Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Deck Updates

Since I have already had one person ask to see what updates I made to my Rafiq deck, I'll go ahead and do a quick rundown on each of the four rebuilds. Unfortunately, the Rafiq deck is the one that probably changed the least, as it's the oldest deck in my stable, and has been tuned to near-perfection (at least for my relatively casual, laid-back playgroup - it's shown a few weaknesses in cutthroat groups, but I'm less interested in playing with those sorts of folks).

So, anyway, on to the decks.

Rafiq of the Many

Probably the biggest change to the deck, and it's not much really, is the presence of all three Planeswalkers: Elspeth Knight Errant, Garruk Wildspeaker, and Jace the Mind Sculptor. The significance is that, while all three of those have been rotated in and out of Rafiq in the past, this is the first time I fit all three in at once. Jace is actually kinda "meh" in this deck, but still good. His Brainstorm ability is good for tucking Eldrazi Conscription back into the library - much like the Standard Sovereigns/Conscription decks, drawin the 8 mana enchantment is definitely sub-optimal. Garruk replaces Skyshroud Claim as he can act like a Skyshroud Claim when needed, but he can also be an Overrun... it's like having Skyshroud Claim and Overrun in the same slot. Elspeth is just really damn good paired with Rafiq.

The other notable cards making their comback are Decree of Justice and Umezawa's Jitte. Decree got replaced at some point when Thraximundar started showing up at our table less and less often and I cut it for something new and exciting, but I forget what it was... well, now there are TWO people in my group rocking the Thrax, so Decree came back to help out! Umezawa's Jitte got cut when I added some Infect cards - it was a trade, you see: my group hated the Jitte and they hate Infect, so I didn't want to put too many cards they hate into the deck. But the overall powerlevel of the newer players in the group has risen considereably since the Commander set release, and their decks are getting stronger and better. They've shown that they can handle the Infect cards, so adding Jitte back in isn't likely to turn my deck into a monster.

Three cards making their debut in Rafiq are: Cryptic Command, Swiftfoot Boots, and Hydra Omnivore!

Cryptic is just the one counterspell that seems almost tailor-made for Rafiq. The ability to tap all creatures my opponents control is the one we're most interested in. Getting to counter something once in a while is just nice too. I'm still not a fan of countermagic in EDH at all, but I'm not the one who broke that little truce. Still, it just fit the deck's goals too well to pass up this time.

Swiftfoot Boots is just Lightning Greaves that lets me still put other Equipment or Auras on Rafiq. I can think of at least a few times I've had the win on the table, if only I could just play the Shield of the Oversoul sitting in my hand and get in for lethal General Damage... but alas Rafiq was all shrouded-up with Greaves. Don't get me wrong, Lightning Greaves is one of the best peices of Equipment in the format, but sometimes Hexproof just flat out trumps Shroud and the 1 extra mana to Equip is a small price to pay.

Finally, Hydra Omnivore. One of the coolest new cards from the Commander series, Om-Nom-Nom Hydra is a cute way to punish those uber-defensive players who like to turtle up behind Walls and other defenses. You can attack the weakest person on the board and still be whittling away at the life of the strongest opponent! But doing this 8 points at a time is just not BIG enough for EDH, so let's see what Exalted and Doublestrike do for the Hydra. How friggin cool is it to attack THE WHOLE TABLE for 18, with ONE CREATURE!

Wrexial, the Risen Deep

This list was pretty damn tight, but I managed to make room for a few things:

Sword of Body and Mind - Easily the worst "Sword of Stuff and Junk" in the cycle, for EDH purposes. Still with the popularity of Riku, Edric and Damia in my group, Pro-G and Pro-U aren't as irrelevant as they once were. Also, while "mill" is pretty weak in EDH overall, for a deck that's entire game is built on exploiting my opponent's graveyards, "mill 10" reads almost like "draw 10" in this deck. Tell me: if they'd printed one of the Swords with the ability "draw 10 cards" would you play it? Yeah, that's what I thought.

