July 13, 2012
By Sean aka SwordsToPlow
To end this Season, I am going to follow through on a request I was given by several of my readers. Every now and then I get requests asking me what decks I am playing and if I have the lists posted online. Today, I am going to give you a run through of each of my decks, why i built them and why I play them.
Arcum – The Asylum
Arcum was built for a challenge and stays together for nostalgia. Building Arcum marked my entry into the online Magic community. You can see the process of building Acrum over at my old site, Arcum Asylum.
This deck is a combo deck through and through. It aims to end the game as quickly as possible. This usually means creating infinite mana and playing the entire deck. It could also mean putting someone in a slaver lock, destroying the world with Lattice and Disk, or taking a bunch of turns with Planar Portal and Beacon of Tomorrows.
As a combo deck, it is weak against control decks. Anything with a lot of low cmc spot removal or counterspells can keep it off the combos as long as possible. The worst matchup is Thada. It is incredibly strong against most other kinds of decks. The speed and consistency of the deck usually just outpace your typical Commander deck.
This is the deck that I bring out whenever someone asks or if someone is the kind of douche that needs to be put in their place. For the most part, this deck just gains dust in my deck box. It is the deck I have kept together the longest and it really does look fantastic.
Jor Kadeen was built to prove to myself and my local playgroup that aggro was a viable archetype. I concluded that to make aggro really good, a toolbox was a way to keep the threat density while being able to keep other decks from running you over. I brought this deck to worlds and won several Commander Pods with it before switching to more casual decks.
Jor Kadeen at Worlds - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNYwjEuFtn8
Keeping to the original plan, Jor Kadeen is a strictly aggro deck. The deck is devoid of any combos. It used double striking creatures in conjunction with powerful equipment to force through damage. In the event that someone goes to infinite life it can option to a voltron strategy or use inkmoth nexus to poison someone.
As a deck that is completely aggro, it has a difficult time fighting combo decks. The matchup isn’t as bad as combos matchup against control, but it is difficult regardless. In the case of a single combo deck at the table, it can usually out race it. If there are more than one combo players hanging around, this deck finds it nearly impossible to kill them all.
The deck is strong against your traditional control decks. They can slow down aggro decks, but they usually can’t stop them. The advantage of an equipment based deck that doesn’t rely on Commander damage is that it doesn’t care much about each individual piece. It also doesn’t have to overcommit to be a threat.
I play this deck against a large variety of decks. It is fun to play and with the exception of some armageddon effects it is fun to play against. New players usually won’t see this deck. The power and speed are a little more than new players are used too.
Rhys the Redeemed
I decided to build Rhys much in the same way I decided to build Arcum. I wanted to challenge myself to build something that would be very difficult to find. Rhys is a deck that I couldn’t just go and buy the cards for. The rarity levels were enough that the cards were not always available for sale or trade.
The Start – http://redsitewins.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/the-commander%E2%80%99s-chair-%E2%80%93-the-redemption/
Project Completed -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWy4KmRvZRs
Rhys is a casual token and elf tribal deck. It has a few ways to win and most of them include turning creatures sideways. It does contain one or two combos for reach in games that just doesn’t seem to want to end. It has strengths primarily in the elf portion of the deck. Lots of ramp and strong early game plays help it win the few games it does.
Casual decks like this don’t have many strong matchups and are weak to anyone who wants to try hard to win the game. If you had to peg a strength, this deck is actually good against a variety of Voltron based strategies. You have powerful naturalize effects working together with an almost endless supply of blockers.
Rhys the Pimp
This deck came together in the simplest of ways. I bought a collection that had a bunch of rats and said, “why not?” It isn’t a tournament deck on most occasions. However, I did get to play it at worlds in a match where someone else was also playing a Relentless Rats deck. This deck also gave me my one and only guest appearance on the mothership, even if I wasn’t mentioned by name.
Youtube – http://youtu.be/PWVTAu2NMFs
This decks plays rats and cards that play more rats. Every now and then it recurs rats.
This deck is bad against combo decks and ramp decks. It plays very little disruption and even a bunch of rats don’t compete well against the giant threats that ramp plays. Graveyard hate is annoying with Balthor, but not exactly back breaking.
This deck is really good against mill decks and decks that look to cast a bunch of Wrath of Gods. Balthors ability is always good, but if someone if filling your graveyard for you it is downright absurd.
I play this deck against everyone but competitive players. It has the ability to win games with big creatures, but it doesn’t do so very often. Generally i use this as a way to let everyone know that we are playing a casual games. On a fun meta note, having more than one of these in your group actually makes things more interesting.
Godo, Reanimator Warlord
This deck started as a joke. I was kidding with one of my friends online about building a mono red reanimator deck, where you reanimate big artifact creatures or cheat them into play. Well, after doing some testing online it turns out that the deck is really fun to play. My version is far from complete, but still fun.
The deck is an aggro/combo deck. It really wants to win through the aggro plan but its actual wins are combo more often than not. Aside from the tradition Godo-Exoskeleton plan, it hinges on Nim Deathmantle to make creatures that use Sneak Attack to get onto the battlefield stick permanently.
The deck is weak graveyard hate and decks that run a lot of naturalize or shatterstorm effects. It is more brown than red, and suffers greatly from losing mass numbers of its artifacts. Really any control deck will do well against this kind of deck.
Godo is exceptionally good at making other combo decks crazy. Wheel of Fortune is good for everyone, unless they were trying to collect combo pieces in their hands. There have actually been a few victories now caused by Goblin Welder and Memory Jar
I will play this deck against basically everyone. Godo has reached that nearly perfect level of being good enough that I can play him against experienced players but obscure and fun enough that new players don’t mind bashing heads with him.
Ghost Council of Pretty
I initially built the ghost council deck for my wife. She really liked the art on a bunch of the Orzhov cards. I have all the cards that she likes that I have taken out for playability purposes in the deck’s sideboard. Ghost Council has proven to be surprisingly effective and dangerous.
Ghost Council is a good stuff/enchantment based deck. As a really casual deck it doesn’t have any particularly good or bad matchups. The advantage of this deck is that I can play as well as I want and still have a good time. It contains a few combos that usually end the game, but aren’t a bullet’s path to victory.
I Feel Pretty
Jolrael, Empress of . . . AVALANCHE!!!
I won’t talk too much about Jolreal since I wrote an article about her this season. I did make the changes suggested in the comment lines.
Tariel, Wrecker of Souls
Tariel is my newest and most casual deck. It has won a few games, to the surprise of all. It is primarily an off-color jujitsu control deck. This deck was not built to win games. It was built to show new players the options some of the other colors outside blue had to effect the stack and use tricks.
Tariel is a control deck down to it’s pathetic little core. It has a few minor combos that are easily disrupted, but could win the game. It depends entirely on using politics and other peoples spells to win the game.
As a jujitsu deck, the stronger the decks you play against the better this deck is. It need people to both play powerful spells and powerful creatures to be effective. If people are playing mid level or mediocre cards, Tariel will never have the power required to close a game.
This deck is fun, but very challenging to play. While these colors do have some control options, they really aren’t as good as the blue spells. Tariel gets played against everyone, because I like challenges and don’t mind losing.
I can’t believe it’s not blue
I hope everyone has enjoyed this season. As we all take a break a recharge for the next season, you can still contact me at Swordstoplow@gmail.com. I am always up for giving deck advice, hearing suggestions about article topics or just shooting the shit. Have a nice break and see you after the break.