Commanders You Defend?

Commander (EDH) forum

Posted on Sept. 1, 2021, 7:02 a.m. by DrukenReaps

Maybe this is only because I like to argue... lol

I find myself defending some commanders now and then when they come up or when I bring them up. Specifically Mairsil, the Pretender because I hear the same silly arguments for not playing him every time he is brought up. The worst one being that "he doesn't get enough new toys." Which is just the most illogical argument I've ever seen. I've been playing commander for a bit over a decade now and very rarely do people make more than 1 or 2 changes to their decks regularly. Unless things just aren't working well a deck will be pretty static for months. Even a year or 2. That aside I see new things printed that could go into Mairsil in most sets. Though if you only want to build him as optimally as possible there are maybe 2 or 3 things you do. Ever. I think the same is true of almost every commander if you build as optimally as possible. Not to say Mairsil doesn't have downsides to him. Just the most repeated argument I see against playing him is false.

What is a commander you defend and why do you defend it?

RambIe says... #2

Great topic
I,ll make time to come back and name some specific generals. But as for now any general / powerlevel conversation
The powerlevel & popularity of a general are not always a deciding factor for me. I come from a time when general dependence was considered a weakness and many of my decks are built before I even choose a general
So I hate when I sit down before a game even starts and have to defend a general I choose based on color access and never plan on casting. The new generation edh believes the commander to be the most valuable resource in the deck and that's ok both options have pro's and con's that's why I build both ways.
It's like, leave me alone and just play the game. If your right then this is an easy win for you, why harass me?

September 1, 2021 10:13 a.m.

gavriel1136 says... #3

I will defend my Derevi, Empyrial Tactician deck to the death, because it is NOT a stax deck. People roll their eyes when they hear my commander, but my deck is artifact and equipment goodness and has never been considered oppressive or locked anyone out of the game.

September 1, 2021 11:17 a.m.

My Narset, Enlightened Master deck is vehicle tribal. Nobody believes me when I say it, nor should they, but it's the awful truth. I've made probably the worst Narset deck that a trying decent player can make ;P

September 1, 2021 11:42 a.m.

1empyrean says... #5

I built a Chevill, Bane of Monsters rather than a Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons or Sarulf, Realm Eater, and I defend my choice to use him because he gives card draw and life gain, and he doesn't really have a target drawn on his back as some big threat or combo piece.

September 1, 2021 12:55 p.m.

Scytec says... #6

Vela the Night-Clad - Because she came in the ninja planechase set, everyone builds her ninja tribal, but she is so good in combo. She is in a great set of colors, any infinite blink effect on a creature insta-wins, and if it is infinite mana, such as Deadeye Navigator+Peregrine Drake or Palinchron+Phantasmal Image there is a lot of solid overlap in your win cons. Also, Rite of Replication, if you dont want to go the combo route, just hits all your opponents for 30 damage when kicked.

September 1, 2021 1:40 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #7

Eh the things that could go into Mairsil are rarely good enough to replace the toys he already has or they're just strict upgrades. Since release I would say the only thing that 100% goes into almost every list is Asmodious. I do see him scaling up with more sets but the strategy won't change much - it's a lot like Vannifar; the ability is too specific but nothing really changes the way it plays.

September 1, 2021 1:49 p.m.

Necrosis24 says... #8

I don't run Mairsil, the Pretender but I feel like we get a handful of cards with activated abilities that are worth using assuming we aren't going for peak efficiency and casual fun.

From DnD alone I would consider these depending on how I built the deck:

Some other sets:

But also just because a commander doesn't get new cards worth putting in doesn't mean it can't be fun. There are tons of fringe commanders that are fun building just because they lack support.

September 1, 2021 2:41 p.m.

