One thing people tend to forget about defensive combat: It's still combat.
Sure, the goal is to prevent undo harm, but carefully-crafted fisticuffs are still required. Some warriors call it an unavoidable evil, necessary to prevent future violence. Others see it as a perk, an opportunity to cut loose while serving the greater good. Our buddy, Perrie, the Pulverizer? Probably a mix of Columns A and B. He may be a stalwart enforcer for the Brokers, lending his muscle to protect the citizens of New Capenna, but he's earned the nickname for a reason. One I'm sure he'd be happy to share with your opponents at the Commander table.
As a general, Perrie, the Pulverizer heralds the counter-happy cause of his fellow Brokers. You get a free Sheild counter thrown in, but what this rhino really cares about is variety. Perrie grows more actively dangerous the more we diversify what counter-types we have in play. We've had plenty of Commanders that cared about +1/+1 counters (Ghave, Guru of Spores, Hamza, Guardian of Arashin), -1/-1 counters (Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons), proliferating (Vorell of the Hull Clade, Atraxa, Praetors' Voice), and abilities (Kathril, Aspect Warper, Odric, Lunarch Marshal). Perrie is a celebration of all-of-the-above, asking for multiple counters and synergies to be at his head-smashing best. As such, our take on Perrie, the Pulverizer will be a tribute to all weird and wonderful counter-types across Magic's history.
Well, among Bant colors, at least.
Sorry, Ebon Praetor.
Though Bedecked Brokers features some cards featured in today's deck, this is not a Precon-upgrade article. We're less concerned with raw efficiency as we are turning Perrie into an ability-laden monster. Or making an oddball Azor's Elocutors win the game by talking too much. There's a whole world of bizarre counter varieties across Magic's history, and each grows our commander into a bigger threat. If you like gameplay that make your opponent stop and say "I've never even heard of that card.", you've come to the right place.
When it comes to the lore, Perrie, the Pulverizer comes from unlikely origins. Elite as the Brokers are, Perrie's story began on the streets. And in the boxing ring. His combat potential and soft-spot for protecting the little guy endeared Perrie to the Brokers, who offered him a job as an Enforcer. He's not the sharpest agent, but has a stronger sense of personal morality than family-head Falco Spara, Pactweaver and his cohorts. Most Broker agents are happy to show up when an endangered citizen needs them most, get them to sign a protection contract 'for a favor down the line', and proceed to eliminate the threat. Once business is concluded, the Broker agent will wipe the memory of their client, so that when they come calling later to cash in the aforementioned favor, most folks don't even know they were indebted to the Brokers to begin with. Memory-wipes are all about preserving intel, as the Brokers value control and order, but even Perrie can understand how it allows the Brokers to occasionally exploit the needy. His refusal to adhere to that strict business practice, to the surprise of all, actually appeals to Falco, who recognizes that the big guy's sense of conscious is something the group sorely lacks.
Basically, think of Perrie, the Pulverizer as Marv from "Sin City: The Hard Goodbye", sans the penchant for brutality. Granted, Perrie wants to be known for his brutal reputation: Makes life easier on the streets. But deep down, his desire to protect the innocent is a trait far more defining than his skill at breaking bones. He just also happens to be quite skilled at bone-breaking.
Look, he's a complicated guy, all right?
Let's start this rumble by breaking down our Commander:
1. Due to his attack trigger and Shield counter, Perrie, the Pulverizer seems well-suited to a Voltron-style strategy, where we seek to win via Commander damage. Fortunately, because our general wants numerous counter types to grow large, there's ample opportunity to further boost his stats via +1/+1 (Ex. Mikaeus, the Lunarch) and ability (Ex. Avenging Huntbonder) counters. This further extends to protective (Slippery Bogbonder) and/or evasive (Luminous Broodmoth) applications as well. As we add counter types to the board, our Commander becomes a better attacker in multiple ways all at once. Further adding to the flexibility....
