Monday, August 22, 2011

Commander Updates

So... I posted a series of articles on each of the Commander preconstructed decks that WotC released earlier this year as this summer's multiplayer product. The idea behind the series was to provide a dumping-ground for potential ideas. For all 5 decks I tried to give each list enough possible ideas that no deck could contain every single one. Rather than just posting the list of 100 cards that I chose to use, and potentially leaving out other good ideas that seemed cool but just didn't make the cut, I decided to leave the finished list out of the article and throw out every possible idea I could come up with.

That seemed to work out great but I still had some people asking me to post my finished lists. Well, while that kinda defeated the purpose of the original article, I still wanted to share my own visions at some point down the line... that point being now.

For one thing, this blog is as much an archive for my own reference. I would like for people to read it, and I am happy to have attained a handful of followers, but even in no one ever read this blog I'd still use it as a dump for all my decklists. Or, at least, the ones that were successful enough that I might revisit them later.

Well, the time has come for a "refresh" of all my decks. I've moved recently, and with the move came a complete overhaul of my storage solution for my Magic collection. Now that I've changed how I'm sorting and storing my massive cardboard collection, I need to dismantle all of my decks to get an idea of what all I have and where some gaps in my collection still exist.

My non-Basic land pool is perhaps the single most important subset of Magic cards I own and it is also the subset that I have the least idea about what I  have and what I need... seeing as I have a whopping 9 EDH decks constructed at the moment and a small handful of 60-card decks too, most of my non-Basic lands are in decks. And I've had to swap so many lands between so many decks, I've lost track of what deck is missing which crucial lands...

So, now that we've settled pretty comfortably into our new apartment, and the Magic-storage overhaul is more or less complete, the only thing left to do is deconstruct my decks, sort and organize, find out which various duals and utility lands I need to focus on acquiring and then... rebuild.

A few of the new commander decks I've really enjoyed and one or two have proved less thrilling. A few have been successful while others haven't been quite good enough to get there. At least one has proven to be almost too good. And I still have ideas for other decks I'd like to build. I want to try to use a few of the new two-colored legends like Nin, the Pain Artist or Vish Kal as generals of two-color decks. My Wrexial deck has been good enough and fun enough that I'm no longer racist against two-color decks so I want to explore this archetype some more.

The first deck list I'm going to post will be my Animar, Soul of Elements deck. you have already seen it, but I have made a FEW modifications since the first article and so I'm putting up the final list for posterity's sake. As to why I'm deconstructing this one first... well, I've had my fun with it and it's just time for it to go. Why such a short tenure before retirement?

The answer is two-fold. Against one certain person in my regular group, the deck just performs poorly. This player is both savvy enough to go after Animar at every opportunity and he has the card pool to actually do it. This player has a tendency to pack several Wrath effects into even his most aggro of decks, and simply put, Animar rolls over to Wrath of God. I put in Spearbreaker Behemoth as a foil to Wraths but he's just too slow and unwieldy. I could have used some counterspells to back him up, but that wasn't an appealing idea to me personally - if YOU ever build this deck, I suggest using a few yourself.

So the deck wasn't good enough when THAT player was at the table, but the flip-side to that was, if that player wasn't around, the deck was an unstoppably juggernaut that steamrolled the other two folks I usually play with, because they have a very limited number of Wrath effects and can't afford to run the critical mass of them necessary to stop Animar. Plus, most of their pinpoint removal was, of course, black or white.

So when one player was around I just couldn't play the deck at all, because it didn't stand a chance, and when he wasn't around the other folks in my group hated to see me bring it out because it almost always won by playing a shitload of creatures capping off with 1 to 3 Eldrazi, and more often that not I had Equilibrium out, so I was usually able to play, bounce and recast Ulamog and Kozilek several times each... per turn.

In short it felt almost like a Combo deck. I rarely ever did anything but play utility guys to boost Animar up to where I could start dropping Eldrazi Titans for free. That was honestly a bit unfun for everyone at the table. I personally enjoyed the puzzle-solving aspect of playing the deck - it was a real bitch to learn to pilot correctly and I had to re-learn it every single game, because the key to "solving" the deck depends heavily on playing the right creatures in the right order. But the second I solved the puzzle the game was over, and I'd win every time. It was fun to PLAY the deck, but rarely fun to WIN with it... especially if you were my opponents.

The big problem was that the turn I won on was usually a twenty minute turn consisting of me constantly counting and adding my mana, looking at all my cards and trying to figure out the optimal play. Lemme tell you, when you have 12 creature cards in your hand and you are fairly sure you can play all 12 in one single turn, doing the math three times over to make sure you got it right is fucking CRITICAL to the deck's success. The problem is, it's not fun for my opponents to sit there and watch me solve calculus problems for half an hour then declare "If no one has a counterspell or Instant-speed Wrath I win".

So, I got my rocks off a few times with the deck and had some amazingly epic blow-out wins, but I always felt kinda like a douche afterward, so I decided I'd proven the deck's worth enough that I didn't need to run it into the ground any further. So, my next article will be the Animar list, and following that one, I'll try to post all of my current decklists, except Rafiq cause I just posted that one.

The Wrexial deck is one deck that might not wind up deconstructed... I still haven't won a single 4-way game with it, but it's got something like a 19-2 win record in 1v1, but it's just hella fun to play even when it loses. We'll see...

No comments:

Post a Comment