Lazav is looking sneakier

Lazav bannerParts of the gang gathered for EDH last night at my place, and I had to leave a short summary of my thoughts around the decks that I played – Meren and Lazav. I split the games almost equally among the two combatants, and since we were only three we got a fair few games in during the evening. Meren was the only one who won me a game, and even then it was just because I stole Zurgo with Helm of Possession.

fleshbagmarauder.hq

“Flesh!” (ah ah), “Savior of the universe!”

The highlight of the evening was getting to play vs. the new Ezuri. As expected, he racks up quite a bit of experience quite quickly, and since the counters stay on creatures, it can get really scary. Invisible Stalker hit me down to 9 before Meren could deal with it through Fleshbag Marauder.

Overall, I’d say that Ezuri definitely has the potential to helm a deck full of weenies and be a big threat around the table – but whether or not he is a better U/G general than Edric remains to be seen. My initial thought was “Hell no” and I haven’t changed my opinion on that yet. If, however, someone kills me enough times with an Ezuri infect deck, I might change my opinion.

Another fun story I recall from last night was when Lazav almost (!) won a game – among other things, he got a +16/+0 boost from Trepanation Blade at one point. However, he didn’t get through Merieke’s defense of Mother of Runes + Aphetto Alchemist + Merieke herself before Karn hit ultimate level with, among other things, my Consecrated Sphinx and my Jace, Memory Adept exiled with it. I scooped in disgust of the actiavtion, obviously, but it was a cool game and an unusual end to it nonetheless.

Almost winning is about as good as winning in EDH, so long as the game is fun enough, so I will count that as a green check mark for Lazav for now.

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Deck spotlight: Psykopatmullvad’s Merieke Ri Berit

moment with pmIt’s time again for a deck spotlight of a deck not constructed by this blog’s main writer – and this time we’re taking a look at Psykopatmullvad’s Merieke Ri Berit! Below is a link to his list, followed by his own words about the deck everyone at home loves to hate (because it steals and sacrifices our guys!) Enjoy!

Psykopatmullvad’s Merieke Ri Berit, on TappedOut.net


 

What does the deck do? How does it win?riteofreplication
Wait and stall the game until some opponent plays a sweet creature, and then take control of it and use it to win the game. You can also win with cards like Rite of Replication, that card can make insane things. Otherwise it is a grindy match and hopefulle an opening will be revealed!

What made you build this deck?
The general. And I wanted to try and play a more controling deck than I use to.

Did you consider any other available commanders in this color combination or this strategy?
No. Well, I looked at them, but this time it was Berit or Bust.

What are the best cards in the deck?
Rite of Replication, or some of the tap/untap shenanigans. Rite can get you out of almost any situation and produce advantage. The untap things are NEEDED so they are of course good too!

What are your most favourite cards in the deck?
City of Shadows. It’s an old card that I have never seen in play anywhere else, that also works wonders with cityofshadowsyour commander.

Any changes you’re looking to make?
Not at the moment. Mabye add one or two more win-con-creatures, but I am still unsure as to which ones.

How do you really feel about playing a deck helmed by a woman with a name that would fit just about any lunch lady in a Swedish Elementary School?
It makes me cry. I’m not sure if it is of happiness or sorrow though.

Lazav’s Mind Grind won’t grind minds

Lazav bannerAfter about a month in what could most closely be regarded as developmental hell for my EDH decks, I’ve finally taken my new blue-black creation for a spin. I was away at a meeting over the weekend and got to play some EDH with a few people I usually don’t play with, so it was all good. Though focus was on Meren, I also got to take Omnath out for a spin, as well as Lazav – a month after sleeving him up.

I can imagine dedicated readers of this blog would never expect me to play Lazav – for several reasons. Just this summer, I wrote about how mill is bad in EDH, and I have written before about an old Lazav deck I used to play – in a post about failed decks.

