RED VS. BLUE
People hate Blue. This holds in EDH. “They don’t even let you play the game when they get started!” is a frequent complaint lodged at the Color of Permission. I share that frustration, as well…because I want to prevent people from playing the game too, darn it! Without using Blue! I want to use the opposite of Blue…like maybe Red. I love Red. Red is a really weird color: It’s random on purpose, and hits an interesting dichotomy of either horrible (Tibalt) or broken (Storm). What a great color!
Red Mages 4 Lyfe.
Return to Ravnica really pushed how weird Red can get by giving us Possibility Storm. It is an apropos name: Possibilities opened up in my head as soon as it came out. What kind, you might ask? Possibility Storm allows us to play Blue in a very Red way: Combine Possibility Storm with a card like Rule of Law, and you essentially lock everyone out of the game, including yourself (minus playing commanders and some corner-cut cases). What fun for a red mage!
OH, THE (lessening) POSSIBILITIES!
The Possibility Storm/Rule of Law lock fascinated me instantly, and led to this thought process:
1.) Alright, I love this lock. How do I get it reliably and extravagantly?
2.) Oh yea! Those are fun. Building around either one would be great. Now, I really wish we had some redundancy.
3.) Great! A little “softer”, but not too bad: Getting to throw one creature down per turn will slow the game to a crawl anyway. That’s still a pretty small card pool to rely on every game…I wonder if there’s something else one of my colors can do to slow things down? Oh, Tax! That’s in White.
4.) Now what goes good with no one playing spells?…
5.) Werewolves! Oh my, that is fun. What a shame, though: Most werewolves are Green. I’d have to build Naya. Hmm… Well, I have an enchantment-based hard lock. My commander should interact with those. I should be able to play my commander as a secondary win-con, as werewolves are kind of fragile. I want something with a Werewolf feel, also…maybe it walks in the fogs of the night…
Gosh, WHOEVER could fit all these criteria as a Naya commander?…
Houston, we have a deck.
So, for those of you just tuning in: We are going to play a Uril deck where Uril is a secondary win-con to Enduring Ideal/Primal Surge and a bunch of stupid werewolves. If anyone ever asks me why I love EDH so much, it’s because I can say the previous sentence with a straight face.
BUILDING THE MOONSTALKER
Alright, we have our idea and we have a few somewhat synergistic areas to put together.
Our Hard Lock:
- Possibility Storm
- Rule of Law
- Eidolon of Rhetoric
- Nullstone Gargoyle (optional, really)
We play Naya, so tutoring for non-creatures is a little uh…..not good. Thus, we have to get more creative in setting up our hard lock:
- Enduring Ideal: You want to put the whole combo down in one turn, so stick a Fork in that bad boy. With your permanent werewolves out, you can start throwing down some mean auras, get a Beastmaster Ascension, etc. This build is likely enchantment heavy in general.
- Primal Surge: I’m becoming more of a fan of this approach, as it requires less cards. It works so well with everything else in the deck and Naya is a color that can become permanent-only quite easily. “Hey, I have…well, I have my hard lock down and also every werewolf in my deck! Neat. Go to combat.”
In addition to our hard lock, we want to Tax opponents. That means a low curve and the following cards:
Gaddock Teeg: I literally have nothing to say about him that hasn’t already been said with many swear words.
Winter Orb: I’d say uh…maybe don’t play this unless you’re sure it’s cool. If you’re going for the throat (werewolves, haha!), I’d say throw in a Seedborn Muse too.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Thorn of Amethyst, Glowrider: Everyone’s favorite 1v1 general returns in a support role, with the Redundancy Squad.
Magus of the Moon, Blood Moon: If you play against the right kind of tables, these two will basically pull off a “hard lock” for you by themselves.
THE MOON OF MY LIFE
Now, on to the stars (or moons, haha!) of the show: The werewolves, the only tribe that goes from Worst to Best with the flip of a card. Above all else, we want wolves that actually DO something in addition to having bodies (vanilla wolves are too bad for even my tastes):
Mayor of Avubruck/Howlpack Alpha: Wolf lord and our main man.
Instigator Gang/Wildblood Pack: Crazy-good wolf anthem.
Mondronen Shaman/Tovolar’s Magehunter: Mini-Kaervak the Wolf.
Scorned Villager/Moonscarred Werewolf: Mana Elf Dork Wolf.
Daybreak Ranger/Nightfall Predator: Removal Wolf.
Ulvenwald Mystics/Ulvenwald Primordials: Boardwipe-Resistant Wolf.
Afflicted Deserter/Werewolf Ransacker: Artifact Hate Wolf.
Wolfbitten Captive/Krallenhorde Killer: One-Drop Rootwalla Wolf.
Immerwolf: Other wolf lord.
Kruin Outlaw/Terror of Kruin Pass: Crazy Combat Wolf.
Lambholt Elder/Silverpelt Werewolf: Snake Wolf.
Huntmaster of the Fells: Value wolf.
Gatstaf Shepherd/Gatstaf Howler: Semi-unblockable Wolf.
Hanweir Watchkeep/Bane of Hanweir: Tribute to that Weird Legacy Deck Vanilla Wolf.
Full Moon’s Rise/Moonmist: Werewolf Tribal Support Cards.
People seemed to want one on the last article, so here’s an example decklist with one of many Possibilities:
At the end of the day, you can do whatever you want! If you don’t like how inherently bad werewolves are, you can make Uril your main win-con and the “Wolf Lock” strategy a secondary win-con. You can go all-out werewolf tribal and throw in all the vanilla wolves, go Zoo, focus a bunch on the Tax effect and play Naya Weenie-wolves, etc.
The world is your oyster when you’re too red to care about winning!