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Commander 2014 Prep

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Magic: The Gathering—Commander (2014 Edition) is coming soon, and spoilers are coming even sooner. As someone who is geeked about every single spoiler season, I'm having a tough time waiting. With each Commander (2014 Edition) deck promising fifteen brand-new cards and with a few precision reprints being financially relevant, it behooves me to stay glued to spoilers. With five new mono-colored decks coming out, I'm also excited about how accessible Commander is going to be even to brand-new players. Remember that the first Commander deck I ever built was an Omnath, Locus of Mana deck so I could teach my wife how to play a little more advanced decks than she could on Duels of the Planeswalkers. If someone newish to Magic and completely inexperienced with Commander wants to give it a shot, all that person needs is $30 and a favorite color, and I'm really excited about the coming influx of new players.

Oblation
I have done a few mono-colored decks in this series, but there is one color I've really neglected a bit. It's pretty clear that I have a real affinity for green and blue, especially in concert with each other. I've even done a mono-red deck despite red being the consensus worst color in Commander (though I prefer to think of it as my fifth favorite). What I seem to be avoiding, though not on purpose, is the color white.

White seems awkward to me. It doesn't do the things I like to do in Commander very well. All of its removal is either mass removal—a necessary evil, but nothing I am excited about—or its removal forces you to compensate your opponent for his or her trouble. Even a solid utilitarian removal spell like Oblation, which can bury someone’s commander deep in his or her deck gives that player compensatory cards on top of not being all that in the spirit of 75% play. White doesn't do well at drawing cards, untapping your permanents (Saying, "I have no sympathy for permanents without vigilance," seems to express a pretty white attitude) or punishing your opponent for doing something other than overextending. White does a lot of stuff well, but it's not the sort of stuff I like. I don't like to Armageddon players’ lands, I don't like to prevent them from playing multiple spells or untapping or using artifacts. Don't get me wrong; I like those things a lot in Legacy! But when I play 75% Commander, I am primarily concerned with not preventing my opponents from doing too many things, preferring to punish them.

Some of the best commanders, a lot of them Angels, tend to do just that. Linvala, Keeper of Silence was the cornerstone of a Naya deck with Vengevine and Eldrazi Conscription I took a stab at the Pro Tour with, but I don't feel bad about turning off Birds of Paradise and Cunning Sparkmages when I'm playing Standard. I wouldn't feel as good about it with Linvala as my commander, nor would I want to set up one-sided Armageddons with Avacyn, Angel of Hope. Eight-and-a-Half-Tails looks to be a bit of fun, but if I am going to set up a weenie swarm, there is only one deck I can think of. I want to build a Kemba, Kha Regent deck.

I didn't want to merely build Voltron, so I want the other creatures in the deck to significantly contribute to my victory. I also want to limit the power level of the deck, so I think if I insist that the creatures in the deck are Cats or feature cats in the art, I can build a powerful, synergistic creature base without having to worry if it's in the spirit of 75% to use Stoneforge Mystic. So this isn't quite Voltron, it's not quite tribal, it's just a decent Kemba deck to get me over my aversion to mono-white. Let's get into some trouble, shall we?

I so badly wanted to cheat and say, "Heliod is an enchantment in this deck!" to circumvent my own Cat rule that I imposed on myself, but I opted to have a little integrity. If you want to jam a Heliod, God of the Sun, it won't invalidate this as a 75% deck, so feel free. I think he'd be good.

White Sun's Zenith
I wanted to include quite a few Anthem effects and token-specific cards since I really want to make a big army of Cats and go to town. You can just go Voltron and get there if opponents keep wiping the board, but I didn't want to build a deck that could only win through Voltron shenanigans. Adding cards like White Sun's Zenith made me smile.

The utility creatures I found with pictures of cats on them made me smile, too. There are some very good Cats. Leonin Shikari made me play Lightning Greaves on top of the Swiftfoot Boots for some instant-speed, creature-saving shenanigans. I like Spirit of the Hearth in the deck, and Raksha Golden Cub, despite being expensive, has a lot of utility and is a lot of fun. Even Whitemane Lion seems to be a winner, saving you from danger. Brimaz, King of Oreskos brings friends, Leonin Relic-Warder is useful in a pinch, and Seht's Tiger can prevent you from a lot of bad scenarios. Feel free to use Tiger and bounce him with Whitemane Lion; just don't count on it happening a ton because we're light on creatures. We really want to be using tokens.

I have a lot of non-Equipment artifacts in the deck as well because mono-colored decks should run cards like Caged Sun and Gauntlet of Power. Eldrazi Monument is a colorless Overrun sometimes and should be a solid utilitarian card the drawback of which is attenuated by how easily you bring creatures out.

Slate of Ancestry
I included some cards that help you draw cards because, while white isn't the best at it, artifacts can help out. If you're making tokens, Slate of Ancestry can be your best friend. I avoided tutors and compensated with card-draw. I even added stupid Oblation. It isn't only used to tuck commanders, and it has a lot of utility. Besides, we need good spells to win our tougher matches, and if an opponent insists on using Rafiq of the Many or something, a timely Oblation may make you the hero. If you can't tutor for specific Equipment, seeing a good portion of your deck will at least draw you some answer, if not the specific one you need. Not having massive card-draw helps keep you heterogeneous in your game experience, and overall, I like how this deck is set up.




What do we think? Is this too Voltron? Is it too tribal? Or is it just right? Did I forget your favorite white card that would be perfect in here? Had you never even heard of Taj-Nar Swordsmith because he does such a poor impression of Stoneforge Mystic? Leave it in the comments section. Thanks for reading, and keep sending me decklists to altjason17 at gmail dot com. I can always use inspiration. Until next week!


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