A Commander for Everyone by Paul Palmer

6016
Zedruu the Greathearted wallpaper

Commander is for Everyone by Paul Palmer

Fun is relative.

For those that don’t know what I mean by that statement, it means that it is highly possible that what I find fun is not the same as what you find fun. I love the idea of casting [card]Animate Dead[/card] on turn two to bring back [card]Worldgorger Dragon[/card] before generating infinite mana and [card]Comet Storm[/card]ing all of my friends.

I play Commander in two very different environments. The first of these is my local game store

[draft]Narset, Enlightened Master
Teferi, Temporal Archmage
Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/draft]

The other is the game societies at my university

[draft]Sigarda, Host of Herons
Prossh, Skyraider of Kher[/draft]

Due to the varying power of the two play groups my decks have to be somewhere inbetween if I don’t want to be changing cards around all the time, and due to the colours that I want to play it’s very hard to make a fair competitive deck.

Omnath, Locus of Mana wallpaper

[draft]Zedruu the Greathearted
Omnath, Locus of Mana[/draft]

I chose the idea of adapting decks to be fun for everyone in a range of different playgroups due to something that happened to me recently. I was playing at university with a friend of mine when he said that the number of good cards I had was so high that he couldn’t keep up anymore and this was causing him to enjoy magic less and less. This made me stop and think. I love Magic and I love my friends who play Magic for fun; I don’t want my friends to lose the love they have for the game due to my degenerate deck building.

Here are the lists I have been running recently:

Zedruu the Greathearted

Creatures

[deck]Zedruu the Greathearted
Imposing Sovereign
Nyx-Fleece Ram
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
Vedalken Plotter
Sea Gate Oracle
Trinket Mage
Fatespinner
Akroan Horse
Perplexing Chimera
Keranos, God of Storms
Consecrated Sphinx
Felidar Sovereign
Avacyn, Angel of Hope
Stormtide Leviathan[/deck]

Instants and Sorceries

[deck]Brainstorm
Ponder
Preordain
Vision Skeins
Cyclonic Rift
Arcane Denial
Chaos Warp
Oblation
Render Silent
Cryptic Command
Wild Ricochet
Supreme Verdict
Armageddon
Wrath of God
Dig Through Time
Decree of Annihilation[/deck]

Artifacts

[deck]Sol Ring
Sensei’s Divining Top
Helm of the Gods
Howling Mine
Temple Bell
Thran Dynamo
Batterskull
Alhammarret’s Archive[/deck]

Enchantments

[deck]Darksteel Mutation
Blind Obedience
Dictate of Kruphix
Monastery Siege
Wild Research
Oblivion Ring
Propaganda
Detention Sphere
Ghostly Prison
Sphinx’s Tutelage
Sacred Mesa
Opalescence
Aggressive Mining
Statecraft
Leyline of Anticipation
Sigil of the Empty Throne
Sphere of Safety
Future Sight
Well of Ideas[/deck]

Planeswalkers

[deck]Jace, Architect of Thought
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Narset Transcendent
Ajani Vengeant
Karn Liberated[/deck]

Land

[deck]Command Tower
Mana Confluence
City of Brass
Wooded Foothills
Flooded Strand
Windswept Heath
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Mystic Monastery
Plateau
Sacred Foundry
Temple of Triumph
Wind-Scarred Crag
Battlefield Forge
Prairie Stream
Hallowed Fountain
Temple of Enlightenment
Tranquil Cove
Adarkar Wastes
Steam Vents
Temple of Epiphany
Swiftwater Cliffs
Shivan Reef
Homeward Path
Reliquary Tower
Temple of the False God
Seat of the Synod
Halimar Depths
Ancient Den
Great Furnace
3 Island
2 Plains
2 Mountain
[/deck]

 

