Christmas Commanding with the Crew from Commanderin’!

meren bannerOver the holidays I’ve had the pleasure to play a couple of games with two thirds of the Commanderin’ podcast, over Skype and Cockatrice. We tried to play a couple of games the day before yesterday, but I had to leave in the middle of the first one due to real-life things, and Sean “Copain26” Whatson’s connection buggered out in the second one.

Yesterday, however, we played a couple of games and I had the best of times with Sean and friend-of-the-show Nick. Nick was playing Omnath, Locus of Rage, and Sean was playing his fabled Lazav, Dimir Mastermind deck, and I was playing Meren of Clan Nel Toth (link to decklist).

dimirdoppelganger.hqI drew a pretty slow opener, and especially Nick was very quick out of the gates. Lazav cast a turn three Dimir Doppelganger, which threw a wrench in my machinery, which was moving along very slowly (my opener had only lands that come into play tapped, for example).

Nick, not to be outdone, cast Sol Ring into Silverglade Elemental, and soon thereafter the general himself, and he wasn’t slow to start getting a bunch of 5/5’s into play.

Meanwhile, Sean cast Traumatize into Jace, Memory Adept, starting to seriously mill Nick out. On his last turn, Nick swung with everything at Sean, and I was really far behind on board vs. both of them, but I still sacrificed Spore Frog. My hope was that Sean would use the time to mill out Nick completely, leaving him vs. me heads-up. And he did. In fact, in the following turn, Sean cast Tunnel Vision targeting Nick namin Cultivate, which we hadn’t seen yet, hoping to hit at least 12 of the remaining 22 cards in Nick’s deck, in order to finish him off with Jace. Cultivate was the bottom card. For real.

I had used the spare time to build up some mana, though the board looked grim. Sean had a Consecrated Sphinx, an Evil Twin acting as a Consecrated Sphinx, and five copies of Consecrated Sphinx from Rite of Replication. He also had Lazav acting as Vigor.

After he drew fourteen cards in my draw step, I activated Phyrexian Reclamation, for Eternal Witness, for Damnation, wiping the board. I then re-cast my commander and got Eternal Witness back and throug her Buried Alive. I didn’t get to cast it, however, since on his last turn, Sean cast Mesmeric Orb, Consuming Aberration and Windfall, leaving me with frighteningly few cards in my library and a huge graveyard. livingdeath.hq

However, I had lucked out on the draw from Windfall, so I untapped and milled to like 20 cards in the library, cast Fleshbag Marauder, forcing him to sacrifice the only creature he had, attacked for five with my creatures and then Living Death, bringing back Gary and his whole crew for the rest of Sean’s life total.

A lucky end to a game where I was a step behind the entire time, and Sean was of course just a turn away from getting rid of the last 20-ish cards in my library. Very exciting, it always amazes me how many games of EDH actually comes down to the last turn.


I recommend anyone who plays on Cockatrice to add commanderin.mtg.podcast on Skype and get in on the fun! Skype and Cockatrice works quite well together, and the added layer of communication is important in such a complex format.

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Meren’s movin’ on up!

meren bannerMeren has been a continuous pet project of mine since the release of Commander 2015, and according to edhrec.com, I’m not being very hipster – she is the most popular general this week and this month, followed in the latter by other all-stars of C15, i.e. Ezuri, Karlov and Mizzix. I think the popularity of these generals will fade over time, but for now I’m still with my head in the clouds, building Meren.

A link, to the latest version of the deck: Meren’s Great Sacrifice, on TappedOut.net.


 

merenofclanneltothMy impression on Meren overall has been very positive. I think she separates herself enough from Karador out of two reasons – she costs way less to cast, and her effect is free. In the case of Karador, understandably one of the most powerful and popular commanders of all time, he doesn’t get to just get something back to the hand if  he doesn’t meet the criteria (i.e. the casting cost of a creature) – and Meren does. Also for free.

The fact that it happens every one of your turns without having to pay a single mana beyond her own casting cost is awesome, since tapping out to cast spells as well as getting something back from the graveyard is an avenue Karador can’t go down.

Even graveyard hate isn’t that bad, since Meren still sticks around with the experience counter, you can always get something else in the graveyard during the next turn and get it back instantly. Repeatable graveyard hate sucks, or graveyard hosers that stick around (Ground Seal comes to mind), but the deck has enough answers that it doesn’t just roll over and die, as should any competent Meren list.


 

It’s christmas soon, and I for one will be spending as much time as possible forcing my loved ones and my friends to sacrifice their creatures.

What commander from C15 has impressed you the most? Leave a comment!

