Old Worlds News

Posted in Command Tower on July 10, 2014

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.

I like lists. Organizing and sharing information with lists may be so frequent its banal, but I find myself drawn to them for everything:

  • Rows of data in a spreadsheet list out my financial transactions, making it easy to see where things stand
  • The cascade of tasks I set out to do, regularly adding more to the end than I lopped off the top before day's end
  • Illustrating examples of lists using a list of bullet points in an article that begins by talking about lists

Lists are my go-to approach for making sense of the world, and encapsulating my understanding of it into digestible chunks. For example, when I wanted to see how much I was looking forward to Magic 2015 I made a list of every card I wanted.

I was surprised to find 45 listed.

Aeronaut Tinkerer | Art by Willian Murai

I wasn't kidding, either: 45 cards.

It's an eclectic mix of things for my all-commons Cube and box of Commander goodies, and it'd be far bigger if I was an avid player of Standard and Modern or didn't already have copies of returning cards like Chord of Calling and Raise the Alarm.

While I could gush and explain my interest in all of them, there are five I'm going to summarize in a sentence each:

Aren't lists awesome? I'd like to believe most of you agree with me, since all of last week's feedback came packed with decklists to show off the newest cards, like how John knows exactly where Chief Engineer will go:

R&D hit M15 out of the park! I'm astonished by the amount of awesomeness! Here are my Top 5 picks for Commander:

#5 Resolute Archangel

Resetting to 20 every turn is nice; resetting to 40 is even better! She's an auto-include in my Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter deck, where she'll make the life-for-cards theme almost painless.

#4 Ajani Steadfast

I've long wanted a Planeswalker that boosted other 'walkers. It just seemed like something Planeswalkers should do. I can't wait to activate Ajani's -2 ability!

#3 Soul of New Phyrexia

This card simultaneously frightens and excites me. One-sided board wipes are never fun for those on the receiving end, but players usually have to jump through hoops to enable them. Soul of New Phyrexia gives any and all comers easy, colorless access to one-sided table sweeping. I know I'll be running it in my Gisela, Blade of Goldnight deck for that very reason.

#2 Chasm Skulker

Lorescale Coatl is one of my favorite uncommons, and I can't help wondering if Mike Neumann was inspired by it. As a Mikey fan, I'm predisposed to like his card, but I'd be into this design no matter who created it. I haven't yet decided whether it will replace the Coatl or fight alongside it in my Prime Speaker Zegana Commander deck.

#1 Chief Engineer

I'm an artifact junkie, and "Scotty" (can we please nickname him that?) is the latest addition to a long and venerable line of blue artifact enablers. Arcum Dagsson; Grand Architect; and Muzzio, Visionary Architect would all enjoy talking shop with this fine fellow. There is a spot being prepared for him in my Sydri, Galvanic Genius deck:


John's The Army of Oz

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: Sydri, Galvanic Genius
Enchantment (1)
1 Tempered Steel
99 Cards

I knew I wasn't alone in the love of lists! Chief Engineer is an unusual take on convoke, and it's a method of artifact madness I like a lot more than Mycosynth Golem's. Sydri certainly opens up a lot of action from "Scotty," and I suspect we'll see plenty of Chief Engineer over the next few months.

Michael had a list too, but instead listed two decks he was excited to update:

With what I have seen up to this point I am excited for Sliver Hive, Sliver Hivelord, Life's Legacy, and Master of Predicaments for my two favorite Commander decks, For the Love of Sliver and Copy Mastery. But the latter is by far my favorite. Master of Predicaments's ability to give me a 50/50 chance of casting a spell for free is crazy for this deck, especially because of the amount of chances I have to copy spells in it. And just a quick note I think having Sliver Queen as the commander brings in a lot less aggro from opponents.


Michael's Copy Mastery

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: Riku of Two Reflections
Enchantment (2)
1 Copy Artifact 1 Quicksilver Dagger
99 Cards

Michael's For the Love of Slivers

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: Sliver Queen
Instant (2)
1 Enlightened Tutor 1 Naya Charm
99 Cards

I definitely agree that Sliver Queen is a little less terrifying outright than Sliver Hivelord, but with Hivelord lurking behind the Queen an army of indestructible tokens is even scarier: I've used and been the victim of Eldrazi Monument more times than I can remember. Hivelord can make that redundant.

Andrew cared more specifically about tokens and what Magic 2015 brings to the table for them:

One of my favorite decks is Ulasht, the Hate Seed. The deck aims to pump out a ton of tokens to ensure Ulasht is as big as possible. There are six cards in Magic 2015 (so far) that I'm looking to add. While Restock and Chord of Calling are reprints, I don't have any copies of them. M15 gives me an opportunity to get my hands on multiples, as both are amazing Commander staples.

Genesis Hydra is looking to become another big staple, and I'll be sure to add it to almost all my green decks. Soul of Zendikar is mana intensive, but I think people underestimate how useful an army of 3/3s can be. Feral Incarnation is in a similar vein; my tokens can convoke it early, or I can just ramp into it just fine.

The biggest addition, however, is Hornet Nest. The end-all-be-all of chump blockers, it should literally scare people out of attacking you. In a pinch, I can even send a giant burn spell its way or fire off a Blasphemous Act to get an army of angry tokens. Gruul Ragebeast, Electropotence, and Warstorm Surge also help me send a ton of damage its way if my opponents aren't being very cooperative.


Andrew's Ulasht, the Hate Seed Commander

Download Arena Decklist
COMMANDER: Ulasht, the Hate Seed
Artifact (1)
1 Orochi Hatchery
99 Cards

Fact: I have a foil, Russian copy of Ulasht, the Hate Seed that I haven't built a deck around yet.

Fact: Andrew's deck makes me excited to go try and do so. Where else will Hornet Nest shine so brightly?

Fact: Some of you are much more particular about your Commander cards, like another Andrew and his specific love of one card in the new set:

Of all the cards that are being released in the Magic 2015 release, the only card that stands out as being worthy of play in any of my Commander decks is the enchantment: Aggressive Mining. This one card can cause all sorts of pain on opponents in my Zedruu the Greathearted deck by giving it away to another player and have him or her struggle to deal with no land drops while giving myself an extra draw and lifegain. With Ghostly Prison, Propaganda, and Windborn Muse all causing opponents to have to pay mana to attack you, then reduced land numbers will assist in keeping me alive long enough to get my attackers onto the field.