Maybeboard



- - September 2, 2021 -- Forgotten Realms Update - -

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May 6 -- Strixhaven Update
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- - September 2 -- Forgotten Realms Update - -
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Q4 -- Innistrad: Double Feature 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 or Loyal Warhound enable Halvar  to be cast early. card:Sword Hearth and Home|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. 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 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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Under normal gameplay, I'm locked into a gameplan based on which  side of my Commander I choose until it returns to the Command Zone. If I have Sanctum of Eternity out in a game, I can swap between gameplans more freely and better adjust to shifts.

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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 defenses. 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 Sworda 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, Kaldra Compleat, 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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Enchantments
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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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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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Cave of the Frost Dragon

A flying Manland that to wield Equipment when I'm in dire need of a body.

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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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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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Sanctum of Eternity

A land that bounces my Commander.

Aside from protecting my Commander from removal during my turn, it also allows me to swap between Halvar  or his Sword at will without waiting for either to return to the Command Zone.

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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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Urza's Saga

A unique Saga that provides a couple of bodies and tutors for a cheap artifact.

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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 September 2, 2021

Midnight Hunt Additions

Pending

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Crimson Vow Additions

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Other Additions

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Picking the Yard
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Additional Equipment Slots
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Allied Swords
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Recursion to Remember
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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

Adventures in the Forgotten Realms Additions

Hour of Revelation -> Loyal Warhound

Castle Ardenvale -> Cave of the Frost Dragon

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Dungeons & Dragons Commander Additions

None

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Modern Horizons II Additions

Maul of the Skyclaves -> Sword of Hearth and Home

Dawn of Hope -> Esper Sentinel

Nahiri, the Lithomancer -> Kaldra Compleat

Inventors' Fair -> Urza's Saga

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Other Additions

Loxodon Warhammer -> Commander's Plate

Scavenger Grounds -> Sanctum of Eternity

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Despite my dislike for catch-up ramp effects, I've been using Knight of the White Orchid for a while. I prefer land ramp instead of Mana Rocks to avoid collateral damage from artifact sweepers aimed at taking down my Equipment or shooting myself in the foot with one of my own. And being a creature allows it to take up an Equipment if I need it to. It's a good card that happens to be a catch-up ramp effect.

Loyal Warhound is a "second" Knight. It can't grab nonbasics and the land always enters tapped, but it's still a another 2mv ramp source on a body. Two copies of this effect make it more likely to show up early game where the ramp is more effective and the 'less land' stipulation is least relevant (so long as I'm not going first).

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Loyal Warhound has replaced Hour of Revelation. I was planning on using this slot for a new Equipment or sweeper, but nothing from the last few sets gave me anything worthwhile among those types of cards to fill it.

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I've had some mild use out of Man Lands over the years. Forbidding Watchtower was in early builds with limited success. A vanilla 1/5 doesn’t have a lot of ‘oomph’ to it, even with Equipment boosting it. I used to have Inkmoth Nexus as an alternate win-con through poison counters, but took it out to avoid that polarizing mechanic entirely.

I do like having a Man Land available in the manabase as an emergency attacker post-sweeper, and Forgotten Realms has provided Cave of the Frost Dragon. It has proper strength behind it as a 3/4 flier, unlike its predecessor. 6 mana (5 plus the land itself tapping to attack) is a harsh activation cost, but its meant to be an emergency creature later on in the game when resources are more plentiful, not a primary threat.

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I have decided that a temporary 3/4 flier is better than creating 1/1 tokens. While a token has more staying power than a land that has to be constantly animated, one of the downsides of tokens is summoning sickness. Waiting an entire turn is a pain when I'd like to get a quick hit in for a card:Sword of Light and Shadow||Sword trigger right after a sweeper. 5 mana (4 plus the Castle) is also a lot of mana for a vanilla 1/1. I tend to tap most of my mana during my turn, so having the necessary mana open to create a token outside of my turn is very infrequent.

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One could ask why I'm using Cave of the Frost Dragon instead of the more efficient flying Man Land Blinkmoth Nexus, and the answer is coloured mana. The Cave producing is a huge difference. Mono-coloured decks can get away with more utility lands, but too many of them that only produce colourless can and will lead to forced mulligans from colour-screwed openers.

