This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Up! Your! Deck!

378127_10150441621792624_1477312954_nIn order to review the new Commander 2013 product for Commandercast.com’s upcoming theme week, I was asked (actually ordered. You could even say I was… Commanded) to play an unaltered preconstructed deck, so that I could accurately assess its worth for the site’s fans. In my case I was assigned the Jund deck, and I went out to test it against some of the 1 on 1 decks Ottawa has to offer.

Not since American History X have I born witness to such a vicious curb stomping.

At least the guys beating me didn't have swastika tattoos. I think.

At least the guys beating me didn’t have swastika tattoos. I think.

Here is a quick summary of every game I played with the deck.

– My opponent plays cards. I play a series of lands that enter the battlefield tapped.

– As my opponent builds a board position I idly wonder if I will be able to play cards before I get killed.

– I have played a card!

– My opponent blows it up, or just gets rid of it by killing me. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Seriously, pretty much every game went like that. I would have done more damage to my opponents by doing my best Gambit impression and pitching cards at them throughout the game.

Although that raises questions about the aerodynamic properties of Dragon Shields.

Although that raises questions about the aerodynamic properties of Dragon Shields.

So I would not recommend playing a precon in a competitive meta unless you are feeling particularly masochistic. Luckily for me, I am not going to be writing the shortest article in Commandercast.com’s history, because I managed to sneak in a game on release day against 4 other players who bought precons. Here is the best highlights from that match, and also a epiphany I had while playing it.

The Players

Me: Our charming, handsome and flawless protagonist. I was playing the Jund precon with Prossh, Skyraider of Kher at the helm. My opponents, seated in order from my left and identified by their decks (because Magic players find shards easier to remember than names) are…

Grixis: A player named Sam, whom I’ve played with at a local college. He is a casual player, and the most I know about him is that he can make really nice custom proxies. He is using Nekusar, the Mindrazer as his general.

Esper: A player named Jeremy whom I just met and know absolutely nothing about. Does he make log cabins in his spare time? Maybe he cooks fine cuisine? I will never know. I do know that he brought the OtherJund player here to get his first EDH deck and that he swapped Oloro for Sharuum the Hegemon as his general.

OtherJund: Damian, the only player among us who has a cool name. He bought the Naya and Jund precons as his first EDH decks and decided to play Prossh, like me. Because he is a swagger jacker.

Bant: Chris is the last player at the table, and this is also his first EDH game. He is apparently big into standard though, and is very comfortable with Magic’s more technical rules. He is using Derevi, Empyrial Tactician as his general.

Now that we know the players, let us begin!

Place your bets now!

Place your bets now!

– I roll a twenty and get to go first. Haha, I have practically won already!

– After pleasantries are exchanged, we shuffle up our freshly sleeved decks and get our opening hands. I start with a Rakdos Guildgate, Vivid Grove, Mountain, Obelisk of Jund, Endless Cockroaches, Stronghold Assassin, and Curse of Chaos.

– These are not up to the standards of the starting hands I am used to, but the combination of the assassin and cockroaches makes me decide to keep it. I play a guildgate, shudder as it enters the battlefield tapped, and end my turn.

– A few turns in and Esper swings a Tidehollow Strix into Grixis’ Fog Bank. Only Bant and I know that the fog bank doesn’t die. Bant explains why to the other players, and also talks about the interaction between trample and deathtouch. This may be Bant’s first EDH game, but his rules knowledge is a tier above my other opponents. I decide that he is the biggest threat at the table and my first target.

– I manage to finally get out my Stronghold Assassin, only to have Esper hit it with a Darksteel Mutation before swinging his strix at me. Threat assessment be damned, I am going after Esper now, and I let him know. I also give him a new nickname involving the genitalia of a turtle. The table finds this hilarious.

And if you don't find it funny, spend a few seconds looking at this photo. See, told you it was funny.

And if you don’t find it funny, spend a few seconds looking at this photo. See, told you it was funny.

– Derevi is the first commander to hit the board, at sorcery speed (for no apparent reason). I wonder briefly if my threat assessment of Bant was a little premature. He later confirms that he didn’t realize he could put his general into play at anytime via its ability.

– On my first turn, since my assassin turned into the amazing uncrushable beetle, I cast Curse of Predation targeting Esper. I then swing with my beetle. The table realizes that I have Macgyver’ed the two enchantments into a do-it-yourself Predator Ooze, as long as I keep hitting Esper. He remarks that he may have made a mistake. I assure him that he has.

