Category: Common Thread


Common Threads – Naya Moonstalkers (Uril the Miststalker EDH)

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.  

possibilitystormruleoflaw

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?

enduringidealprimalsurge

2.) Oh yea!  Those are fun.  Building around either one would be great.  Now, I really wish we had some redundancy.

eidolonofrhetoric nullstonegargoyle

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.

thaliaguardianofthraben thornofamethyst

4.) Now what goes good with no one playing spells?…

huntmasterofthefells ravagerofthefells

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?…

urilthemiststalker

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:

gaddockteeg

Gaddock Teeg:  I literally have nothing to say about him that hasn’t already been said with many swear words.

winterorb

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.

thaliaguardianofthrabenthornofamethystglowrider

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Thorn of Amethyst, Glowrider:  Everyone’s favorite 1v1 general returns in a support role, with the Redundancy Squad.

magusofthemoon bloodmoon

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):

mayorofavabruck howlpackalpha

Mayor of Avubruck/Howlpack Alpha:  Wolf lord and our main man.

instigatorgang wildbloodpack

Instigator Gang/Wildblood Pack: Crazy-good wolf anthem.

mondronenshaman tovolarsmagehunter

Mondronen Shaman/Tovolar’s Magehunter: Mini-Kaervak the Wolf.

scornedvillager moonscaredwolf

Scorned Villager/Moonscarred Werewolf: Mana Elf Dork Wolf.

daybreakranger nightfallpredator

Daybreak Ranger/Nightfall Predator: Removal Wolf.

ulvenwaldmystics ulvenwaldprimordials

Ulvenwald Mystics/Ulvenwald Primordials: Boardwipe-Resistant Wolf.

afflicteddeserter werewolfransacker

Afflicted Deserter/Werewolf Ransacker: Artifact Hate Wolf.

wolfbittencaptive krallenhordekiller

Wolfbitten Captive/Krallenhorde Killer:  One-Drop Rootwalla Wolf.

immerwolf

Immerwolf:  Other wolf lord.

kruinoutlaw terrorofkruinpass

Kruin Outlaw/Terror of Kruin Pass: Crazy Combat Wolf.

lamboltelder silverpeltwerewolf

Lambholt Elder/Silverpelt Werewolf:  Snake Wolf.

huntmasterofthefellsravagerofthefells

Huntmaster of the Fells: Value wolf.

gatstafshepard gatstafhowler

Gatstaf Shepherd/Gatstaf Howler: Semi-unblockable Wolf.

hanweirwatchkeep baneofhanweir

Hanweir Watchkeep/Bane of Hanweir: Tribute to that Weird Legacy Deck Vanilla Wolf.

fullmoonsrise moonmist

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:

http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/moonstalkers/

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!

-/u/Martin_Gary

Common Thread – The Great Serpent: 5-color Spirit Tribal

This is another new section from another writer, Anycolorbutblack. This is the first in a series of EDH Theme Decks – the first one being 5-color spirit tribal. 

The Great Serpent

Hello everybody, I’m Anycolorbutblack, and today I’d like to bring to your attention my favorite part of the Commander format (and truth be told, all of Magic), building thematic decks.

Commander is (in my opinion at least) the best format for making playable decks of this nature, partly due to the fact that the games last longer, and cards that cannot be played in other formats make an appearance, and partly because the Commander (or General) of the deck makes it really easy to have a concrete base a theme off of them.

Although using the commander as a starting point for the theme isn’t really necessary, sometimes it’s not even possible to find a commander who fits the colors and theme of the deck you want. Sometimes sacrifices must be made for the good of the theme. Be warned that thematic decks are not for the hyper competitive player that wants to win 95% of his games (this doesn’t mean that you should expect to lose either). You’re going to be in it for the long haul with a theme deck (or at least the ones I make always turn out that way), so don’t expect to combo out turn 2, but longer games mean more time to show off the beautiful interactions (both mechanically and flavourfully) in your deck.

Anyways. Without further ado, I give you the first Common Thread.

progenitus

Progenitus. Kamigawa. Spiritcraft. This might seem like an odd way to start a series on Commander theme decks, with the commander not matching the theme of the deck, but sometimes things don’t always work out the way you want them to (and sometimes if you squint hard enough, they just might).

This deck originally started as a five color good stuff deck after receiving Progenitus as a Christmas gift, just without the good stuff. I don’t really remember the exact list, but I can clearly recall it running a Master of Diversion as the only card that tapped peoples stuff, or even had a trigger on attack (it was my first EDH deck okay?), so not really a theme deck (mechanical or otherwise). I realized that this was incredibly boring and, well, complete garbage. So I decided to make a change, and that change pretty much determined what the rest of my EDH decks would look like.  Kamigawa was always my favourite block, and I’ve always liked tribal decks, so I decided to put two and two together and get something resembling a four. A five color good stuff/spiritcraft deck (for the uninitiated, spiritcraft is the name given to “Whenever you play a Spirit or Arcane spell, do [insert mediocre effect here.]”)

