This nets 1 which, after infinite repeats, gives you infinite and then infinite card draw.

    If you do not have a creature in hand to start this chain event, you can use Xenagos, God of Revels to pump Alena to an 8/7, which will allow her to tap for 8 which is enough to start the chain. *Note that Rhythm of the Wild or Vexing Shusher do a great job in protecting this combo while you play it out.

    Closing out the game

    What's fun about this deck is that you have a few ways of going about closing the game from this point, depending on what your board state looks like going into this turn. Here are some suggestions:

    Infinite Damage:

    Infinite Pinging:

    1. Cast Apocalypse Hydra for infinite power
    2. Activate its ability to remove a +1/+1 counter infinite times, pinging each opponent.

    Infinite Rage Bomb:

    1. Cast Leyline Tyrant
    2. Cast Halana, Kessig Ranger if not already out.
    3. Cast any creature with power 4 or greater
    4. Trigger Halana's ability, killing Leyline Tyrant.
    5. Pay enough to knock out your opponents.

    Featured on MTGMuddstah on 7/12/21:

    Featured on MTGMuddstah on 4/22/21:


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    New alter sleeves for the girls designed by the truly incredible TheDinkelist!

    If you like what I've put together, feel free to upvote OR leave a comment! Any helpful recommendations or suggestions are always welcome. Also feel free check out my other decks and give them a little love.

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    Comments

    87% Casual

    Competitive

    Top Ranked
    Date added 5 months
    Last updated 20 hours
    Legality

    This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

    Rarity (main - side)

    15 - 0 Mythic Rares

    39 - 0 Rares

    17 - 0 Uncommons

    5 - 0 Commons

    Cards 100
    Avg. CMC 3.41
    Tokens 3/3 G Token Creature Beast, Copy Clone, Treasure, Wurm 6/6 G, Insect 1/1 G w/ Flying, Deathtouch
    Folders Ideas (courtesy of others), Decks, Uncategorized, Gruul, Awesome EDH, Commanders
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    Revision 1 See all

    20 hours ago)

    -1 Blightsteel Colossus main
    -1 Omnath, Locus of Rage main