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Commander Mustard, with Soliders, On the Battlfield

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Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?

It's not for me. I've got a battalion of soldiers here and some of them have pretty refined tastes...

Today I'm going to take another crack at building around one of the new Ravnica Clue legendary creatures recently released by Wizards of the Coast. The Clue set is an "experience in a box" where you play a weird mashup of Magic and the board game Clue. That game inspired the 1985 film Clue, possibly the greatest movie ever inspired by an actual board game. It also inspired WotC to create this "annex" set that has introduced a bunch of new cards into the Commander format.

Last week I wrote about Apothecary White and that column inspired me to build today's deck, a kindred deck built around a creature type I don't often find that interesting - soldiers. That might have a lot to do with the fact that in Magic, Soldiers are most often found in Boros (rw), which is one of the harder color pairs to build in.

There are ways to make a Commander deck in any color pair interesting and fun, but before we dive into that, let's take a look at the card I'll be building around.

Commander Mustard

This 5/5 Human Soldier costs five mana, has vigilance, and gives other soldiers I control vigilance, trample and haste. Without any other abilities, he might be one of the better soldier commanders we've seen. Commander Mustard has another party trick. For four mana, his activated ability will give soldiers I control "whenever this creature attacks, it deals 1 damage to defending player" until end of turn. This ability can be stacked, so if you can make infinite mana of any color you can kill the table with just that attack trigger.

I'm not building this as a combo deck, though that's an interesting build path and one that would play at a higher power level. Today I'm going to try to build a fun and entertaining, but ultimately very fair, soldiers deck.

Fun with Soldiers

This deck has a lot of Soldiers, and a healthy heaping of Soldier token generators. While that's par for the course when you're building a Soldiers deck, it's worth taking a look at some of the more fun members of that profession.

Frontline Strategist
Myrel, Shield of Argive
Odric, Master Tactician

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Fog effects? This deck is running Dawn Charm, Holy Day, Repel the Abominable, Settle the Wreckage, and Teferi's Protection, but the one I want to spotlight is Frontline Strategist. This 1/1 soldier can be played as a face-down 2/2 creature for three mana and can be turned face up for its 1 mana morph ability. When it is turned face up, you get to prevent all combat damage non-Soldiers would deal this turn!

I'm also running a bunch of somewhat staxy cards. Boromir, Warden of the Tower will shut down any opponent who wants to cast spells without paying mana, and he can be sacrificed to give your army indestructible. Thalia, Heretic Cathar will force my opponents' creatures and nonbasic lands to enter tapped. My favorite in this build is Myrel, Shield of Argive. She'll protect my turn by preventing my opponents from casting spells or activating abilities of artifacts, creatures, or enchantments during my turn. That's nice, but this deck really loves her attack trigger. She'll have me create X 1/1 colorless Soldier artifact creature tokens where X is the number of Soldiers I control.

Stax can be helpful but I don't think of it as fun. What is fun for me is messing with combat and I'm running two versions of Odric to help with that. Odric, Lunarch Marshal will let my creatures all share their keywords. That's fun and can do a lot for my army, especially if I've got the indestructible Iroas, God of Victory on the battlefield, but the other Odric is even more fun. Odric, Master Tactician has a fantastic party trick. When he and at least three other creatures attack, I choose which creatures block this combat and how they block.

Sunforger Shenanigans

Another way to make a Boros deck more fun is to throw in one of the most interesting pieces of equipment ever created - Sunforger.

Sunforger

This glowing hammer gives equipped creature +4/+0, but that's by far the least interesting thing about it. Sunforger equips for three mana, and for a Red and a White mana you can unattach it and cast any Red or White instant with a mana value of four or less from your library without paying its mana cost. Shenanigans is a two-mana sorcery, so even if I were running it, I wouldn't be able to tutor it up with Sunforger.

Fortunately, there are lots of great targets in my list to go get. I already mentioned my White Fog package and I'm running the usual suspects for White and Red removal. Swords to Plowshares, Path to Exile, Generous Gift, Chaos Warp and Disenchant are all just a Sunforger activation away.