2. ....is how Perrie lets us spread the love. Though he will often be the ideal candidate, we can gift Perrie's Shield counter to any one of our troops. Similarly, while Perrie will often be the best target for his own attack trigger, he can bestow it onto a fellow attacker, instead. Note that Trample is also included with the attack-trigger, helping already-massive creatures like Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle easily push through damage. Targeting another creature means Perrie will be entering combat as a humble 3/3, but this can be mitigated via the aforementioned Shield counter. Simple as he appears on the surface, this versatility gives Perrie, the Pulverizer an unexpected nuance. Much like the character.
3. Our deck packs 28 unique counter varieties. Many a classic +1/+1 (Brokers Ascendancy) and -1/-1 (Glen Elendra Archmage) flavor is included, as are ability counters (Crystalline Giant, Vivien, Monsters' Advocate), but we've also dug up some really obscure spells (Tornado, Musician). There are also a ton of incidentally-unique counters attached to already-useful cards. I've previously sang the praises of Treasure Map and Midnight Clock, and now they do double-duty, holding weird counter-types to further boost Perrie.
4. Finally, with all these counters bouncing around, we'll lean in on synergy. Counter-doublers (Deepglow Skate, Gilder Bairn) and Proliferation machines (Contagion Engine, Sword of Truth and Justice) are obvious inclusions, but cards that trigger off of modified creatures (Kodama of the West Tree), or that can actively utilize counters as a resource (Falco Spara, Pactweaver, Simic Manipulator) also do a lot of work. Commander being the Wrath-heavy format that it is, insurance policies like The Ozolith and Resourceful Defense help ensure our collection of counters doesn't go to waste in the wake of a sweeper.
Much like our easy-to-misjudge general, there's more to this deck than meets the eye. Perrie, the Pulverizer can become a lethal force on his own, buff up other attackers, or even lead a mass assault via cards like Intrepid Adversary, Crescendo of War, and Brokers Confluence. We do a lot of tricky things with combat, which can evolve turn after turn for our deck, so opponents will never know what's going to be thrown at them next.
Perrie, the Pulverizer by Joshua Raphael
Prediction? Pulverized. | Commander | Matthew Lotti
- Commander (1)
- 1 Perrie, the Pulverizer
- Creatures (24)
- 1 Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle
- 1 Avenging Huntbonder
- 1 Azor's Elocutors
- 1 Crystalline Giant
- 1 Deepglow Skate
- 1 Esper Sentinel
- 1 Evolution Sage
- 1 Falco Spara, Pactweaver
- 1 Fertilid
- 1 Flux Channeler
- 1 Gilder Bairn
- 1 Glen Elendra Archmage
- 1 Incubation Druid
- 1 Intrepid Adversary
- 1 Jotun Grunt
- 1 Kodama of the West Tree
- 1 Luminous Broodmoth
- 1 Mikaeus, the Lunarch
- 1 Musician
- 1 Roalesk, Apex Hybrid
- 1 Sanctuary Warden
- 1 Simic Manipulator
- 1 Slippery Bogbonder
- 1 Spike Weaver
- Planeswalkers (1)
- 1 Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
- Enchantments (9)
- 1 Bounty of the Luxa
- 1 Brokers Ascendancy
- 1 Crescendo of War
- 1 Hibernation's End
- 1 Inexorable Tide
- 1 Mystic Remora
- 1 Resourceful Defense
- 1 Together Forever
- 1 Tornado
- Artifacts (20)
- 1 Azorius Signet
- 1 Cauldron of Souls
- 1 Coalition Relic
- 1 Contagion Engine
- 1 Edifice of Authority
- 1 Gavel of the Righteous
- 1 Lightning Greaves
- 1 Lion Sash
- 1 Midnight Clock
- 1 Ratchet Bomb
- 1 Selesnya Signet
- 1 Simic Signet
- 1 Strixhaven Stadium
- 1 Swiftfoot Boots
- 1 Sword of Truth and Justice
- 1 The Ozolith
- 1 Tome of Legends
- 1 Treasure Map // Treasure Cove
- 1 Umezawa's Jitte
- 1 Whispersilk Cloak
- Lands (37)
- 6 Forest
- 4 Island
- 4 Plains
- 1 Blast Zone
