EDH nights with Damia

After a Khans of Tarkir sealed, my friends and I decided to hunker down for a good old 5-man pentragram EDH game on saturday. Khans of Tarkir sealed, by the way, is very enjoyable and should be tried by everyone, even if Abzan seems to be the best clan by about a mile. I played Abzan, and it went well, so I’m not bitter.

damia,sageofstone.hqI decided to crack Damia, Sage of Stone instead of Brion Stoutarm this time around. I built Damia because I wanted to use the other good EDH cards I happen to have that didn’t go into Brion, which left those three colours. Incidentally, Damia is also on the other hand of the spectrum of “the commander matters” compared to Brion – while the Brion deck is very commander-centric and he’s very important to the deck’s goal, Damia is far from the most important card in the deck and essentially only ensures that I have some way to re-fill my hand late in the game. As with Brion Stoutarm, the deck is far from finished, so I won’t post a complete list. However, the deck’s idea is to use green’s ramp spells to get lots of lands into play early on, control the game through various silver bullets and countermagic, and finish the game with a huge spell or creature when the timing is right. All of it is tied together by the powerful black tutor effects, allowing me to get what I need when I need it, and the deck uses regrowing effects like Eternal Witness and Archaeomancer to play the long game well.

I wrote about pentragram in a previous post, “Different ways to command“, but the rules, in short, is that you sit around the table in a pentagon, the two people next to you are your allies, and the two people across are your enemies. The player to first eliminate both enemies wins the game.

The table was, starting with me, Damia (ramp control); Marath, Will of the Wild (aggro, my ally); Varolz, the Scar-Striped (combo, my enemy); Surrak Dragonclaw (aggro control, my other enemy) and finally Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (combo control, my other ally). I wasn’t too unhappy with the set-up, Surrak was a brand new deck and thus not really optimized just yet, and Varolz has a certain reputation and isn’t always very subtle in its execution, meaning it’d draw some hate from Grimgrin as well. I assumed my real “opponent” would be Marath, since it can deal loads of damage in just a couple of turns and eliminate people from nowhere if left unchecked.

Keeping tables fair since ’08

Marath, however, mana-screwed pretty hard, despite mulliganing aggressively for lands. Apparently, Marath was playing a Boros deck for the first few turns of the game, and even after Surrak resolved a Wheel of Fortune, Marath still had to cast Solemn Simulacrum to find his first green mana-source. Meanwhile, Grimgrin was getting plenty of cards through the use of Skullclamp, Solemn Simulacrum and animation of the latter. He elected to begin beating down on Varolz to begin with, however, choosing not to bully the mana-stalling Marath. Surrak played a couple of threats and attacked mostly on Marath, who returned the favour shortly. Meanwhile, I played lots of lands and ramp spells, and couple of counterspells in order to keep the table fair – Glen Elendra Archmage and Hinder to name two. I also stole a Cosecrated Sphinx via Desertion, and although it’s not as powerful as in free-for-all, since you only have two “opponents” in pentagram, it’s still awesome. It drew me 8-10 cards and was in play when Surrak cast Wheel of Fortune, but I declined to draw any extra cards, not wanting the extra attention.

With Varolz half-dead from Solemn Simulacrum and Grimgrin beats, I elected to tutor for my pack-fresh Villainous Wealth, and cast it for 9 on Surrak. The pay-off wasn’t great, only Scourge of the Throne and Vedalken Orrery were cast, but I did exile a Price of Glory which would’ve been annoying. This prompted Varolz to wrath away the board, and I chose not to counter.


…and mine are long, and sharp, my lord / As long and sharp as yours

More creatures entered the battlefield, Rampaging Baloths and tokens from Varolz, Marath from Marath, and after Varolz cast Bane of Progress creating a pretty huge creature, I elected to cast Decree of Pain, wiping the board again and drawing eight cards. By now, I had Reliquary Tower in play, so I was fine with that. The board was left with Vorapede with an undying +1/+1 counter on it for Varolz and not much else. The following turn, I cast Bribery, targeting Surrak’s deck, found Molten Primordial, nabbed the Vorapede, cast Runechanter’s Pike, equipped it to Vorapede and swung with both creatures on Varolz for 24 damage, exactly lethal.

Varolz is thereby out, which leaves the table in a strange situation – Marath, my ally, is Grimgrin’s only remaining enemy after Varolz was eliminated, and he’s at very low life totals from being behind all game. However, Marath had a Mana-Charged dragon on hand, cast it, and with my help, brought Surrak within Molten Primordial’s killing range.

It is on the surface a disappointing ending to the game when Marath is left as a kingmaker, but it was a fun game nonetheless. Marath chose to hand the victory to me, his ally, rather than Grimgrin, his opponent, which does make some sense at least. It happens, and the fact that these situations happen shows that the format is far from perfect, but also rewards diplomatic play and friendly banter over the course of the game.

Damia worked out very well for me, the deck performed as expected. I didn’t cast the commander all game, however, since I was always stacked on hand thanks to Consecrated Sphinx and other draw spells, and I was never lacking in threats. After all, why win with your own threats when you can beat your opponents with their own?

Leave a comment


  1. Grim Lavamancer

     /  September 29, 2014

    A nice game, all in all. Though it seems as if Surrak needs to buy a padlock for his deck…

    Liked by 1 person

  1. So long, and thanks for all the BUGs | Goyf Wars

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