DrukenReaps says... #9

RNR_Gaming you skipped over several of my points ;) ​

I'd also point out the majority of commanders do the same things every game to some extent. Atraxa decks are all walkers or generic counter decks, Meren decks all reanimate the same handful of things, Lathril is just elfball, Kozilek is just eldrazi tribal, Yuriko is either ninja tribal or big cmc, Edgar goes high cmc control vampires or low cmc aggro vampires. Very rarely do people have obscure decks without predictable strategies. The details can change as they have in my Mairsil deck from time to time. Sometimes I use Oona as my win con, other times tree of perdition, or even just turning Mairsil sideways after hex parasite eats a few planeswalkers. There's more to if you want me to go into it. People that look at Mairsil often limit themselves rather than be creative with him.

"Since release I would say the only thing that 100% goes into almost every list is Asmodious." This is just false and no one ever backs it up when they say it because they can't. Asmodeus the Archfiend, Unmarked Grave, The Deck of Many Things, Endling, Oriq Loremage, Pendant of Prosperity, Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, Spark Double, Sakashima of a Thousand Faces, Doom Whisperer, Ormos, Archive Keeper, Teferi's Time Twist, Notion Rain, Shenanigans, Battlemage's Bracers, Netherborn Altar, Lithoform Engine, Sanctum of Eternity, Wizard's Spellbook, and more. These all easily fit into Mairsil lists and make for difficult choices on what to keep and what to cut. Again though if you wanted to only build as optimally as possible there are only 2 or 3 things that lead to victories. Although even one of those didn't exist until after Mairsil was printed, Thassa's Oracle. He gets plenty of toys, people are just unimaginative imo.

September 1, 2021 2:53 p.m.

RambIe says... #10

What no love for Phyrexian Devourer ?? In a color set that has access to flings and unblockables

September 1, 2021 3:40 p.m. Edited.

Honestly a lot of my commanders get questioned. Usually it's something like : "But there's way better options." And my response is: That's cool, I like this one, it fits the flavor of my deck, and adds to the synergy. I don't play The Scarab God over Gisa and Geralf because while scarab IS better (in some ways) I wanted to play a Dimir Zombie deck focused around big name necromancers in MTG. Thankfully it's not my pod that does this, it's usually some random at the LGS.

September 1, 2021 5:11 p.m.

Necrosis24 says... #12

Same Junkygoatgibblets my playgroup if anything are curious fellows and are interested to see how a deck will playout especially if it seems unfitting or is janky. Part of the play experience is seeing your opponents do cool things and using cards in ways you would not have thought to do yourself.

On the otherhand there is also nothing wrong with building a straight-forward deck.

September 1, 2021 5:19 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #13

@drunkenreaps - there weren't 7 but I'll concede that I was a lazy in my reply. I just got up and was doing my daily scroll through notifications.

1) the new toys don't fit like a glove in most cases and usually aren't enough to put him in the same league as say Golos or Kenrith. It's not to say he's not fun or cannot win a few games here and there but performance wise the toys just don't compete with what other commanders get. Theres been a hefty amount of power creep these last 2-3 years with generically good commanders just taking over. Playing against randoms or against a non-casual play group will amplify this disparity.

2) what kind of store do you play at? People constantly scrap and rebuild/retool at my lgs. They may have an ol'reliable deck but they're always upgrading. Theres so much new product/reprints of old chase cards that someone is always snagging an upgrade or building something new.

3) The main argument I see for not playing him is that he's considerably weaker than Kess/Inalla. It's a lot of set up for a pay off that's not suited to every taste. Basically, a lot of moving parts that aren't particularly good on their own but when put together are relatively potent.

Also, just noting that I like Marisil and feel he's going to scale nicely as more sets get added but I'm more focused on winning prizes than playing things I like; (I know commander is a casual format but my time is limited and I'd rather focus on win rate/expanding my collection so when I do have time to be creative cost isnt a barrier)

4) outside of unmarked grave those cards all feel very subpar and clunky - but I could see them in casual and suppose I need to broaden my prospective. Also, I think people are plenty imaginative when cards first drop but that new novelty wears off quick when everyone is rushing to determine the best build. Mirrormad Mairsil was basically the optimal build and put together in less than 24 hours; sure the primer and some tweaks here and there but it was optimal and left little to be desired.

