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75% Dargons


I have a confession to make. I’m a closet Dargon lover. During the time I spent as a Spike, I used to tease the players who took the Vorthos aspect of the game a little more seriously than I thought they needed to. “Dargons” was how, in my view, the prototypical Vorthos nerd talked about what was important to them: flavor. I didn’t care if I was riding a Dragon or a Planeswalker or a Unicorn to victory—I just wanted to win games, and sometimes, that took creatures. I never read flavor text, I didn’t know creature subtypes, and I certainly didn’t play casual. But it wasn’t always like that.

Shivan Dragon
I was going through a bunch of boxes trying to organize the chaos and turmoil that comes with buying so many collections that you could stack five-thousand-count boxes to the ceiling in multiple columns. I came across my first notebook. I tracked decks I was tuning, cards I was borrowing, and cards people were borrowing from me, and I wrote down notes from events I played in. The best part was when I flipped the notebook over and saw that, on the plain, brown back, I had sketched Melissa Benson’s Shivan Dragon and filled it in with colored pencil. It was probably the best thing I’ve ever drawn—I’m worthless artistically, and I remember working on it and being happy with how it turned out. If people ask me now what my favorite card is, I snap say, “Birds of Paradise,” but it wasn’t always this way. I used to consider Shivan Dragon my favorite card, and probably not entirely for flying-means-I-connect-more-often-and-firebreathing-means-I-kill-the-opponent-more-quickly reasons. I’m pretty sure I just think Dragons are kickass.

If you think Dragons are kickass, you’ll love Fate Reforged because it is giving us so many new Dragons that we’re going to be like, “Wow, that’s a lot of Dragons,” because we’re adults, and to react more than that could be perceived as hyperbolic.

Fate Reforged is giving us a few cycles of Dragons. If we want to play a Dragon deck in Commander, I think the uncommon cycle has two very good cards for us. The first is Wardscale Dragon. True, opponents can play some sort of removal spell before combat, but in a multiplayer game, they don’t always know whom we’ll be attacking. By the time you’re swinging, it’s too late. Opponents can block with creatures and accept their fates. Those are their options. Well, they can activate abilities of permanents, but it sounds cooler to say they have to take it. Wardscale Dragon is powerful and worth looking at. The other Dragon in the uncommon cycle is Destructor Dragon. The ability to blow up a permanent other than a creature is important in Commander, and being able to tutor for Destructor Dragon could let us do a bad approximation of Acidic Slime (or a good approximation of one, depending on how much you like to attack people with Dragons). It’s not the same on-demand answer as the Slime, but what it does is deter opponents from killing it if they have things worth keeping around.

Scion of the Ur-Dragon
At rare, we have an entire cycle of Dragons, all with abilities that triggers when you attack with a Dragon. It is my intention to play each of these five Dragons in a deck because they all trigger off swinging with Dragons, and that’s what I want to be doing with my life anyhow. Any one of these Dragons would make a fine commander (although a W/U Dragon deck might be light on Dragons), but I want to be greedy and play all of them. This narrows our choice of commanders to just one, obvious call:

Scion of the Ur-Dragon.

Scion goes against one of our principles of 75% deck-building to an extent. When I wrote the article about tutors, I was in favor of face-up tutors because face-down tutors make the other players wait for you to do something, and you do it in secret. I think we decided we could all live with tutoring if it were doing something like casting Worldly Tutor to put a win condition on top and then putting it into play with Mayael the Anima. Tutoring also increases the homogeneity of our gaming experience by letting us pursue the same path to victory each game regardless of the cards we draw.

Ultimately, I think our other founding principle pertaining to narrowing our card pool in order to skew more powerful as long as we stay within a theme will help us from going off our 75% rails. While it’s true that Scion of the Ur-Dragon can allow us to fetch whatever Dragon we want, if we are playing mostly or all Dragons, we can still only find the best Dragon for the situation, something that is probably to be different each time we play. Tutoring for any “utility” Dragons we have in the deck will trump us trying to fetch the de facto best creature left. I imagine building along this theme will help us have a dynamic experience, and our opponents will forgive us if we spend some time tutoring, especially if they have a Relic of Progenitus in play.

I don’t want to spend a million dollars on a mana base here, and that’s probably going to be our biggest challenge when constructing this deck. Let’s see what we come up with.

Scion of the Ur-Dragon ? Commander | Jason Alt

  • Commander (0)

I like a few of the Sieges in this deck. The green one, Frontier Siege, lets you either have a lot of free mana to activate Scion or fight every time you summon forth a Dargon. Either mode has to make you pretty happy. Palace Siege is less modular and is likely to mostly be cast for Khans so you can bring back creatures from the bin that you dumped there with Scion’s ability.

Palace Siege
Speaking of which, I tried to include a little reanimation. Why not? When you have served with Scion and discarded another Dragon, why not Unburial Rites or Debtors' Knell it back into play to start a second tour of duty?

I decided not to have any non-Dragon creatures other than Dragonspeaker Shaman, whose flavor demanded his inclusion. In this way, I managed to make myself feel better about playing a walking tutor as a commander. I also took out the Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon that is a snap-include in Scion decks. I think he pursues a different aim than you would normally pursue, and that mean you’re pretty likely to only go fetch him if you think you can get away with it, whether you mean to do it or not. There are plenty of other Dragons who can mix it up and start some trouble, so you will have a wider array of options to tutor for if we leave him out.

That’s really what we’re trying to avoid with this build: homogeneity of experience. You have a large swath of Dragons to search for, and with the removal of other tutors and the one Dragon most people search for, you are forced to find the right Dragon for the situation. This will lead to fewer situations in which you ignore the board state because it can’t stop you from winning the game the one way you know how.

So what do we think? Are there too many new cards? Are there not enough? Is there no way to build a 75% deck with a flying tutor for a commander, or has removing a few problems cards and giving myself a lot to work with going to even things out? Are there any glaring omissions? Leave it in the comments section. Fate Reforged is a very exciting set, and Dragon lovers everywhere, closeted or otherwise, are in for some great Commander inclusions for years to come.

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