This entry is part 309 of 324 in the series CommanderCast

Hello everyone and welcome to CommanderCast Episode 297! We’re your weekly source for Community, Strategy, and Technology, hosted on and our homesite:! This week Mark and Adam are going to talk about the new set spoilers for Ixalan! Plus there’s a point in the show where we have some technical issues but fear not because we got your back!

So if you’re down with that all you have to do is click the IB!!!


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CommanderCast Episode 297

Posted: September 11, 2017








Keep up with the conversation on Facebook & Twitter.




*Worth Reading: “Arena Is Magic: The Gathering‘s Answer To Hearthstone,” by Mike Fahey




  • Hascon/Iconic Masters
    • Future Sight lands reprinted
    • Just about everything else under the sun (maybe add two or three of our picks each?)
  • New Ixalan spoilers
    • Chupacabra, Merfolk in trees, enchantments that transform into lands…Has Magic jumped the shark?
    • Nicely done, WotC. I even like the dinosaurs




How much deck space should you allocate for each type of spell?


  • Ramp ~ 10
  • Card Draw ~ 5-10
  • Answers
    • Removal ~ 10
      • Targeted & board wipes
      • Counters
      • Artifact/Enchantment Hate
  • Threats ~ ???
    • Creatures
    • Direct damage spells




The Return of “Too Cute or Kinda Awesome?”





CommanderCast  – Email: commandercast(at)gmail(dot)com // twitter: (at)CommanderCast


Rachel – Email: wiehernandez(at)gmail(dot)com // twitter: (at)Blueram1409


Calvin – Email: captainredzone(at)gmail(dot)com  // twitter: (at)CaptainRedZone


Mark – Email: mahlerma(at)gmail(dot)com


Adam – (at)squire9999 // (at)thetrinisphere


Be sure to check out our CommanderCast Facebook page.


And a big thanks to everyone here at the CommanderCast Network. We’ll see you next week with more community, strategy, and technology. Until then, LET’S GET IT!


Series Navigation<< CommanderCast Ep 296 – Playing without the PreconsCommanderCast 2017 Precon Special, Part 1: Arcane Wizardry >>
  • Dadsquatch

    Much love and support to both Adam and Mark in the respective crises…babies and hurricanes. Peace to both of you in dealing with any stress.

    It’s nice to hear Adam get salty. It shows that he is not necessarily the Felix Ungar to Mark’s Oscar. Old man reference, ahoy! Okay, there was that new version with Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon…

    I was kind of excited for Iconic Masters until I realized the only cards I don’t already own are Horizon Canopy and Glimpse the Unthinkable. The rest is pretty unremarkable and, yes, far from iconic.

    I bit the bullet and put down a preorder of 4 for the new Cradle land/enchantments. There’s never _not_ going to be a time where I won’t use that card in a green deck. I have 3 Gaea’s Cradles, and sometimes I feel like goddamn 1 percenter when I use them in decks, but then I remember I’ve had them for over almost 15 years and what other place am I going to play those cards?

    As far as deck construction, I do things stupidly. I usually go all in on a theme or mechanic and forget to put deck basics while chasing my Timmy/Johnny/Melvin fever dream until I play it and realize it’s missing a necessary ingredient. Then, I’ll go back in and eliminate redundancy for card draw, removal, etc.

    Godspeed, gentlemen! Take care.

    • Adam Traas

      I had a much shorter term stress. Just got power back today and minimal damage. Mostly just yardwork. Mark on the other hand has a life long hurricane ahead of him. Thanks for the love.

  • Jeremy Parsons

    You know what I find more offensive than the reserve list? Selling these ____ Masters sets at $10 a pack. So I guess it puts more card copies out there without doing a lot to assault their current prices. But if you’re not drafting them? Watch me pay for a $10 Lord of the Pit and toss a 10-spot in the trash! Let me know when I might have a chance in there for actual new cards or they’re going to put a reasonable price on the packs.

    As to Iconic? There’s a lot of people who play who’s Good ole days are just 2-5 years back. So I can’t really fault them for having a wide mix of sets, just because my first sets were revised, Antiquities with the occasional peek at amazing Arabian Nights cards. The concept of Iconic may or may not also be affected in that if you went with truly iconic draft fodder, the commons and uncommons were so much worse than current designs.

    I’m liking the Ixalon stuff. These new lands are interesting. Between what goes on to enable them, and that if you set things up, they can be additional mana ramp for colors that don’t normally have access to it, seeing as when you meet the condition, puff you’re up +1 land as well. also making it more resilient then its original form.

    Deck construction, mix of cards, sense of curve and play, then refinement. Later on, as the deck plays out and especially if a deck seems seriously deficient in an area I may go back to the advice from the Command Zone on 10 ramp, 10 draw spells, 30 of a card type that matters. I’ll usually conceptualize a deck idea from myriad ideas, throw it together in some frame where I have the mana costs spread out. And then start doing some goldfishing if just to make sure the deck’s basic plan of development is working.