- 1 Bountiful Promenade
- 1 Breeding Pool
- 1 Calciform Pools
- 1 Flooded Grove
- 1 Flooded Strand
- 1 Hallowed Fountain
- 1 Karn's Bastion
- 1 Misty Rainforest
- 1 Mystic Gate
- 1 Nesting Grounds
- 1 Novijen, Heart of Progress
- 1 Rejuvenating Spring
- 1 Saltcrusted Steppe
- 1 Sea of Clouds
- 1 Spara's Headquarters
- 1 Temple Garden
- 1 Tendo Ice Bridge
- 1 Vivid Creek
- 1 Vivid Grove
- 1 Vivid Meadow
- 1 Windswept Heath
- 1 Wooded Bastion
Our early game is much like any other: Start ramping! There's the usual Green ramp, and a trio of on-color Signets, but we even manage to sneak some funky counters onto rocks via cards like Strixhaven Stadium and Coalition Relic. Our high density of creatures and abilities means we should be able to start attacking early and often, chipping away at our opponents while we build up our board. Once Perrie, the Pulverizer arrives, it's all a matter of continued development and support. He's already pretty good at keeping himself safe, using up that Shield counter to eat a removal spell, but we'll want to ensure the whole team stays alive to get the most out of his ability.
Let's dive in!
Broker Backup: Our first unit of troops supports the team via +1/+1 and ability counters. These will be the most common form our counters arrive in, and also the most useful towards enhancing attacks. Mikaeus, the Lunarch, Spike Weaver, Simic Manipulator, Roalesk, Apex Hybrid, Sanctuary Warden, and Falco Spara, Pactweaver all help us amass and generate advantage from +1/+1 counters, or really any counter type in the case of the latter two. In the abilities department, Avenging Huntbonder, Slippery Bogbonder, Luminous Broodmoth, and Intrepid Adversary all support the team via protection, evasion, or stat-increase.
Getting into more specialized territory are counter-centric creatures that serve utility roles. Glen Elendra Archmage can halt opposing spells while gaining a -1/-1 counter. Then do it all over again. Musician can steadily tax opposing creatures, eating up enemy mana. He also brings two counter types to the table: Music and Age. For graveyard-hate, Jotun Grunt makes for an efficient beater who'll accept enemy mortuaries rather than your hard-earned mana as upkeep payment. Lion Sash also joins the fray to feast on graveyards and collect counters, which can then be 'applied' to Perrie via equipping. Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle starts off as ramp, then blooms into a massive threat once he's received sufficient ZZZ's. And finally, ambitious as they seem, Azor's Elocutors do put an immediate clock on your opponents. It's a tall order to build up those five Filibuster counters while protecting these guys, but fortunately, they've got additional support in the form of...
...multiple buddies who are happy to multiply your counters for you. Flux Channeler, Evolution Sage, and the aforementioned Roalesk, Apex Hybrid all offer repeated Proliferation. Deepglow Skate and Gilder Bairn prefer the direct approach and simply double counters of your choice. This might not be super helpful in the case of Vigilance, Flying, Age, Velocity, or Reach counters, but most certainly so when it comes to +1/+1, -1/-1 (applied to enemy creatures), Valor, Charge, Hour, Point, Shield, Strife, Brick, and of course, Filibuster counters. This large assortment of counter types also makes Kodama of the West Tree especially potent, turning your entire army into land-fetching machines. Finally, Esper Sentinel becomes increasingly difficult for opponents to avoid as we pile counters atop his steely frame. He's also an excellent 1-drop to fetch up with Hibernation's End.
Note: Much as it would've fit our theme, Homarid and his Tide counters simply didn't make the cut. My apologies to lobster-folk enthusiasts out there. Your day will come.