This Lazav deck is a bit different however, and I have taken my criticism of my old deck into considerations:

The deck failed because it was slow, it didn’t synergise well enough in itself, and it was miles behind all the other decks in the room in terms of raw power. The four coloured mana needed to cast the commander himself was sometimes a hinderance, but often times the deck just drew a few cards, played a single spot removal and then rolled over to powerful combos. A huge let down.

lazav,dimirmastermind.hqThis is my latest Lazav deck, on TappedOut: Lazav’s Mind Grind. To address the issues listed above, I have added more coloured mana rocks to the deck – though the latest additions just after this weekend, so most of the 2-mana rocks are still untested. This helps combat the decks problems in the early game, and it helps cast the general himself. The deck has more milling instead of just spot removal, which helps finding stuff for the general to copy. In general (pun intended), the deck wants to win via general damage through a powerful copy + a sword or two. This means the deck has a lot more direction than the previous incarnation.

That said, the deck still hasn’t won a game, though it has killed players at a table. Mizzix, piloted by Grim Lavamancer, remains the unstoppable enemy in the games we played – the red-blue deck took down every single game we played, and not just against Lazav.

All isn’t doom and gloom, however, I am liking the deck quite a bit, and playing some blue is nice every once in a while – though a clear majority of my decks are non-blue. Maybe I’ll make some changes to the deck and see how it works out, and I’ve enlisted the help of Sean @copain26 Watson, co-host of the Commanderin’ podcast, and a Dimir and Lazav enthusiast. His list is way different from mine – and I might steal a few secrets from his deck. We’ll see.

Meren choices

meren bannerI’ve made a few small updates to Meren. For example, I’ve cut Viridian Zealot in favor of Sylvok Replica. The reasoning is quite simple – while Viridian Zealot hits harder and has a lower CMC, it has a more restrictive CMC and a higher activation cost. Getting to three Experience Counters have not been any difficlut with Meren so far, so the lower activation cost is what really sells it for me.

I’m having difficulties with the following choice, however:

 

bitterblossom.hqgolgarigermination.hq

 

 

 

VS

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.

.

.


Bitterblossom is in the deck right now, it is very powerful on paper and it has a nice low CMC – but I’ve had it in hand multiple times and I’ve yet to cast it. I’ve yet to want to cast it since it doesn’t feel impacatful enough, just granting a single creature a turn.

Granted, Golgari Germination won’t trigger off of everything – the sacrifice of Eldrazi Spawns for example, but the deck does sacrifice a lot of non-tokens as well. Furthermore, it coud help me recover from a board-wipe, as long as I have a non-creature sacrifice-for-value card in play, which the deck runs a lot.

Link to the deck: Meren 1.0 on TappedOut.net

Which would you run? Leave a comment!

[OGW] Kozilek, new basic land type, new “colour”?

oath bannerThe first few cards from Oath of the Gatewatch have been spoiled over Twitter, and they’re breaking my mind – just as Eldrazi should do, fittingly. The first one I want to show is this:

wastesThese are as of now unconfirmed, so we can’t know for sure – but it does look like Wizards has added a new Basic Land, though without the Basic Land types. This could be considered another in line with the Snow-Covered basics from Ice Age block.

So, what does the land tap for? It seems it can be used to cast this thing, for example:

kozilekthegreatdistortionThose mana symbols do look really weird, but they could be real, in which case I’m quite excited. That said, there are many problems with adding a “sixth colour” to the game – something that has been speculated for years.

Mark Rosewater has stated for a long time that they will never add a sixth colour, it would be to cumbersome to do nomirrorpoolw – the point of no return for the five colours of Magic has passed, so to speak. That said, this isn’t a sixth colour, they do seem colourless, so adding it does not affect any cards that care about number of colours in play for example. Further, since Wastes is printed without a basic land type, it won’t affect Domain or similar mechanics in any way.

It was long speculated that Purple would be the sixth colour of Magic, and that it would represent either something like Cave or City, but it seems the sixth colour is colourless, and it represents Wastes.

I think it’s pretty cool, what do you think? Leave a comment!

Unsung Heroes: Moriok Replica

ajani bannerThe latest unsung hero is a humble artifact from the Scars of Mirrodin block, Moriok Replica:

moriokreplica.hqMy Meren deck has seen its first share of action, as is detailed below, and the cards that have impressed me the most are Sakura-Tribe Elder and Moriok Replica, both for generating experience counters and making good use of them. The former, however, is an EDH staple, by all rights, while the latter is oft overlooked. According to EDHrec, it is present in only 111 decks in total.

