Conspiracy: Will of the Council

I’m fairly excited about Conspiracy. First of all, it amps up the drafting portion of the game and pushes Magic towards a full-fledged Deck Building Game. It might even inspire me to build a Cube. It has the potential to change the way the game is played completely. Even the makers of Magic don’t fully know the implications:

While I believe we have created something new, that doesn’t mean I know exactly what all of you are going to do with it. The draft cards, for example, are us playing around in virgin space. Yes, people will use the draft cards in Conspiracy Limited, but what about other formats? Will they become popular in Cube? Will they inspire a new format that doesn’t exist yet? I honestly don’t know, and that is exciting.
– Mark Rosewater

Outside the draft portion there are a couple of new mechanics on some of the cards to help multiplayer games flow better. Parley shows players parts of the strategy of their opponents, and more importantly it helps smooth over the draws so everyone gets a better chance at developing their strategy and reduce mana screw. Dethrone helps spreading out attacks evenly and gives some incentive not to beat someone while they are down.

My favorite part may be Will of the Council though. I wonder how that will work out. Some players will evaluate the situation wrong, and make irrational decisions. But at least it’s a chance for some banter and politics, and it’s banter an politics that make multiplayer games better than straight-up duels. Not that it’s a mechanic that is intristically good. You spend a card but opponents have a say in how it works. Worse still, you’re the first to vote, and the person on your right will have a final say. At least it’s clear who you’ll need to have as an ally. The only upside is that you get to choose when the voting starts.

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 Let’s start with the big destructive cards. Magister of Worth gives the players a choice between either half of Living Death. It’s nice to have when you have no board, and a graveyard that is better than all the other graveyards. Or if one player is getting really out of hand. Then at least you’ll have an angel, and solved the problem for the table.

Coersive Portal is stranger. Both carnage and homage help you out while you’re behind, a little, but it takes a full round of the table for it to do something (which is plenty of time to get seriously hurt) and once you have build up using the extra card draw, you’ll see your gains vanish before your eyes. It’s fun to have a continious political process though. On a full board with players that don’t want to lose their things, you can bide your time with this and Solitary Confinement, let them duke it out and watch things blow up when they grow tired beating each other up with their armies.

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More destruction comes from the Council’s Judgment. The interesting part is that it doesn’t offer a binary choice, but opens up voting for permanents on the table. And it doesn’t target, so shroud doesn’t help stop it. The most important part of the ability, which adds to the chaos, is the part where it reads: “the most votes or tied for the most votes.” Yes, there are situations where judgment will be passed to multiple permanents and more than one thing gets exiled.

Try to see the scenarios here. Someone plays a Council’s Judgment, and chooses to vote for one of your permanents. The next player chooses to vote for another one of your permanents, making it a tie, and potentially make you to lose two things to exile. Now what?

– You vote for a permanent another player controls. That one is now also tied. You lose some things, but hey, they do too. Or,
– You vote for one of your own doomed permanents. At least this breaks the tie, and you’ll have to exile only one thing unless someone else restores the tie on your permanent.

The more players, the more votes, and the more complex things become. Some clever political maneuvring is in order. The player who called for judgment just has to sit it out and watch the others fall over each other in the chaos that follows. And this is where Brago’s Representative really shines, as it adds another vote, for even more exiling fun. For people who love true chaos, just cast a Mirrorweave on the representative and see how things will escalate really, really fast.

8lIhaVWYFv_EN grudgekeeper

There are more cards in Conspiracy that use this mechanic. I can’t imagine Tyrant’s Choice is the most interesting one in Commander, because who cares about one-tenth of their life total? The good news is that it doesn’t hit yourself aside from the card and mana you spend. Grudge Keeper is black’s Brago’s Representative, getting you lots of votes or, when you vote last, let everyone lose life for your contrary vote.

Council Guardian will gain protection from the color(s) voted for or tied for, but this has the least potential for opponents to try and screw each other over. They’ll just gang up on you and vote for the protection that is the least relevant and deal with the problem together.

With Plea for Power you get to spend to have a vote on wether you get an extra turn, or 3 extra cards. Neither half is bad, have a more splashable Concentrate or a cheaper and more splashable Time Warp. Either half is good, the fact that you have the illusion of choice is even better.

