Ixilan – Revel in Riches

Ixilan previews seem to have started and I have to share my enthusiasm about Revel in Riches; I like the art and it seems a fantastic fit for my [mtg]Queen Marchesa[/card] deck. Kill stuff with Assassins. Get paid. Win when you kill 10 things.


The only downside if this design is that it doesn’t work with Gold tokens, that are functionally the same. Or Etherium Cell. What is great is the new map-frame for lands. Or at least, some transform card that turn into lands:

en_y4nmM488Eh en_bdTtGwdBPz

That’s pretty cool. Then, there is a cool legendary Pirate, Admiral Beckett Brass that would make a cool commander. I’ll have Kari Sev I think.


And then there is the news that Planeswalkers are legendary now, and you can have multiple versions in play at the same time, which opens up a lot of opportunities. The question is: Can Planeswalkers now lead Commander decks?

Posted under Commander / EDH

The Fire of Kaladesh

Back when Magic Origins came out, I attended a prerelease and my promo foil was Chandra, Fire of Kaladesh. This meant I had to make a commander deck with her, right? The idea to make something whimsical, with cards that featured Chandra in the art or in the name. Still, I wanted it to be somewhat powerful. There is some overlap there, but I also wanted to be able to protect the Planeswalker side a little, and decided to go with the various Phoenix cards there are to be able to block flyers that came her way. Most red sweepers leave flyers alone, so that felt important.

chandra1 chandra2

After a long time, I was finally able to bring the deck to a game of commander. Ofcourse, being a burn deck in a format with multiple opponents all at 40 life is already a little problematic. The others brought more sensible commanders, like Breya, Etherium Shaper and Prossh, Skyraider of Kher that work very well as combo pieces, and here I was playing a card that plays mostly a fair game of Magic. I was outclassed and I didn’t win in the end. But it didn’t feel like a problem because it did get kinda close.


Being the red player did give me an edge. Red is not only the colour of fury and rage, but also the colour of love and friendship, and while it technically doesn’t count as a win, there is a chance to draw the game by killing everyone (including myself) with a large Earthquake. There is no friendship like fire-forged friendship, and drawing the game is kind of a win in my book.

obsid furnace

I did learn a lot from the playthrough though. First of all, a mono-red burn deck brings a great sense of immediacy to the table. Even the player who is the furtherst ahead feels like they can die at any moment due to damage doublers like Furnace of Rath. I opened with Obsidian Fireheart and it drew hate immediatly, which is quite a reaction to a card that maybe pings for one or two. (The idea of the deck was to also use Chandra’s ultimate and the Fireheart to keep pinging people even after I was eliminated.) It’s good to know that the deck evokes such a strong reaction, even when others play dangerous combo decks.

That means the deck meets it’s goals. Now it just needs to win sometimes. I will have to tweak the deck a little, but as chaotic red is, there are a lot of nombo’s and anti-synergies when using reds more disrupting effect. I want to include some creatues, but they don’t work well with mass-burn like Earthquake and similar effects.

bloodmoon burning

Take [mtg]Blood Moon[/card] and Burning Earth. Both work against greedy manabases, but they also work against each other. Navigating the deck can be difficult at times. Playing monored this way means you must not care about your lifetotal or worry about invalidating your own cards at times.

Other notes:

The Chandra isn’t reliable, and even though the deck doesn’t have many creatures, having enough haste granting effects is a must, because waiting a whole turncycle to activate her (or a Heartless Hidetsugu) is a tall order, concidering life is cheap in a format with so much (mass) removal. So I better include stuff like Anger or Fervor to make sure I can use the few creatures I have immediatly on them hitting the battlefield, denying opponents the opportunity to deal with my setups.

Haste also helps with Aether Flash. I’m tempted to run this, but it does have anti-synergy with my commander, killing her when she enters the battlefield. Haste gets around it, as she can spark into a planeswalker before the Aether Flash damage hits her.

mirage valakut

Another upgrade I made is adding a Mirage Mirror. This may become a commander staple, and in this deck, in addition to becoming a copy of the best card on the table, it also allows me to activate another damage doubler on a whim, or provide an extra copy of Valakut, also doubling some damage and spreading the love around a bit more.

The whole Phoenix thing can be toned down a bit, because outside of flavour, it didn’t really add that much. Some of the Phoenixes must attack every turn, and this works again the idea that I use them to block and protect things. Instead, a little more ramp and maybe some extra carddraw doesn’t hurt the deck. After all, you threaten the board with burn, making sure you don’t get hated out that quick by offering a deterence. This doesn’t work that well on an empty hand, and not enough mana to back it up.

It’s never going to be the best deck at the table, and it probably doesn’t win that much. It does accelerate the pace of the game and keep everyone on their toes. I also have some red legends in my 99 which I can run instead of Chandra. Neheb, the Eternal is one with potential in this deck, that I can swap Chandra with once in a while and make giant explosions out of all the mana it can produce. All in all I’m not scrapping the deck, even though there are a lot of hurdles to overcome to make it competative enough for most tables.

