This entry is part 5 of 14 in the series Peasant Rebellion

Posted by MAX aka Maxwellian2000
After getting into some B/G Peasant ideas last time, we’re back with some suggestions for your Jund and Grixis builds.

{G}/{B}/{R}

A real good reason to play Jund is because it has the best color-combination for removal in this format, with Evicar’s Justice, Rolling Thunder, Ashes to Ashes, and Wickerbough Elder, for starters.  Add to that the best creature suite, and now we’re just looking for a general.

But like any non-Blue build, pure card draw is scarce here except for Sign in Blood, Moriok Replica, and cantrips like Crimson Wisps.  Fortunately, as one of the original allied color shards, there are a multitude of generals to choose from.  Xira Arien might be at the top of my list, especially for a more control-oriented build (although it would be hard to pass up slapping a Runes of the Deus on a Kresh the Bloodbraided).  She was reprinted in Chronicles, so you know it’s a cheapy at SCG.  She represents card advantage in its purest form, and one card for 3 CMC and a tap is a bargain in the format.  Although she is comparatively fragile, her 2 toughness is important because it keeps her out of range of Viridian Longbow unless they spend six mana, Mogg Fanatic and Hurly Burly, among others.

Although flying is usually a good ability to have, it might not be quite as much of an advantage in Pauper, where green’s removal is often focused on flying at common (read:Aerie Ouphes).  Another option might be something very similar to Xira, Adun Oakenshield.  Although he’s certainly underplayed and pretty much useless as far as inflicting general damage, his value was not crushed by a Chronicles reprint.  Still, there are over 10 in stock at the moment at SCG, and Italian ones are only $5.99.

Both Xira and Adun could support a more aggressive strategy, either by filling the hand with threats or recurring the ones the deck does draw.  So what kind of aggro build might work in a format defined by control and incremental card advantage?  News flash – Infect is quadruple strike when your opponent’s life is 40 and you only need 10 infect counters to finish them off.  With removal to clear the way for Blight Mamba, Razor Swine, and the rest of the infect creatures in these colors, look out.  This would be a great place to add format stalwarts Bonesplitter, Strider Harness and Volshok Morningstar along with Rancor.  Invigorate is perfect here because you cast it for free with no drawback (and could even gain you a temporary ally) if you’re trying to win with poison.  Marsh Viper plus a Viridian Longbow makes for tap: put two poison counters on target opponent.  And can anyone say Instill Energy?  To top it off, Soul’s Fire gets poison through without having to worry about combat.

At uncommon, Overrun and Fireshrieker seem really good for your infected army, although Triumph of the Hordes would make sure even your utility guys could get in on a killer swing.  Speaking of making utility guys into poison, Snake-Cult Initiation might be an option, especially if you’re already packing the Longbow.

I know infect has something of a bad name in standard Commander for its “win out of nowhere” potential when splashed into Rafiq decks, along with its generally inferior creature stats, but I’m thinking Peasant may be where an actual infect-themed deck lives up to its potential.

{B}/{R}/{U}

As we all know, abusing creatures with enter-the-battlefield (ETB) abilities is one of the best sources of card advantage in Commander because it’s an automatic 2-for-1: the creature entering the battlefield, and the effect triggering when it gets there.  A general that allows for multiple uses of the same ETB creature, like Karador, Ghost Chieftain, is essential to take full advantage of that strategy.  At first glance, Sedris, the Traitor King ($1.49 and well-stocked at SCG) looks like he wouldn’t be quite as good as the Ghost Chieftain, because even though you can get two uses out of a creature card, the second use appears to be short-lived.  But then I learned something about the Unearth ability you probably already knew: you can get around Sedris’ exile trigger if you remove that creature from the game first with something like Oblivion Ring.  See http://wiki.mtgsalvation.com/article/Unearth

Unfortunately, White is ordinarily the purveyor of those effects, starting with Momentary Blink and Turn to Mist.  Not happening in a Grixis deck.  On the other hand, Wormfang Drake and Faceless Butcher suddenly become all-stars at common.  If you think about it, the Drake was really a predecessor to the “Champion a Creature” mechanic that debuted in Lorwyn, and produces a 3/4 flier for 3 CMC that allows the exiled creature to eventually re-enter the battlefield.  Good stats, great value, and a quasi-blink effect?  Sign me up.  Faceless Butcher is a more versatile version of that effect, allowing you to interact with opponents’ creatures, but only produces a 2/3 for 4 CMC.  Changeling Berserker, who does have the Champion keyword, and Voyager Staff (which you can fetch with Trinket Mage) fill out the strategy at uncommon.