Compounding Contracts: Our army is further backed by an arsenal of honor-upholding firepower. Cards like Crescendo of War, Together Forever, Brokers Ascendancy, Inexorable Tide, Sword of Truth of Justice, Brokers Confluence, and Contagion Engine function to bolster the entire team as the game progresses. Note that Together Forever can be useful for getting around the Commander tax with Perrie, the Pulverizer, making repeat plays much easier in the long run. The high-degree of Proliferate can turn slower control pieces like Edifice of Authority, Gavel of the Righteous, and Umezawa's Jitte into potent weapons.
When it comes to cards with Cumulative Upkeep, repeated Proliferation is less helpful. Falco Spara, Pactweaver and Sanctuary Warden can help with our creature-based sources of Cumulative Upkeep (Jotun Grunt, Musician), but it's no dice for noncreature permanents. Despite their short-lived nature, cards like Hibernation's End and Mystic Remora go a long way toward generating card advantage before growing too costly. Tornado, in a bizarre color-pie break for Green, is essentially an Anguished Unmaking-machine that can also hit lands. It's pricey, but awfully scary once active.
Being so invested in building a counter-laden army, it's important to not let those counters go to waste. The Ozolith and Resourceful Defense are on hand to recycle counters from fallen troops. No worries about transferred Age counters from Cumulative Upkeep, as they won't do anything when placed onto a creature without Cumulative Upkeep. There are also far more sources of +1/+1 counters in our deck than -1/-1 counters, so it's unlikely a negative stats adjustment occur. Though in the case of The Ozolith, if said event does occur, you could always use those -1/-1 counters to kill an enemy creature. With all the attacking we'll be doing, counters are sure to stack up quickly, and with our plan being to build Commander damage with Perrie, the Pulverizer, Tome of Legend becomes an inexpensive source of recurring card advantage.
Supporting Spells: When it comes to sweepers and sweeper-protection, Perrie does a good job setting the stage for us. His Shield counter notwithstanding, Vow of Loyalty and Damning Verdict both can keep our general alive while sweeping the board of opposing threats. The Vow also has a nice bonus of turning enemy creatures against other opponents. Ratchet Bomb is less reliable as a sweeper, but can be scaled over the course of the game to act as pin-point removal, if needed. Smell Fear is also included to pair spot removal with an additional source of Proliferate.
Though our sweepers already have an element of self-defense built in, we pack added protective spells in the event of opposing wraths. Teferi's Protection is a staple answer, nullifying most anything an opponent could throw at us, but also included are the synergistic Semester's End and Cauldron of Souls, which not only protect our team, but ensure counters are placed onto them as well. Granted, Cauldron of Souls will distribute -1/-1 counters, but those are easy enough to offset with the various +1/+1 counter sources. What's more, the Cauldron has political potential, as it can target enemy creatures for recursion. Perhaps your opponent feels like making a deal in exchange for you saving his creature? Or, if you want to be nasty, you could eventually add all those -1/-1 counters to the aforementioned The Ozolith for some unexpected removal.
Mana Support and Rocks: Classic ramp (Farseek, Three Visits) and rocks (Azorius Signet, Simic Signet) are no-brainers, but quite a few mana-engines also happen to contribute to the counter pool. Fertilid and Incubation Druid yield increasing mana benefits once additional counters are placed onto them. Card-advantage pairs with ramp on cards like Midnight Clock, Treasure Map, and Bounty of the Luxa. And with enough Proliferate-support, (Strixhaven Stadium) can suddenly become a surprise win condition. When was the last time you won a game of Magic off a mana rock?
Jumping over to lands, we include the expected assortment of Bant-allied fetch (Misty Rainforest, etc.), shock (Temple Garden, etc.) and filter (Mystic Gate, etc.) lands for reliable color fixing. A few counter-based options exist too, with the Vivid land cycle (Vivid Meadow, etc.) and Tendo Ice Bridge supplying us with Charge counters, and the underrated storage lands from Timespiral (Saltcrusted Steppe, Calciform Pools) acting as mana batteries with a unique counter type. We've plenty of utility lands to synergize with, as well. Nesting Grounds, Novijen, Heart of Progress, and Karn's Bastion all further add to our ability to stack up and move around counters to where they're most effective.
