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Commander Chop Shop - Diaochan Will Smite You!

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I hope that last week I was able to clarify some of the questions about prices in my articles. Also, notice that I do reply in the comments, and I try to keep on top of things! If you have a comment or question, please feel free to post! I love to hear opinions and the cards that might have snuck by me. Heck, some of you have similar decks that are labors of love, and I like to hear about those, too.

This week’s deck comes to us from Kayla Emerson. Kayla brings a mono-Red deck that was once captained by Fumiko the Lowblood but has now fallen under the stewardship of Godo, Bandit Warlord. Kayla mentioned in passing that she had a theme of female Commanders, and that sparked an idea. For a while now, I have been working on a Diaochan, Artful Beauty deck. I love the concept of putting Lightning Greaves or Swiftfoot Boots on Diaochan and making a player select a creature other than mine. Lucky for me, there’s a good amount of overlap already! Not only that, Diaochan would renew the female Commander theme.

But let’s look at our starting list for this week:

[cardlist]

[Commander]

1 Godo, Bandit Warlord

[/Commander]

[Creatures]

1 Anger

1 Flametongue Kavu

1 Goblin Sharpshooter

1 Goblin Welder

1 Hellkite Charger

1 Magus of the Moon

1 Manic Vandal

1 Ronin Cliffrider

1 Shivan Hellkite

1 Taurean Mauler

1 Viashino Heretic

1 Vulshok Battlemaster

1 Yuki-Onna

1 Duplicant

1 Iron Myr

1 Pilgrim's Eye

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Steel Hellkite

1 Sundering Titan

1 Urabrask the Hidden

[/Creatures]

[Instants]

1 Fissure

1 Savage Beating

1 Starstorm

[/Instants]

[Sorceries]

1 Fury of the Horde

1 Relentless Assault

1 Ruination

1 Seize the Day

[/Sorceries]

[Enchantments]

1 Aggravated Assault

1 Blood Moon

1 Fervor

1 Gratuitous Violence

1 Price of Glory

1 Rage Reflection

[/Enchantments]

[Artifacts]

1 Argentum Armor

1 Armillary Sphere

1 Basilisk Collar

1 Caged Sun

1 Champion's Helm

1 Crystal Ball

1 Darksteel Plate

1 Erratic Portal

1 Everflowing Chalice

1 Extraplanar Lens

1 Gauntlet of Power

1 Gorgon Flail

1 Grafted Exoskeleton

1 Grafted Wargear

1 Kitesail

1 Lightning Greaves

1 Memory Jar

1 Mind Stone

1 Mind's Eye

1 Quietus Spike

1 Sensei's Divining Top

1 Sol Ring

1 Strata Scythe

1 Swiftfoot Boots

1 Sword of Vengeance

1 Thran Dynamo

1 Mindslaver

1 Tenza, Godo's Maul

1 Umezawa's Jitte

[/Artifacts]

[Lands]

35 Mountain

1 Valakut, The Molten Pinnacle

1 Kher Keep

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

There are a lot of fantastic staples here and otherwise high-end cards! Even better, Kayla has given me a budget of $70, higher than any other I’ve worked with, which is great. This means we can be a bit bolder with our choices, and in fact, we will make the highest single-card purchase in the (albeit brief) series history.

Here are the cards I’ve cut:

The first place I make cuts is usually the creatures section. This is slightly different, though, in that there were very few creatures to be cut. Ronin Cliffrider is a little costly for his ability, and unfortunately doesn’t kill quite enough creatures to warrant his cost. Iron Myr is a bit similar. We have ample acceleration pieces without the more fragile Myr. Pilgrim's Eye is a card I was on the fence about, but ultimately decided to cut. There are a few more effective ways of hitting land-drops, and those are not making the final list.

In the wake of the removals above, we’re doing a little shifting. Godo is moving to the main deck, as he’s still quite an effective tutor for equipment and other baubles for Diaochan. Taking her rightful place at the head of the table is Diaochan! If we can give her some type of Shroud or Hexproof, she is a great continuous double creature Vindicate. Even better, we want to have her be our only creature and get pure advantage.

As far as instants go, Fissure is a little weak for our tastes. There are better ways to destroy problematic lands. The fact that it can be spot removal for a Commander is a definite bonus, but not quite worth the slot, in my opinion. In its place, we add a slew of very strong instants, starting with Chaos Warp. Chaos Warp removes anything we want, especially enchantments. It’s rare to have spot removal for enchantments, and this might be our only option. Don’t forget we can even warp one of our own permanents if it’s going to be destroyed! Plus, there’s nothing quite as fun as shuffling an opponent’s Commander into his library. Another fun duo that join the instants is Reiterate and Fork. Copying a player’s most effective spell is a strong way to keep him in check, and with the number of Regrowth effects in the format, it’s rare not to get strong value from a Fork. There is a big statement to be made for free Demonic Tutors! Since we need a way to actually damage people, we can add a few direct-damage spells in the form of Comet Storm (Hooray, doming everyone!) and Price of Progress. As a monocolored deck, it’s important to pack some hate for those nonbasic-heavy decks. Price of Progress can easily deal a player 20 damage if he’s not careful, providing great late-game reach.