A few other things that might be helpful include Corpse Connoisseur in its dual role as this deck’s Buried Alive and a Sedris target himself, as well as some artifact recursion in Buried Ruin and maybe Myr Retriever to get back the imminently-recurrable Voyager Staff.  Even without artifact recursion, four “blink” effects should be enough because of the Trinket Make and Transmute.  Dimir House Guard turns into the Butcher or the Berserker, while Perplex and Drift of Phantasms find the Drake or the Trinket Mage.  Even though the Cavern Harpy doesn’t override Sedris’ exile trigger, it still seems like a good addition here with the prevalence of ETB creatures (and you can find it with Muddle the Mixture and Dimir Infiltrator).

Speaking of ETB creatures, these colors give us the chance to play one particularly relevant kind of ETB creature with consistency akin to a 60-card deck: those with bounce effects.  From Man-o’-war to Stingscourger to Sedraxis Alchemist, there are a plethora of bounce creatures in these colors that can be cast, exiled, returned to play, returned to hand, recast, and unearthed to achieve control of the board.  Cavern Harpy, along with Dream Stalker, Shrieking Drake, and Marsh Crocodile at uncommon generate multiple effects with a single ETB creature before Sedris even gets involved.

A quick example from a recent game shows how debilitating these synergies can be.  In this instance, I had an Ulamog’s Crusher in the graveyard and Sedris on the battlefield.  I spent three mana to activate Sedris’ Unearth ability and returned the Crusher to play with Haste.  After swinging (and annihilating), I spent another three mana to cast the Wormfang Drake, exiling the Crusher.  Finally, I spent two mana to cast the Cavern Harpy, returning the Drake to hand and a fresh Crusher to the battlefield.  If the Crusher were to be put in the graveyard again, the whole process could be repeated simply by returning the Harpy to hand with its insane “pay 1 life” ability.  It didn’t get to that point because my remaining opponent was in the process of scooping.

Although in that particular game I was lucky enough to have the Crusher around, it is much more likely that a sequence like that will involve playing and replaying bounce creatures to keep problematic permanents off the board. But in addition to the bounce strategy, this deck can break stuff, handling all non-enchantment threats with things like Shattering Pulse, Fissure and Wrecking Ball.  Although these colors are light in enchantment removal, Drake Familiar is probably a good idea, and Bubbling Beebles and Enchantment Alteration might present interesting solutions to the problem.  The good news is that Muddle the Mixture and Dimir Infiltrator can both search up the Pulse and the Drake Familiar.  Things like Capsize, Recoil and Aethersnipe are particularly valuable because they can target any permanent and help shore up this issue.

For threats, the aforementioned and ubiquitous Ulamog’s Crusher of course makes the grade, and so does Kederekt Creeper.  Volshuk Morningstar is great at making utility guys into threats.  Rolling Thunder and Fireball provide some reach.  And Sedris himself is no slouch.  But mostly, the deck is going to rely on Sedris’s Unearth ability to increase the value of the host of available ETB creatures, resulting in incremental card advantage that ultimately overwhelms the table.

When our group rolls with generals like Damia, Sage of Stone, Karador, Ghost Chieftain and Sedris, the Traitor King, we rarely, if ever, find ourselves with nothing to do late-game.  For my part, I highly doubt I’d ever make a Pauper/Peasant deck without a card advantage-producing general on par with those guys.  I’d say that rules out Barktooth Warbeard.

But don’t take my word for it that card advantage-generating generals are da bomb; see for yourselves if any of those deck ideas, or any others, come together.  If so, you can post lists in the comments or email ‘em to me at maxwellian2000@yahoo.com.

Maxwellian2000 is a former competitive Magic player who now plays exclusively Commander formats, along with Palladium Books’ Rifts RPG and Legos.  When not writing about and playing Magic, he works as a lawyer in Kansas and produces music at panoramicrecords.net.

Series Navigation<< Peasant Rebellion 04-Kings of Card Advantage, Part 1Peasant Rebellion 06 – Karador Dredge: Keeping it Casual, Part 1 >>