Mindcrank - No, I didn't put Bloodchief Ascension in - that's a cheeseball combo, not really any less lame than the way over-done Niv-Mizzet + Curiosity combo. But Mindcrank seems just too damn fun in Multiplayer. The great thing is that it doesn't matter if I do any damage at all. I just have to drop it and sit back, and as long as any of my opponents are taking damage from somewhere, Mindcrank will do its thing.

Swiftfoot Boots - prepare to see this becoming nearly as ubiquitous as Lighning Greaves. I was skeptical about how much the 1 mana to Equip would actually hinder this cards performance, but so far it's been almost insignificant.

Keiga, the Tide Star - This should have been in here from the start, but oops, my only copies were in other decks so it got overlooked and forgotten! See, THIS is a perfect example of why it's useful to just completely take every deck apart and rebuild... you find things like this that never should have been overlooked!

Dimir Cutpurse - It's pretty "meh" but mechanically, it fits the theme of what the deck is trying to do. And I got one in the Ajani vs Bolas Duel Decks so I just wanted to run it in something. I cut Jace's Archivist for this, and so far I'm not sure which is the "correct" card for the deck, but time will tell.

Ghave, Guru of Spores

Mikaeus, the Lunarch - Um... duh. This one is kind of a no-brainer. Haven't drawn him yet, but I have no doubt he'll perform when the time comes

Ant Queen - Seems on-theme and good enough. Just another of many ways to break Ghave's parity.

Butcher of Malakir - In my quest to have every "Grave Pact" effect in the game in the deck, I somehow overlooked this one. Well, that's been rectified.

Diabolic Intent - Basically, it's Demonic Tutor in this deck. You'll basically always have a spare 1/1 token around to sac, and with things like Grave Pact, Butcher of Malakir, Fecundity and Cauldron of Souls in the deck, sac-ing a creature often turns out to be more of a benefit than a drawback.

Phyrexian Rebirth - The deck needed another Wrath effect. Sometimes Grave Pact doesn't appear in time, or get's blown up. Ghave rarely needs to sweep the board, but that doesn't mean he NEVER needs to. With the shit-ton of creatures this deck always has in play, the Horror token should easily be 10/10 or bigger 90% of the time.

Congregation - Got removed from the Kaalia deck, but never made it's way into this one. I'm not sure the deck really NEEDS a dedicated life-gain spell, but this is clearly the best possible choice if it does.

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer

Batterskull - Traded for one, seems like the best possible deck to put it in, no?

Scroll Rack + Land Tax - The deck needed more card draw, more ramp/fixing and more Artifacts for Metalcraft. The Scroll Rack/Land Tax combo fulfills all these needs and when you get both on the board, you can generate some serious card advantage. The one problem with Land Tax was always having more lands than you needed... well, Scroll Rack fixes that problem nicely. Scroll Rack's problem was that once you ran out of cards it was useless... enter Land Tax! OH GOD THE SYNERGY! MMMM SO GOOD!

Master's Call - Probably a sub-par choice overall, but I really wanted a way to get Instant-speed Metalcraft for those surprise attacks. It's also a last-ditch Sunforger Target if you just really need a couple of dudes.

Sword of Body and Mind - Again, it's not the best Sword by far, but since my group has been playing the shit out of Edric, Damia and Riku I thought it might be a wise investment. Like they say, it's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Well, that's pretty much it. I warned you that these decks didn't change much.


  1. I like the debut cards for your Rafiq. Swiftfoot Boots may actually prove to be better than the greaves as you say. It may not seem so at first glance but time will tell.

    Also Cryptic Command and Hydra Omnivore are awesome ideas, I wish I had thought of putting them in my Rafiq.

    The "Spike" in me wants to copy your ideas and put them to the test, but the "Johnny" side of me hates that I'm getting ideas from someone else and feels like I'm not being creative enough lol.

    Very conflicting emotions... >.< *shrug*

  2. For what it's worth, I think there's no harm in borrowing a few ideas. Otherwise what would be the point of having a blog or a forum in the first place?

    Let's face it: you have a 100-card singleton deck so if a few cards in your deck were suggested by someone else, it hardly makes you a "net-deck-er".

    So feel free to life some ideas if they strike you as good or fun - just don't forget to add your own unique touches to the deck!