Posted under Commander / EDH

The heroes of Boss Monster 2

I recently purchased Boss Monster 2, because I liked the original game well enough, and it functions like an expansion. This means more different bosses, and more different rooms to build. The main problem is the Hero deck, however. The rules included suggest to use either the Hero deck from the first game, or the second one. The same goes for the Epic heroes.


The problem with this method is that the heroes are a known quantity. Yes, the order of heroes differs, but the more the deck is used up, the more you know what heroes are left, and things get a bit predictable. Eventually all heroes show up, and the randomness is gone. You basically know 3 of each type will show up, and the fool, before the epic heroes show up. I don’t know why the designers of Boss Monster went for this. The Hero setup is fiddly, having to gow through the deck to adjust it to the number of players.

I guess it was done for balance, making sure each strategy has an opportunity to draw in the heroes and the predictability allows for planning ahead. It does seem to be the safe choice though, and I’m just more used to variance, so I’ll probably pick another method. After all, when things get out of the ordinairy in a game, that’s where memorable things happen.

Fortunately, the rules section on the Boss Monster Wikia gives another method:

The number of Hero cards that should be used is based on how many players there are. The player icon located at the bottom part of the Hero cards indicate the minimum number of players that should be playing to use the card. For example, a Hero card with 3 player marks at the bottom should be used when playing with 2 or 3 players. However, one could simply randomly select the suggested number of cards for each amount of players.

2 Players: 13 Ordinary Heroes, 8 Epic Heroes

3 Players: 17 Ordinary Heroes, 12 Epic Heroes

4 Players: 25 Ordinary Heroes, 16 Epic Heroes

This system of randomly selecting becomes necessary when playing with any Promo Cards or Expansions to prevent there from being too many Ordinary Heroes slowing down the game.

I like this far more, as it makes it more uncertain as to what heroes show up, the setup of the game is easier and faster and there is more focus on improvisation. It also makes sure all the games content has a chance to show up. More variance also levels the playingfield among differently skilled players, so there is that.


I guess the makers of the game where a bit too risk averse making this game. I’m glad the random-hero method was suggested by the rules indicating that there isn’t a high chance of the game breaking because of something I missed and it’s actually a tried and tested way to play the game.

The designers suggested making a hand-tweaked deck and keeping a balance between the 4 types of heroes, but when doing things randomly, on average there is a balance of types anyway.

Some other notes on Boss Monster 2:

I like the new setup which drops the “discard 2 cards” bit. Larger hand sizes seem to help you doing the things you want to do. I might even adopt the setup method of drafting an opening hand instead of just drawing. Theoretically it helps players start at a more equal footing.

Furthermore I looked at what expansions to add to my collection, and the one that jumps out is Tools of the Hero Kind, because it makes the heroes even more unpredictable.

Posted under Other games

Ramunap Pummeler

I’ve been tinkering with the red/green Pummeler deck since Kaladesh, and I really like the aggresive style of the deck, combinded with the energy management that comes with it. I’ve been playing it a lot in Magic Duels (Sadly, it’s not possible to play the ideal version in there.) Then, when Amonketh was released, I tried Ahn-Crop Crasher and the card always felt fantastic. The Exert mechanic also felt similar to the Energy mechanic in the sense that sometimes you can pour a little extra into the creatures to get more out of them. Crashing for extra damage and sometimes disabling a blocker helped the deck a lot, especially faced with indestructable gods in the way.


Then came Hour of Devestation with the Desert theme. I quickly noticed the deck could use a full complement of Hashep Oasis because I just needed more creature pump for greater consistancy and combo wins with Electrostatic Pummeler. I also noticed I sometimes had a little problem dealing the last bits of damage, so the Ramunap Ruins where included to have extra deserts to sacrifice to either effect. I didn’t dare to include lands that are purely colourless or enter the battlefield tapped, and the all-or-nothing approach makes the painlands a little less problematic.

Since the deserts go into the land slots, it didn’t cost me much deck space. The thing that left to make room for Crashers and more Harnessed Lightning where my two Uncaged Fury cards. They are good at stealing wins, but Crasher does it better.

Cards that didn’t make the cut where Rhonas the Indomitable and Hazoret the Fervent. These cards should be good in the deck, but somehow they always underperformed. Rhonas was often not solving problems when my creatures got removed, and Hazoret I felt was always late to the party, and is a competing 4-drop to the Bristling Hydras. The hydras generate energy, so I prefer those.

One other thing I might run instead of Uncaged Fury is Insult // Injury. It’s more telegraphed, but it might steal some games and it functions as extra removal.

Here is my current list:

~ Ramunap Pummeler ~

Creatures (22)

Ahn-Crop Crasher
Bristling Hydra
Electrostatic Pummeler
Longtusk Cub
Servant of the Conduit
Voltaic Brawler

Spells (18)

Attune with Aether
Blossoming Defense
Harnessed Lightning
Invigorated Rampage
Larger Than Life

Lands (20)

Aether Hub
Hashep Oasis
Ramunap Ruins

Sideboard (15)

Chandra’s Defeat
Hapatra’s Mark


Posted under Standard