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I was expecting the rest of the Allied Swords to be featured in  Modern Horizons II, but only one was included. That one Sword happens to be the current best of the cycle! Sword of Hearth and Home is a ramp and blink engine, generating value through additional mana and ETB triggers.

A Sword capable of land ramp is a huge addition, as it's something I can easily tutor for and is yet another Equipment that puts Halvar  Flip in the sweet two-shot kill range. While there aren't a lot of creatures in this deck that can benefit from the blink half of the trigger, there's plenty to work with.

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As per the plan, Maul of the Skyclaves has been dropped to make room for Sword of Hearth and Home. Two Swords that offer protection from White is too harsh to have colored Equipment around.

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The Kaldra Set was the original inspiration for me to build an Equipment Voltron deck. Unfortunately, time has been unkind to them, as Equipment have been getting progressively better since.

Getting all three out to summon Kaldra itself, while really satisfying, was very inconsistent and not the best use out of tutors. The most ideal situation would be using Stonehewer Giant over three turns, but I should be grabbing Equipment that go for the kill instead of playing around. All three of them were replaced by better options years ago and I’ve never looked back.

Kaldra Compleat is the entire set in a single card. Everything that's exciting out of the originals without the hassle of getting all of the pieces together, and for a fraction of the cost. To mimic the set's Kaldra token, its also a living weapon and able to be a threat on its own or equipped to Halvar  Flip right away with his attach trigger.

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Nahiri, the Lithomancer has retired to open space for the new living weapon.  An Equipment-based Planeswalker was an exciting addition back in 2014, but now her abilities aren't worth holding onto. Spare bodies and recursion are provided by plenty of other cards.

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White’s card draw woes are actively being worked on, and Esper Sentinel is the best one yet. It feels like it was tailor made for Voltron decks.

The Sentinel's ability is reminiscent of Rhystic Study, forcing opponents to pay a cost to prevent me from drawing cards. That cost is tied to its power, so a boost from just a Sword puts the trigger's cost outside the comfortable range that opponents are willing to play. Being an artifact and possesing a small body also makes the Sentinel, play well with this deck's recursion and a particular tutor.

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To make room for the Sentinel, I’m swapping out card draw engines. This deck leans so far into the artifact side of things that enchantments get the short end. I just don't have the space to support for them. Dawn of Hope is still a great card draw engine, but artifacts play a much stronger role in this deck.

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While I'm always on the lookout for better Equipment support, generic artifact support is something that is printed much more frequently and at higher qualities. Urza's Saga is one such card. A unique land Saga that provides two abilities that this deck gets great use out of.

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The Chapter II ability grants the Saga to produce variable P/T Construct tokens. Though the window to create such tokens is tight and I can only get two of them at a maximum, it's well worth the mana having a few moderately sized blockers for some defence.

The Chapter III tutors a cheap artifact directly onto the field. This deck has happens to have an assortment of cheap artifacts for this ability to make use of:

An Equipment that offers a moderate P/T boost and extensive protections.An Equipment that offers evasion, lifegain, and an anti-hexproof/indestructible effect.A land tutor.A hand extension.Grave hate.

Aside from the obvious Sol Ring (and Mana Crypt) I have a solid variety of things that it can grab for any situation.

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Inventors' Fair was dropped for the new Saga, mainly due to both being tutors.  Requiring metalcraft and costing 5 mana total forced the Fair to only work in the late-game with already established board. The Saga's tutor isn't under such restrictions aside from waiting a few turns.

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When Commander Legends released, I turned down Commander's Plate as it didn't have anything unique to differentiate itself from the Swords. Halvar  Flip became this deck's Commander shortly after, and his synergy with the Swords and similar Equipment, has changed my stance of the Plate.

A Sword's +2/+2 boost and evasion granted by the protection is all it takes for Halvar  Flip to becomes a two-turn clock. This utter efficiency from just a single Equipment is what I want to promote as much as I can, and card:Champion's Plate has taken its place among the Armory.

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Loxodon Warhammer lost its thunder to Shadowspear. The most important aspect of the