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My Arahbo, Roar of the World + Companion Kaheera, the Orphanguard EDH Multiplayer deck.


BASIC DATA
Construction date: 26/08/2017
Power level: 6,7
Format: Multiplayer EDH, non competitive
Budget: High (Due mainly to foil and promos)
Build restrictions: Kaheera companion, only cats! (I know three are powerful support creatures in green-white that could fit this deck, but I wanted to keep the deck as flavorful as possible while keeping it suitable, of course)

Art by Slawomir Maniak

A BRIEF MTG FELINE HISTORY

I love felines, specially big cats. In the Felidae family are one of the most spectacular predators in our contemporary Earth echosystems. Felines are cunning, beautiful and mighty at the same time, and Magic the Gathering hasn't doubted to use their strong personality and their association with different cultures and religions to enrich its fantasy worlds.

In Magic the Gathering history, cats have been a very frequent creature type since the beggining. First cats took their niche as aggro vanilla creatures, with cards like Savannah Lions . Usually representing savage felines and warrior catfolks, some of them took the role of very important characters in the lore, like Jedit Ojanen (wich had even his own comics: "Legend of Jedit Ojanen"), Mirri, Cat Warrior or the powerful planeswalker Lord Windgrace, but they never showed tribal strategies like other creature types, for example elves, goblins or zombies. Cats receibed their first tribal support atempt in the original Mirrodin block (2003, the same year I started play MTG). Mirrodin cats, the leonin catfolks, became totally asociated with equipments, represented as expert warriors and smiths, as seen in Raksha Golden Cub or Leonin Shikari . After that, cats returned to their non-tribal, mostly vanilla scheme, although showing very relevant cards like Wild Nacatl , Qasali Pridemage or Fleecemane Lion and more legends like (among others) Mirri the Cursed , Jedit Ojanen of Efrava , Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Kemba, Kha Regent . And of course, we can't forget to mention one of the first "modern" planeswalkers was Ajani Goldmane , who become a major MTG character with multiple cards and apparitions through the years.

Cats where a very loved creature type... but they never where meant for be played tribal, until 2017 arrived. That year, a major improve to cats arrived. First, Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation, two egyptian themed sets, brought truly cat tribal cards: Regal Caracal and Pride Sovereign . Those cat where probably designed keeping in mind that few months later, Commander 2017 brought Arahbo, Roar of the World , a preconstructed commander deck with tribal cat strategy. The deck brought useful cards for the tribe, including legends as Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist , Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith and Arahbo himself. 2017 changed the vision of cats for the community, who stopped to see them as cute vanilla creatures to consider them a former tribe. This didn't put cats in a high tier rank, but at least they became a very loved tribe wich could be played very efficiently outside the competitive enviroment.

Wizzards of the Coast has been aware of this success as more new awesome (and powerful) cat cards have been being released since 2017: King of the Pride , Feline Sovereign , Lurrus of the Dream-Den , Nethroi, Apex of Death , Rin and Seri, Inseparable and even the first card for the old character Lord Windgrace .

Arahbo, Roar of the World seems to have been one of the tribal commander cards most complicated to desgin. And this was due to the very heterogeneous strategies cats had shown during all MTG history: Ones where fast aggro creatures, other tried to go wide by generating tokens, others voltron using equipments... how to design a commader capable to benefit from all those disparate game plans?. The answer was to create a different tribal concept, different from the classic more wide foccused tribes like elves, goblins, merfolks or zombies, but more flexible than other tribes totally meant to go tall like dragons. Similar to the "Exalted" mechanic, or the buff efect seen on Xenagos, God of Revels Arahbo acted as a voltron engine to power up a small amount of cats, plan wich could also take advantage of the affinity of many cats for working with equipments, but also using the go wide token generating cat cards as a backup plan or support strategy.

The other problem was the color combination Arahbo should had... there have been cats in all colors (even blue has cats like Jedit Ojanen or Frost Lynx !!). But most cats where mainly white or green. Red also had enough cats to be considered, but at the end cats became Selensya in core. This is curious in the way that cats evade the more classic Selensya ideology, centered in armony and solidarity, and embrace a more primal vision of the Green and White combination, foccused in untamed natural order, in the way that felines usually are ruthless apex predators who bring balance in their natural enviroment. The lack of red in the final Arahbo card looked also flavorful as cats are more patient than passionate or chaotic, and leaving the Gruul combination more suitable for wolves and werewolves, and the lack of black or blue seemed totally reasonable as not many cats where in those colors, and those few cats had other strong flavours in mind than being felines per se.


