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I Am the Night!

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Why do you read articles about Commander? I think there are lots of reasons. For me, the primary interest lies in getting new ideas. I want to read about combinations I've never seen, uses for a Commander I haven't thought of, and find cards I otherwise might not have considered. Sometimes I'm looking for inspiration, and sometimes I want to see someone's take on a new Legend (or let them help me figure out how it works, in more complicated cases).

What I'm not interested in, so much, is reading about the obvious. If Wizards made a Commander that read "whenever you cast an artifact spell, draw a card" I don't need an author to help me with that. (There are cases where it might be worthwhile, of course. Budget decks come to mind.) That brings me to today's topic: Tribal decks.

Tribal decks are, for the most part, obvious. There are multiple ways to search Magic cards on the internet. Do a search for that tribe's creature type, pick the best ones and the lords, and voila! You have a deck. This works with nearly every tribe out there. Sure, there are different ways to build Elves or Goblins because they're so expansive (Goblin swarm? Goblin sacrifice? Elf swarm? Elf discard?), but for the most part, the deck is linear and clear. Who needs to read an article to walk through that?

Enter today's vexing Legend from Strixhaven.

Blex, Vexing Pest // Search for Blex

I admit, as the Cool Stuff Inc. team were dividing up Strixhaven Commanders to write about, I snap picked Blex, because I had this awesome idea. I then realized you shouldn't snap pick a card without being certain you know how it works, because my idea didn't work (for those curious or who just want to laugh at me: my idea was to stick Blex on a Mimic Vat and then use the Mimic Vat to cast Search for Blex over and over again with no Commander tax. Dump entire library into 'yard, cast Rise of the Dark Realms and smash. It doesn't work). So, I got stuck with this little dude who's basically a funky Tribal Lord which lets us choose from five different tribes, even though our Adaptive Automatons and other lords only work with one of them. So not only are we obvious, we're splintered and obvious - in other words, not only is the deck boring, but bad and boring.

I turned to some friends for help, and in comes CSI's own Stephen Johnson with the idea to save the day. Thanks, Stephen.

(Do me a favor. Say the next line out loud. But lower your voice as much as possible, make it all gritty sounding, and say it just above a whisper.)

I am Batman.

I am Batman | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper


This is an unusual deck, at least for me, because it ends up walking the line between playable and gimmick. I love a good gimmick deck, and this one has it in spades: Bats, gear like Grappling Hooks, cards with names like Cover of Darkness and Devour in Shadow. Just talk in that voice the whole time and keep declaring you are Batman and it'll be hilarious.

However, it's not a slave to the theme. We're still running some quality stuff, and we can actually attempt to play a real game of Magic. Kindred Dominance or In Garruk's Wake, when properly timed, can spell the end of a player. Quietus Spike on a flying creature is a surprising thing, the Spike with Rogue's Passage is even better, and a Passage-d Spike-d creature with Rogue's Gloves is amazing.

We are running every Bat we can, plus a couple of things that make Bats (there aren't a lot in this color combination). We've got a healthy mix of point removal, mass removal, and Equipment to throw on those Bats. Most of our card draw comes from the Equipment. We're also running a few Lord-like effects; Vanquisher's Banner is really strong in a deck like this, and of course the aforementioned Cover of Darkness, which gives all our Bats Fear. Haunting Voyage can give the deck a little reach, but at the end of the day, we're not going to win any competitive tournaments with this one. We might be able to hang with a lighthearted table, and we'll certainly bring the laughs with the voice and some of the card choices. I mean, how Batman is it to play the card Crippling Fear? That's Batman's whole thing!

Would you play this one? How good is your Batman voice? Can you even do that voice for the length of an entire game? Let me know in the comments - and while you're at it, tell us about any decks you have where you embody a character to play it!

There probably is a spicy deck in Blex, Vexing Pest // Search for Blex. It might be great, even competitive. His front side isn't bad and his back side is very strong. I just don't think you need my help to build it.

Thanks for reading.

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