Another blue council card is Split Decision, a instant spell which leads to a vote where you either counter an instant or sorcery, or you get to copy it with new targets. It’s a very reactive card, but it’s nice against spot removal, or for cards like the Plea above. You wouldn’t want to use it on your own spells in most situations, as it’s not very reliable.

All in all there is a lot to look forward to with this new mechanic. Some applications are better than others, and who knows there might be some hidden gems yet to be revealed. Generally, it could be all great if choices are made based on the current board state, or frustrating when votes are lead by grudges coming from previous games.

The oddest thing about it is that both Parley and Dethrone got their own legend associated with it, but Will of the Council doesn’t. It’s possible that King Brago filled that spot in playtesting, but ran into problems and they made him the blink guy. We’ll see what happens in a couple of weeks when the council finally goes into session.

Posted under Spoilers

Conspiracy legends, part 2

After the previous three, the final (?) two legends from Conspiracy are revealed. Well, at least the last two who feature on the Conspiracy banner. And both have abilities to put cards from the deck into play.


muzzio Muzzio wants to see lots of artifacts. Possibly big artifacts. You don’t have to be a visionary architect to see that a deck around him practically builds itself. There will probably will be a Master Transmuter in there, who brings out a Blightsteel Collussus.  And then there is Memnarch.  All the usual suspects are there.

Aside from being a commander, he can be useful along other artificers. Sydri, Galvanic Genius might employ him, as does Arcum Dagsson, the later being very similar to Muzzio.

He needs at least an artifact with cost 1 or higher to work, although a Sensei’s Divining Top is enough to set up something spectacular. Sometimes. Illusionist’s Bracers digs four cards deep already, with the possibility to hit two artifacts on one activation.

At least it’s an excuse to run some expensive artifacts. Nullstone Gargoyle is a good choice to throw a wrench in some plans, while an early Possessed Portal can really stifle opponents while you can keep adding to your board position, especially when you include some artifacts that produce tokens.

All in all Muzzio isn’t the strongest artificer, although he has his own strengths. And he isn’t particularly interesting in the sense that many Muzzio decks will surprise you, even if it’s fun to assemble some great machine of interacting artifacts.

grenzoGrenzo is similar to Muzzio in that he fetches cards from your deck. The big difference is that he’s actually rather unique for his colors. He’s more like a Cellar Door since he uses the bottom of the deck, and he can be used multiple times during a turn.

The only legend in these colors that feels remotely similar to Grenzo is Wort, Boggart Auntie, and they do work well together. Grenzo can get Wort from your deck, and Wort can return Grenzo to your hand, bypassing Commander Tax, so you can bring him back bigger.

You can go all out goblin with him, and fill the dungeon with creatures like Murderous Redcap, or make something that feels more like what a Golgari deck would do and throw in Nighthowler and some other reanimation spells.

As a commander, it’s also interesting that he’s both cheap and scalable and the first time he comes down with power and toughness equal to what you paid for him. Sol Ring is good in Commander, but can be a particularly ridiculous opening move with Grenzo.

And who can resist the tricks he does with a Tel-Jilad Stylus or a Reito Lantern? These have some fun interactions to exploit.

The only complaint, design wise is that he doesn’t have Dethrone. It would have made sense to allow him to grow, and make his ability stronger. But as is, it’s still a good card. At least he gives  extra options with Scry cards when you send nice creatures to the bottom of your deck. Or as a backup for another commander, to get them back from tuck effects.

For a set about conspiracies, intrigue and scheming it’s surprising to see that only two of the five faces do something politically interesting in a multiplayer environment. Those that don’t focus on multiplayer are ‘built around me’ legends that should give rise to some new decks in Commander though.

Posted under Commander / EDH

Treasonous Ogre

Not that it’s a legendary card, but it is very multiplayer focussed. Paying life for mana is very strong, especially in Commander where you start with a high life total in the first place, and it might as well be Channel, even with the 3 life for 1 mana ratio. Treasonous Ogre can end things rather quickly. Care to pay 24 life for an Insurrection? Or 30 life for a  Kozilek on turn four? If you like didn’t like high risk and agression, you wouldn’t be playing red. And you wouldn’t trust your life with a Treasonous Ogre.


The life payment can be a boon of its own, if you want to Dethrone an opponent but you happen to sit on the throne yourself. By all means, take a seat! It’s even a bit of damage control with another Ogre, Heartless Hidetsugu, who somewhat halves life totals, and thus life payment after the fact. Or there could be a Havoc Festival in town.