Kodama of the West Tree by Daarken
Or you could simply teach your creatures how to dig for land.
Budget Options: Despite the fancy suit, Perrie, the Pulverizer was never one for opulence. He's a sentimental guy, still carrying around an old gifted watch despite it being broken. Much like the glitz and glam of New Capenna, Magic's numerous variants, alt arts, and foils can make it feel like only the elite are welcome in its halls. We're lucky to have Perrie to remind us that it's all just a gilded exterior, so here are some substitutes for players who'd rather not break the bank on cardboard. All cards over $20 will be noted and recommended for swap-outs. If anything seems interesting, regardless of price tag, give them a roll in the main! Creativity is a oft-forgotten cornerstone of Commander. One of the aspects that makes it special. Mix and match card choices to your heart's content!
Creatures: Esper Sentinel: $29.00
Losing Esper Sentinel to the budget-gods stings from a card-advantage perspective, but does little to damage our overall theme. Plenty of counter-centric creatures can fill the void, with cards like Vitality Hunter, Wingspan Mentor, Leech Bonder, Hornbash Mentor, Spike Breeder, Cytoplast Root-Kin, and Keensight Mentor on hand to provide additional ability and/or stats-adjusting support.
If you're in the mood for more unique counter types, Djinn of Wishes, Arbiter of the Ideal, Lost Auramancers provide card advantage or tutor effects, Kjeldoran Home Guard gradually breaks down into an army, Faithbound Judge // Sinner's Judgment can become a surprise win-con, and Sludge Monster can start sliming enemy troops. Just remember: Sludge Monster has to survive in order for its Slime counters to render creatures blank-slate 2/2's. If Mr. Sludge leaves play, his counters will stick around, but they'll cease to have any impact.
Teferi's Protection is easy enough to swap out for a Guardian of Faith, Unbreakable Formation, Heroic Intervention or Contractual Safeguard. It's the loss of our synergistic tools that really hurts. For equipment replacements, cards like Banshee's Blade and Mace of the Valiant are slow, but can build up Charge counters quickly with Proliferate support.
For a less-expected surprise, consider creature-stealing options in Jabari's Influence and Mind Harness. Their restrictions can make them unreliable, but stealing an enemy creature is a powerful, and especially in the case of Jabari's Influence, nigh-impossible to predict. Other fun choices include Jar of Eyeballs and Investigator's Journal for card advantage, Gutter Grime for creature-creation, Hardened Scales and Conclave Mentor for more +1/+1 counter support, or the Commander-damage disabling Delaying Shield.
It was great to get a reprint of the enemy-fetches in Modern Horizons 2, wasn't it?
Here's hoping a reprint of the allied-fetches is around the corner. Double Masters 2, please?
Anyhow, when it comes to our mana, we lose nothing in the synergy department. Only efficient fixers are cut, of which we can look to budget options like the Battle for Zendikar land cycle (Prairie Stream, Canopy Vista), the check lands (Glacial Fortress, Sunpetal Grove, Hinterland Harbor), and the Pathways (Branchloft Pathway // Boulderloft Pathway, Hengegate Pathway // Mistgate Pathway, Barkchannel Pathway // Tidechannel Pathway).
On a counter-centric level, we can include Replicating Ring for unique Night counters, Everflowing Chalice or Mirrodin's Core for Charge counters, Pyramid of the Pantheon for additional Brick counters, or Gavony Township for more +1/+1 counters.
Spara's Headquarters by Kieran Yanner
By this point in our journey, I imagine our opponents are sufficiently pulverized. Serves em' right for picking on the innocent. Long as Perrie, the Pulverizer patrols these streets, any wise-guys thinking they can push around decent folk have another thing coming. Law and order swing a mean hammer. Here's hoping your next Commander game teaches your enemies a thing or two about common decency. Life might be crazy, but that doesn't mean we can't conduct ourselves like civilized individuals.
Thanks for reading, and may you never run out of shield counters!