The next two cards I cut because they don’t quite go with our new theme. Rage Reflection gives creatures Double Strike, but we just don’t have the bodies. None of our creatures are particularly fearsome on their own. If equipped, there could be a monstrous effect, but it’s a little dicey. Fervor has a similar issue. It is nice to have Diaochan get Haste, but that’s about it. The rest of my creatures are mostly fine waiting to attack the next turn, and if not, I do have a fair number of equipments that grant haste with benefits.

In order to really amp up the card advantage, we’re adding a whole squad of planeswalkers. All three incarnations of Chandra make an appearance, as does Koth of the Hammer! Each soaks up damage from players who love nothing more than to “keep them in check,” while simultaneously pinging opponents, owning creatures, or—if you’re Chandra, the FirebrandForking just about anything awesome you can pitch your opponent’s way. Forget it if Koth goes ultimate; you’re practically invincible from creature assaults!

When we get to the equipment section, we now have considerably more leeway. Since our Commander is no longer a pseudo–Stoneforge Mystic, some of the more situational equipment is going to be removed. In its place, we pick up mass removal (Oblivion Stone, Nevinyrral's Disk). Granted, we rarely want to destroy our permanents, but in a pinch, these cards are powerful and will get the job done. Even better, we get some heavy-duty theft with Insurrection. Truthfully, Insurrection is the reason I left most of the untap and additional combat effects in the deck. With the amount of mana-doubling we have, I think there’s certainly a big late-game swing here.

Let’s look at our additions (and their prices!).

Diaochan, Artful Beauty $19.00 Koth of the Hammer $13.00
Chandra, the Firebrand $8.50 Chaos Warp $5.50
Gamble $4.75 Fork $4.50
Nevinyrral's Disk $3.50 Chandra Ablaze $3.00
Oblivion Stone $2.25 Price of Progress $2.00
Chandra Nalaar $1.75 Comet Storm $0.50
Insurrection $0.50 Reiterate $0.50
Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep $0.50 Trash for Treasure $0.25
Total $70.00

We spent literally every penny! I love the way this deck plays, and in fact have constructed it to play with. Casting big, splashy spells is so much fun that I am now working on a similar mono-Green list. As an added note, if you can find it, Gauntlet of Might is a very strong addition and makes those bomb effects all the more potent. I also might find a place for Buried Ruin to recur some of those more key artifacts, particularly Mindslaver (I love me some Mindslaver!)

And here is the final list:

[cardlist]

[Commander]

1 Diaochan, Artful Beauty

[/Commander]

[Creatures]

1 Anger

1 Flametongue Kavu

1 Goblin Sharpshooter

1 Goblin Welder

1 Hellkite Charger

1 Magus of the Moon

1 Manic Vandal

1 Shivan Hellkite

1 Taurean Mauler

1 Viashino Heretic

1 Vulshok Battlemaster

1 Yuki-Onna

1 Duplicant

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Steel Hellkite

1 Sundering Titan

1 Godo, Bandit Warlord

1 Urabrask the Hidden

[/Creatures]

[Planeswalkers]

1 Chandra Ablaze

1 Chandra Nalaar

1 Chandra, the Firebrand

1 Koth of the Hammer

[/Planeswalkers]

[Instants]

1 Chaos Warp

1 Comet Storm

1 Fork

1 Price of Progress

1 Reiterate

1 Savage Beating

1 Starstorm

[/Instants]

[Sorceries]

1 Fury of the Horde

1 Gamble

1 Insurrection

1 Relentless Assault

1 Ruination

1 Seize the Day

1 Trash for Treasure

[/Sorceries]

[Enchantments]

1 Aggravated Assault

1 Blood Moon

1 Gratuitous Violence

1 Price of Glory

[/Enchantments]

[Artifacts]

1 Argentum Armor

1 Basilisk Collar

1 Caged Sun

1 Champion's Helm

1 Crystal Ball

1 Everflowing Chalice

1 Extraplanar Lens

1 Gauntlet of Power

1 Lightning Greaves

1 Memory Jar

1 Mind Stone

1 Mind's Eye

1 Nevinyrral's Disk

1 Oblivion Stone

1 Quietus Spike

1 Sensei's Divining Top

1 Sol Ring

1 Strata Scythe

1 Swiftfoot Boots

1 Thran Dynamo

1 Mindslaver

1 Umezawa's Jitte

[/Artifacts]

[Lands]

34 Mountain

1 Valakut, The Molten Pinnacle

1 Kher Keep

1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep

[/Lands]

[/cardlist]

Join me next week, when we look at a deck brought to us all the way from Poland by a high-level judge! I can’t wait to get to work on what promises to be one of the most fun decks of the season. Until then, please keep the submissions coming; there’s nothing I like more than reading about your awesome lists. Each week, it’s harder to select a new deck!

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