Damage doublers like Dictate of the Twin Gods or Furnace of Rath even combo with Heartless Hidetsugu by killing everyone with even life totals. Paying 3 life can switch you from even to odd and survive.

exsanguinate dept

In multiplayer games, you could even risk paying as much as you can, and recoup the loss from your opponents. With 4 or more across the table, it could even result in a net life gain. Still not cruel enough? Use the mana to ramp into Worst Fears, and donate the Ogre with Bazaar Trader.

Life totals aren’t always the most important factor in the game, but most of the time you’ll want to have more mana. Short-term gains often outweigh long-term survival, so Treasonous Ogre offers an interesting deal. You’d probably won’t go all out of it very often, but sometimes the extra mana can actually help prevent  taking damage, so it’s always good to at least have the option.


Posted under Spoilers

Scourge of the Throne

Just after I wrote about my Game of Thrones themed Dragon Deck, the new Conspiracy spoiler shows a throne-themed dragon. Scourge of the Throne looks a bit like Aurelia, the Warleader or Hellkite Charger, although he lacks haste. There are plenty of ways to grant haste in the dragon deck, so that’s not much of a problem.

Usually, it will attack as a 6/6, unless you’re the meatiest chunk of planeswalker yourself. The other dragons even can go in other directions, finishing someone off, potentially. If you can’t use the Dethrone ability, well, you have a dragon and the most life, so you have no reason to complain. Then there is always Grove of the Burnwillows helping settle the difference.

Attacking the player with the highest life total can have interesting results. Even if they block your dragons, they blocked dragons and things are bound to die a fiery death. It also means they keep their precious life totals, only making the Scourge bigger and angrier.

Dethrone by itself is interesting, politically, as it should only worry the one with the most life. The rest don’t have to immediatly worry about the dragon, and are more likely to leave it alone until they become the juiciest dragonbait on the table. All in all it’s a great addition to any multiplayer deck.

Posted under Spoilers

Conspiracy legends, part 1

Conspiracy is coming, a draft format with cards specifically geared towards multiplayer. While some cards only make sense in draft, there is still plenty to love for Commander decks, as there are plenty new legends in the set to build decks around and to generally have fun with against multiple opponents. Let’s see what we know so far…


UKVMNPITB3_ENBrago will compete with (or comlement) Roon of the Hidden Realm. Who is the real king of blinking? Brago can give some pseudo-vigilance to your creatures, or maybe change what held by your Oblivion Ring.

His real power probably lies with enter-the-battlefield abilites. He might rule your humans through angels like Angel of Glory’s Rise, or Angel of Serenity. He might help reconcider the stance of players through Archangel of Strife.

Or Brago restores the loyalty of some planeswalker that dipped below his starting loyalty for any reason. Ajani, Caller of the Pride joins the battle, gives something flying and double strike, blinks during combat and hands out a +1/+1 counter in the same turn. Elspeth, Sun’s Champion destroy all creatues with 4 or more power, blinks, and creates some soldier tokens. Neat!

Another trick is that he can redistribute auras. That makes him an interesting companion to Bruna, Light of Alabaster.

There are so many possibilities, it’s almost endless. The downside is that he needs to actually hit someone to work, but at least he has flying, so that helps a little.

IldtzvGTaO_ENMarchesa seems good at making enemies, because whoever is the player with the most life, won’t have the most life for long. But when the others nibble at your life total, you won’t be the one who has the most life, and the Dethrone ability reactivates again, and your minions grow.

It’s nice that creatures get the counters when they attack, so they have at least grown before blockers are declared.

Her last ability is probably the juiciest, especially when using creatures that get +1/+1 counters all by themselves. Undying creatures become almost immortal, and for those who don’t have it, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed prolongs their unlife indefinately.

Making so many enemies means she probably should take all the allies she can get, so Thraximundar will probably side with her as well. And Carrion Feeder and Deathbringer Thoctar also have some synergies. Or Unspeakable Symbol.

All in all I think we’ll see a lot of Marchesa at the commander table, and a lot of dethronements despite being in the same colors as the popular Nekusar, the Mind Razer.

Zy5kxM3bDM_ENSelvala could create a lot of life and mana, but the latter suffers a little from the amount being somewhat random. Extra mana, life and cards is a good mix though. She gets things going for you early on.

The Parley ability has a bit of a group-hug feel, akin to Dakra Mystic. Together they’ll fit in a Phelddagrif deck for some political action.