FLAVOURFUL DESIGN

Arahbo, Roar of the World is an awesome tribal commander as his ability is to transform any cat, even the most unharmful one, in a solid combat menace. His eminence ability will give you the security that you always receive benefits from playing cat tribal even if you are not capable to play your commander, thing that's highly appretiated given the fact that most cats, stand alone, aren't powerful or useful enough for the commander enviroment, as they are usually designed as aggro creatures for single player formats and Limited play. I find this design totally flavorful: felines are mostly ambush predators. Many species, even the most social ones like african lions, depend on hide and watching for the exact moment to attack, and liberating an explosive amount of muscular power in few seconds to reach, catch and kill their preys. For this reason real life felines doesn't work well in extended times, unlike other carnivore mammals like wolves, that are more adapted to slowly tire their prey. Felines don't work well in the face of direct menaces, as awared preys or bigger predators: they prefer to evade them as much as possible and wait for more suitable situations to act. In game Arahbo represents this fact perfectly, by preparing single quirugic attacks where few attaking cats are temporary boosted, but not fostering defensive manouvers, as Arahbo will never power up blocking cats.


STRATEGY

Arahbo, Roar of the World eminence ability will give you the oportunity of giving a +3/+3 boost to one single cat, and if Arahbo is on the battlefield, his triggered ability of paying "WG1" will double the power and toughness of any attacking cat. Arahbo is clearly an offensive commander, centered in improving your attack fase. If you want to take advantage of it, you should center your play in your own combat fase, doing damage, forcing your opponents to lose blockers, drawing cards depending on the strength of your creatures, activating combat triggers, or recovering yourself with abilities like lifelink. The boost of Arahbo, combined with the equipment synergies of many cats, can assure us that we will always have an at least somewhat solid attacker, even if our most powerful creature is a 1/1 like Sacred Cat or a simple cat token. But let's start with our gameplan.

1- EARLY AMBUSHES

With cat tribal, we have two main problems: Many of our cats are small and weak by themselves (specially if we consider that Non-competitive multiplayer Commander is a format plagued with massive creatures and other tribes that can became very huge with their lords and anthem effects), and in the other side, the most powerful and biggest cats we currently have are too slow to be really eficient: you will play them too late when your enemies have in the battlefield their most powerful threats, and they will probably be easily removed before they give us real profit. The key to solve this puzzle is to play cheap cats with efficient abilities in our first turns, and then boost and equip them in the late game to keep them threatening.

- Sacred Cat and Trained Caracal are our cheapest cats. Both of them will became at least attacking 4/4s with lifelink. Also, we can recover Sacred Cat by embalming it if it's removed or discarded. There are more 1 CMC cats in MTG history, but many of them are vanilla creatures or their effects are not relevant in commander. I recommend to use the lifelink ones, as this ability is one of the most powerful with the Arahbo boosts. In my humble opinion, at least in casusal multiplayer commander, is better not to abuse of 1 CMC cats, and better go to 2-3 CMC ones with powerful effects, even if we slow a bit our mana curve.

- Cats with 2CMC cost are our most abundant ones. Many of them are still very small for commander, but they have more relevant abilities that can give us very diferent tools to developing our game and interacting with our opponents. Adorned Pouncer is an early threat that alone with Arahbo eminence will grant you a 4/4 with double strike. It will also come back later if you eternalize it from the graveyard. Bronzehide Lion is a 3/3 that can use spare mana to become indestructible, and if dies, can give his ability of gain indestructible to other of our creatures. Similar to ir is the classic Fleecemane Lion , an early 3/3 drop that can became a very difficult creature to remove in late game when it becames monstrous.

2 - EXPLORING THE TERRITORY

Arahbo eminence is very neat, but playing him to use his three mana pump effect is the key of doing a solid alpha strike. For reaching this possition we'll need enoguh mana, specially if we want to play Arahbo and inmediatly use him, trying to catch off guard our opponents. This is the main reason our deck needs to build a solid mana base, even if many of our cats, equipments and other spells have low mana costs. Sol Ring , Wild Growth , Rampant Growth , Farseek , Kodama's Reach , Cultivate are our ramp core, but we also use some aditional ramp or mana fix engines. Sword of the Animist is an equipment that will ramp us with every attack, thing that is easy in this deck thanks to our cheap cats improved with Arahbo eminence. Traverse the Outlands can ramp us in a brutal way: with only one single cat and Arahbo ability, at least 4 basic lands will be searched, but this card must me played carefully, as is an easy target to be countered or can encourage our opponents to destroy our biggest cat in order to spil the play. We also play some modal dual face cards that can became lands, like Ondu Inversion  , Sejiri Shelter   and Bala Ged Recovery  . They will give us lands early turns, but if we draw them in late game can act as very useful support and interaction spells.

