This entry is part 1 of 14 in the series Peasant Rebellion
By Max aka Maxwellien2000Maximillian PEEEEGAsus
Since I pushed away the rock I was under a couple years ago and discovered Commander, my goal has always been to build as many optimal Commander decks as my collection would allow.  Each was to be of relatively equal power level and all were to be constructed with minimum bank-breaking.  But even though I’ve been playing and spending coin on this hobby since 1995, once you add up dual lands, costly auto-includes (read: Primeval Titan, Consecrated Sphinx, Bribery, etc.) and the acquisition of the specific cards to finish off a top-tier Commander deck, a collection that used to seem expansive could support only two such builds.  And I only got beyond one because I was careful to make sure that each touched a different portion of the color pie with Ghave, Guru of Spores and Numot, the Devastator (sure does suck to invest all your good duals in one five-color deck, although it was fun with the Reaper King while it lasted).

So then I had these two decks.  Success!  But two problems marred what should have been a highlight in my deck building career: one, after working closely with the collection and trying all sorts of generals, it became clear that I was incapable of building and loving a deck that wasn’t satisfactorily optimized (read: broken, just not “win on the fourth turn consistently” broken; see Aside).   Though that is most definitely a personal issue, I’m not sure which is more costly: playsets of the original dual lands, or therapy without union insurance.  Which leads us to the second, decidedly more universal problem faced by deckbuilders who seek balanced decks: inevitably running out of certain “staples” in each color as you build more decks, or as it’s otherwise known, “why the hell did Wizards cook up Modern right when Commander/causal interest was at an all-time high?” Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 2 of 14 in the series Peasant Rebellion

By MAX aka MAXWELLIAN2000
Format Notes: Pauper decks are 99 cards and a general.  Peasant decks are 94 commons, 5 uncommons and a general.  See http://wiki.mtgsalvation.com/article/Pauper_Magic and http://wiki.mtgsalvation.com/article/Peasant_Magic.  Additionally, the best Pauper reference site I have found by far is pdcmagic.com. That’s a significant community they’ve got going over there, and their FAQ page is golden.  Peasant, though, is a much less charted territory, with this thread on the EDH forums leading the charge: http://forums.dragonhighlander.net/EDH_Forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=915

For the final installment of our Pauper Vacation Guide, we will identify some cards in each color have reached Pauper “format staple” status.  Defining “Format Staple” is always a slippery slope, so for our purposes a staple is a card that has performed well enough and consistently enough in multiple decks to cause our group to strongly consider playing it in any on-color deck.  As for Peasant, it’s pretty easy to come up with the bomb uncommons that thrive in Commander (Sol Ring, Lightning Greaves, or Maze of Ith, anyone?), but for the most part, the uncommons that end up in Peasant decks are usually extremely specific to that deck in order to expand on some theme presented by the commons.  Translation: we’re only gonna discuss commons in the article.

Without further ado: Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 3 of 14 in the series Peasant Rebellion

By MAX aka MAXWELLIAN2000
Format Notes: Pauper decks are 99 cards and a general.  Peasant decks are 94 commons, 5 uncommons and a general.  See http://wiki.mtgsalvation.com/article/Pauper_Magic and http://wiki.mtgsalvation.com/article/Peasant_Magic.  Additionally, the best Pauper reference site I have found by far is pdcmagic.com. That’s a significant community they’ve got going over there, and their FAQ page is golden.  (Peasant though, is a much less charted territory, with this thread on the EDH forums leading the charge: http://forums.dragonhighlander.net/EDH_Forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=915

While the two formats are certainly different, it’s fair to say that what is generally good in Pauper is likely to be good in Peasant because of the high percentage of commons either way.  And as you might guess, the Peasant deck building process can involve infusing a Pauper deck with 5 killer uncommons.  If all this is glaringly obvious and I need to recalibrate my perspective accordingly, please so advise.  Thank you, and please drive through.

I’m pretty sure I speak for the majority of Commander players when I say that Blue is the most powerful color in the format.  I know a lot of folks like CommanderCast’s own Matt who believe that Black and Green are vying to stay in 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, and struggle to remember that Magic even has a fifth color.  As a Green mage at heart, I hate to say it, but the reality is that if your general doesn’t have Blue in it’s color identity, it’s probably going to be an uphill battle against one who does (and this is coming from the former owner of a completely broken Ghave, Guru of Spores deck that can at least hold its own against big bad blue).

So, what to do if you’re like me and want to play non-blue generals?  Yes, a less nonsensical ban list (and yes, it does deserve a double-negative) would no doubt help, but let’s face it, blue is broken, and it isn’t likely to change anytime soon.  Blue’s inherent advantage is definitely one of the motivators for my vacation to Pauperville.  I was thinking, “maybe a format without Consecrated Sphinx will be more fair!” Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 4 of 14 in the series Peasant Rebellion

Posted by ‘Max’ aka ‘Maxwellian2000’

Although I hope I’m merely tilting at windmills, I imagine some Peasant and Pauper purists take issue with the position that a wide variety of generals, rather than only those printed at uncommon, should be considered to lead troops into battle in these formats.  While I agree that restricting general choice to some extent is in the spirit of the format and therefore proper, we need to have some fun, too.  Otherwise, you’re looking at things like Riven Turnbull and Tobias Andrion…  I mean, do you WANT to play those guys?

So let’s keep in mind the somewhat arbitrary, but hopefully convincing, parameters for general choice posited in this column, which can sort of be summed up as follows: the fewer cash dollars it costs, the better; the more underplayed, the better; and dragons and big fliers make for disproportionate focus on the general, so don’t be a cheaty-face.  I believe some kind of adherence to those guidelines will prevent obvious general abuse, while still allowing for enough range in choice to fill in the holes Pauper and Peasant decks have relative to their regular Commander brethren. Read the rest of this entry »

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. Read the rest of this entry »

This entry is part 6 of 14 in the series Peasant Rebellion

Posted by Maxwellian 2000
Staff Pic-Max
So what do you do when your friends owe you money but are short on cash in this economy? When I can’t get away with breaking legs, I usually accept Magic cards. That’s how I recently came into Survival of the Fittest, Crucible of Worlds, Life from the Loam and Exploration for the first time. Each of those is a pretty penny, and generally only work in decks reliant (over-reliant?) on some sort of self-mill, like Ravnica-era Standard Dredge. I’ve always wanted to give the Dredge mechanic a shot, and given that graveyard hate seems to be the first thing people cut in the Commander deckbuilding process, the meta seemed right to give it a try.

After doing some looking around online, I quickly realized why these cards cost so much: they win the game in short order. Fresh off my vacation to Pauperville, my goal is to build competitive/casual decks that give the pilot a good chance to make some noise at the table, but won’t win on turn three and (hopefully) won’t alienate your opponents (read: friends) too much. In a format that’s as easy to break as Commander, I agree with CommanderCast’s own Sean that competitive/casual balance is struck when a deck can win once it has access to 9 mana. I mean, if everyone else is doing it…. Read the rest of this entry »