Sunday, November 3, 2013

C13 Card Swaps

Before I dig in and really start changing the new Commander decks, I thought I'd try to make some improvements without dipping into my own card pool, by just swapping some of the cards in the decks around, from one deck to another. And I won't be using on deck as a dumping ground for the bad cards - all the trades will have to make sense for both decks.

One of the things I was inspired by was the card Surveyor's Scope. This is a cute little ramp Artifact that is in the Bant deck. Which, if you read my previous article, you'll see that of all 5 decks, the Bant deck is the only one where I do NOT cite "lack of ramp" as being a major flaw of that deck. The Band deck has the MOST ramp, with three other mana rocks besides Sol Ring, and Pilgrims Eye, and whatever else I'm overlooking, yet the other 4 decks all need ramp FAR more badly than this one.

So I decided to move the scope over to Oloro. Why? Because it's an Artifact, and Oloro has a bit of an Artifact theme. More importantly it's the one deck that can potentially make use of the Scope multiple times with a few cards that recur Artifacts.

Now that you can see where I'm coming from with this little project, let's get to work:

Swap #1 - Surveyor's Scope (Derevi) for Kongming, Sleeping Dragon (Oloro)
As stated above, Derevi needs the Scope the absolute least out of all 5 decks, while Oloro is best positioned to make good use of it. Meanwhile, putting Kongming into a deck that not only lacks a high creature count, and is most likely to cast sweepers doesn't make any sense. Derevi's average creature size is quite small, and it has a lot of creatures, so it will get infinitely more mileage out of Kongming's "anthem" effect.

Swap #2 - Mystic Barrier (Marath) for Serene Master (Oloro)
Serene Master was overwhelmingly a dud in Oloro, while Gahiji might make him at least able to attack once in a while. Meanwhile Oloro will get more use out of Mystic Barrier's pillow fort protection than the more aggressive Marath.

Swap #3 - Grazing Gladehart (Marath) for Farhaven Elf (Derevi)
Again, Derevi is hogging all the ramp, and while I don't want to take all of it's toys away, Marath is another deck that needs it more. Gladehart isn't a card I'd be excited to play in any of the decks, but it's a cheap body and the 2/2 stats make it a slightly better attacker than the 1/1 Elf.

Swap #4 - True Name Nemesis (Jeleva) for Djinn of Infinite Deceits (Derevi)
The Merfolk makes vastly more sense in the Derevi deck, while the Djinn doesn't really play all that well anywhere, but still feels most at home in the slightly chaotic Grixis deck. Jeleva's deck seems slower, and thus better poised to actually want to utilize the ability of the djinn, while Derevi is never going to want to spend 6 mana on a two-power creature.

Swap #5 - Nevinyrral's Disk (Oloro) for Tempt with Reflections (Jeleva)
Notice how Tempt with Reflections says "target creature you control", then notice how the Grixis deck has by far the fewest creatures, and especially few worth copying. Then notice how the Oloro deck basically never wants to activate it's own Disk because it almost always has the most Artifacts, and has quite a few Enchantments too. Now this swap should make sense.

Swap #6 - Vile Requiem (Prossh) for Phyrexian Gargantuan (Oloro)
Oloro has enough card draw already, while Prossh could use a bit of help. Vile Requiem is a slow, deliberate card, but Prossh is not that patient. The Esper deck seems much more capable of playing the long game while waiting for the Requiem to amass counters.

Swap #7 - Wayfarer's Bauble (Jeleva) for Widespread Panic (Prossh)
Prossh needs more ramp, but Widespread Panic slightly hoses ramp. Meanwhile Jeleva didn't need the ramp quite as much (cheaper general; lots of card draw), and has some neat synergy with Widespread Panic. The swap makes tons of sense in both directions.

Swap #8 - Witch Hunt (Marath) for Starstorm (Jeleva)
Witch Hunt makes more sense with Nekusar than Jeleva, but it's still at least a little closer to fitting in her. Also, X-spells don't quite jell with Jeleva's ability.

Swap #9 - Spine of Ish Sah (Prossh) for Pilgrim's Eye (Derevi)
This is the first part of a two-part trade, so bear with me. Prossh needs more ramp/fixing, and Derevi needs something else from Oloro...

Swap #10 - Spine of Ish Sah (Derevi) for Deep Analysis (Oloro)
Derevi needed the draw way more than the ramp, and Oloro likes artifacts. So with the last two trades, Prossh got another mana-searcher, Derevi got a draw spell, and Oloro got a cool new Artifact.

I couldn't find anything to swap between Prossh and Marath, oddly. They both have the same weaknesses - needing more ramp and ways to draw cards. But beyond their flaws, they don't have that much in common. Marath really wants a Fires of Yavimaya, but Prossh isn't willing to give that up, at least not for anything Marath has to offer him...

Feel free to suggest more swaps in the comments.


  1. You're my favorite MTG commentator, keep em coming. However, I would veto #4 - flickering the djinn after swapping is about as good as that card gets

    1. Thanks for the compliment! Got some stuff planned, but life getting in the way again... hopefully soon.

      As for your veto, I can see your point. However, I made that swap because my Derevi build is going in a much different direction. It's going to be more like an Edric deck with a very low curve with quick, aggressive creatures. I don't want a bunch of big, clunky six-drops, but if I was going with a slower, more top-heavy build the Djinn would be much more appropriate.