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Chop Shop #4 – Possession Is Ten-Tenths of the Law

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Good morning, everyone! Before we dive into this week’s deck, I want to take a second to thank Gavin Verhey. Gavin selected the Teysa deck we worked on as the deck of the week, and even linked directly to the page! Needless to say, I got quite a few more submissions and some fantastic feedback, and I thank Gavin for the awesome boost. That being said, this week, we have a deck that really appeals to the flavor side of Commander.

I find myself often adding the same few cards to my decks because they are undoubtedly the most efficient. This deck aims to break that mold. I’ve selected a rogue deck by a submitter named Boy Donkers (who swears that that is his real name!) Now, when I say rogue, I literally mean . . . Rogue. We want to keep with a theme of either being a Rogue card type or doing what a rogue does . . . which is mostly steal stuff.

I love the flavor of a theme deck, and more important, this brings back fond memories of role-playing from many years ago. Before I go too far down memory lane, let’s look at the list of cards we’re starting with:

[cardlist]

[Commander]

1 Sygg, River Cutthroat

[/Commander]

[Creatures]

1 Auntie's Snitch

1 Boggart Mob

1 Cache Raiders

1 Cairn Wanderer

1 Clone

1 Corrosive Mentor

1 Cryptoplasm

1 Deepchannel Mentor

1 Dunerider Outlaw

1 Earwig Squad

1 Evil Twin

1 Frogtosser Banneret

1 Hada Spy Patrol

1 Infiltrator il-Kor

1 Inkfathom Infiltrator

1 Invisible Stalker

1 Latchkey Faerie

1 Marsh Flitter

1 Master Thief

1 Oona's Blackguard

1 Quicksilver Gargantuan

1 Shapesharer

1 Stinkdrinker Bandit

1 Thieving Sprite

1 Adaptive Automaton

1 Phyrexian Metamorph

1 Sakashima the Impostor

1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor

[/Creatures]

[Instants]

1 Cackling Counterpart

1 Vampiric Tutor

[/Instants]

[Sorceries]

1 Acquire

1 Beseech the Queen

1 Bribery

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Fabricate

1 Plague Wind

1 Rite of Replication

1 Savor the Moment

1 Temporal Extortion

1 Yawgmoth's Will

1 Knowledge Exploitation

1 Morsel Theft

1 Noggin Whack

1 Notorious Throng

1 Warren Weirding

[/Sorceries]

[Enchantments]

1 Back from the Brink

1 Followed Footsteps

1 Grave Pact

1 Intruder Alarm

1 Night Dealings

1 No Mercy

1 Bitterblossom

[/Enchantments]

[Artifacts]

1 AEther Vial

1 Coalition Relic

1 Coat of Arms

1 Dimir Signet

1 Door of Destinies

1 Farsight Mask

1 Sol Ring

1 Soul Foundry

1 Cloak and Dagger

[/Artifacts]

[Lands]

11 Island

12 Swamp

1 Creeping Tar Pit

1 Darkslick Shores

1 Dimir Aqueduct

1 Drowned Catacomb

1 Halimar Depths

1 Howltooth Hollow

1 Jwar Isle Refuge

1 Salt Marsh

1 Secluded Glen

1 Sunken Ruins

1 Underground River

1 Vivid Creek

1 Vivid Marsh

1 Frost Marsh

1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

[/Lands]

As you can see, we’re already got a fair number of cards to start with. We’re mostly going to be doing some tweaking rather than major pruning. In an effort to keep on-theme and maybe take some of you back with me, I decided to bust out the old Thieves’ Handbook and look at some skills. According to TSR, at the time the expert on what a thief should do, there should be elements of: Picking Pockets, Opening Locks, Finding and Removing Traps, Moving Silently, Hiding in Shadows, Detecting Noise, Climbing Walls, and Reading Languages. Clearly the last three don’t apply quite as well . . . but hey, we’ll work with what we’ve got!

Before we can make some additions, there need to be some cuts. First on the chopping block: Aether Vial. Normally a staple of creature decks, Aether Vial actually doesn’t play very well with most of the Rogue and Prowl creatures. Next: Noggin Whack and Thieving Sprite. Targeted discards tends to be a bit weak in multiplayer matches. Granted, Thieving Sprite comes with a body attached, but I still think we can do better.

I hate cutting creatures, but I need to remove Shapesharer and Quicksilver Gargantuan. Don’t get me wrong, they both have their place, but this deck ain’t it! Shapesharer can act as a Wasteland for other Commanders, but I think the spot is better filled with other monsters. The Gargantuan—well, quite frankly, he just costs too much for what he does. The last creature we’re cutting is Invisible Stalker. Invisible Stalker is fine carrying a Sword, but on his own, is just a little underwhelming. As above, I think we can do better.

I like getting value out of cards, but I think Back from the Brink is a bit overrated. I like multiple uses out of my creatures. Even more important, and for the same reason we cut Aether Vial, we do not get the benefit of having cast the creature spell. A similar statement can be made for Farsight Mask. The Mask acts as a sort of a bull’s-eye. Opponents actually take great pride in “letting” you draw a card by doming you for way more damage than you’d like. Remember, we want to hide in the shadows here, not draw extra attention.

