Maybeboard

Modern Horizons II (4)

  • 1x "Sword of Blue and Black"
  • 1x "Sword of Green and White"
  • 1x "Sword of Red and Green"
  • 1x Urza's Saga

Forgotten Realms (1)

  • 1x Pending

Land (1)



- - May 6, 2021 -- Strixhaven Update - -

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- - May 6 -- Strixhaven Update - -
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Q3 -- Forgotten Realms Update
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Q4 -- "Innistrad 3" Update
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Description

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The path I start with each game is dictated by my opening hand. I may have good Equipment and drop Halvar  right away. I may have an early threat and wish to use Sword of the Realms to support it. I may have a middling hand and decide to build my resources first.

No matter how I begin, whichever gameplan I execute is subject to change as things progress and situations evolve. This deck's primary win condition is to deal lethal Commander Damage to each opponent, so I will prioritize on using Halvar  whenever feasible.

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Any available ramp is played as early as possible. The Mana Rocks, Ancient Tomb, a tutor for Ancient Tomb played on Turn 1, and Knight of the White Orchid enable Halvar  to be cast early. Other ramp sources keep the mana flowing into the late game.

Weathered Wayfarer, aside from Turn 1 shenanigans, keeps me from falling behind on mana and offers a stream of utility lands. I will likely aggresively keep a land-light opening hand if Wayfarer is present. I tend to grab some combination of Castle Ardenvale, Command Beacon, Rogue's Passage, War Room, and Emeria, The Sky Ruin before its ability is shut off.

Eternal Dragon and Noble Templar are cycled whenever I have spare mana to set up the next land drop. Mistveil Plains is the go-to target unless I need the untapped Basic.

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As the main strategy is to bash in with a single attacker, most of my creatures are dedicated to providing beneficial abilities instead of combat. A handful of these creatures have static abilities that either supports my board or put a moderate chokehold on my opponents. I usually play these creatures as I acquire them so their abilities are online as son as possible.

Protectors are important for shutting down my opponents' kill spells. Targeted removal is a lot harsher against strategies focusing on lone threats. I prefer to have a Protector on board at all times, and I'll always play a one early if present in my opening hand. Devoted Caretaker specifically also keeps removal away from my Equipment, though it may force me to be a turn slower throughout the early-game to keep mana for its ability open.

Many of my utility creatures have low toughness, which allows Recruiter of the Guard to be a 'toolbox' tutor that gets whatever I need in a given moment. Early-game targets are either a Protector to keep my creatures safe from kill spells, Serra Ascendant or Danitha Capashen if I need an early threat, or Weathered Wayfarer to alleviate mana-screw. Late-game targets include Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist or Puresteel Paladin to dodge equip costs, Stoneforge Mystic to later get an Equipment, or Argivian Archaeologist to make use of a stocked graveyard.

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This deck features an extensive removal package to disrupt my opponents' gameplans. It contains various targeted removal spells and sweepers to adapt to any situation by picking off isolated problems or clearing the board.

I try to leave mana open for removal every turn for kill spells. Keeping a Plains open for Path to Exile or Swords to Plowshares is easy in most scenarios. Having spare mana left for Oblation, Generous Gift, or Heliod's Intervention can be tricky if I need the mana for other cards, especially early-game or if I'm a bit mana-screwed.

Creature sweepers keep aggro decks in check. Equipment Voltron is a 'Go Big' playstyle, focusing on a single threat. Aggro strategies, especially Token decks, get overwhelming by their sheer numbers, and I have little to defend against them in combat.

Heavy sweepers  are the ultimate reset button for dire situations when opponents have develops their boards too far with various permanents. Playing such sweepers may seem counterintuitive as they destroy my Equipment, but I don't mind. This deck likely runs better on minimal resources than my opponents'. I will rebuild faster than them, and I have plenty of recursion to bring my Equipment back.

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With a solid Equipment available in my opening hand, Halvar  is cast as soon as possible before opponents can set up proper defences. A Protector played beforehand is ideal at this stage to prevent opponents from killing him right away.

Any Equipment that pumps his power to at least 6 and offers evasion is the most beneficial, as he'll only need two attacks to take out an opponent. A Sword with a relevant protection or Maul of the Skyclaves is especially effective.

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Outside of a select few, further Equipment won't affect Halvar's  clock any further. Although, I may play additional Equipment for lifelink, to shore up gaps in evasion and/or for Sword triggers. If I ever have access to the proper Equipment for Halvar   to one-shot, I will go for the kill.

Since spare Equipment will often be superfluous in Halvar's   hands, I may equip an alternative threat to pressure another opponent. He gives any equipped creature I control double strike, not just himself, so that other threat can deal substantial damage on its own.