With Spirit of the Labyrinth it’s even possible to pick a player who will not draw a card, further informed by Lantern of Insight.

There are a lot of legends in her colors, but maybe she’ll even show up in my Captain Sisay deck, so I can build up three resources at a time.

One thing that makes her great is the 2/4 for the cost. It’s similar to Courser of Kruphix, and Selvala works great with the ability to play land from your deck. Either you get a land and increase the chance that whatever you draw is worth while, or you get to draw something, hopefully revealing a land next.

Can she carry a deck on her own? It’s fun to try, as she is quick and explosive. The draw you hand out should make you some friends and keep the game fun and interesting for everyone.

Hopefully, Conspiracy will featyre more interesting legends like these. The promotional picture shows these three, and two more, so that’s an indication for things to come. It’s a crazy format, and the focus on fun is clear. I’ve got a good feeling about the set.

Posted under Commander / EDH,Spoilers

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund Commander

A Song of Fire and Ice

Game-of-Thrones-Recap-Season-4-Episode-1-Daenerys-Dragon-PortableAfter making a Kaalia deck and removing most of the Dragon cards from it, in favour of Angels, I still wanted something that focussed on dragons. The main reasib is that I liked Utvara Hellkite enough to try out some dragon tribal, hoping to fill the sky with numerous flying monsters.

15040As the deck developed more and more non- dragons got sidelined to make place for more dragons. Even though it makes the deck somewhat slow to start, one cannot argue with the fact that it makes it far more awesome! And being awesome is the goal of this deck more than anything. It should make Deanarys green with envy.

Another card that informed on how a portion of the deck would look was Rimescale Dragon. Unlike it’s firebreathing kin, it’s an ice-breathing dragon, and to make it work the basic lands in the deck are now snow-covered varieties, like Snow-Covered Mountain. And who knows what’s hiding up north. The ice dragon does add some political power to the deck, being able to lock down creatures as long as it’s in play.

As for the commander itself, I settled on Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund, even though there are some other options. For me he signals ‘this is a dragon deck’ the best, even if there are some downsides. But more on that later.

Mother of Dragons

Another notable dragon in this deck is Dragon Broodmother. There are a couple of dragons with the devour mechanic in excistence, but she is the only one who made the cut. Mostly because she births a dragon token during every players upkeep! That’s a lot of dragons, and they have the option of eating eachother, or whatever creature you have lying around, like a stray elf that outlived it’s usefulness or maybe even a yummie Dragon Egg!

broodmotherDevouring is a risk, but with the rate the broodmother makes the tokens, it can really pay off, especially when there it’s Doubling Season. The dragons also have a father in there somewhere, as Scourge of Valkas celebrates every birth with an increasing amount of fire.

But we didn’t come here for the baby dragons. Jund is all about the food chain and at the very top there are Dragon Tyrant and Hellkite overlord, which are among the biggest things with flying you can find in the game. But depending on the situation, even they could be severly outclassed by a Kilnmouth Dragon. With 28 dragons in the deck right now, it should often come down as an 8/8 or 11/11.

Dragon Attack!

Having dragons is one thing, the point is ofcourse to attack with them. To do so as often as possible, there are some ways to get extra combat phases. Aggravated Assault is one way to accomplish this, but the effect also comes on a dragon: Hellkite Charger. Adding Sword of Feast and Famine or Nature’s Will, among other things, will free up some mana to attack many times over.

hellkitecharger swordoffeast

There are plenty of cool interactions to be found in the deck. Even dragons aren’t as straightforward as the seem at first glance. Let’s take a look at the list:

~ Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund Commander ~

Commander (1)

Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund

Dragons (28)

Ancient Hellkite
Bladewing the Risen
Bogardan Hellkite
Broodmate Dragon
Changeling Titan
Dragon Broodmother
Dragon Egg
Dragon Tyrant
Forgestoker Dragon
Hellkite Charger
Hellkite Overlord
Hellkite Tyrant
Hoard-Smelter Dragon
Kilnmouth Dragon
Knollspine Dragon
Mana-Charged Dragon
Moonveil Dragon
Rimescale Dragon
Rorix Bladewing
Ryusei, the Falling Star
Scourge of Kher Ridges
Scourge of Valkas
Slumbering Dragon
Steel Hellkite
Stormbreath Dragon
Thundermaw Hellkite
Utvara Hellkite

