This entry is part 3 of 37 in the series Generally Speaking

Sinis yoBy Imshan AKA Sinis

“You can’t win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.”

―Obi-Wan Kenobi

This line comes from one of the most dramatic scenes in the Star Wars films; Obi-Wan Kenobi faces his former student, Darth Vader, who has the obvious intention of killing him.  Obi-Wan is pretty sure that he’s going to lose this one, but he’s got a trick up his sleeve that his nemesis, flush with hate and impending triumph, simply cannot understand: Obi-Wan never meant to leave the Death Star at all because of the danger Vader represents to his allies.  Luke learns this lesson well; in Return of the Jedi, he surrenders to the Imperials on the forest moon of Endor for many of the same reasons, intending to occupy his allies’ most powerful enemies while the hammer falls on the Empire, even going so far as to inform the Emperor that the three of them will soon be dead (though, since the Emperor is a competent villain, the whole scenario is part of his plan, minus the dying part).  Obi-Wan throws the fight with Darth Vader, confusing the Dark Jedi with his vanishing act and allowing his allies to escape.  His sacrifice makes him less, and yet more.  He cannot hold a lightsaber or interfere in the universe directly, but he can guide his allies no matter where they are.  The tropes of an evil student slaying his former mentor and a sacrifice as the greatest benefit are not new, and echo throughout much of literary history.

What does any of this have to do with Magic, or Commander?  Isn’t all this old news, anyway?  Well, it serves to introduce to you the latest instalment of the Ascendant cycle article series, and the theme on which this deck is going to be built: Homura, Human Ascendant, as a reflection of Obi-Wan Kenobi and parts of the Star Wars universe.  Homura is a 4/4 Legendary Human Monk from Saviours of Kamigawa that costs 4RR and reads “Homura, Human Ascendant can’t block.  When Homura, Human Ascendant is put into the graveyard from play, return it to play flipped.”  Homura’s flip side is Homura’s Essence, a Legendary Enchantment which reads “Creatures you control get +2/+2 and have flying and “{R}: This creature gets +1/+0 until end of turn.””  In short, from a technical point of view, Homura starts as a mana-inefficient vanilla human monk and once he croaks, he enchants all your creatures with Shiv’s Embrace until he gets removed.

Alternatively, Homura can be seen as representative of Obi-Wan Kenobi’s transformation on the Death Star.  Homura sacrifices himself to guide all your creatures to victory as a wise and empowering ghost, of sorts.  The similarity is undeniable; as a 4/4 body, Homura is a slow six turn clock without evasion against your opponents, but after he is sacrificed or destroyed, he gives all your creatures evasion, and the tools they need to be a much more powerful.

Rather than take the usual route of picking the best cards and secret tech to squeeze into a deck I thought we might take a different avenue for building this deck.  Since this is a casual format, and there are as many points for style as there is for anything else, most of this is going to be a deck themed around Obi-Wan Kenobi and his travels.  Cards are going to picked for theme first, and playability second, though we’ll still try to make the deck as playable as possible.  We’re going to avoid the mention of a particular trio of films that anyone with any amount of taste finds loathesome and in many cases, deeply troubling. The Obi-Wan we’re talking about exists in the Star Wars trilogy that began its run in 1977, and was played by the late Sir Alec Guinness.

Obi-Wan’s appearance is distinguished by his flowing robes (Whispersilk Cloak, Darksteel or Tenth Edition printing) that no one ever seemed to see while he was trying to avoid notice, and his lightsaber that cast a strong blue glow while cutting like a cauterizing razor (Sword of Fire and Ice).  Sadly, there are no auras or equipment that could ever represent his epic beard or gently tousled hair.  Obi-Wan is also best known for his Jedi mind tricks, where the weak-minded are easily distracted or outright brainwashed when it proved necessary (Wave of Indifference).  Obi-Wan stands securely on the Light side of the force, whereas his former pupil Darth Vader gave into Anger, Hostility, and Aggression, and fell under the sway of the Dark side.

Tatooine is the Desert world where Obi-Wan has spent a great deal of his life living in seclusion.  As an inhospitable world on the Outer Rim, the planet is backwater, inhabited by multitudes of droid-peddling Jawas (Goblin Tinkerer, Mogg Infestation), the nomadic, scavenging Tusken Raiders (Cave People) and moisture farmers, like the Lars’ family on their farm (Dust Bowl).  Also, uniquely, there is the Sarlacc, a singular strange pit-like creature we see in Return of the Jedi (Miren, the Moaning Well.  Away from the desert wastes (Wasteland), there are urban centers including the spaceport Mos Eisley (High Market), where almost anything can be bought and sold, including Obi-Wan’s final departure from Tatooine.  Not far from Mos Eisley, there is the fortress known as Jabba’s Palace (Kher Keep), where Jabba the Hutt, the horrible giant slug-like gangster (Thermopod), rules over the criminal underworld of Tatooine and its environs.