Omnath, Locus of Mana

Creatures

[deck]Omnath, Locus of Mana
Elvish Mystic
Birds of Paradise
Llanowar Elves
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Scavenging Ooze
Abzan Beastmaster
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
Farhaven Elf
Reclamation Sage
Wood Elves
Courser of Kruphix
Yeva, Nature’s Herald
Karametra’s Acolyte
Drumhunter
Oracle of Mul Daya
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Ant Queen
Acidic Slime
Hydra Omnivore
Wurmcoil Engine
Soul of the Harvest
Rampaging Baloths
Soul of New Phyrexia
Steel Hellkite
Garruk’s Horde
Hornet Queen
Giant Adephage
Avenger of Zendikar
Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
Terastodon
Craterhoof Behemoth
Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
Genesis Hydra[/deck]

Instants and Sorceries

[deck]Back to Nature
Rampant Growth
Krosan Grip
Beast Within
Kodama’s Reach
Cultivate
Slice in Twain
Explosive Vegetation
Reap and Sow
Harmonize
See the Unwritten
Nissa’s Renewal
Tooth and Nail
Green Sun’s Zenith
Genesis Wave
Animist’s Awakening[/deck]

Artifacts

[deck]Sol Ring
Doubling Cube
Swiftfoot Boots
Lightning Greaves
Sword of Feast and Famine
Birthing Pod
Gauntlet of Power
Caged Sun
Dreamstone Hedron[/deck]

Enchantments

[deck]Dictate of Karametra[/deck]

Planeswalkers

[deck]Nissa, Worldwaker
Karn Liberated[/deck]

Land

[deck]37 Forest[/deck]

The problem now comes in finding a balance between what I find fun and what my opponents find fun. I have found a very good way of working this out. For the most part you want to exercise “the golden rule”; you don’t want to do to others what you don’t want them to do to you. For example there are some very oppressive cards in this Zedruu list that prevent your opponent from doing anything:

[draft]Ajani Vengeant
Decree of Annihilation[/draft]

And of course you can’t talk about letting everyone have fun without talking out the following two cards. If you’re planning on making a deck that can be fun for any play group you can’t put these in.

[draft]Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Sensei’s Divining Top[/draft]

What all this means is that I enjoy playing competitive decks, and this is fine until I play them in an environment with a lot less competitive players. What I’ve learn from this is that I really just want a deck that is both competitive and fair. I decided that the Omnath deck was definitely a step in the right direction, and that avoiding blue cards helped kept me away from uninteractive situations and degeneracy.

After a lot of thought I decided to go with a deck that I’d been planning on building since the spoilers for Battle for Zendikar. My Omnath deck was getting a very angry update.

[draft]Omnath, Locus of Rage[/draft]

Being green and red I knew that there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for making something degenerate and oppressive instead it would be a ‘fair’ deck in that sense that I would play creatures and hit things instead of just combo’ing off in one turn.

 

Omnath, Locus of Rage

Creatures

[deck]Omnath, Locus of Rage
Elvish Mystic
Birds of Paradise
Llanowar Elves
Dragonmaster Outcast
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Abzan Beastmaster
Yisan, the Wanderer Bard
Farhaven Elf
Burnished Hart
Reclamation Sage
Wood Elves
Courser of Kruphix
Drumhunter
Oracle of Mul Daya
Spellbreaker Behemoth
Purphoros, God of the Forge
Caterwauling Boggart
Nylea, God of the Hunt
Xenagos, God of Revels
Acidic Slime
Wurmcoil Engine
Soul of the Harvest
Rampaging Baloths
Steel Hellkite
Dragonlord Atarka
Balefire Dragon
Giant Adephage
Avenger of Zendikar
Scourge of Kher Ridges
Terastodon
Craterhoof Behemoth
Genesis Hydra[/deck]

Instants and Sorceries

[deck]Hull Breach
Mizzium Mortars
Rampant Growth
Krosan Grip
Beast Within
Kodama’s Reach
Cultivate
Slice in Twain
Explosive Vegetation
Reap and Sow
Harmonize
See the Unwritten
Nissa’s Renewal
Rolling Thunder
Green Sun’s Zenith
Genesis Wave
Animist’s Awakening[/deck]