Other creatures (17)

Birds of Paradise
Burnished Hart
Courser of Kruphix
Dragonspeaker Shaman
Elvish Mystic
Elvish Piper
Fauna Shaman
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Llanowar Elves
Oracle of Mul Daya
Radha, Heir to Keld
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Somberwald Sage
Xenagos, God of Revels
Yavimaya Elder
Zirilan of the Claw

Artifacts (3)

Bow of Nylea
Sol Ring
Sword of Feast and Famine

Lands (36)

Blood Crypt
Cavern of Souls
Command Tower
Darigaaz’s Caldera
Dragonskull Summit
Fire-Lit Thicket
Golgari Rot Farm
Grove of the Burnwillows
Kher Keep
Kessig Wolf Run
Overgrown Tomb
Raging Ravine
Rakdos Carnarium
Reflecting Pool
Rootbound Crag
Savage Lands
Snow-Covered Forest
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Swamp
Stomping Ground
Temple of Abandon
Vivid Crag
Vivid Grove
Volrath’s Stronghold

Enchantments (7)

Aggravated Assault
Bear Umbra
Crucible of Fire
Doubling Season
Nature’s Will
Parallel Lives
Survival of the Fittest

Instants (1)

Worldly Tutor

Planeswalkers (3)

Domri Rade
Sarkhan Vol
Sarkhan the Mad

Sorceries (5)

Demonic Tutor
Death by Dragons
Into the North
Kodama’s Reach

Walking With Dragons

There are a couple of non-dragon lieutenants to help out. Zirilan of the Claw can find any dragon in your deck. This could be a Bladewing the Risen, to bring back another dragon, Malfegor to wipe the board or Dragon Tyrant to make a big attack. If that wouldn’t solve the problem there and then, it’s even possible to do it on an opponent’s end step, so you can follow up by finding Changeling Titan and get around the exile clause.

Kiki-Jiki has a similar role, but makes temporary copies of dragons in play. While he doesn’t copy Legendary creatures, he does suplement Zirilan quite well, and can use Changeling Titan to get around all kinds of destruction effects. And if there is more doubling needed, there is Xenagos, God of Revels, making faster and stronger dragons.

domri sarkhanvol sarkhanthemadjpg

Rivalling both gods and dragons in power are the planeswalkers. Domri Rade helps finding dragons in your deck and keeping your hand full, and sometimes allows them to get close and personal with opposing creatures. His ultimate is a sight to behold, as it makes your dragons even more frightening and difficult to get rid off. The first ability can be hit-and-miss, but Courser of Kruphix and Oracle of Mul Daya will show and set up the next card and maximize the advantage.

Sarkhan Vol is the planeswalker closest related to dragons (Well, aside from Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker who is a frigging dragon!) and he’s represented by two versions. The regular version makes your side slightly larger and occasionally brings others to your side, so they can join in the fight or serve as lunch for your dragons. Sarkhan the Mad , like Domri, helps finding more dragons to play, or creates a dragon token that Karrthus kan bring to your side.

The Others

hunteddragonThere are plenty of other dragons that warrant inclusion in this deck, but space is limited and choices need to be make. There is always room for improvent though. The trick with Death By Dragons may get stale at some point, as players will find the best ways to get around it. There may be other cards that are cute, but simply don’t pull their weight. So here are some cards that didn’t make it yet, but are still strongly concidered:

Hunted Dragon is cheap enough for a hasty 6/6 flyer. The fact that it puts some knight tokens under an opponent’s control may not always be a drawback in a multiplayer format. It could happen that you can ally yourself with another player and give him the tools to help fight a common enemy. With Scourge of Kher Ridges or Steel Hellkite on your side, the knights aren’t long lived anyway.

Furyborn Hellkite is a tad expensive to play, but if you manage to trigger it’s bloodthirst it’s always very, very large. Then again, if you can get bloodthirst, it means you’re already on the road to victory. Furyborn Hellkite may just keep you in the saddle.

kokushoSkithiryx, the Blight Dragon isn’t much of a team player. As the only source of poison counters, he makes previous damage irrelevant and he doesn’t contribute overall. Even with Crucible of Fire he’ll need two hits to kill someone. Then again, poison counters do make people very nervous.

Kokusho, the Evening Star. To be fair, there reason Kokusho isn’t in the deck and his brother Ryusei, the Falling Star is, has more to do with availability than power level. Kokusho was banned in commander for quite some time for a reason. Even with changes to the legend rule, he still can get you quite some breathing room once he dies.