You can find my decklist of it here.

In the final incarnation of this deck, there are a number of minor themes that unite to create the overarching theme of The Great Serpent.  First, we have as mentioned previously spiritcraft, spirit tokens, Legendary matters, tribal pumping and five color good stuff (FCGS). Of these themes FCGS quite clearly doesn’t seem to mesh that well with the others, this was a small(ish) sacrifice that was needed to make the deck more playable. Of course another theme in this deck is that a lot of the cards are from the Kamigawa block, mostly because that’s where the tribe got a lot of its 5 color support.

Representative Cards:

  • Oyobi, Who Split the Heavens/Sekki, Season’s Guide
  • Coat of Arms
  • Time of Need

oyobiwhosplittheheavenssekkiseasonsguide

Oyobi, Who Split the Heavens is a fantastic example of the kind of spiritcraft effects that are found in this Tribal themed deck. Play a spirit; get an effect, in this case another spirit. Oyobi fits the deck really well thematically, because 1) she’s a spirit, 2) is legendary, 3) creates spirit tokens, and 4) is from Kamigawa.  The fact that she makes tokens that large are pretty solid, too. Sekki, Seasons’ Guide also makes tokens, but also has some recursion built in – by sacrificing 8 spirits, you can return him to play. If Sekki takes 8 damage and gets you 8 1/1s, you can just sacrifice them to bring him back and get even more tokens.

coatofarms

This card is a must have in any tribal deck, and five color spirits is no exception. It showcases the power of token power possible in this deck, because it makes your tokens gained from Oyobi and Sekki (as well as others) into massive beaters.

timeofneed

This card is really quite useful in the deck, due to the fact you can tutor an answer for pretty much anything with it. Someone just get 100 Tokens with Empty the Warrens? Grab the Myojin of Cleansing Fire. Did the mono Blue player Zenith for 18? Get the Myojin of Night’s Reach. Someone just play a land? Better punish them with the Myojin of Infinite Rage. It also represents a great moment in the Kami war, which you can find on Wizards website. (The most flavourful pull is always Jugan).

In this final section of Common Threads we’re going to discussing what would happen to this deck, if we could change a few things about the reality of Magic: The Gathering. We first start off at the edge of our reality in a world where we have an unlimited budget, and what changes that would entail in the deck. We then dip our toes into a world where some cards are altered just slightly to fit the theme of the deck a little bit better. From there, we go straight off the deep end and look at a card specially crafted for our theme, and discuss some very thin threads.

“You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension – a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.”

If we had no limit on what we could spend on this deck, the first thing we’d do would be to fix up the mana base. Right now it’s a bit hobbled together by the cards I already owned, but without a budget, it could become a lot more consistent. Of course we’d keep Cavern of Souls, and then for starters we’d pick up a set of shock lands, then a set of duals (beta of course), ten fetches, and finally round it out with some check lands (which might not be the best choice, but there are my personal favourite and work well with the duals and shocks.)  A Geist of Saint Traft would be another solid addition to the list, and after that who knows. (There aren’t that many expensive spirits)

With some wet feet, we proceed into the world of complete fantasy (impossible instead of improbable). If I could change one card in the deck slightly to fit with the theme, it would of course be the Commander himself. He’d become a Spirit Hydra, which would allow him to be pumped more easily, add to the impact when he hits that field by triggering spirit craft (not that he isn’t already a huge impact) and by making him uncounterable with the Cavern  without sacrificing its usefulness in mana fixing for the rest of the deck.

If I had the chance to make one card specifically for this deck, it would have to include the spiritcraft ability, involve all five colors, be mindful of the Kamigawa block and the cards printed in it, and interact somehow with legendary cards. With that in mind, I give you Kakuriyo, named for the spirit world of Kamigawa.

Kakuriyo

Kakuriyo

Legendary Land

Tap: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to cast legendary spells. Kakuriyo doesn’t untap during your next untap step.

Spiritcraft—whenever you cast a spirit or arcane spell, put a 1/1 spirit token with colors the same as that spell on to the battlefield.

If you really squint hard enough, you can see a reason why I chose Progenitus to be the Commander of this deck other than his colors and the fact I got him as a gift. There’s a theory that’s floating around on the net (that I did not come up with) that the Great Serpent, O-Kagachi and Progenitus are actually the same entity. This is supported (very loosely) by the shared appearance between the great creatures, the fact that they both serve as an avatar or “Soul” for their respective planes. At least that’s what I like to believe. One can always dream and grasp at the threads.

– Anycolorbutblack

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