Granted, it is five mana total, which is quite inefficient, but it is so much easier to recurr than its Sorcery counterparts (Night’s Whisper – 577 decks, Sign in Blood – 1255 decks, and Read the Bones – 1261 decks respectively). Granted, the Sorcery versions of the effect has been reprinted in Commander products among other places, meaning there are probably far more of them in circulation among EDH players.

In any deck that can run Moriok Replica and recurr it repeatedly, either through generals like Meren, Karador, Glissa, or Alesha, or through cards like Phyrexian Reclamation, Genesis, or Mimic Vat – give Moriok Replica a shot. I can almost guarantee you won’t be dissapointed!

Mana Burn – Experience counters

Mana burn banner

Hello children, are you having fun with commander 2015? Good! So is your uncle Grim Lavamancer. A lot of fun in fact. I’ve got my hands on the Izzet deck and are enjoying the heck out of some old fashioned spell slinging.

One thing that I liked a lot so far is experience counters! Which I have to admit I thought looked rather dull when I browsed through the card list for the expansion. There is something very satisfying about becoming more and more powerful as the game progresses. In fact, the only thing I dislike about experience counters are the, in my opinion, quite ugly experience card that came along with the decks. It looks like this:

I’m a bit surprised actually, Wizards usually print pretty cool counters (such as the poison counter) but this one was a rare miss. I decided to craft my own and came up with the idea to make a specialized counter for the Izzet deck using the crude illustrations I force feed you with every once in a while, and when I was done with that I was on a bit of a roll. So I decided to make Mana Burn themed counter cards for all the enemy colors and share them with you guys. Here you have them (click on the cards for a high resolution version of the card).

Experience counter_Golgari_100dpiExperience counter_Orzhov_100dpi Experience counter_Izzet_100dpi Experience counter_Boros_100dpi Experience counter_Simic_100dpi

So if you’re a fan of the new commanders and a fan of Mana Burn (I fully realize that this is not the widest of target audiences ) you should defiantly use Mana Burn experience counter cards!

You’re free to use and share these as much as you want. If you end up using one of them I’d love to read about it in the comment section below!

[C15] After the first game

city of shakarWe played a game of free-for-all with some of the new commander decks this Friday, and I wanted to expand upon my initial thoughts. Neither Kalemne nor Ezuri were represented in the room, but around the table were:

Meren (me)
Melek (UR precon)Mizzix (Grim Lavamancer)
Daxos (psykopatmullvad)

Mizzix was quickest out of the gates with land into Sol Ring into Signet (so wallofblossoms.fullbroken) and he was the first one to get an experience counter. Melek followed afterwards, but didn’t do much for the first few turns of the game. I followed and got some sacrificing going, making some good card advantage through Wall of Blossoms and Daxos was last out, not doing much aside from playing Daxos himself and casting a couple of enchantments on him.

Eventually, Daxos cast a Necromancer’s Covenant targeting me exiling all of my sweet stuff, and getting him 12 Zombies. How rude! I followed suit with a pair of Lightning Greaves followed by a 29/29 Centaur Vinecrasher, but Melek tapped him down, along with my 8/8 Mycoloth in response to the equip. He then untapped and killed me with my own dudes through Reins of Power.

Daxos eventually won the game, despite being the last out of the gate. It had something to do with his infinite lifelinking Zombies, but I wasn’t paying attention, since I was re-building my deck into the list I wrote about yesterday.

Overall, I was impressed by all the decks and especially by Mizzix – the mizzixoftheizmagnus.fulldeck list is quite fierce out of the box and Mizzix has the potential to do lots of sweet stuff. Overall, I’d say he is a straight up-grade to Melek in UR, though Izzet has few really good generals at their disposal. Meren was also very nice, and I think she will play really well in the future. I do get all anxious when thinking about all the cuts I have to make in order to make room for the obvious things I don’t have yet though.

We played a few more games with our regular decks, and when we were joined by Grim Lavamancer’s younger brother, we decided to rev up a game of Kingdoms.

