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Crime in Partners



You ever take one look at a card and know instantly how to build a novel, fun deck? Me neither! I will readily admit that even though I endeavored to come up with a good Thesis Enchantment for the deck I'm brewing today, I didn't initially know where I wanted to go with it. So, no, I didn't take one look at a card (cards in this case) and know what to do right away - I looked and looked and on like the twelfth time I thought of something so monumentally fun and obvious that I'm embarrassed I didn't think of it the first time. Speaking of the Thesis Enchantment I came up with, I feel like I did a good job with that, but it pulled me toward a pretty boring build. My issue - I was focusing on the wrong card in the partnership. In order to unpack my error, let's look at the cards in question first, shall we? I mean, I wasn't really asking. Shall we. Period. We shall. I'm doing it, let's look at the cards already, it's a done deal. Here they are, right below this paragraph that I can't seem to stop writing and don't know how to get out of and I'm worried I may have to stop mid...

Kamber, the Plunderer
Laurine, the Diversion

These two make an excellent team of Rogues with one distracting everyone and the other plundering the treasure, and reading the cards, that concept... well it's not borne out by their abilities, really. Goading as form of diversion makes sense, but referring to stealing a dead person's blood as "plundering" is an odd choice. That's regular Vampire stuff. "Plunderer" makes me think treasure tokens, or impulse drawing from their deck. That said, my initial thought was to give them some creatures that would die and then benefit from that happening. Rite of the Raging Storm, a favorite of people who build Goad decks everywhere, was my Thesis Enchantment for that build. Stock builds went even farther into the Goad theme, loading up on Impetus cards that force their creatures to attack anyone but you. That seems fine, and let me suggest that it took me a few weeks to figure out a unique approach because the stock build made so much sense. Make them do a bunch of combats so their creatures hit each other and die and then you get blood tokens that you can use for more Goading. It's almost too perfect. It would be a shame if someone... did a thing that is different from that because you don't need me to write down the stock list for you. *points to own left eyeball* *winks right eye* *says "wink" audibly*.

The thing is, having a pile of artifacts to sac to goad the board is useful in any context, and you don't have to just sac Blood tokens. You can sac anything - Laurine is a sac outlet that makes combat very messy but leaves you entirely out of it, making pesky utility creatures a thing of the past and giving you lots of Kamber triggers when your opponent ultimately decides it's better to get rid of that Void Winnower or Nyxbloom Ancient even if they have to block with three creatures to do it. It was getting away from seeing Laurine as a creature who was an outlet for Blood tokens and opening my eyes to more possibilities that led me to create the very first Rakdos-colored partner commander artifact deck.

Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor
Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith
Armix, Filigree Thrasher
Dargo, the Shipwrecker

OK, or not. We're off to a rocky start, but I think despite not having a wholly original idea here, perhaps Kamber can generate more advantage than Keskit? Perhaps Laurine is better than Dargo the Uncastable? I don't know if it's true or not, but I'm inclined to find out. Besides, there's no rule against playing Toggo or Keskit in the 99, is there? So, if we're building an artifacts matter deck, what's our Thesis Enchantment?

Grave Pact

If we can sac any artifact to make Laurine Goad something, why not sac a Solemn Simulacrum with a Grave Pact effect out? Not just that, why not Threaten their creatures and sac them to Laurine at the end of combat, Goading any creature they may have used for a revenge swing? If we're not letting them do the kind of Magic they want to do, why not REALLY not let them play Magic? While we're at it, why don't we take some cues from Prosper decks to see how to really benefit from making a bunch of Artifacts come into play?

Reckless Fireweaver
Revel in Riches

Wow, OK, now we're really onto something here. Let's face it - Blood tokens aren't really good for much if you want to play fair Magic. People aren't excited about the new Odric because they think they'll get a bunch of Madness triggers in their Boros deck, they're excited because they're going to end the game with Reckless Fireweaver because they have an Akroma's Memorial and a Conjurer's Closet. Revel in Riches doubles the effectiveness of Grave Pact and gives us an alternate win condition, both things I'm into. This deck is starting to take shape.

So, if we're a Grave Pact-based Artifacts-matter deck, how does it end up looking? A lot of fun, that's how.

Land, Goad | Commander | Jason Alt

This looks like a lot of fun, honestly. It will need some tweaking, as all rough drafts will, but it has good bones. What this deck does well is come up with a steady stream of artifacts to sac to Laurine to make sure your opponents don't get to keep their utility creatures intact and it also has a lot of utility creatures because your opponents can't attack you with a creature you goaded which should keep you pretty safe.

This deck isn't terribly 75%, unfortunately. My goal for the deck was to load up with cards like Captivating Crew (what a Magic card) and Threaten their creatures, saccing them if they survived combat and trying to trigger Grave Pact in the bargain. I like to do that in a lot of decks, but I was very cognizant of my Artifact count so I didn't manage to find room for such shenanigans. In fact, I didn't even really find room to comfortably squeeze in the Crucible of Worlds and Mindslaver that should be in here. I didn't think I could pull it off reliably, despite the rest of the infrastructure for that interaction being in here more or less. If there are cuts that are more obvious to you than they are to me, feel free to add them in. I would prefer a ton more Goblins and therefore cards like Moggcatcher, though, and there was even less room for all of that. If you want to add that package in, it's two cards and we already even have the Artifact Lands included.

That does it for me this week, folks. Could this have been more 75%? Yes, probably, but I would have had to include way fewer Artifacts. Check out my Extus deck to get some ideas for how you could go more toward what I typically like to build in these colors. But getting out of my comfort zone, using cards I don't typically use that are a lot of fun like Herald of Anguish and Inspiring Statuary and even managing to include a Goblin with a Landfall ability made this a very satisfying build, albeit a preliminary one. Think you can improve on this list? I'd love to see it - link it in the comments below. Until next time!

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