Our budget for this week is around $20, which means we are probably going to avoid Underground Sea until another time. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to add our fair share of fun things. The lion’s share of cards that will be added are creatures, so let’s start there.

There are going to be a few new non-Rogue creatures, but only because they’re on-theme! Puppeteer Clique and Sower of Temptation are two Faerie creatures that bring quite a bit to the table. Sower just loves to steal and even convinces creatures to jump sides. Puppeteer Clique has similar benefits, even going so far as to rob a grave. Let’s not forget the lovely exile that happens when done with the creature! Last, Phantasmal Image is a bomb and quite simply a quick Wasteland effect for other Commanders!

The other Rogues who join the army are all utility and fill some big needs. Knacksaw Clique adds a fun and very random, neat element to the match. Even better, it steals something from your opponent (the pickpocketing). Nezumi Graverobber provides some fantastic graveyard-exiling effects and some reanimation to boot—all packaged up with a sweet Rogue finish! The last of the new creatures to be added is Rootwater Thief. The thief is errata’ed to be a rogue and really acts as pseudo-removal since he can exile your opponents’ rough cards before they ever hit the table.

I’ve been championing getting value out of our cards and the need to cast the creatures, but there does need to be some mass-recursion effect. Since the options are slim, I think the way to go is Patriarch's Bidding. Bidding is a little more selective than Living Death and much more so than Twilight's Call. If the creatures survive, we are in great shape for a game-ending alpha strike! As a replacement for Back from the Brink, I really like Mimic Vat. The Vat can let us copy an opponent’s creatures for added benefit! It’s worth noting that we can cast a Clone effect and choose to copy nothing just to get a Clone under the vat.

That takes us right up to our budget! Let’s look at our changes:

Cards to Remove

Cards to Add

1 Sower of Temptation $6.75 1 Phantasmal Image $6.00
1 Patriarch's Bidding $3.50 1 Mimic Vat $1.25
1 Rootwater Thief $1.25 1 Puppeteer Clique $0.75
1 Nezumi Graverobber $0.25 1 Knacksaw Clique $0.15
Total $19.90

And now, the final deck list!

[cardlist]

[Commander]

1 Sygg, River Cutthroat

[/Commander]

[Creatures]

1 Auntie's Snitch

1 Boggart Mob

1 Cache Raiders

1 Cairn Wanderer

1 Clone

1 Corrosive Mentor

1 Cryptoplasm

1 Deepchannel Mentor

1 Dunerider Outlaw

1 Earwig Squad

1 Evil Twin

1 Frogtosser Banneret

1 Hada Spy Patrol

1 Infiltrator il-Kor

1 Inkfathom Infiltrator

1 Knacksaw Clique

1 Latchkey Faerie

1 Marsh Flitter

1 Master Thief

1 Nezumi Graverobber

1 Oona's Blackguard

1 Phantasmal Image

1 Puppeteer Clique

1 Rootwater Thief

1 Sower of Temptation

1 Stinkdrinker Bandit

1 Adaptive Automaton

1 Phyrexian Metamorph

1 Sakashima the Impostor

1 Thada Adel, Acquisitor

[/Creatures]

[Instants]

1 Cackling Counterpart

1 Vampiric Tutor

[/Instants]

[Sorceries]

1 Acquire

1 Beseech the Queen

1 Bribery

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Fabricate

1 Patriarch's Bidding

1 Plague Wind

1 Rite of Replication

1 Savor the Moment

1 Temporal Extortion

1 Yawgmoth's Will

1 Knowledge Exploitation

1 Morsel Theft

1 Notorious Throng

1 Warren Weirding

[/Sorceries]

[Enchantments]

1 Followed Footsteps

1 Grave Pact

1 Intruder Alarm

1 Night Dealings

1 No Mercy

1 Bitterblossom

[/Enchantments]

[Artifacts]

1 Coalition Relic

1 Coat of Arms

1 Dimir Signet

1 Door of Destinies

1 Mimic Vat

1 Sol Ring

1 Soul Foundry

1 Cloak and Dagger

[/Artifacts]

[Lands]

11 Island

12 Swamp

1 Creeping Tar Pit

1 Darkslick Shores

1 Dimir Aqueduct

1 Drowned Catacomb

1 Halimar Depths

1 Howltooth Hollow

1 Jwar Isle Refuge

1 Salt Marsh

1 Secluded Glen

1 Sunken Ruins

1 Underground River

1 Vivid Creek

1 Vivid Marsh

1 Frost Marsh

1 Shizo, Death's Storehouse

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

And that brings our changes to a close! As is usually the case, there were a few other changes you could make for your metagame. Don’t overlook more targeted stealing effects—Confiscate, Control Magic, and so forth can all be very powerful. We can make a similar statement for Vedalken Shackles, and if we had the budget, they would certainly be in here. The last card that might make the cut in some areas is Blatant Thievery. It’s a theft card, but even better it’s a bomby game-changer! Until next time, have fun stealin’ and lootin’!

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