[3-card strip: Deflecting Palm, Master Warcraft, Akroma's Will]

Deflecting Palm
Master Warcraft
Akroma's Will

If someone has a lethal amount of damage headed my way, I can tutor up Deflecting Palm and send it right back at them. It won't work on a wincon that deals incremental damage, like Walking Ballista, but it's a great answer to certain threats.

Odric, Master Tactician has a powerful ability, but it can only be used when he is attacking. Master Warcraft is a four-mana instant that will let you control both attackers and blockers on someone else's turn. You can also use it on your turn but it's more of a surprise when you get to choose what creatures someone else is going to attack with.

Akroma's Will is best cast when you control a commander, and can often just turn the tide of a game or win outright. It has two modes but if you control a commander you can choose both. Having your creatures gain flying, vigilance, double strike, lifelink, indestructible and protection from all colors until end of turn is amazing if you've got even a meager army to swing with. It can be used defensively to deal with incoming flyers or to dodge a boardwipe, but you'll be happiest when this just outright wins you the game.

Pardon me...

If you know me at all, you'd know I'm sorely tempted to build this deck in paper just so I can ask my tablemates if they have any Grey Poupon at least once every time I play this deck. I'm not saying that's a good thing, and it might be a reason for me to skip over this one. I don't generally buy Universes Beyond products so my tablemates are probably safe, but I still might try this list out online at some point.

It's worth noting that as much as I love Sunforger, I'm not running Stoneforge Mystic or Stonehewer Giant. They aren't Soldiers and I also didn't include Open the Armory or Enlightened Tutor. If you really want to maximize your chances of getting Sunforger or Skullclamp, some or all of those tutors are worth running.


If you wanted to tune this list up, you could always run fast mana and you might want to depart from my emphasis on running quite so many Soldiers. You could easily throw in Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, Aurelia, the Warleader or even Moraug, Fury of Akoum to up your power level. If you dropped out a bunch of soldiers and you went after making infinite mana, I'm not sure if you would make it a more powerful deck, but it would definitely be more explosive.

If you wanted to drop your power level and your costs down, you could drop out a few expensive lands like Arid Mesa and Sacred Foundry along with Teferi's Protection and Ranger-Captain of Eos. A budget Commander Mustard deck would still be able to pack a punch, though you might find it harder to keep up with higher powered, more expensive decks.

Final Thoughts

This deck is going to play a familiar game of pushing out Soldiers and Soldier tokens and winning through combat. Its easiest wins will probably happen when you are able to pair a boardwipe like Fumigate or Vanquish the Horde with an instant that protects your board, like Boros Charm or Flawless Maneuver. Its most enjoyable wins may come when you're facing down a ridiculous threat and you're able to use Master Warcraft to force someone to kill a tablemate and then use Deflecting Palm when it looks like you're about to take lethal damage.

I was able to get one game in with this list online in Tabletop Simulator. I survived until I put my eighth land into play and then cast a Wrath of God and used Akroma's Will to keep my board. Unfortunately, by that time I was at 7 life and my board was just Commander Mustard. Still, I got lucky and made it to the very end and had a Mirror Entity available with 9 mana so I could have closed out the game. Of course, me being me, I got cute and played out a Frontline Strategist face-down so I could fog a lethal attack before hopefully winning. The funny part is that my opponent was swinging lethal at me with Kytheon, who just happens to be a soldier - so his damage wasn't fogged! I had to laugh at my mistake and we engaged in a brief "well, GG you got me"... "no, you really won, you just got cute"... "no you really won" and so on, before wrapping up for the night.

I'll be pivoting to the upcoming Fallout set soon. While I may not enjoy mixing IPs, to the point where I've kept my LoTR cards entirely separate from my Magic collection, I do enjoy brewing Commander decks. Anytime a precon deck gets put on shelves, I love seeing if there are interesting legendary creatures that can be pulled out to lead their own, more interesting or even more powerful decks.

That's all I've got for today. Thanks for reading and I'll see you next week!


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