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The 98-Card Deck


This article isn't about Sol Ring - let me say that up top. That said, can I suggest perhaps that I don't like my Sol Rings. I'm not saying Sol Ring is a bad card - far from it. Sol Ring is an artifact that taps for more mana than it cost to put it out which, if you're new to Magic, is profoundly unfair. Revised was a set that contained both Sol Ring and Blue Mana Battery. Compare those two cards for a bit then look up which one of them was rare. Not only is Sol Ring very good, it was very misunderstood for a few years. Do I misunderstand Sol Ring? Certainly not! It's quite good and also, I hate it. I don't like to draw Sol Ring early because it puts you in an early winning position and I either feel awkward to be ahead, get treated like the Archenemy, or sometimes both. Not worth it. What I DO like is taking other people's Sol Rings. Thieving Skydiver for three mana on turn two (which you can do without a Sol Ring, thankfully) steals a Sol Ring, which is like 2 Sol Rings if you consider the subgame "Have a Sol Ring on your mat" to be zero-sum the way I do. It's just that I never want MY Sol Ring involved. I'll gladly take theirs but I never want to play mine. Play it too early and you're the Archenemy and 3 players are convinced that you need to die because the Command Zone said everyone who gets a turn one Sol Ring always wins or whatever. Draw it too late and it's a dead card and taps for slightly more mana than you would have gotten if you had played most lands. Is it better than a land? Sure, I guess, but it's not a ton better than a land when you're trying to topdeck gas to have a prayer and your deck farts a turn 97 Sol Ring at you like it's a practical joke. I like Sol Ring fine, but I don't like to like it, and I certainly don't love how Sol Ring makes EDH feel like a 99-card format. (Official Editor Count for Number of Times Sol Ring was said in this paragraph: 19)

EDH feeling like a 99-card format isn't ideal but it's not my fault. In fact, earlier in my career, I wrote an entire paragraph about how Sol Ring is a good card but I don't always love to draw it. That said, if Commander is going to be a 99 card format, what's to stop it from becoming a 98 card format? There's precedent for being 100% sure of card that was going in the deck no matter what. If we're going to accept that sheer insanity, what if we took it one step further and knew, with certainty, we were going to play another card that wasn't Sol Ring in the deck? How can we be so certain? Simple - I read the card and I knew what I was about at that moment. Read the card for yourself and tell me what you think needs to be in the deck.

Sivitri, Dragon Master

You're likely a normal person and you've read all of this text, including everything after the -3 ability. Congratulations on being thorough - you may be a more exacting card reader than me, but you'll never have my total lack of focus and my ability to daydream so completely that I imagined myself winning some sort of award for daydreaming named after Walter Mitty, a story the rest of my 10th grade Honors English classmates read while I stared out the window. I read half of this card, thought "Rad, Silumgar" and immediately started brewing.

I EVENTUALLY read the -7 ability and while it's gross and I hate it, +1 and -7 do a bit of protecting ol' Silumgar and the -3 goes into your deck and gets Silumgar, which is a thing I want a lot. Sure it gets Keiga, the Tide Star too and maybe some other sort of shenanidragons, but it gets Silumgar which makes this potentially a 98 card Silumgar deck, and I'm about it. Do we want to do other stuff? Of course! Our commander lets us! But we want to be doing 75% Simulgar stuff because that's how I get down and I'm the one writing this article.

What is the point of playing a Commander that's just another copy of a single card? Good point, let's get other cards. In fact, let's get any number of Dragons with (and you're going to roll your eyes a bit at this point and I don't care) with ETB abilities. We can tutor for all of them with Sivitri and, (and you're going to roll your eyes a LOT at this point and I don't care) we can make clones of them. Let's do that thing I always do. Let's clone a bunch of Dargons. Let's do that right now.

Cloning A Bunch of Dragons | Commander | Jason Alt

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This looks like a lot of fun! Getting a good ETB on a dragon is fun and getting it a bunch because you made lots of copies of that Dragon is better. This could be Dragon tribal but it ended up being Dragon control - a focus on getting powerful ETBs and hopefully, always having access to your commander to toolbox you the Dragon you need. Some Dragons were missed, which is too bad, but enough made the cut that this deck is bound to be very impactful and fun.

You can add a few more Blue and Black Dragons but, honestly, not too many more. Also, the ones I added upped the average CMC a lot. Since you can always have your commander if you can afford it and since that commander can always tutor for a Dragon if it has enough loyalty, you can play cards like Quicksilver Amulet maindeck. Will you need more than just that? Play-testing will tell. I assume yes, but if you need to add more, add good ones. Quicksilver Amulet is pretty "fair" but it's also straightforward and brooks no shenanigans - every card in your deck can go out with Amulet, you can't say that same for other cards of its ilk.

Would you like to be even more stealy? That's sweet, but you'd literally have to add non-Dragons to the deck and if you have to cut a Dragon to do that, just know I don't approve. If you cut some other non-land, I might approve. Remember, this year I have eschewed being about doing things to win and been more about doing the thing. Does this deck do the thing? Why don't you watch someone get punched in the mouthpiece by 4 copies of Ancient Silver Dragon and see what they think.

What do we think? Do you like the cloning I keep insisting on doing? Do you wish I'd do something else? A third thing? Are you expecting me to show pictures from Magic 30 because you don't know I spent all of Friday at a taping of the TV show Battlebots and didn't enter the hall until Saturday? Leave it for me in the comments section, share this article on reddit and tattoo the QR code of my linktree onto your forearm for me. I'd appreciate all of that, thanks so much, but more than that, thanks for reading my dumb series. That does it for me - until next time!

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