I looked down on a Mountain. Here are the table with each respecitve role, from my seat. Obviously, I knew none of them aside the King beforehand:

Meren (me) – Bandit
Lord of Tresserhorn (same guy as Melek) – Assassin
Ezuri 1 (Grim Lavamancer’s brother) – King
Mizzix (Grim Lavamancer) – Bandit
Grimgrin – Usurper
Zurgo 1 (psykopatmullvad) – Knight

lordoftresserhorn.hq

Lord of Griefing

I declared myself Knight and held to that position over the entire game, even when I was obviously Bandit. Lord of Tresserhorn kept griefing Mizzix and myself, somehow he seemed to know we were Bandits, Strip Mining away Mizzix’ red mana sources and removing my graveyard as well as destroying my sacrifice outlets (Ashnod’s Altar) leading to a huge festive sacrifice party, since both he and I had Grave Pacts in play and Savra and Fecundity in play as well. Good times were had by all, despite the King who lost his whole team of elves (though he did draw a lot of cards thanks to my Enchantment!).

The King eventually decided to try and kill me, despite me not having done anything to especially him and my Grave Pact was long-gone, but Mizzix decided to save my by bouncing the entire team of angry green women and men, who were around 20/20 with trample thanks to Ezuri and a Door of Destinies with 12 charge counters. I destroyed the Door and attacked back for a symbolic amount of damage, but it turned the entire table against me. Mizzix outed himself as the other Bandit.

Eventually, I got my revenge on Lord of Griefing, and emptied his hand sadistichypnotist.hqwith Sadistic Hypnotist. Despite the fact that he had been destroying lands all evening, suddenly I was the asshole. I’ve since cut the Hypnotist from the deck, by the way.

In the end, we got the King to single-digit life (6 or 7) before the rest of the table killed Mizzix and me. In the end, the King was usurped by Grimgrin easily, so Grimgrin and Zurgo were the eventual winners of a very exciting and close two-hour game.

We played some more games and I did actually manage to win a five-player free-for-all through Chainer + Jarad + a 20/20 Golgari Grave-Troll.

So a win in the books is great for a first-time deck, coupled with the moral victory of screwing over Lord of Griefing. All’s well that end’s well.

What are your experiences with the new Commander 2015 set? Leave a comment!

First draft of Meren brew

meren bannerCommander 2015 dropped yesterday and our decks arrived in time. We all gathered in the basement location of our LGC and cracked into the decks. After playing a round of just pre-cons, I decided to re-make Meren into the deck I’ve been drafting since she got spoiled. The results are in, although I’m still missing many cards from an “optimal” build.

A link to the deck: Meren 1.0 on TappedOut.net.

I tested the deck for a couple of games, both Kingdoms and Free-For-All and it is a lot of fun. I will be going into the details in a later post, however, together with an analysis of the games in question. She is, however, more resilient to graveyard hate than some might imagine, and she is every bit as fun as I expected. She racks up those experience counters very quickly!

Take care out there, and keep on reanimating things!

Unsung Heroes: Diligent Farmhand

ajani bannerThis week’s Unsung Hero is Diligent Farmhand, common creature from way back in Odyssey! Let’s have a look:

diligentfarmhand.hqThe second ability is pretty much moot in EDH, since pump spells are bad in general, and Muscle Burst is pretty bad for a pump spell. However, the first ability is pretty good. He is almost a Sakura-Tribe Elder, who is a format staple for good reasons – granted it is one more mana to cast and activate in total, but if you cast the Diligent Farmhand on turn one, you can activate it as quickly as Sakura-Tribe Elder. I’m not saying “play Diligent Farmhand over Sakura-Tribe Elder”, I’m saying “consider Diligent Farmhand as well”.

Diligent Farmhand is the same mana investment as a Wayfarer’s Bauble, but it is a creature which means more cards will synergise with it, and it is easier to recur. It is also the same mana investment as Dawntreader Elk, but in the right order, meaning it is a turn faster in the beginning of the game – though Diligent Farmhand is smaller. Comparing the two on EDHREC, Dawntreader Elk is in a total of 300 decks, while Diligent Farmhand is only in 90. His most popular commander is Seton, leading me to believe that people only play Diligent Farmhand in druid tribal decks (!).

I think many green decks can consider him without shame. I play one in my Omnath deck, since it cares about landfall, and I will play one in my Meren deck, because she cares about creatures dying.

Hat’s off to you, Diligent Farmhand.


 

What do you think about Diligent Farmhand? Will you order 10 now that I’ve shown you the light? Leave a comment!