Okay, so after my period of indecision and inability to pull the trigger on any of my numerous deckbuilding ideas, I had a fairly productive weekend. I now have a total of 5 EDH decks assembled, though four of those are simply rebuilds of decks recently deconstructed.
Still, it was helpful, in many ways, to re-assemble a previous deck from scratch. Sure, in the end, many of the cards wound up being the same, but for all of them I managed to squeeze in a few new cards, and cut a few that had proven highly playable, but played-out.
No, Rite of Replication wasn't one of them, though. I simply can't get bored with that card!
Anyway, here's a quick rundown on the current roster:
1. Rafiq of the Many - Hastily reassembled on a whim after I acquired the From the Vaults: Legends set, which of course contained the foil, alt-art Rafiq. Even though I think Wayne Reynolds is a stellar artist, his rendition of Rafiq doesn't quite measure up to Michael Komark's original art. But, a foil General is just TOO delicious to pass on, especially when it's Rafiq of the Many. Rafiq is easily one of the best generals in the game, and the deck is just so much fun to play.
2. Jor Kadeen - I'm not 100% sure, but this one might be my most expensive deck, simply by virtue of the exhorbitant cost of the Swords of Stuff and Junk that make the deck run. Stoneforge Mystic, Batterskull and a few similar bombs also jack the pricetag up, but I got the Batterskull this weekend for a song, and really, there are few things in Magic as fun and satisfying as slapping some Equipment onto a guy and storming the red zone.
3. Wrexial, the Risen Deep - The last two were pretty much straight Aggro, but on the Control side of the equation, we have the like of Wrexial. Blue/Black is pretty much THE definitive color pairing for a dedicated control strategy. Blue/White was once the gold standard, but with the printing of Damnation and a fairly good selection of other Damnation variants, plus Black's discard and spot removal, UB is just the best combination you could ask for if your goal is to not let anyone else do much of anything. And the best part about Wrexial is that we don't have to agonize over the right mix of Answers vs Win Conditions... just load up on answers and let your opponents provided you with your win conditions via their own fallen champions.
4. Ghave, Guru of Spores - Sort of the sleeper hit of the Commander series, the Counterpunch precon ironically packs the least "punch"... at least on paper. No Edric, no Chaos Warp, no Martyr's Bonds... And Karador, while a great card in his own right, just felt far too similar to Teneb to make much of a difference. Some people will prefer Karador, some will prefer Teneb, but at the end of the day they're pretty damn interchangeable. Ghave, however, is a whole different beast. He's far more unassuming at first glance than, say, Animar or Mimeoplasm. Those sorts of creatures just scream their intentions and their power is obvious to all - when Damia hits the board you know that you need to kill her ASAP or be buried in a slow avalanche of card advantage. But Ghave, when you first see him, seems cool and flavorful but not particularly scary. Oh, sure, even a newb can immediately peice together that he's broken with Doubling Season in play, but on his own, you wouldn't expect him to just take over a game. But I've been playing with and against Ghave long enough now that I'm not fooled by first impressions anymore. Folks, now when I'm at a table with an opposing Ghave player, I watch that player's mana. When the Ghave player hits 5 mana, if he makes ANY play other than casting Ghave, I don't care WHAT he does, I am breathing a sigh of relief.
And now we come to the new kid on the block:
Garza Zol, Plague Queen
Since Innistrad spoilers started I've been excited at the prospect of building a UBR Vampire Tribal EDH where the Blue and Red weren't just there as an excuse to play a few off-color spells like Slave to Bolas and Rite of Replication. That, and, I hate monocolor decks.
Well, I just couldn't wait for Innistrad to drop. I had to get the deck sleeved up right away. I knew I'd have to include a healthy dose of bad Vampires just to make the tribal theme come through. I wasn't forced to resorting to playing the dregs - no Barony Vampire, at least. But Vein Drinker? Vampiric Dragon? Yeah, those are pretty awful, really. Still, I was okay with this: It'd be fun to play a deck that make some concessions to power-level for the sake of theme and flavor. Playing with bad cards can be fun, after all, if done right.
And apparently I did something right, because the deck, even in it's raw, unfinished, untuned, underpowered state, it was a fucking BLAST to play. I actually won one game with it, and the game I eventually lost was one of the most epic, back-and-forth battles I've ever fought. Any fool can win with Consecrated Sphinxes and Primeval Titans... winning (or even coming really close to winning) with utter chaff like Kalitas, Bloodcheif of Ghet, Sengir Nosferatu, or Blood Tyrant (ok, he's actually pretty good in multiplayer) is just hilariously good fun.
As it stands now, Garza Zol commands what is arguably my worst EDH deck to date, at least in that it contains the highest number of cards that I just really shouldn't be playing. Time will tell if it actually is better than it looks, or if I just got amazingly lucky with it those first few games, but I have high hopes for the deck to really stand out as a powerhouse despite my intentionally trying to cut powerful cards in favor of on-theme choices. I will make a concious effort to keep the "good stuff" inclusions to a minimum, though stuff like Rite of Replication just HAS to be there to make the deck have a chance.
So now the inevitable question is: "Where are the decklists?" Well, for the first four decks, they're rehashed builds of lists I've already posted here, some more than once, and all of them have had posts detailing my most recent builds. The new decks all vary to some degree, but none are different enough to make posting another stupid list of the same deck worth my typing OR your reading. If you really want to know what I did differently to a specific deck, just drop me a comment and I'll do a quick post just to touch on the new tech.
Garza Zol will definitely be getting full list and write-up at some point, but there's still some minor tweaking and tuning to be done even before Innistrad drops, but I really don't want to post the list until after the new set comes out, because in my mind the deck will never be more than a work-in-progress until that time. Plus, I haven't played it enough yet to know if it's even as good as it seems right now, because it may all have been a fluke that it performed well at all in those two games. Like most artists, I don't like anyone to see my works until I feel they are complete and ready for viewing, so when the deck gets to where it feels "done" I'll share.