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If Halvar  happens to die, I'll immediately recast him unless there's a more appealing direction to take. One option is to establish an alternative threat first, then recast him to give that threat double strike. Halvar  can later be tossed an Equipment with his attach trigger to resume his Commander Damage clock alongside that other threat. I may also hold off on recasting Halvar  right away if a Protector isn't on board to avoid him getting sniped.

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Sometimes Halvar  isn't the ideal path to take. There are occasional situations where its not suitable for him to be effective, such as a lack of Equipment on board. Unlike other Voltron Commanders that would be stuck in the Command Zone for an extended period, this is where Sword of the Realms may shine.

In order to use Sword of the Realms, I'll have to forgo the ability to deal Commander Damage, at least until it leaves the battlefield.

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Sword of the Realms returns the equipped creature to my hand when it dies, mimicking the Partner mechanic by giving me a second creature that I have near-permanent access to. Opponents would have to 'double-tap' a creature before it was re-equipped in order to fully take it down, devaluing their creature removal.

Ardenn Puresteel Paladin, or Danitha Capashen can give Halvar's Sword a worthy wielder, spicing up an otherwise mediocre opener. Serra Ascendant, the Scourge of Turn 1, will most definitely be supported by it when played at this stage.

When in the late-game, Sword of the Realms can be wielded by this deck's more dedicated alternative threats, such as Sun Titan and Realm-Cloaked Giant. Early threats can also be effective late-game with access more resources for larger plays.

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Halvar  and Sword of the Realms are the same card and therefore share Commander Tax. A low-tax Commander is a rare commodity, and casting it haphazardly would be a waste. If either side of my Commander isn't going to be worth it, holding back to save on tax and until the board is set up is the best course of action.

In some games, repeated deaths can't be avoided and Halvar  will get choaked by high tax. Command Beacon is a useful tool by provide a one-time tax break to get Halvar  back in the game without spending excessive amounts of mana. Sun Titan and Sevinne's Reclamation are able to get additional uses out of the Beacon to continue dodging the tax. Otherwise, Halvar  is trapped in the Command Zone.

Regardless on why Halvar  is unavailable, my deck's alternative threats will attempt to defeat my opponents without his divine aid.

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Stonehewer Giant is the shining star among this deck's alternative threats. If left unchallenged, it will tutor my best Equipment back-to-back. It can also to grab destroyed Equipment with Mistveil Plains, preventing artifact removal from permanently disarming my creatures.

Argentum Armor, Blackblade Reforged, and Inquisitor's Flail are the most effective Equipment in Halvar's   absence. They provide high P/T boosts to allow any creature to chip away at this format's multiple extensive life totals.

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Equipment Support
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Land Ramp & Fetch
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Removal & Disruption
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Recursion
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Other Creatures
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Mirran & Allied Swords
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All-Stars
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Heavy Hitters
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Utility
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Mana Rocks & Land Fetch
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Other Artifacts
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Enchantment
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Equipment Tutors
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Targeted Removal
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Mass Removal
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Other Spells
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Nahiri, the Lithomancer

An Equipment-based Planeswalker. Provides bodies, recursion, and a powerful Equipment.

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20 Basic Plains

This deck needs its White mana, and Basic Lands are the major providers. As good as Utility lands are, I'm not going below 20 Basics.

I get the occasional colour-screw with my mana base as is. I don't need to make it worse.

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Ancient Tomb

A land that taps for . Helpful for paying for Equipment costs and casting expensive spells.

I can cast Halvar early if it's in my opening hand or tutored from a Turn 1 Weathered Wayfarer or Expedition Map .

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Buried Ruin

Artifact recursion in a land slot.

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Castle Ardenvale

Creates 1/1 Humans to either be a chump blocker, be fodder for a forced sacrifice, or be an emergency Equipment wielder. Also an untapped source of .

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Command Beacon

A Commander Tax break when Halvar   gets expensive to cast.

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Emeria, The Sky Ruin

A powerful creature recursion engine just for having a bunch of Plains.

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Field of Ruin

A Stripland to get rid of a problem utility land.

I use it over Strip Mine or any other option due to Field, replacing itself. I don't care if the other opponents get a free Basic. The later the game goes, the less impact that free land creates.

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Inventors' Fair

An artifact tutor on a land. Requires metalcraft to be activated.

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Kor Haven

A protective utility land that deters my opponents' threats.