Kenobi’s travels from Tatooine brought him to the remains of the planet Alderaan (Comet Storm, Starstorm) and later the Death Star (Blood Moon).  It is aboard the Death Star, after finding the tractor beam’s Kill Switch that Obi-Wan is confronted by Vader, and engages in a Last-Ditch Effort to save his companions.  As always, the stormtroopers (Shock Troops) are incapable of stopping Obi-Wan’s companions; the faceless troops in white plastic are secondary to the story, and never, ever, directly and significantly impact the main characters.

Kenobi’s final act in the first film, and first obvious influence from beyond the grave, is to advise Luke to trust his feelings while he pilots his X-wing down the Death Star’s Fault Line, the exploitable defect in its construction in an attempt to destroy the station.

Obi-Wan is relatively absent in The Empire Strikes Back, and in Return of the Jedi, appearing once on the icy rock of a planet Hoth (Mouth of Ronom, Snow-covered Mountain), near the Glacial Crevasse where the Wampa (Stalking Yeti), a giant carnivorous beast, was wounded by Luke.  In both the latter films, Obi-Wan primarily makes his appearances on Dagobah — Yoda’s swamp planet — to advise Luke against any kind of Reckless Abandon involving Vader, and deal with the truth about Luke’s parentage which he equivocated about earlier.

With most of this deck in the Sci-Fi realm, we’ll flesh it out with the best we can do for mono-red; the main aim of the deck will be to destroy Homura, so he can hang bonuses on as many creatures as possible with an eye to giving them haste if possible.  The remainder of the picks are going to be the usual mana acceleration suspects, haste enablers, any token producers that we can find, and any ways we can find to throw Homura under a bus so that he can get on with making them scary.

Some of the more fun combos in this deck are Hostility with Fault Line, Earthquake or Molten Disaster.  An earthquake effect for five with Hostility in play will kill Homura, and produce five 5/3 tokens with flying and haste for each opponent in the game.  Any direct damage spell like Comet Storm will do similarly scary stuff.  With Homura flipped, earthquake effects serve as one-sided board wipes, and make life much more difficult for our opponents.

Another fun factor about this deck is that it is also ripe for alteration, sharpie or otherwise.  An alter of Mogg Infestation to have Jawas instead of goblins, or of Fault Line to be a view down the Death Star’s trench would be amazing beyond words.

Is an Obi-Wan themed deck cool enough to play, even though it might lose a ton for playing stuff no one else will?  I’ll let you, the reader, decide.

General: 1
Homura, Human Ascendant

Creatures: 20
Goblin Tinkerer
Cave People
Shock Troops
Stalking Yeti
Ryusei, the Falling Star
Rakka Mar
Greater Gargadon
Conquering Manticore
Rapacious One
Chancellor of the Forge
Bloodshot Cyclops
Scorched Rusalka
Solemn Simulacrum
Kazuul, Tyrant of the Cliffs
Knollspine Dragon
Bloodshot Trainee

Artifacts: 13
Whispersilk Cloak
Sword of Fire and Ice
Kill Switch
Sol Ring
Mana Vault
Worn Powerstone
Mind Stone
Lightning Greaves
Gauntlet of Power
Caged Sun
Extraplanar Lens
Culling Dais
Relic of Progenitus
Expedition Map

Enchantments: 4
Blood Moon
Glacial Crevasse
In the Web of War

Sorceries: 13
Wave of Indifference
Mogg Infestation
Reckless Abandon
Molten Disaster
Breath of Darigaaz
Firecat Blitz
Goblin Offensive
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fate
Act of Treason

Instant: 9
Comet Storm
Last-Ditch Effort
Fault Line
Grab the Reins
Fiery Conclusion
Wild Ricochet

Land: 39
Dust Bowl
Miren, the Moaning Well
High Market
Kher Keep
Mouth of Ronom
27 Snow-covered Mountain
Scrying Sheets
Forgotten Cave
Smoldering Crater
Keldon Necropolis
Spinerock Knoll

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