Feeling This

Posted in Command Tower on January 29, 2015

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

New cards are among the greatest things in Magic. Each set is packed with new ideas to try and themes to explore, and while Draft and Standard get the lion's share of attention I find it's Commander that gets to reach for the horizon next.

Map the Wastes | Art by Volkan Baga

When you can play nearly every card in Magic that's a tall order. But it's true.

All The Small Things

I should clarify: I enjoy jumping into new nooks and crannies every time a set is released. Fate Reforged isn't just full of new choices of commander and legendary creatures, but also lots of little interactions and synergies that I'm itching to try out.


These are just a few the things I'm excited to try out, and I know I'll run out of time before even more sweet ideas flood in. Fortunately, I have all your help in seeing what the new awesome can do. Joseph started off agreeing that Hero's Blade is going to do some serious work:

I am a control player by heart. Control is what I do. Thus said, it may seem odd that the card from Fate Reforged I am most excited for is Hero's Blade. A card beautifully tuned for aggressive Voltron decks gives an extreme boost to decks based around a certain, underappreciated Fae: Wydwen, the Biting Gale.

My Wydwen deck, like most others, plays a draw-go play style, using the commander as a nigh-unkillable win condition. Hero's Blade offers itself as an equip for her for which one will never need to pay the equip cost. It bring her power high enough to kill in four hits and puts her toughness out of the reach of Flame Slash, Mizzium Mortars, and Anger of the Gods. Here is my list for her, featuring this new addition.

Joseph's Wydwen Hates Removal

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: Wydwen, the Biting Gale

I rarely play controlling decks. I want to be attacking, smashing, and seeing what everyone else is doing. In fact, decks that plan to negate everyone else are usually pretty good at keeping my wild swings of awesome contained.

I guess Hero's Blade cuts both ways for me.

Fortunately, decks like Leigh's suit my personal fancy better:

My main targets are Elite Scaleguard, Battlefront Krushok, and Sage-Eye Avengers. The Jenara deck I'm charting relies on using +1/+1 counters not just for immensity, but for card draw, some token generation, and ability conduction (e.g. Tuskguard Captain, Cenn's Tactician)—that last was the germ for the idea to begin with. The first two fall under the "ability conduction" heading, while the Avengers can unsummon a much wider range of critters with just a couple of counters (and counting). The deck also includes some control utility (e.g. Sower of Temptation, Mystic Snake, Absorb).

Leigh's Jenara, Commander of Counters

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: Jenara, Asura of War
Planeswalker (1)
1 Ajani Goldmane
99 Cards

One of the first commanders I gave to a friend to build his own deck with was Jenara, Asura of War. He's tweaked it plenty over the years as I continue to feed him sweet cards and options that he's excited to try, too. Leigh's deck is the kind of eclectic mix of powerful rares and supportive "Limited uncommons" that make playing offbeat decks exciting. I love it.

Of course, there are also obvious applications for new cards, and Erick shared:

I'm most looking forward to getting a foil Crux of Fate or Fearsome Awakening. I just recently built a Karrthus Commander deck and these cards fit the deck perfectly! The basis of my deck is Dragons, so what better board wipe or reanimation spell than those two!? Below is what my deck will look like after Fate Reforged.

Karrthus's Tyrannical Rule by Erick

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund
Artifact (2)
1 Lightning Greaves 1 Sol Ring
99 Cards

There be Dragons! Scion of the Ur-Dragon might be the talk of the Commander town, but Karrthus, Tyrant of Jund is just as impressive as ever with new Dragon tools to use. The bonus triumvirate of versions of Sarkhan are a great hat tip to someone else who worships what Dragons can do on the battlefield.

But Dragons aren't the only thing to make manifest, as Stephen shared:

Fate Reforged is an interesting set. Its design challenges have been shown clearly through the set itself and it's resulted in a lot of interesting cards. Besides the cycle of commanders, I'm most looking forward to making a deck around manifest, especially Ethereal Ambush. Manifest feels like morph done right.

I'm especially excited to add a few new goodies to my The Mimeoplasm deck, named Comedically Massive. The goal of the deck is to fill graveyards, especially mine, and experiment on making creatures more comedically massive than they have any right to be. Like Deranged Assistant or Master Biomancer. The deck will be welcoming Grave Strength, Marang River Prowler, Qarsi High Priest, Sudden Reclamation, and Torrent Elemental to its ranks.

Stephen's Comedically Massive

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: The Mimeoplasm
99 Cards

In an article about experiments this is a deck about experiments. Torrent Elemental and The Mimeoplasm seem like best friends here, as the Elemental can be cast after being exiled by The Mimeoplasm, then end up in the graveyard for the next trip around. Constantly having a flying—and +1/+1-counter enhanced—monster that taps down the opposition is terrifying in its own right, let alone the fearsome combinations that can occur otherwise.

Building your own exploratory badass is exactly what The Mimeoplasm is all about

Stay Together for the Cards

One of the features I've noticed in playing new cards is how often I find they are part of some peanut butter and jelly duo: Take one card and pair it with another, get something even better. While a buzzword like "synergy" comes to mind, it's more that a pair stands out from the rest as something you enjoy putting together.

That leads us to this week's question: What is a pair of cards you just can't help but put together in Commander decks, and why?

  • Feedback via email
  • 300-word limit to explain the cards and reasons
  • Sample decklist or list of cards is requested (does not count against word limit)
  • Decklists should be formatted with one card per line with just a leading number, such as "3 Mountain"—just a space (no "x" or "-") between the number and the card name, without subtotals by card type (Submissions that don't follow this rule will be ignored.)
  • Name and email required (non-personal information to be used in column)

While two-card combos are certainly a thing, we've covered that before in depth. Feel free to send more in, but I'm looking for the adorable duos and pet pairs you love despite empirically more powerful combinations in the abstract. For example, Deadeye Navigator and Wood Elves is my personal favorite chocolate-meets-peanut butter team up: Ripping every Forest out of my deck in a hurry won't win the game on the spot, but it's a powerful turn that supercharges my other plans (like Wolfbriar Elemental).

Powerful, witty, and fun: Find your favorite duo in a deck and let me know! Join us next week when we rip apart the past for a far better future. See you then!

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