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Mistveil Plains

Tuck cards from my graveyard. This simple ability has a few very handy applications:

  • Gives instants and sorceries the chance to be used again.
  • Allows Equipment to be retutored back into play. This is especially effective with Stonehewer Giant.
  • Denies my opponents' targeted grave-hate or recursion effects on my own cards.

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Myriad Landscape

Land ramp on a land. Handy for getting a couple Plains needed for Emeria, The Sky Ruin to be active.

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Ondu Skyruins   & Sejiri Glacier  

Modal DFCs that allow extra spells to exist within land slots.

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Rogue's Passage

Makes Halvar  unblockable, which is extremly frightening.

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Scavenger Grounds

A land that can pop the graveyards.

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Thespian's Stage

A land clone that can repeatedly change what it becomes. It can be a Plains at the very least.

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War Room

A card draw engine in a land slot, only requiring the minimal of life payments.

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Poison Counters
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Shroud
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Catch-up Ramp
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Mass Land Destruction
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Mirran & Allied Swords
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Other Equipment
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Support
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Tutors
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Armory Automaton & Heavenly Blademaster

These creatures do nothing but attack. I've cut back on them, as they take up space better spent on utility creatures.

Serra Ascendant is the only pure attacker that remains in this deck due to its sheer efficiency.

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Avacyn, Angel of Hope

She has a cumbersome mana cost and can't effectively protect herself or my Equipment in the wake of the quality exiling removal that exists or my own Cataclysmic Gearhulk.

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Bastion Protector

Only affecting my Commander  is way too narrow of an ability for a utility creature, especially one with three toughness. P/T boosts and keywords are better given by Equipment.

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Mana Rocks & Doublers
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Other Artifacts
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Enchantments
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Sorceries
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Instants
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Artifact Lands

They don't provide any meaningful utility. Being artifacts and fueling the two cards this deck has with metalcraft isn't enough to warrent a spot over any other utility land.

Ancient Den in particular will also end up as collateral damage from sweepers.

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Fetchlands

They're primarily used for colour-fixing, which a Mono-Coloured deck doesn't need. Deckthinning with them is statistically negligible, especially so in a 99-card deck.

There's also an opportunity cost. Each Fetchlands added is one less utility land I'm able to include. And this deck loves its utility lands.

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Strip Lands

I used Strip Mine since the beginning until Field of Ruin came around. I greatly prefer Field, as it replaces itself. I also had Dust Bowl for a while. I'm not that aggressive with Striplands and I wasn't getting a lot of use out of it, so I dropped it for a different utility land.

Between Field, Generous Gift, and Argentum Armor, I feel like I have sufficient ways to tag the odd utility land causing me grief.

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Cavern of Souls

It doesn't do much in a non-Tribal, mono-coloured deck. Just using it to keep countermagic off of Halvar  feels like a waste.

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Flagstones of Trokair

A land that replaces itself is extremely narrow in use for this deck.

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Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx

Building devotion is difficult in a deck with a high concentration of colourless permanents and a plethora of sweepers. I had it in this deck for a number of years before giving up on it entirely.

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Temple of the False God

This card is a trap.

Its promise of is enticing, but it's a dead card when that mana matters the most.

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First Commander

October 26, 2011 - July 23, 2013

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This is my first Commander deck. I started building it in October 2011. The original motivation for this deck was the desire to use The Kaldra Set and assemple Legendary Avatar to the board. To get the best use out of these Equipment, I required a synergistic Commander.

The only options available in 2011 were Kemba, Kha Regent or Raksha Golden Cub. I obviously decided on the former as the First Commander.  Having a Commander that initially costs seven mana would only invite problems.

The early builds of this deck were Voltron/Token hybrid strategies to make use out of Kemba's Cat tokens. I'd equip her and build up a Token army while attempting Combat Damage kills. Overtime, I grew tired of the token half of the deck's strategy and desired to go full Voltron. The support for it dwindled as I began looking for an alternative Commander to better deal Commander Damage.

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Second Commander

July 23, 2013 - February 3, 2017

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My search for a new Commander led me to the format's old treasure trove of Kamigawa. The first set in the Block, Champions of Kamigawa, had the best candidate for the Second Commander: Eight-and-a-Half-Tails. This famous Kitsune offered the ability keep targeted removal off of my permanents while also making himself unblockable. A great fit for my new needs.

8.5-Tails wasn't without his fair share of problems. His abilities required three mana to be open at all times to be effective as a removal deterrant. He was never an early-game play, and keeping his abilities active always stung when mana-screwed. Regardless, I was content with 8.5-Tails as my Commander for the coming years.