Artifacts

[deck]Sol Ring
Wayfarer’s Bauble
Journeyer’s Kite
Sword of the Animist
Sword of Feast and Famine
Birthing Pod[/deck]

Enchantments

[deck]Fires of Yavimaya
Warstorm Surge[/deck]

Planeswalkers

[deck]Domri Rade
Nissa, Worldwaker[/deck]

Land

[deck]8 Mountain
19 Forest
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Blighted Woodland
Myriad Landscape
Evolving Wilds
Terramorphic Expanse
Kessig Wolf Run
Temple of the False God
Stomping Ground
Taiga
Gruul Guildgate
Rugged Highlands
Temple of Abandon[/deck]

I decided that I wanted to focus a lot on ramp and landfall so I made it a running theme whilst trying to avoid the landfall cards that will get you too far ahead such as [card]Lotus Cobra[/card].

I made this deck as a competitive but fair deck. This means that I cut a lot of what Commander players like to call ”degenerate” cards, these are cards that 9 out of 10 times, win games as soon as they are played. A good example in these colours is [card]Tooth and Nail[/card], this card lets you search for and play two creatures from your library or hand. A small price to play to put [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card] into play. Another example would be [card]Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger[/card], a creature that messes with your opponents mana.

I separate what I consider to be degenerate cards into four categories:

  1. Cheap and efficient tutors
  2. Infinite combos
  3. Extra turns
  4. Board-wide land destruction

As a general rule when making a deck that you want to be fair for everyone at the table, I would try to limit myself to only one of the four above. So for example my [card]Omnath, Locus of Mana[/card] deck has a copy of [card]Tooth and Nail[/card] that can find and play [card]Craterhoof Behemoth[/card] from anywhere in your deck whilst [card]Zedruu the Greathearted[/card] has both [card]Armageddon[/card] and [card]Decree of Annihilation[/card] which will almost always cause the game to drag on unnecessarily and to the point where everyone just concedes (unfun!).

As you can see from the lists I decided to make my new [card]Omnath, Locus of Rage[/card] deck whilst avoiding these as much as possible. I followed my own rule, only including one tutor in the whole deck ([card]Green Sun’s Zenith[/card]) and none of the other categories that people I know will consider to be degenerate.

This whole article boils down to what I said at the beginning, that ”fun is relative”. What you enjoy probably won’t be the same as the person sitting next to you. Try to gauge the power level of your playgroup and change your deck to fit that level. If they’re playing [card]Show and Tell[/card] on turn 3 to put [card]Omniscience[/card] into play then sure, [card]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/card] fits in. On the other hand if your play group is playing [card]Ramirez Depietro[/card] as their commander or they’re playing [card]Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded[/card] then you should think about swapping that Jace out for [card]Jace, the Living Guildpact[/card].

At the end of the day everyone plays casual Magic formats to have fun, whether it’s with a Spikey [card]Deveri, Empyrial Tactician[/card] deck that plays one (or multiple) long solitaire-like turns or a Timmy [card]Surrak Dragonclaw[/card] list that plays beefy 5/5’s and tries to beat you up.

Thanks for reading,

Paul Palmer

Win 36 x Oath of the Gatewatch Booster Packs!

Win 36 x Oath of the Gatewatch Booster Packs!

How to win:

1. Simply leave a comment (e.g. a review, combo suggestion, how you plan to use the card/product) using the the Facebook comments box on ANY Oath of the Gatewatch card or product on our website.
2. We will then pick a comment that stands out the most and that person will win a Oath of the Gatewatch booster pack.
3. We will do this 36 times, and the same person can win up to 36 x booster packs.

  • Winners will be picked from between now and 15/01/16, and all the winners will be announced on 16/01/16.
  • We will announce who the winners are on our Facebook account, so please make sure that you are following us on Facebook.

Check out all our free competitions and giveaways here.

Get involved, useful UK Magic The Gathering Facebook Groups & Forums here.

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