While drafting Ixalan, I got a Tishana. I like how Merfolk plays in draft, and Tishana seemed like a good Merfolk commander. Now that the Rivals of Ixalan prerelease is around the corner, I’m wondering what I want to get out of the set. The thing that keeps drawing my attention is probably Kumena, which is even more fitting for a Merfolk commander deck. He’s cheaper, does much of the same thing and is a bit of a swiss army knife. Add to this that there are a lot of “untap every players’ turn” effects in green, as well as Merrow Commerce in blue (which counts as a Merfolk itself for tapping) and Kumena could potentially make me live the dream of drawing a lot of cards and growing my merfolk to gigantic size. That, all without the downside of Tishana potentially entering the battlefield as a 0/0 once I get to .

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Thanks to the recent Merfolk duel deck there are some cards to get started with. Mostly Master of Waves which seemed awesome with Tishani, but still doesn’t seem bad with Kumena.

Theros block had some other interesting Merfolk like Dakra Mystic and Kiora’s Follower.

Ixalan block offers a ton of tribal support as well. Deeproot Waters makes tokens. The tribe goes deeper with +1/+1 counter support, with Merfolk drawing cards of that as well, using Give // Take, Sage of Fables and Shapers of Nature. And ofcourse Herald of Secret Streams making the team unblockable.

All in all Kumena seems like the most fun new commanders out there, leading a tribe with lots of carddraw and fiddly counter and token stuff. Throw in a few counterspells agains the inevitable board wipes and yes, I want to make this deck ASAP.

Posted under Commander / EDH

Profane Procession // Tomb of the Dusk Rose

One card from Rivals of Ixalan I’m maybe a bit too excited about is Profane Procession. Especially since the backside is thematically relevant to Queen Marchesa the Black Rose.

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Unflipped, it’s great in Commander as it can keep removing commanders without flipping, as these usually go to the Command Zone anyway. And having repeatable, instant removal that exiles available is a good political tool, especially when you can keep open.  Most enchantments that exile bring stuff back if it gets destroyed, but in this case the cards stay safely tucked away. Nice.

The Tomb of the Dusk Rose side is ok as well – having an extra multicolour land is fine, even though at that point you probably won’t need any more mana. But you’ll get a couple of creatures for the trouble. And I can’t get enough of the treasure map cardframe. It’s a thing of beauty!


Is this card amazing? Well, you’re initially are paying to remove a creature, so as a removal spell it’s not great. It’s a slow Mind Control if you look at it that way. But one with ample of opportunity to use gunpoint diplomacy on a Commander table, and that’s why I have the Marchesa deck.

Posted under Commander / EDH,Spoilers

Azor, the Lawbringer

In the past, I tried to make an Isperia EDH deck, but I didn’t quite get it to work. In theory its fine; Get attacked, draw a card, hope it is instant removal or a fog effect (Settle the Wreckage, Wing Shards or Angelsong maybe) and don’t be attacked anymore.

The problem was not getting to in time, maybe. Maybe I was too all-in on flavour things and my deck was just bad. Too much other Sphinxes as a tribal thing or something, even though Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign has been printed since. But now that we get to see the Parun (founder) of the Azorius guild, maybe it’s time to revisit the idea.

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 I think I still prefer Isperia, but Azor has some nice upsides too, and making a deck where I can switch out commanders from time to time might not be a bad idea. Azor has some upsides though. At least he stops wrath effects for a turn. I don’t know how good stopping instants is, since, well, they are instants and typically not played in the players’ own turn. Blinking Azor can stop a lot bad things from happening.

Time has passed since I last tried Isperia. Time for a retry, I think. Some notes:

It’s weird to see the Azorius Parun on Ixalan, just when Jace ended up there who happens to be the living Guiltpact (because of a spell Azor created) and Jace having a shady past involving Sphinxes, but hey, if a cool commander deck comes out of this, I won’t complain.

Posted under Commander / EDH

Hapatra updates

I’ve managed to finally get some games in with my Hapatra deck, and I loved it. It turns out she doesn’t need a lot of mana to get going and hold her own. This is a good thing, because I didn’t get a lot of mana in one the games, and still managed to do well, although with more mana I could won that one game by playing my larger finishers.


I did learn a bit about the deck though; Even though the can function on low mana, it doesn’t want mana sinks like Trigon of Corruption. The Trigon just isn’t a second Serrated Arrows like it was intended. Instead, I’ll probably run Grafted Exoskeleton. Hapatra makes lots and lots of snake tokens, and I’ve experimented with running infect creatures, and now I just want more infect.