3- PRIDE LEADERS

Reaching our 3 CMC creatures, we found the majority of our tribal lords and legendary cats. Feline Sovereign and King of the Pride will act as classic lord, specially useful if we had the opportunity to generate cat tokens. Feline Sovereign also give us artifact and enchantment removal, and well that flavorful "dog protection", wich usually does nothing but at least is cute and hits changelings. Pride Sovereign is a more egoist lord, as he pumps himself if you have more cats. But believe me, you don't want to use hime to attack most of the time: He can stay defensive and at the end of our enemy turn generate two 1/1 cat tokens with lifelink to really use them to attack. Brimaz, King of Oreskos and Kemba, Kha Regent also can generate cat tokens, and they are nice brawlers ideal to be equiped and pumped. Our beloved Mirri, Cat Warrior and Mirri, Weatherlight Duelist are more tactic, as they have useful keywords and can alter the combat enviroment for advantage. Mirri, Cat Warrior will be unblockable in many situations, as the most common and powerful commander color is green. Last, mention two non-lord cats that can be very useful: Skyhunter Skirmisher has flying and double strike: with Arahbo this knight can easily deal flying 16 damage per attack. Stalking Leonin is one of our defensive troops, she will fool our aggro opponents to choose more safe opponents to attack with their best creatures.

4 - THE BIG CATS

8 of out cats are up to 4 mana. Although there are tons of awesome high CMC cats, I recommend not to play many of them: You'll be investing lots of mana to see them removed... and Arahbo can make any cat a really big one. Anyway, there are some key big cats that we truly need in our deck: Armored Skyhunter will search for us equipments, a key part of our deck, and she has flying, a very useful combat trick. Balan, Wandering Knight can became a dangerous menace if he reach at least two equipments, obtaining double strike. You can also play at instant speed with his ability to attach equipments to him and surprise opponents. Leonin Warleader and Regal Caracal will give us lifelink cats and act as lords. Seht's Tiger flash can surprise an opponent and ruin an alpha strike by defending yourself, and then reach your turn ready to attack. Temur Sabertooth is another awesome defensive card: will bounce our cats to save them from removals, control or lethal damage, becaming indestructible in the process. Qasali Slingers is another artifact and enchantment removal, they act like Aura shards, but they also grant us one cat body to keep fighting. Finally, our biggest cat in this particular Arahbo deck is Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith . At 6 mana may look slow, but he will search for us any equipment, specially his awesome Hammer of Nazahn granting us resources and a big body. There are much more giant cats with powerful abilities... I've played all of them, believe me (Raksha, the Phantom Nisoba, the Sabertoothed Nisoba, Jareth...). And they are sadly not so relevant than they appear. If you want to try them just because you love them, enjoy! But if you are seeking a more efficient cat tribal deck, you'll see that most of the time you will not have the mana or the chance to make them shine.

5 - THE LEONIN ARMORY

In some planes of the MTG Multiverse, like Mirrodin, cats love equipments: they forge them and learn to use them in awesome ways. Arahbo is a deck meant to voltron a single cat, and there isn't better way to do that than using equipments, as if our cat is destroyed we'll be capable to keep using our weapons with our next champion. At the moment I use only 11 equipments, just because I need to keep space for many other needs like removal, card draw or ramp, but I'm always trying to prove new combinations to getting more equipments without sacrifying other parts of the deck.

Any suggestion is welcome! :D
Disclaimer, This page is in construction.

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77% Casual

23% Competitive

Top Ranked
Date added 2 months
Last updated 1 week
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

5 - 0 Mythic Rares

51 - 0 Rares

17 - 0 Uncommons

14 - 0 Commons

Cards 101
Avg. CMC 3.06
Tokens 1/1 Cat, 4/4 Zombie Cat, 1/1 Zombie Cat, 2/2 Cat, 1/1 Cat Soldier, 2/2 Cat Beast, 3/3 Beast, 3/3 Elephant
Folders commander, 1- RA_HORAKHTE EDH DECKS
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