Balefire Dragon also isn’t there for the want of a physical copy. Realistically, noone can afford being hit even once without getting into some real, serious trouble.

Dragon Mage fills a role similar to Knollspine Dragon, in making sure you never run out of steam. I’m not sure Dragon Mage is better than Knollspine in this regard, as the effect is more symmetrical. It’s easier to refill your hand with the Mage, though, as he doesn’t need a secundary source of damage to work his magic.

imperialhellkiteHoarding Dragon searches the deck for an artifact. If it gets hit with a Path to Exile or things like that, that artifact is lost forever. The deck only has 3 artifacts, and they’re generally not worth it getting a dragon killed over.

Imperial Hellkite could be quite interesting, especially as the deck doesn’t have a lot of early drops. Later on, he gets the best dragon out of the deck and there is plenty of choice for that. Since he’s the only morph, and the only reasonable morph in the deck, it’s often clear what it is, but morph mindgames are secundairy to a tutor effect anyway.

Predator Dragon and Preyseizer dragon are similar enough to fall under the same catagory. It comes down to devour, which is not the best thing in this deck as most food is horribly expensive.

Vampiric Dragon is cool, but too expensive. He does have som synergy with Bow of Nylea, but ultimately there are far better dragons available than this guy.

proshAs far as commanders go, Karrthus wasn’t the only option. It’s nice to have a 7/7 that can jump into action immediatly, but there is a risk involved with playing him. If a blue mage Clones him, you lose all your dragons to to him. Sure, I might include a Homeward Path to cushion the blow, but if it happens too often, you might concider another legend to command your dragon army.

Prossh, Skyraider of Kher is a good choice, and only a Food Chain  away from creating an arbitrary amount of Kobolds of Kher Keep, if you’re into that. He might cause to have the dragons with Devour rate higher on the list. He’s generally not as fast and large as Karrthus though. Unless you feed Prossh other creatures, he takes an extra turn in dealing lethal commander damage. With the combo, he’s far more deadly though.

Darigaaz, the Igniter is decent, especially when players play mono-colored decks or generally keep large hand-sizes (or you did indeed recruit a Dragon Mage.) Too bad his ability doesn’t count towards commander damage, making it often pointless to use the ability unless it helps finishing the opponent through regular damage.

scionVaevictis Asmadi is there for the EDH purists, as he is indeed an Elder Dragon. He is horribly expensive to play though, and the upkeep cost doesn’t help with developing the board while he’s on the table.

Scion of the Ur-Dragon is an interesting choice for a commander in a dragon deck. He opens up the option to choose from any dragon, regardless of it’s color. It also means you’ll have to diversify the mana-base even further in order to use him, but at least you’ll be channeling the force that is all dragonkind.

Jund has a couple of options for non-dragons as commander:

Adun Oakenshield can bring back dragons (and some of their food) from the graveyard to your hand. The excitement never ends with him.

Xira Arien draws you extra cards. Extra cards is good, but sadly she’s not very efficient.

Kresh the Bloodbraided is left as a viable commander for your dragons, as your Khal Drogo expy. He grows when a large dragon dies, and he grows when your dragons feed. He’s also not that expensive to play, so while he doesn’t interact all that much with your dragons, he interacts with things dying left and right by growing to humongous size in no-time.

So, that’s a Jund EDH dragon deck. Keep watching the skies, as it may be the last you see.

Posted under Commander / EDH

Green/Black Constellation

arc1477_mostawesometokeneverThis is an experiment with the Constellation mechanic. The idea is to hold the fort while gaining card advantage and filling up the graveyard to make some creatures really big. All the while Grim Guardian will chip at their lifetotal.

Pharika can turn creatures in the graveyard into snake tokens, which are conveniently enough also extra enchantments to trigger the constellation effects. This should result in extra cards draw, extra life loss and having Doomwake Giant downsizing the opposition.

Aside from some elves and land for mana production, everything is an enchantment, or in case of Renowned Weaver, can turn into an enchantment.

Nyx Weaver can exile itself to get something from the the graveyard. Deadbridge Chant kicks things in overdrive to set up the endgame by making sure you always have something you can do.

Humbler of Mortals is the last piece of meat. It combines nicely with Bow of Nylea to make blocking almost pointless by combining Deathtouch and Trample on your creatures.