More Meren choices

meren bannerComing home from a weekend of a really long meeting, and some EDH, I took to making some important changes in my Meren deck, after pondering over some of my choices, and using the long drive to discuss them with Grim Lavamancer. Link to the deck: Meren 1.0 on TappedOut.net.

One change was quite obvious:

OUT: Mycoloth.

IN: Dimir House Guard.dimirhouseguard.hq

This was an easy swap. Mycoloth has been in my hand multiple times since the first time I put the deck together, and I’ve cast him maybe twice. I’ve never been happy with it and recently, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve never wanted to cast it. This is in games with 2-4 opponents, of various strategies, and Mycoloth never seems good. It’s a one-time sacrifice outlet, and then a very slow token producer.

Dimir House Guard, on the other hand, is a great utility creature which I really liked when I played Korlash. This was before the tuck rule change, meaning the CMC of Dimir House Guard was really important. In this deck, it isn’t as important, but it is a free, repeatable sacrifice outlet with lots of utility and the Transmute can be used to find such all-stars as Grave Pact. He’s in on trial, but I expect him to do well.


 

OUT: Culling Dais.

IN: Living Death.

Culling Dais is in the same league as Mycoloth, but slightly better. It’s repeatable, but I’ve never even once wanted to cast it. It hasn’t really had a chance to prove itself, but right now, I’m not hurting for sacrifice outlets, so it’s out.

Living Death is one of the cards I’ve been missing and wanting to add, but not having a clear idea what to cut. In this case, it does screw with the curve, but I hope it’ll be fine. It adds a late-game-oumph to the deck that it’s missing right now – Meren is great at grinding, but it needs a way to close games as well.


 

Right now I’m pondering between these three: Fecundity, Deathreap Ritual, and Phyrexian Arena. All three are great cards, the two former are already in the deck, but I’m thinking the latter will probably be good too – but I’m not sure what to cut for it, or if it’s even needed. Running a black deck without a potential Phyrexian Arena is strange, but in Meren, Fecundity and Deathreap Ritual both feel better.

What do you think? What should I cut, if anything? Leave a comment!

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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.

.

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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!

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!

[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!

A first look at Meren

meren bannerI wanted to throw out the results of my first brainstorming on Meren of Clan Nel Toth. Below are lists of cards of possible inclusions, though they are in no way conclusive. However, let’s first look at the general herself:

merenofclanneltothMeren faces some stiff competition in the EDH metagame. She is straight Golgari and competes with other graveyard-based such as Jarad. Further, in related colours are The Mimeoplasm and Karador, though each fulfill different roles. Mimeoplasm can be played both as a Sultai control deck with a combo finish, or a straight balls-to-the-walls combo deck focusing on killing as fast as possible. The latter does not suit Meren very well. Karador, on the other hand, supports a grindy graveyard-based strategy much like Meren does as well on paper, and he also adds white. He does cost a lot more to get online, however, and being a popular and well-played general, Karador will likely face some hate at most tables.

But we’re here to discuss Meren. Two components are crucial to all EDH decks: ramp and card-draw. Fortunately, Meren is in the very best colour for ramp and in the second-best colour for card-draw, so we’ve got those bases covered already. Further, three other categories are needed for her to work: sacrifice outlets to help her add experience counters, repeatable reanimation, and value.

fleshbagmarauder.hq

a.k.a. “Fläsksäcksmarodören”

Sacrifice outlets:
Fleshbag Marauder
Merciless Executioner
Evolutionary Leap
Vampiric Rites
Attrition
Mind Slash
Viscera Seer
Moriok Replica
Sylvok Replica
Shriekmaw
Disciple of Bolas
Vulturous Aven
Sidisi, Unded Vizier
Yavimaya Elder
Burnished Hart
Sadistic Hypnotist
Carnage Altar
Altar’s Reap
Diabolic Intent
Innocent Blood
Barter in Blood
Greater Good
Grim Backwoods, Miren, the Moaning Well and other lands.
All on-colour cards making Eldrazi Spawn or Eldrazi Scions

Repeateable reanimation:phyrexianreclamation.hq
Phyrexian Reclamation
Chainer, Dementia Master
Genesis
Malevolent Awakening (sacrifice outlet as well)

Value:
Smothering Abomination
Grave Pact
Butcher of Malakir
Dictate of Erebos
Deathreap Ritual
Grim Haruspex
Fecundity

Add some threats, some green and black lands and ramp and card-draw and the list is coming together quite quickly. Pesonally, I’m very excited to start teching with what I expect to be the most fun out of the generals available this year. Funny thing is I decided to pick up the black-green deck as soon as it was revealed that they were doing enemy colours this year. “Jackpot!” so to speak.