  • Eshed

    Thanks guys! I put deckbuilding advice at a premium.. I tend to get tunnel vision for whatever janky tech I’m using. A perfect example is your idea of using Blasphemous Act alongside something like Repercussion or Coalhauler Swine. I put that trick into a Naya deck I’m working on, and I went all-in on the theme, also including Druid’s Call, Lure effects, Earthquake/Hurricane with Personal Sanctuary, and Fight cards like Tahngarth, Talruum Hero. By the time I get done with my Magical Christmas Wishlist, I’m left without adequate ramp and draw, insufficient removal, and maybe I’ll keep topdecking one of the synergy pieces without the other, and find myself literally “at a loss.”

    • Mark Mahler

      I think you pretty much described my own deckbuilding habits here, Eshed ;). I’d like to think that I’ve gotten a little better over the years, but I’m probably kidding myself. I will endeavor to include more ramp in my next build and see what all the fuss is about.

      • Eshed

        Removal and Card Draw were obviously necessary to me, but outside of Green, I hadn’t fully realized how important Ramp is beyond Sol Ring and light color fixing. I’ve already started adjusting my builds, but there’s such a tension in cutting “bad cards we love!” I wonder if my style of deckbuilding precludes adequate utility… I tend to start with the “heart” of the deck; a specific synergy or even a single card like the Commander itself, and then I build a shell around that. Perhaps the first step should be the skeleton, the support stucture that holds it all together, and only once the structure is sound, begin adding the individual nodes of function that make a deck whole. Some time back, y’all posted a link to a TappedOut list of staples, a sort of “Proto-deck” skeleton to serve as a foundation. I’ve been toying with that list as a jump off, but doing so almost feels alien to my playstyle, as if I’m starting my deck with the premise of, “I want to win, how can I increase my odds,” rather than something like, “I want to summon squirrels and thunderstorms, how can I make that happen?”

        • Jeremy Parsons

          I very much try to build to the latter strategy. Try to build to the core of what I want the deck to do. And then later make cuts and shore things up to both make it work better. I’ve had entire decks where I’ve built in and then come back later with the view of at least 10 card draw spells and 10 ramp spells.
          By then I’ve had the deck, gotten frustrated with it and probably have a better idea of what cards I do like and what cards I don’t and can start cutting the cards I don’t like while looking for other cards that synergize with my strategy. For instance after a recent Zedruu game where I couldn’t draw my lone graveyard answer (Stonecloaker) but had an active Sunforger. I went looking for cheap instant graveyard answers in red or white and came up with Honor the Fallen. Yay! (And I already had two in paper.)
          I find it easier and more interesting to work some things in when I’m looking for cards in certain niches. I need this effect, but it really has to cost about this much mana. And so on.
          As to what I’m cutting in Dragonlord Silumgar to squeeze in a Hostage Taker, I’ve no idea. She totally an effect I should have, especially since she can answer artifacts, but I’m not sure what I can cut for her that I don’t like better… might end up being poor Kefnet, which is a shame.

  • Korlash Heir to Pestilence

    Need more Guests. Even if they sound dumb or are bad. Dumb and bad is spicy and interesting.
    Also, I would like to hear more about you guys Favorite Decks Commander that you play with.
    And in the different segments you could talk about how some the things you talk about applies to your Pet decks.

    Or during a set review 30 seconds here or there on how you might consider the previewed card in your pet deck.

    Yeah basically personalize the episodes by sprinkling your favorites deck into the mix.

    I always wanted to hear the mighty tales of Agrus Kos Captain Red zone’s favorite commander but in the later episodes he would rarely discuss it to my chagrin.

    • Mark Mahler

      More guests are incoming, I promise. Syncing up schedules sometimes takes a little while, but we’ve definitely got a few in the works.

      Fear not, though: the Captain will return shortly with tales from the red zone once we do the precon specials in the next couple of weeks. I miss his stories of smashing folks in the face, too.

  • Josh Jurgensen

    Decent show, fellas.

    Growing Rites of Itilmoc flips based on creatures you control, not lands (like Temple of the False God). Do we know that the flip-lands like this one can’t be tutored out as lands or not? I believe we can’t – but crop rotating into some of these would be sweet.

    Coretapper is just garbage. If you’re trying to boost the Magistrate’s Scepter, Rings of Brighthearth is really the only thing you’ll need to pair it with (Since you can use it to double both activations).

    Tombstone Stairwell is great – I’m a huge fan and throw it in almost any deck I can. It’s probably the most underrated Reserved List card. But as sweet as Last Laugh is, Grim Feast is the card I like to jam with the stairwell.

    • Mark Mahler

      “Coretapper is just garbage,” has now become my favorite four-word review. My love for garbage cards notwithstanding, Rings is clearly the better option here.

      And the Grim Feast + Tombstone Stairwell is a great pairing, Josh. I’m totally going to steal that idea and try it out in a deck.

      • Josh Jurgensen

        Yeah – a quick aside:

        I had the Feast / Stairwell rocking in a 6-way. Some guy drops a Coat of Arms and shockingly, nearly a whole orbit of turns around the table happen. Some guy goes to attack me with his graveborn army and says “I attack you for lethal.”

        I say: “Wow, really? Because I’m at 6700 life” and jaws drop around the table.

        The fact that Grim Feast gets you life from all players graveborns during *each* player’s turn is nearly insurmountable – an often the biggest non-infinite number a lot of players have seen.