Building a Crew for the Weatherlight – Altering Commander by James Griffin

Altering Commander: The Sissay Project by James Griffin

Hi all,

Last time I explained how I wanted to take on the insane task of altering an entire EDH deck, and how I had chosen Captain Sisay to lead my legendary army/motley crew.  Now it’s time to flesh out the deck itself, take stock of what I have card-wise and how the heck I’m going to trade/beg/borrow/steal the rest.  I’m also going to kick off with the first couple of alters.

Sisay seems pretty obvious inclusion lol!  She’s the commander, so she’s in. who else will join her crew?

The first place to look seems to be people she can tutor for. What game ending guys can we play? Basically, Captain Sisay is fragile enough at a mere 2/2 that every activation of her ability has to really mean something. That’s why the incredible Sword of Kaldra, Shield of Kaldra and Helm of Kaldra is out – we don’t want to be stuck with only one of them on the board (even if together they do make the most mental beat stick of them all!).  However, in are Gaddock Teeg (who shuts down basically anything scary) and Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary. Gaddock  Teeg shuts off sweepers and other big scary things (including most generals in my play group), and tells us that we need to leave our wraths at home and take some point removal like Swords to Plowshares, Lignify and Mangara of Corondor among others. Rofellos, or Rofls, is sick too. He ramps like crazy, and gives us access to big stuff like Reya Dawnbringer, Iona, Shield of Emeria, Myojin of Life’s Web, and Yosei the morning star. Rofellos is banned as a general, but he’s almost as good in a Sisay deck because you can find him and the drop a ton of mana. Also in here is Gaea’s Cradle. Does exactly the same, ramps like a crazy thing, and can’t be countered, but we’ll need to watch out for land destruction.

Hmm…land destruction. Wasteland, Kor Haven, Acidic Slime and Strip Mine. That would seem to do it, and a bit of Sunny T and Reveillark (for the slime) to get them back like a bad curry. This will add shenanigans in multiplayer, where big splashy effects are what it’s all about. While we’re on his train of thought, it would be silly not to have Life From The Loam and Crucible of Worlds in there for the land denial lock, that would be cool. Plus the art is absolutely kick ass – I’m going to love altering that one!

Oh dear…

It’s here I’ve gotta accept that we’re actually going to need two lists. One for 1v1 and 1 for multiplayer. You see my current deck, Eight-and-a-half-Tails, works wonderfully in multiplayer, but gets pwned 1v1 – and that’s because I built it with multiplayer very much in mind rather than the tight mana curve and synergy that duelling one on one requires. I’m going to have to paint even more cards to get this project completed, but from now on then we’re aiming for two lists, and one master list of all the cards I need to get and alter. This task is becoming bigger by the day, but I don’t want to do this and have a bunch of sub par cards in the deck that I have to trade out and paint replacements for later.

Mana ramp. We’ve gotta get dear old Sisay out asap if I want to stay alive in a format of ridiculous sweepers, theft cards and spot removal to make you cry. As such, our 1v1 team is quickly joined by Birds of Paradise (got plans painting wise here, with the Tolarian Academy artwork), Mana Vault (luckily I already have one), and a bunch of others which all drop before Sisay on the curve. Bloom Tender in particular has art that I can’t wait to extend through the text box below – that one will be beeeeauuuuutttiiifffuuuuuullllll!!! :)

Lets get some finishers in now. Crovax, Ascendent Hero and Kamahl, Fist of Krosa is a sick sick combo (make their lands into 1/1’s with Kamahl, and with Crovax out, and they immediately die, woo! That’s a combo we would reach for single player before we would reach for it multiplayer in the spirit of fun, but if someone else tries a big lock or something then I won’t be beyond tutoring these guys to spoil their day. Also Kamahl’s overrun gives me a nice potential finisher in an aggro sense, although this deck is shaping up to be primarily a control deck. Both of these guys are good on their own, and this is important when we have a 100 card singleton deck, and odds are we won’t draw the right card at the right time.