September 1, 2021 5:38 p.m. Edited.

DrukenReaps says... #14

RNR_Gaming 7? If I said 7 then I meant several, my bad. and was more of a semi-sarcastic jab ;)

My intent is certainly not to compare him with the likes of Kenrith or Kess who are monsters in competitive play. Even Golos is up there in power. I'd rate Mairsil as fringe competitive at best and much more likely just strong at a casual table. The sheer number of folks, however, at casual tables who argue he is boring or doesn't get enough things to play with and talk about his fringe competitive combo like it is the only thing he does is staggering to me. For me he is really just a fun commander to try and pull something whacky together that shouldn't be able to function. Like a mad scientist.

The folks I usually play with will often build new decks but the old ones will pile up, rarely change very much, and still get played often enough to not be forgotten.

September 1, 2021 6:21 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #15

I could see that being fun but I still think it would take a specific kind of play group for you to get the most out of that commander as it stands now. I think in maybe 2 years time it'll be one of those under dog super consistent commanders that's just under the radar. Momir Vig is the prime example - I was seeing so many people get smashed by hack ball at commandfest at the comp pods because they had 0 idea what was going on was a sight to see.

September 1, 2021 7:19 p.m.

RambIe says... #16

DrukenReaps Doesn't always defend their general.
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But when they do, they do it on a topic about having to defend your general.

September 1, 2021 7:28 p.m.

Savra, Queen of the Golgari is the best GB sacrifice commander, and I will die on that hill.

September 1, 2021 9:31 p.m.

RNR_Gaming says... #18

Maybe the best for you but I'd say she's like 5th best now overall for most. Right below Izoni but above Shessra and I'll die on that hill ;)

September 1, 2021 10:16 p.m.

EleshNornsFs says... #19

Savra, Queen of the Golgari is a great card, but I would only ever run her in the 99 of Meren or Mazirek.

September 2, 2021 12:27 a.m.

golgarigirl says... #20

PhotogenicParasympathetic I believe I have died on that hill a few times. I like to think I built that hill of enemy bodies, though!

I have an abiding enjoyment for bucking expectation for my color choices and Azorius deck is full of flying chaos gremlins, and my Rakdos deck is spellslinger to go along with my Golgari control deck. And if I play a more popular commander, I like to do it a little off-kilter, like an aggro Oloro deck.

Is this optimal...who cares? If someone has a problem with it, beat their face in :D

September 2, 2021 12:54 a.m.

RambIe says... #21

Darigaaz Reincarnated power house that doesn't rob from the other 99
3 touch ko, haste, trample, flying, and self recursion. The only card support he might need is a sacrifice outlet but odds are I'm already running that function in a jund deck

September 2, 2021 7:41 a.m.

3n3rgy2 says... #22

I know he's still so knew but Prosper, Tome-Bound is the most fun I've had playing a deck in recent years! Sure I only really play him with my semi-competitive table but each time I do, I find a renewed feeling of joy as I play it! Play things like Dauthi Voidwalker,Etali, Primal Storm and Valki, God of Lies  Flip in tandem with Dream Devourer to use my payoff cards Mayhem Devil,Reckless Fireweaver and Marionette Master is just go old fashioned fun with treasure tokens!

I will stand by my statement that he is the most fun pure B/R commander!

September 4, 2021 3:07 p.m.

golgarigirl: Yes!! Someone who understands!! Savra is a significantly better control option than Meren (who's a good toolbox commander) or Mazirek (who wants to go Voltron) or Jarad (who combos/one shots) or Izoni (who's actively bad), and when I've gone head to head with other golgari players, Savra's extra grave pact effect that I always have access to and that they cannot remove for long has them practically screaming in frustration.

Also I love your deckbuilding strategy; sounds a lot like when I built Golos, Tireless Pilgrim as scout tribal - everyone's terrified of him until they actually see the deck played.

September 8, 2021 1:28 p.m.

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