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After the Fire, After All the Rain



I am going to do something a little bit different this time. I know I like to do a bit of a hybrid build sometimes that you could take in two or more different directions; but, today, I thought I would separate the builds out entirely so you can see which approach you like. I think it would be possible to reconcile a few of these different approaches into one hybrid build like I normally do, but this way you're getting more bang for your buck. If you REALLY want to see how I'd unify these approaches, you can always send me a tweet to @jasonealt and we can talk about it there. That said, I am excited to do a couple of different approaches this week because we have a commander that seems a little bit too much fun to be an uncommon. You probably guessed it from the title because you're such a huge fan of Cheap Trick that you'd recognize lyrics from "The Flame" anywhere. Or you googled the name of it and found this article (thanks, by the way). Or maybe your peripheral vision just works as normal because I'm literally putting a pic of it below this sentence and you can already see that it's Aegar, the Freezing Flame. You did it!

Aegar, the Freezing Flame

So, what is it about Aegar that has me so keen to brew? Quite simply, I see that Aegar gives you a lot more options than you normally see on a card that has tribal requirements and all of them are fun. The most obvious build is a Giants build because they're quite good at dealing damage, especially "excess damage" which I've never seen on a Magic card before. Excess damage means more than enough to kill the creature - something Red can do exceptionally well. It seems like Aegar can keep our hands full, letting us dump out a ton of Giants to keep racking up the damage. Big creatures, a clear board, a full hand - some of these concepts are foreign to an Izzet Mage, but they are all welcome. If I were inclined to go the Giants route, what would it look like?

Tilting at Windmills | Commander | Jason Alt

They might be Giants! I went full big guy tribal here, but with a bit of a twist - I added every creature with an ETB effect that I could find and coupled them with cards like Cloudstone Curio, Equilibrium, and Erratic Portal. Suddenly Giants that might not have made the cut before like Furystoke Giant, Cragganwick Cremator, and Chancellor of the Forge are all-stars, getting you a ton of value with each repeated cast. Even a relatively "fair" giant like Thundercloud Shaman or Giant Harbinger does a lot more work. A lot of Giants deal damage to a lot of creatures when they enter the battlefield, so being able to couple that ETB with a finisher like Earthquake (if a finisher is even necessary) means you're likely to draw a lot of cards.

If you find yourself needing to run more mana rocks so you always have a turn two play, your choices are pretty bad and you may want to consider something like Worn Powerstone or Mana Vault before you consider something goofy like Prophetic Prism. I think the high CMC is mitigated somewhat by Urza's Incubator and Stinkdrinker Daredevil, but you may need to get a few reps in to know for sure.

Sure, this is a departure from the stock list with the addition of so many ETB Giants and cards like Laccolith Rig which I promise your opponent will need to read twice before they realize how badly you wrecked them, but I want to depart from the norm even more. Sure, we could target Wizards, but another tribal build isn't that exciting to me. Read Aegar one more time - there is a third option and I want to really lean into it.

If we deal the excess damage with a spell, we draw a card, no Giants or Wizards needed. This allows us to really lean into the spellslinger aspect of the deck, casting lots of spells to keep the board clear before winning in typical spellslinger fashion. When we start to run low on cards, all we need to do is torch a creature or two and we can fill our hand back up. And since we're kind and into playing fair Magic, we're going to give our opponents creatures if they don't have any of their own. One Earthquake or Blasphemous Act should draw a lot of cards in that case, ensuring we have what we need to go off. Once we get a big enough Thousand-Year Storm going, it doesn't really matter what we draw as long as we draw a lot of cards because every Lightning Bolt should be enough to nuke the table. My favorite way to win with a deck like this? Repercussion, of course. How would a spellslinger deck look?

Folks call it a Spellslingblade | Commander | Jason Alt

This looks like a LOT of fun to play, but also kind of tricky. There is no shortage of ways to kill their creatures, but if you brick on your draws, you may struggle to put the game away. It's a good idea to have a way to deal with the creatures you give them to hit you with before you play a bunch of damage doublers, but if you want to live dangerously, go for it. Games have to end, and giving people creatures and damage will ensure it ends quickly, whether you win or not. I envision the most fun way to win being a huge Thousand-Year Storm turn or a Past in Flames turn where you play Mana Geyser a couple of times and cast your deck. You should have no trouble "trampling" over their creatures with your board wipes and if you end up just getting there with a big Adeliz for the win, I could see that being fun, too. I think this deck needs more tuning than the average deck I advocate, but I also think it has a lot of potential and the tune-up games will be fun enough to keep you invested in the work of tuning.

That does it for me, everyone. Let me know in the comments if you would pilot either of these monstrosities. Until next time!

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