Infect doesn’t seem that bad in Commander, from a gameplay perspective. From my design philosophy of “What do I want my opponents to experience while playing this deck?” it’s tension and fear, but it looks a lot more dangerous than it actually is.  Turns out Infect is totally okay for a couple of reasons:

  • Most Infect creatures are small and easilly blocked or dealt with.
  • If I attack someone with Infect, unlike regular damage, other players often can’t help compound the damage as they mostly attack the regular life total. Infect players have to work alone most of the time.

No, edging the event horizon into unfairness has to do with Archfiend of Ifnir. I really like that card in this deck, and tried to include as many cycling cards as I could fit, and to fit the snake theme, a Noose Constrictor. I’m really hopefull about the Hush I added, because it cycles and there is always someone who has an Enchantment deck of sorts, or at least a pillow fort strategy.

No, the reason the deck threatens to go beyond a good fun deck into linear and overpowered is because Archfiend combos so well with Survival of the Fittest. Survival finds Archfiend and helps discarding cards to activate him. The combo doesn’t win on the spot and takes time to fully set up but I imagine it’ll go a long way wiping opponents boards and help Hapatra create a lot of snake tokens.

I tend not to use a lot of tutor effects, except for land ramp, and Survival ís repeated tutoring, but should come up once every five games or so, so I hope it’s not too linear.


Posted under Commander / EDH

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:

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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.

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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

Touch of Moonglove

I’m still trying to make a Queen Marchesa deck.  Looking at what themes to include, one of them is definately deathtouch. Deathbringer Thoctar is a card I’ve been wanting to use for years, but haven’t found the deck for. The idea of machine-gunning entire boards with a deathtoucing Thoctar seems awesome.

touch-ashx deathbringer-ashx

It does need a card that actually grants deathtouch though. Marchesa and most of her assassin minions already have it, so granting something extra is very welcome. Enter Touch of Moonglove. By itself it’s a bad combat trick. But if I can get it to kill multiple creatures, the life loss is getting really relevant. The dream play is to have Deathbringer Thoctar, play Touch of Moonglove on it, then play Chandra’s Ignition against a full board. Not only will it wipe the board clean, but everyone will be brought down, and I’ll have a huge Thoctar that can take care of all players.

Posted under Commander / EDH

Atraxa Superfriends


~ Atraxa Superfriends ~

Commander (1)

Atraxa, Praetors’ Voice

Planeswalkers (19)

Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
Dovin Baan
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
Freyalise, Llanowar’s Fury
Garruk, Apex Predator
Jace, Architect of Thought
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets
Karn Liberated
Kiora, Master of the Depths
Nissa, Sage Animist
Ob Nixilis of the Black Oath
Ob Nixilis Reignited
Sorin, Grim Nemesis
Tamiyo, Field Researcher
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Teferi, Temporal Archmage
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Venser, the Sojourner
Vraska the Unseen

Creatures (10)

Tasigur, the Golden Fang
Midnight Banshee
Oona’s Gatewarden
Gilder Bairn
Deepglow Skate
Silent Arbiter
Medomai the Ageless

Instants (2)

Grim Affliction
Steady Progress

Sorceries (5)

Black Sun’s Zenith
Tezzeret’s Gambit
Wrath of God
Day of Judgment

Lands (43)

Aether Hub
Ash Barrens
Evolving Wilds
Terramorphic Expanse
Tendo Ice Bridge
Hickory Woodlot
Peat Bog
Remote Farm
Saprazzan Skerry
Vivid Creek
Vivid Grove
Vivid Marsh
Vivid Meadow
Command Tower
Reflecting Pool
Ancient Den
Seat of the Synod
Tree of Tales
Vault of Whispers

Artifacts (13)

Astral Cornucopia
Chromatic Lantern
Pentad Prism
The Chain Veil
 Prophetic Prism
Contagion Clasp
Contagion Engine
Throne of Geth
Rings of Brighthearth
Serrated Arrows
Sphere of the Suns
Nevinyrral’s Disk
Norn’s Annex

Enchantments (7)

Blowfly Infestation
Doubling Season
Oath of Gideon
Oath of Jace
Oath of Liliana
Oath of Nissa
Inexorable Tide

For this deck, one of the things I wanted to see how the depletion-lands like Saprazzan Skerry work in a deck around proliferate. I might also want to try other counter-based lands like Saprazzan Cove later on, but I don’t want too many lands that come into play tapped, and the Mercadian Masques storage lands are very slow, even with the extra counters they get at their second turn. I do have a lot of mana sources, so maybe one or two aren’t a problem though.

The vivid lands like Vivid Marsh are less dangerous, and a handy source of coloured mana even without Atraxa.

A subtheme of the deck is -1/-1 counters. I didn’t want to go full-on infect, but some wither cards seem fine and I’m particularly exited about trying Serrated Arrows and Blowfly Infestation to keep the board chocking on counters.

Posted under Commander / EDH
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