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To Slay a Dragon in an RPG


If there's one thing I love, it's a good role-playing game, or RPG for short. RPG video games made up a major chunk of my childhood and formative years. Phantasy Star II was the very reason my family purchased a Sega Genesis when I was barely a year old, and games like Pokemon, Final Fantasy, and Chrono Trigger had profound influences on me. Even now, I've been streaming through a bit of Final Fantasy XI again and I've also just recently begun playing in my first Dungeons and Dragons campaign. To say the genre was impactful on me would be an understatement.

There are several tropes and things you might experience in an RPG. You can do things like gain experience, fill the role of a character different from yourself, and immerse yourself in a grand world and story. One of the most enjoyable bits is the chase of a rare item that you try and get from defeating a challenging enemy. If you've played any RPG, you know what I'm talking about. That really hard boss that takes forever to take down but gives you a super powerful weapon or a critical piece toward a mighty piece of armor. So, when I saw the card Icingdeath, Frost Tyrant, I fell quickly in love.

Icingdeath, Frost Tyrant

This card is basically just that. It's a monster that dies and drops a mighty weapon. When I saw Icingdeath, I knew I had to write about it. It's not the first time we've seen an effect that feels like an RPG boss monster. Grothama, All-Devouring was actually devised from the idea of MOBA raid bosses, which plays off a lot of the same concepts. There, players can have the opportunity to beat up this monster and reap rewards once defeated. Nessian Boar also feels like it plays around in this kind of space a bit too.

This makes Icingdeath feel a little weird to me, though. Perhaps there's something a bit more story-relevant and DnD-relevant that's going over my head, but it feels strange for me to be getting the equipment for the kill instead of my opponent who defeated it. It lacks some of the spirit of the medium it comes from in that sense and made me wonder how I wanted to make a deck around it. Here's how it ended up:

Icingdeath, RPG Boss | Commander | Kendra Smith

The biggest challenge I had here was to resist the urge to go down the path of making a sacrifice deck. It just felt too easy and like it wasn't really doing justice to the RPG concept this card's ability stems from. You've got to work for the token, after all, and so I decided to focus on other areas instead.

The first thing I did was look into what kinds of DnD related things I could fit in, as they often really fill the RPG vibe I was looking for. Sadly, there's not much by way of dice rolling, but we do get a bit of dungeon venturing along the way to help us out. After all, what's an RPG without exploring a dungeon and hunting for treasure or that rare enemy? After that I thought about ways to kill Icingdeath (board wipes and the like, mostly) and ways to keep our creatures coming so we don't continually take ourselves out thanks to these effects.

Nadaar, Selfless Paladin
Fell the Mighty
Blackblade Reforged

Last but not least, I went for a bit of an equipment theme. After all, what's a good RPG without a ton of cool equipment? You stock up and change around equipment so often in most games, that having a strong selection just feels sensible. It actually makes the deck feel weird, because it obviously plays a lot with the idea of equipment. However, it's not really an equipment deck in the way a Kemba deck or a Balan deck would be. It's certainly a big part of the deck, but it's not necessarily the core concept either, what with our commander being a giant dragon and all.

What this ends up bringing to us is a fun, flavorful, and all-around interesting deck to play with. It stands out to me as being both straight-forward, yet simultaneously different from a lot of the decks that one might expect. Icingdeath is such a ridiculously awesome concept, and I love seeing it in the world of Magic. It's definitely the kind of thing I'd love to see more of, if only for how crazy it can make games of Commander. Give it a try at your next Commander pod and may your drops be ever worth the grind!

Kendra Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: Kendra Smith

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