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Third Commander

February 3, 2017 - November 30, 2017

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Aether Revolt introduced a peculiar Dwarf, Sram, Senior Edificer. My initial impression wasn't the best. The though of using him as a Commander didn't come to mind right away and I initially dismissed it as a bad Puresteel Paladin, nothing I really wanted in the 99.

After giving it some thought, I figured that this was an opportunity to have Equipment support back in the Command Zone and return to using an early-game Commander, and Sram, Senior Edificer took over as the Third Commander.

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Forth Commander

November 30, 2017 - February 12, 2021

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Sram's reign as Commander was short-lived. Mere months after he took the position, Commander 2017 introduced the Forth Commander.

Balan, Wandering Knight was a game-changer, possessing the ability to be an aggressive win-con. With previous Commanders, getting a vanilla 2 power creature to deal 21 total damage reliably more often than not involves numerous Equipment, causing their clocks to take several turns and giving opponents plenty of breathing room to draw into answers. Balan's natural double strike increases her clock dramatically, requiring less Equipment to be a legitimate threat and take out opponents in a more reasonable amount of time. She would also consistently two-shot opponents with any couple of Equipment, and had the potential to one-shot using a specific pair.

Another great aspect of Balan was her attach ability. For two mana, all Equipment I control attached to her, greatly saving on mana when equipping her. She could also use her attach ability to dodge high equip costs.

Fifth Commander  

February 12, 2021 - Present

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As such a proficient win-con, Balan was the best Commander yet. I honestly believed she would be at the helm of this deck for a long time. However, Halvar, God of Battle  emerged from the frigid realms of Kaldheim to become the Fifth Commander.

Possessing double strike when equipped like his predecessor, Halvar  has a blazing fast clock. His double strike requires a single solid Equipment, and can easily two-shot opponents if that lone Equipment increases his power to at least 6 and provides sufficient evasion. Halvar  also shares his double strike to any other equipped creatures, offering the option to focus on multiple opponents at once.

Sword of the Realms adds a layer of utility alongside the regular Voltron gameplan. It causes any one of this deck's alternative threats to act like a Partner by returning it to my hand when it dies. This devalues my opponents' creature removal and keeps a key creature on board.

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Deck Development

As of May 9, 2021

Forgotten Realms Additions

Pending

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Modern Horizons II Additions

Hour of Revelation -> "Sword of Blue and Black?"

Hour of Revelation -> "Sword of Red and Green?"

Maul of the Skyclaves -> "Sword of Green and White?"

??? -> Urza's Saga

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Other Additions

Loxodon Warhammer -> Commander's Plate

Nahiri, the Lithomancer -> Dowsing Dagger  

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Additional Equipment Slots
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Allied Swords
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DFC Hotswap
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February 29 -- Theros: Beyond Death
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Q2 -- Ikoria Update
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August 22 -- Summer's End 2020 Update
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December 15 -- Zendikar Rising Update
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Updates Add

Strixhaven: School of Mages Additions

Noble Templar -> Wandering Archaic  Flip

Oblation -> Reduce to Memory

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Strixhaven Commander Additions

Eternal Dragon -> Angel of the Ruins

Mangara, the Diplomat -> Bronze Guardian

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Other Additions

None

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Land Tax is one of the most notable cards that isn't in this deck. It was when I

first built it, but over the years I slowly began to dislike waiting until my next turn to

get lands. I also didn't like drawing a Basic Land fetcher late-game when it's no longer

useful. I gave Tithe a shot as the initial replacement as it could still grab

Mistveil Plains if I draw it late, but it underperformed. Something else had to

fill in this slot.

Eternal Dragon is another card from the early days. A creature with a land

fetiching ability works well in an Equipment deck. Having as many effects attached to

bodies allows me to always have something to equip. I loved this card so much that I

eventually decided I wanted a second one. Land Tax's ultimate

replacement was Noble Templar as the "second" card:Eternal

Dragon|Dragon. These two Plainscyclers were my substitution to more widely used Basic

Land fetchers. Early-game land drps, late-game threats.

Strixhaven and the corresponding Commander decks have provided enhancements to the

Plainscyclers, and I'm ecstatic that the more personal and peculiar aspect of this deck

recieved such a major upgrade.

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Angel of the Ruins has replaced Eternal Dragon. It's

better in every way:

  • The Angel has an ETB trigger that exiles artifacts and enchantments. Actual board impact and a strong incentive to recur it with Emeria, the Sky Ruin.
  • The Angel has more toughness than the Dragon. Not the most exciting aspect of this change, but it's there.

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Wandering Archaic  Flip has replaced Noble Templar. The

Archaic  Flip plays differently than a Plainscycler. It's a Modal DFC

with a spell on the back side.

