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Convertible Commander: Homura, Human Ascendant


Mono-Red gets a bad rap in Commander. "It's the worst color in Commander," people cry. "Red has no long game!" those same people exclaim. "Why would anyone want to play Red in Commander?" that same group of people asks, huddled together around their table where no one is playing Red.

They're not without reason, of course. Red is the color of passion, of acting without thinking, of raw emotion taking over. In game terms, that means it's about direct, early damage, with little or no evasion and very little that's tricky: Lightning Bolt may be a premiere removal spell in Modern, but Modern is a format of 2/2s. In Commander, where players have constant access to what is often a 5/5 or 6/6 in their commander, that measly three damage doesn't seem like much. And why run Earthquake when Wrath of God exists?

Homura, Human Ascendant

Because sometimes, Earthquake is just better.

Homura, Human Ascendant -- Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

Ruby Medallion
For an Red deck, the average Converted Mana Cost is surprisingly high here -- it's over 3.5. That means we reliably want to hit our land drops, but we're not in a terrible hurry to ramp, so we mostly try to insure getting lands in our hands. Armillary Sphere and Myriad Landscape both grab us a couple of lands. Ruby Medallion lowers the cost of most of our spells, which is often just a land drop but occasionally two or even three (if it saves us 1, it's worth one land drop. But if we cast three spells in a turn, it saves us 3, netting us three total land drops!). Caged Sun doubles us up, plus we have the classic Mind Stone (which draws a card late game) and Fire Diamond (which taps for r). Sword of the Animist can help us get that mana, too. 29 of our 40 lands are Mountains, but we've got a cycling land, a sacrifice outlet, some direct damage, a haste enabler (and half of a double-sized card), some extra mana (Nykthos is bonkers in mono-color decks), and a few token producers.

Those token producers are key, because that's really what we're doing here. We want to cast Homura and start making little dudes. Then we flip Homura by killing him somehow (probably sacrificing him, but maybe he dies naturally) and start swinging for the fences with a ragtag group of whatever we've got going on, be they Goblins, Ogres, or Goats. If we've got it, we can dump extra mana into pumping one of our dudes who gets through. Aside from Skullclamp, we don't have any real draw, though, so we want to create enough tokens to matter but not just dump our hand. Unlike most aggressive Red decks, we only need a few tokens out before we can just attack the team; a wrath effect will be very effective against us, though, so having a few extra cards in our hand will be helpful.

Purphoros, God of the Forge
We've got some Earthquake effects which, with Homura active, won't hurt our dudes, so that's good. Plus, a good Earthquake can help bring some opponents into striking range. Red Sun's Zenith shoots at a single target, which can fire down something really annoying which is gumming up the air or just prevent us from dying, then work its way back to our hand for another round. Mostly, though, we're still an aggro deck and want to be on the offensive, letting our tokens die to blockers but pushing through plenty of damage with the rest of them.

Purphoros, God of the Forge gives this deck some legs; with that guy out, we can sometimes just Firecat Blitz our way to a win without attacking. Siege-Gang, too, can help with that on a smaller scale. Eldrazi Monument is sort of our back-up commander; we get less power/toughness boost, but we gain invincibility. Pair that with Goblin Assault for maximum effectiveness. Plus we've got several sacrifice outlets, all of which do different things. The primary purpose is to allow us a way to kill off the living Homura whenever we want, but it's pretty great to sacrifice all of our tokens to Goblin Bombardment in response to a Day of Judgment and shoot somebody for 22 or something. Even the life gain from High Market can end up reasonable. Throw in a bunch of ways to give all our creatures haste plus a couple to increase damage (seven Goblins, an active Homura, and Berserkers' Onslaught straight-out kills an opponent).

So we play our Mono-Red guy, we make a bunch of tokens and swing out in the air, possibly winning in the process. Sounds like a blast.

But the optionboard is what really makes this deck sing, because we take something else Red is good at and come at this in a completely different way.

Firecat Blitz
We're going to take out our Commander and 14 other cards and replace them with these. I'd get rid of a few of the less-useful token makers (like Firecat Blitz, which is awesome with Homura and Purphoros but less good on defense), some of the more "good stuff" cards like Purphoros himself and Zealous Conscripts, and maybe some of the Earthquake effects. Plus we'll probably want to be sleeved in some crazy color or possibly something with an unusual picture, because all hell is going to break loose. We're going chaos.

Warp World, of course, is the classic chaos spell. Everyone picks up everything they've got, then resolves spells off the top of their newly shuffled libraries until everyone has gone. The interactions get insane -- just remember, Active Player then Non-Active Player in turn order goes on the stack, then it resolves in reverse order. But Pandemonium means nothing and no one is safe, Confusion in the Ranks tells everyone to start sharing, Grip of Chaos really means nothing is safe, Sulfuric Vortex chips away, and War's Toll will force everyone to act completely or not at all. All the while Norin will be flickering in and out, activating all those wonderful Enters-the-Battlefield effects. Panharmonicon doubles what happens. Thieves' Auction? How is that a card? That will be hilarious. The optionboard won't be for everyone, and probably not for all the time, but what an option to have when everyone is feeling a bit zany, or maybe when people are getting too serious!

What did I miss? Any great token generators (or other cards) worth running? How about key chaos cards worth finding a slot in the optionboard? What kind of Mono-Red deck do you play, or have you played against, and was it fun? Sound off in the comments!

[Author's note: It occurred to me during the editing process another way to "transform" this deck would be to swap out some of the token generators and their ilk for pump spells instead. It'd be tough, but because opponents will realize blocking our commander will mean we have this powerful overrun which is active all the time, they might decide to just let the four damage through. With enough pump spells, we might be able to squeak out a win with commander damage against an unaware challenger. The problem is that feels like tech, rather than the intention of Convertible Commander. A transformative sideboard is a well-known way to mess with an opponent in competitive Magic, but in Commander, we don't sideboard. Instead, this series is trying to make the logistics of playing this game easier: by having two different decks in the same box, we lower the amount of stuff we have to take to commander night and we use the same card in multiple applications, so we don't have to buy as m

any copies. An Optionboard should mean more fun, and it shouldn't be a sideboard.]

Now go get passionate and beat some face. Thanks for reading.

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