But wait, we can improve those odds. Lets stick a Sensei’s Divining Top in. I love this card. The guys at Manaleak have shown me how unbelievable this card can be, and while we’re not playing it here with counterbalance or some such nonsense, it still gives us a little bit of card quality. Also the artwork is phenomenal. Why do we need this when Sisay finds us whatever we need? Well its most useful if Sisay isn’t around, and now costs 14 mana to re-cast (sigh), has been shuffled into our library or had her tutor ability stifled somehow. On that note, I really want to alter the Fauna Shaman art, and so she goes in, along with her bigger scarier brother Survival of the Fittest, who is much cheaper now he’s been banned in legacy (hooray for this project!). Not much fun to alter (snow, snow and more snow), but that’s the way it goes. While we’re on card choice and tutoring, We have gotta get a Worldly Tutor, Enlightened Tutor and Eldrami’s Call in there, they’ll all help make the deck as consistent as possible, at the cost of card advantage.  They also fish Sisay out of our deck if necessary and help us to find cool non-legendary cards such as Primeval Titan, Acidic Slime, other ramp dudes, or answers such as Harmonic Sliver to problematic permanents.

We haven’t really concentrated too hard on artifacts yet, because we of course want to run Hikori, Dust Drinker to deny them mana (letting Gaea’s Cradle, Rofls and others win the game for us). Part of this plan will be to tutor for Kataki, War’s Wage to shut off their artifact driven ramp if they have it. That makes my ramp worse too, but some are just too good to pass up, so Sol Ring, Talisman of Unityand Chrome Mox make it in. In other news, Mindslaver. Hooooww Yeaaahhhh!

I shall just pause for a minute to savor how awesome this pseudo-timewalk is… check it out again…

Right, good. I reckon we’ll get a few wins out of him in multiplayer (he’s banned in 1v1), particularly with some more graveyard recursion. We still need a few more artifacts, Lightning Greaves to protect Sisay, and Umezawa’s Jitte to make any guy in the deck a threat also seems pretty good.  It’s also fortuitous that Jitte is legendary and can be tutored for if necessary. Nice.

Let’s round this out. Some more ramp, and some answers to theft cards, a bunch of awesome mana fixing lands, some more spot removal. Finally, Garruk Wildspeaker, because darn it, I want a plainswalker!

Hooray! We have lists!

Captain Sisay: 1 vs. 1 Deck List


Captain Sisay


Academy Rector Acidic Slime Arashi, the Sky Asunder Aven Mindcensor Birds of Paradise Bloom Tender Brooding Saurian Crovax, Ascendant Hero Duplicant Eternal Witness Fauna Shaman Gaddock Teeg Genesis Glissa Sunseeker Harmonic Sliver Hokori, Dust Drinker Kamahl, Fist of Krosa Karmic Guide Kataki, War’s Wage Knight of the Reliquary Linvala, Keeper of Silence Mangara of Corondor Mirror Entity Myojin of Life’s Web Nest Invader Primeval Titan Quirion Elves Reveillark Reya Dawnbringer Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary Saffi Eriksdotter Sakura-Tribe Elder Steward of Valeron Yosei, the Morning Star


Eladamri’s Call Enlightened Tutor Oblation Swords to Plowshares


Growth Spasm Into the North Life from the Loam Nature’s Lore Primal Command Sylvan Scrying Three Visits


Chrome Mox Lightning Greaves Mana Vault Sensei’s Divining Top Talisman of Unity Thousand-Year Elixir Umbral Mantle Umezawa’s Jitte


Aura Shards Lignify Mirri’s Guile Oblivion Ring Steely Resolve Survival of the Fittest Sylvan Library Wild Pair


Arid Mesa Brushland Dust Bowl Eiganjo Castle Flooded Strand Gaea’s Cradle Graypelt Refuge Hall of the Bandit Lord Horizon Canopy Kor Haven Marsh Flats Miren, the Moaning Well Mistveil Plains Misty Rainforest Savannah

12 Snow-Covered Forest

2 Snow-Covered Plains

Strip Mine Sunpetal Grove Temple Garden Verdant Catacombs Wasteland Windswept Heath Wooded Bastion Wooded Foothills Yavimaya Hollow