~ Green/Black Constellation ~

Creatures (30)

Doomwake Giant
Eidolon of Blossoms
Elvish Mystic
Grim Guardian
Humbler of Mortals
Nyx Weaver
Pharika, God of Affliction
Renowned Weaver

Other (6)

Bow of Nylea
Strength from the Fallen
Deadbridge Chant

Lands (24)

12 Forest
12 Swamp
Posted under Standard

White/Blue Heroic


Ever since Theros came out, I’ve been trying to make a Heroic deck work. I think it was Fabled Hero that drew me into the concept. Double strike works well with buffs, and the idea of an ever growing creature had a certain appeal to me. It seemed mono- white wasn’t going to cut it, so I ended up with blue so I could add some cipher cards.

Or, well, just Hidden Strings which should give me a stable supply of spells that target, so I could keep growing my heroes.  When Born of the Gods came along, things started to look better. Glimpse the Sun God added a better version of another trick I was using: Gridlock.

The deck worked decently and was lots of fun to play, if sometimes inconsistant. Then Journey into Nyx was released and gave me two more cards, that really completed the deck.  Lagonna-Band Trailblazer gives me another one-drop next to Favored Hoplite and makes the deck stronger when there is a need to play defensively. Battlefield Thaumaturge significantly reduces the cost of most of my combat tricks and rounds out my team of heroes.

So let’s take a look at the deck:

~ White/Blue Heroic V1.0 ~

Creatures (19)

Battlefield Thaumaturge
Fabled Hero
Favored Hoplite
Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
Nivmagus Elemental
Phalanx Leader

Other (17)

Glimpse the Sun God
Gods Willing
Hidden Strings
Ordeal of Thassa

Lands (24)

Hallowed Fountain
Temple of Enlightenment

The extra one-drops are important. The deck needs enablers to make the heroes grow, but they do nothing without bodies on the table. The best opening is either Favored Hoplite or Lagonna-Band Trailblazer followed by an Ordea of Thassa turn two. This creates sizable creatures early on, and quickly draws you extra cards.

There are also two copies of Nivmagus Elemental.  The elemental turns some of the spells into counters, after they already have triggered heroic. Being able to eat instants makes them quite unpredictable. A good opening with them is tapping some blockers with Hidden Strings, attacking and eating the ciphered strings for counters. If there aren’t any blockers, the strings can untap land so extra creatures can be played, or Nivmagus can get an ordeal before combat. Explosive stuff.

Unsung Heroes

There are plenty of card I concidered, but ended up on the cutting table, especially in the crowded 2-drop section. Akroan Skyguard does offer evasion, but wasn’t agressive enough. Battlewise Hoplite is amazing but the seems difficult to get early on consitently. Right now Phalanx Leader is in it’s place, and also has a difficult mana cost. It’s hard to say which one is better. Scry is very good.

Triton Fortune Hunter and Wavecrash Triton where in the deck at some point, but their lack of growth caused me to seldom play them over other things I had in my hands. I haven’t tried Tethmos High Priest yet, since it falls in the same catagory, even though it has a slightly better body by itself.

Strifing to do better

phalanx polyrush launch

Journey Into Nyx also gives us some strife cards. I’ve tried Launch the Fleet and while it’s good and won me some games, it requires quite a setup for it to be really worth it. There is no arguing with multiple hasty 1/1’s coming from one card though.

Polymorphous Rush seems to be a fun card, but since my own creatures start out small, it’s dependant on whatever the opponent is playing to make it worth it. Artisan of Form didn’t make it, so I doubt Rush will.

Then there is Phalanx Formation . This may replace Fabled Hero as the go-to card for Double Strike. Being an instant it is always a looming threat. The strife cost means it can even benefit from multiple Battlefield Thaumaturges. Having an alternative to get Double Strike, Battlewise Hoplite is getting more powerful in context. It’s still difficult to get the numbers right, but maybe I’ll test out this version:

~ White/Blue Heroic V2.0 ~

Creatures (18)

Battlewise Hoplite
Battlefield Thaumaturge
Favored Hoplite
Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
Nivmagus Elemental
Phalanx Leader

Other (18)

Glimpse the Sun God
Gods Willing
Hidden Strings
Ordeal of Thassa
Phalanx formation

Lands (24)

Hallowed Fountain
Temple of Enlightenment
Posted under Standard