– Nekusar comes out. I am now drawing extra cards so I can actually dig through the junk in this precon to get to the good stuff. I have a new best friend!

– On his next turn, Grixis plays a Spiteful Visions to pair with his Nekusar. I am beginning to believe that he may not be my new best friend.

– Grixis is expressing elation with his synergy by rubbing his nipples and declaring it “Sooo good!”. I definitely do not have a new best friend.

– Bant drops a Fiend Hunter and puts Nekusar in a little pocket dimension. At least Grixis has stopped the nipple rubbing now.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Truer words have never been spoken.

– At this point in the game I was starting to get bored of the match, which was very confusing for me seeing as I was supposed to be playing a “funner” version of the format without infinite combos or quick wins. This boredom made me not pay attention, so I was very surprised when OtherJund’s Plague Boiler went off (I hadn’t even realized he’d played it). Grixis got his Nekusar back from under Fiend Hunter, and Darksteel Mutation going away left me with a Stronghold Assassin with three +1/+1 counters on it. Boo ya!

– On my turn I complement my Stronghold Assassin by playing Goblin Bombardment, Sprouting Thrinax, and Endless Cockroaches. My opponents collectively soil their pants, and I throw the Thrinax and the tokens it generates at Nekusar. My opponents have drawn enough cards as far as I am concerned.

– Grixis returns fire at me with a Cruel Ultimatum. Freaking ouch, I am supposed to be the master of retaliatory overkill. Apparently no one told Grixis.

– OtherJund remarks that he will literally whore himself out for mana, as land screw has kept him almost entirely out of the game. I tell him that he would have to be a very skilled worker to get paid in islands or mountains.

– I play Prossh and Lightning Greaves, swinging for eleven general damage at Grixis. Vengeance is mine, and it tastes so very sweet.

We Eric's have similar taste buds.

We Erics have similar taste buds.

– Grixis casts Decree of Pain. I respond by sacrificing Prossh and my roaches to Goblin Bombardment, shooting two more on-board creatures. This cuts the amount of cards Grixis draws from eight to four. Never miss a opportunity to spit in an opponent’s eye, especially if they have already hit you with a Cruel Ultimatum.

– Esper, who is sitting at a fragile sixteen life, casts Sphinx of the Steel Wind. It is my turn to crap my pants in fear.

– Bant takes a ten minute bathroom break, which is a crime punishable by death if you’re in the middle of an EDH game. During the lull I realize that I am bored because I don’t care even a little how well the deck does. I know I can build better, so if it fails it doesn’t bug me at all and if I win I don’t feel like I accomplished anything. I decide that I would take my cutthroat meta over this battlecruiser Magic any day of the week.

– Bant apparently wasn’t satisfied by his trip to the washroom, because he decides to poop all over the table with a Bane of Progress. Casualties include my bombardment, my greaves, and Esper’s sphinx.

– I recast Prossh, and ready myself to kill Grixis next turn. That’ll teach him to give me an ultimatum.

– Esper casts Sharuum, getting his sphinx back to the field. I decide that while one sphinx is bad, two is a absolute clusterf#%^.

– Bant makes Prossh Unexpectedly Absent, despite me serenading him with “I believe in a thing called love”. Or maybe because of that.

At this point I had about ten minutes before I had to leave for my job. Knowing that my general was tucked eight cards down and that my next several draws were nothing but land, I decided to scoop. I do not know who won the game, but I do know that Grixis cast a Price of Knowledge that killed Esper before I even finished packing away my things.

I decided that even though playing a precon-only game was an interesting experiment, toning down my EDH decks isn’t for me. Now that I have had my creativity and ingenuity pushed by Ottawa’s meta, I cannot go backwards. Those who love their battlecruiser Magic, I wish you the best of luck. I will be up here in the frigid north figuring out how to fine-tune my new Prossh deck into a kobold-eating engine of destruction.

Also making sure he can deal with pesky adventurers, no matter how loudly they shout.

Also making sure he can deal with pesky adventurers, no matter how loudly they shout.

Eric occasionally takes a break from mocking his opponents and building oozes to write for Commandercast or record Rival’s Duel with Nole Clauson. You can chat with him in the coments below, at EricBonvie@gmail.com, or via twitter @ThatBonvieGuy.

 

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