  • Explore the Vastlands is a dig effect for a land and a spell, giving me a potential 2-for-1. A dig effect is not the same as an actual search, but with 36 lands in this deck I'm unlikely to whiff that often. Getting any land from the top five would be a success. The noticeable downside in using this spell is that everyone gets to dig for cards. This can be a mild advantage. If removal or countermagic is revealed, I can now play around them when I would otherwise be caught off-guard.
  • When on the battlefield, the Archaic  Flip copies my opponents spells unless they pay , generating value off of my opponents' actions or taxing their mana. This trigger is especially effective against counterspells. Opponents are forced to pay the additional mana or I'll have the choice to counter the original.

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Several years ago, the rules were changed so that a Commander could be retuned to the

Command Zone if they would be put into their owner's library to match the behavior they

have when moving to other zones. This botched tucking removal as a way to handle

Commanders long term, and this type of removal fell out of favour. Oblation was

affected by this change, but remained in the deck as it was, at the time, the only hard

catch-all removal effect White had outside of enchantments.

Catch-all removal effects are becoming more common. Modern Horizons introduced

Generous Gift followed shortly by Cavalier of Dawn in the subsequent

Core Set 2020. Reduce to Memory is the latest addition of this flexible

removal, and to make room for it the old spell had to go. The vanilla

3/2 token is a significantly weaker downside than an opponent drawing two cards.

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Protecting my Equipment from removal is a major priority to keep card:Halvar, God of

Battle|Halvar or any alternative threat well suited. Leonin Abunas and

Devoted Caretaker are the only cards in this deck that stave off targeted

removal, and I've wanted more. Other existing options, such as card:Indomitable

Archangel|Indomitable Archangel, have issues caused by shroud. It prevents

Halvar's  Flip second ability from functioning and artifact

creatures cannot be equipped at all. Future cards could also be limited by my Equipment

having shroud.

Bronze Guardian is the newest option for safeguarding artifacts, using the

new ward ability. While nowhere near as preventative has hexproof or shroud, ward is still

a deterrent that doesn't prevent myself from targeting. Forcing removal spells to cost an

additional can at least burn up an opponent's mana for the turn.

Guardian has ward itself, so opponents are pinched at least once

removing it.

Guardian is also a potent alternative threat, possessing its own

double strike and a scaled power based on artifacts. A couple of Equipment of board will

let it deal serious damage.

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Finding a spot for Bronze Guardian was difficult. When I look for space for new

additions, I tend to favour dropping a similar card, such as Angel of the Ruins

and Wandering Archaic  Flip replacing the old Plains

cyclers. This time around, the cut had to be rough.

I settled on Mangara, the Diplomat as he wasn't an integral part of this deck and

the open slots I have

available already have replacements set up.

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My expectations of the DFCs in Strixhaven turned out to be incorrect. The card:Deadly

Vanity|DFC sweeper is outside of this deck's Colour Identity and the card:Devastating

Mastery|other sweeper isn't something I find useful.

Hour of Revelation's slot is likely to go towards one of the

remaining Swords.

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With any new Commander comes cards that weren't on your radar suddenly piquing your

interest the next time you come across them.

Sanctum of Eternity is a utility land that I didn't see much appeal when it was

released in Commander 2019.  Balan was in charge at the

time, and bouncing her during my turn didn't have a lot of applications.  Maybe sparing

her from a kill spell or my sweeper and that's it. It didn't feel like it was worth a slot

and I moved on.

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Halvar  Flip is a different story. As a Modal DFC, card:Sanctum

of Eternity is a repeatable way to bounce him, allowing me to swap to the other side.

The main issue with using Sword of the Realms is that I'm stuck with it until its

removed. Sanctum would provide a way to get card:Halvar,

God of Battle|Halvar on board without waiting. I could also be more aggressive with

using the Sword since I'd have a way to bounce it. Swapping

Halvar  Flip for the Sword would

also be an option if I'm in a situation where Halvar  Flip is

unarmed and there's nothing in reserve or recursion on hand. And card:Sanctum of

Eternity|Sanctum would still offer the general removal-dodging purpose.

Comments View Archive

Top Ranked
Date added 8 years
Last updated 1 day
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

14 - 0 Mythic Rares

49 - 0 Rares

15 - 0 Uncommons

2 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.91
Tokens 0/0 Germ, 1/1 Human, 3/3 Elephant, Equipment, Treasure, 1/1 Soldier, 3/3 Golem, 1/1 Kor Soldier
Folders favorites, Commander, great edh deck, Faves, EDH, EDH Decks, decks i want to build, edh, EDH, Decks Im going to get soon, See all 483
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