Captain Sisay Multiplayer list

Gaddock Teeg Kataki, War’s Wage Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary Saffi Eriksdotter Sakura-Tribe Elder Aven Mindcensor Eternal Witness Harmonic Sliver Knight of the Reliquary Mangara of Corondor Mirror Entity Stonecloaker Yavimaya Dryad Yavimaya Elder Academy Rector Brooding Saurian Captain Sisay Glissa Sunseeker Hokori, Dust Drinker Linvala, Keeper of Silence Acidic Slime Arashi, the Sky Asunder Genesis Karmic Guide Reveillark Crovax, Ascendant Hero Duplicant Kamahl, Fist of Krosa Primeval Titan Sun Titan Yosei, the Morning Star Iona, Shield of Emeria Myojin of Life’s Web Reya Dawnbringer


Enlightened Tutor Swords to Plowshares Eladamri’s Call Oblation


Into the North Life from the Loam Sylvan Scrying Cultivate Growth Spasm Kodama’s Reach Primal Command


Sensei’s Divining Top Sol Ring Lightning Greaves Umezawa’s Jitte Crucible of Worlds Thousand-Year Elixir Umbral Mantle Mindslaver


Concordant Crossroads Mirri’s Guile Survival of the Fittest Sylvan Library Aura Shards Oblivion Ring Mirari’s Wake Wild Pair


Garruk Wildspeaker


Arid Mesa Brushland Dust Bowl Eiganjo Castle Flooded Strand Gaea’s Cradle Graypelt Refuge Hall of the Bandit Lord Horizon Canopy Kor Haven Krosan Verge Marsh Flats Miren, the Moaning Well Mistveil Plains Misty Rainforest Savannah Snow-Covered Forest Snow-Covered Plains Stirring Wildwood Strip Mine Sunpetal Grove Temple Garden Verdant Catacombs Wasteland Windswept Heath Wooded Bastion Wooded Foothills Yavimaya Hollow

Now to figure out how to actually get these cards. Let’s see… I have some already:

BoP; Fauna Shaman; Nest Invader; Aven Mindcensor; Stonecloaker; Academy Rector; Hokori, Dust drinker; Linvala, Keeper of Silence; Acidic Slime; Revillark; Crovax, Ascendent Hero; Primeval Titan; Sun Titan; Reya Dawnbringer (I think); Enlightened Tutor; Oblation; Cultivate; Growth Spasm; Mana Vault; Lightning Greaves; Umezawa’s Jitte; Mindslaver; Oblivion Ring; Garruk Wildspeaker; Arid Mesa; Graypelt Refuge; Hall of the bandit lord; Kor Haven; Marsh Flats; Misty Rainforest; Strip Mine; Verdant Catacombs and Wasteland (a champs edition one – boo!)

Total: 34.

Needed: 79.

Well it’s a start! A trip to willl get me sorted with a few more I reckon, they always have a good stock of non-standard cards in particular, but I can’t buy them all, so I’m going to have to rely on trading for most (If you have any I need and you want to trade, drop me a line, that would be great, particularly old tatty or damaged cards can all be restored if you have anything like that.).

I’ll begin each article from now on with a Need/Have/Altered statistic so I can chart my progress and see how far I’ve got.

With the list down I’ll do a couple of quick alters just to get my painting juices flowing and get the project kicked off. So, for now I’ll leave you with them to look over. Next time I’ll take you through in more detail one of my alters, with some idea of what equipment I use, and how you can get started altering and get in on the action too.

Until then, have fun!


This little fella was fun because of the odd card frame.  When I do Horizon Canopy I want to make it even more skeleton, with the art extended inside the top title box, with only the frame and text remaining, and the same into the text box at the bottom.  That would be good.

This Fauna shaman was a lot of fun.  I did it at my parents house though, so it will remain this half-done until I get back and have access to my airbrush again.

The slime was a fun one too, again I’ll smooth it out when I get back to my airbrush. until then it’ll do. I may also paint another panicking soldier on too just to add flavour.  Marvellous.

Please let us know what you think below...

Visit our Manaleak online store for the latest Magic: the Gathering singles, spoilers, exclusive reader offers, sales, freebies and more!

Magic The Gatherig Freebies Giveaways